As many of you may know, Pastor Fred Winters of First Baptist Church Maryville, IL, was shot to death during the 8:15AM service while he was preaching. My father, Thom S. Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay, has asked to utilize my blog to release a statement he wrote earlier today about his friend and former student. Our prayers are with the family and church during this tragic time.
A few moments ago I received the tragic news that Fred Winters, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Maryville, Illinois, was shot and killed while preaching in the church’s 8:15 service. Fred was my former student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was also a friend and co-laborer in ministry. I am grateful that I got to spend time with Fred on February 24, where I was speaking at a meeting in Naples, Florida for large church pastors. We spoke one-on-one for several minutes, and I could tell that he was rejoicing in his ministry and life. My heart breaks for Fred’s family, and I am already praying for them in this time of shock and grief. We also pray for First Baptist Church of Maryville. They have lost a great pastor and a dear friend.