Dr. John Waters, the pastor of Statesboro First Baptist Church, recently completed his second term as president of the Georgia Baptist Convention, a statewide association of 3,600 Baptist churches.
As convention president, Waters’ primary responsibility was to plan and preside over the annual meeting. But he most treasured his role of serving and ministering to others.
“I spent a lot of my time crisscrossing the state of Georgia, encouraging smaller churches, their pastors and regional missionaries,” he said. “I visited a lot of towns I never even knew existed. Even in these little-known towns, I found ways to encourage and inspire pastors and congregations in their work for the Lord.”
Waters became, in his words, a “pastor of pastors,” as he worked tirelessly to minister to hurting and wounded pastors, pastors who were struggling with various family issues, grief, church conflict or loss of employment.
Waters brought a wealth of experience to the convention presidency. Raised in a military family, he lived in various parts of the world and came to know Christ as a young boy in Tachikawa, Japan.
He began preaching in Laurens County at age 19, while just a college sophomore, and has served as a pastor in Dublin, Perry and Sylvania, as well as in South Carolina and Texas.
After college, Waters completed seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Prior to moving to Statesboro in 2005, he served as vice president at Brewton-Parker College.
Waters and his wife, Cynthia, are the parents of Trisha Waters Thomas and Bethany Waters Gilliam.
Throughout his two-year term, Waters reminded his congregation and staff that his role as president extended the ministry of Statesboro First Baptist.
“I couldn’t have fulfilled this role without a capable staff to provide leadership and take on additional roles during my absence, and a supportive and praying congregation,” he said.
Waters’ position marked the second time First Baptist provided a Georgia Baptist Convention president. In the late 1960s, Pastor J. Robert Smith served as the convention leader.
With his presidency behind him, Waters said he looks forward to again serving his congregation full-time and building on the church’s rich heritage of ministry and disciple-making.
He also hopes to invest more time in another one of his passions: writing. He recently published three books: “40 Days through the Life of Jesus,” “Divine Interruptions” and “40 Days through Philippians.”