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COVER STORY / February 2022
Reverend Dr. Frank W. Houston Celebrates 50 Years In The Gospel Ministry
Reverend Dr. Frank W. Houston Celebrates 50 Years In The Gospel Ministry

By Rev. Roger Mills, AHERN Publisher / 2-7-2022

Georgetown KY- On Sunday, February 13, 2022, the leaders and members of First Baptist Church were joined by family and friends gathered at First Baptist to celebrate the 50th Gospel Ministry Anniversary of Rev. Dr. Frank Warren Houston.

Rev. Houston, as he has done for 50 years, delivered the Sunday morning message. His message was centered on how God’s messengers are treated, entitled, “Respect for Spiritual Leaders” from 1 Thessalonians 5: 13-15.

Following the worship service, Rev. Houston was treated with a “50 Years Ago In 1972” reception orchestrated by his wife and First Lady of First Baptist Church, Mrs. Renea Houston.

The Preaching Journey

The journey began in 1972.  High school graduation was around the corner for the seniors at Morristown Hamblen West High School.

But one senior had already received his diploma, a diploma of the highest order.

Frank Houston preached his first sermon the second Sunday in February at Rock of Ages Baptist Church in Morristown, Tennessee.

Still in high school, Frank became a much sought-after guest preacher and evangelist throughout East Tennessee. Congregations both old and young wanted to hear this teenager proclaim the Gospel of Jesus. Yes, churches were packed wherever he went.

During high school, Frank worked as an orderly and janitor at Doctor’s Hospital (Humana).  He then enrolled at Walters State Community College, graduating with an Associate of Science Degree.

He was still attending Rock of Ages and learning all he could from his father in the ministry, Rev. T. H. Northern.

It didn’t take long for Minister Frank Houston to understand the path God was laying out for him. Still at Walters State and working at Doctor’s Hospital, a church across town became vacant, when Rev. Charles Willis resigned as pastor of Bethel Baptist Church to become pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Bethel invited the teenage preacher to serve as interim pastor. He accepted and God showed him the way.

After accepting the interim position at Bethel, Rev. T. H. Northern convened an ordination council. After passing the ordination questions, the laying on hands, and the ordination prayer, Minister Houston, became Rev. Frank Warren Houston or Rev. F. W. Houston.

In January of 1973, Rev. Houston was asked to accept the pastorate of Bethel Baptist. He said yes. The educational journey continued as he enrolled at Carson-Newman College, now, Carson Newman University.

A few years into this pastorate he married Jeannine Thompson, and a ten years later they became the parents of Bethany Elyse Houston.

He finished his education at Carson Newman with a B.A. in English, Psychology and Religion and was hired as an English teacher at Morristown Hamblen East High School, still pastoring Bethel. Two years into his pastorate at Bethel, Rev. Houston became Vice-Moderator of Bethel District Baptist M&E Association.

While at Bethel, Rev. Houston became President of the Hamblen County Ministerial Association, initiating a balanced fellowship among the ministers and churches, a working relationship between the ministers and city council, and initiating the Martin Luther King Commemorative Celebration, county-wide revival, and helping develop an interdenominational-interracial Thanksgiving worship.

During this time the City of Morristown began to widen South Cumberland, which created a parking problem for the largest Black congregation in Hamblen County.

While attending Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, Rev. Houston, the deacons, trustees and construction steering committee began searching for land to build.

What makes this such a remarkable move, was Rev. Houston suggested a five-phrase plan; (1) find the land, (2) purchase and pay off the land, (3) view layouts of other churches in the area, (4) find an architect and begin to build, (5) before the completion of the edifice and moving, half of the mortgage to be paid.

When Bethel moved to Cherokee Drive, the present location, Rev. Houston was about to earn his Master of Divinity from Southern Seminary, Louisville, KY.

In 1987 Rev. Houston led the walk from South Cumberland to Cherokee Drive, their new edifice. Three years after entering their new edifice it was paid off.

After accepting the pastorate at First Baptist Church in Georgetown, Kentucky he earned his Ph.D. in New Testament Interpretation, Greek and Black Church Studies (2002).

In his 50 years as a Gospel Preacher, Rev. Houston has pastored only two churches, Bethel Baptist, nearly 26 years, and First Baptist in Georgetown, Kentucky, where he will celebrate 21 years as pastor May 1st of this year.

He writes for R. H. Boyd Sunday School Curriculum and has written sermon briefs for LifeWay Christian Resources. He is an adjunct professor of Religion at Georgetown College and adjunct professor of New Testament and Theology at Baptist Seminary of KY, both in Georgetown, Kentucky.

He is an avid motorcycle rider, along with his brothers, Anthony and Marvin.

He is married to the former Renea A. Moore, and thy share parenting of two children. They also have four grandchildren.

In June 2020, Rev. Houston eulogized his daughter, Bethany, who affectionately called him, “Daddy-O.”

Pastoral Highlights

Rev. Houston has preached 2,600 Sunday morning messages; over 150 revivals and funerals; performed over 100 weddings, and been the guest preacher-lecturer at associations and conventions.

He was the father-in-ministry to the late Rev. Larry S. Williams (Bethel Baptist-Morristown, TN) and the late Rev. Dr. Ivory J. Griskell (First Baptist-Georgetown, KY); and is currently the father-in-ministry to 9 adoptive sons and 1 adoptive daughter.

AHERN sees you, Rev. Houston. Congratulations!

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