Many of the speakers at the East Texas Area Council Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen Good Turn Award luncheon on Friday joked with the honoree, the Rev. Paul Powell, a Tyler minister known for his sense of humor.
He served in several offices with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, including a term as president from 1985 to 1987. Powell was jokingly referred to as “the Baptist Pope.”
“Paul’s leadership is known through all of Texas and the South,” said the Rev. Curtis Crofton, senior pastor of Hideaway Community Church.
Powell is also a former regent chairman of Baylor University. Powell has served as pastor for several churches in Texas, including pastor of Green Acres Baptist Church for 17 years and more recently as interim pastor of First Baptist Church in Tyler.
He holds five honorary doctorates and has authored 43 books.
“He exemplifies Micah 6:8: ‘To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God,’” said Rocky Gill, a personal friend and Tyler resident who serves on the board of many East Texas nonprofits. “The greatest way we can honor Paul is to imitate how he lives his life.”
Powell thanked his friends and family for the honor and the Boy Scouts organization for what they do.
“I feel a little like Bob Hope, who said ‘I don’t feel I deserve this, but I have arthritis and don’t feel I deserve that either,’” he said with a smile as the audience laughed. “Sometimes I wonder, if all the preachers and garbage collectors retired on the same day, who would be missed most? That keeps things in perspective.”