The Tragic Death of Pastor Fred Winters

Sam Rainer

March 8, 2009

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.

10 comments on “The Tragic Death of Pastor Fred Winters”

  1. kdb1411 says:

    Let us again be reminded of the brevity of life and the need to focus on that which really matters. And let us be in prayer for the Winters family. Thanks for providing this statement.

  2. Henri says:

    I created a memorial for the Reverend. Please visit and leave a message, light a candle, etc. Thank you. Rest in peace.

  3. Natalie Elder (Bradford) says:

    I went to highschool with Pastor Winters and we were in the same youth group at First Baptist Church of Raytown. I did not keep up with his life and I am so happy to know he was serving our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and I pray a steady rain of peace and comfort will be poured on the family, friends and congregation. I know he is rejoicing in Heaven and continually praising. What a comfort to know this, in an of itself.

    In His Bonds,

    Natalie Elder

  4. TomS - AUSCON4 says:

    I am a member of First Baptist of Maryville, and proud to say that I am a soldier of Christ and was baptized by Pastor Fred. He also renewed the vows for my wife and I. There was no more Godly of a man that I knew. For a congreation of almost 2000, he knew everyone’s name… what a Godly gift. And he cared for EVERYONE in his flock… what a greater gift of caring that he had. He took a church of 20 and in 20 years turned it into 2000. Pastor Fred assembled such a talented and “Christ-driven” pastoral staff that I know will be able to guide us through this tragedy.
    The funeral for Pastor Fred is scheduled for Friday at 10:30AM (Central Time) at our church, and when that time passes on your clock, if you have time, please say a prayer specifically for his wife Cindy and her two daughters. Two daughters that won’t get to grow up in the presence of their father. But God the Father is STILL in control. Our church wil overcome this as Pastor Fred would want and a REVIVAL will happen in our area. God allowed Satan to touch our church but the devil has no idea what he’s just done. The Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be GLORIFIED in this tragic act.
    Great is thy Faithfulness!!
    Lamentaions 3: 22-24

  5. Terry Eades says:

    I went to seminary with Fred for about a year almost 22 years ago. We took a preaching class together and I was awed by his intensity and his ability to draw you into his message. Over the years I have thought of Bro. Fred on many occasions, always trying to develop in myself that exciting and effervescent personality that was his. He was a model that most of the world’s pastors and priests would do well to emulate. Everyone I know is praying for his family.

  6. Raymond says:

    I am from St.Louis Missouri and I just wanted to say that I never knew Pastor Fred or ever heard of him till this tragic event took place. When I saw this on the news my heart went all out for him and his family. I just cant see how someone can just come into a church and take away another human beings life. My heart goes out to Pastor Fred and his family. I am a Catholic and this Sunday I will light a candle at church for Pastor Fred. When I see something on the news like this it just hurts me something bad. May God be with The Winters family in this time of tragedy. My prayers are with you!

  7. I am saddened to hear of this tragedy of beloved Pastor Fred Winters. These times in which we live the enemy will use whatever tactics he fills that will get us sidetracked and unfocused. My prayers are going out to First Lady Cindy, daughters Alyssia, Cassidy and the entire congregation of The First Baptist Church in Maryville, IL. I did not know Pastor Winters personally but he was my brother in the Lord.

    I know that there is a crown of righteousness laid up for Pastor Winters. What the devil meant for evil God meant it for good to bring much people alive this day. I believe that out of this tragedy many blessings will flow just to show the devil who is really in control OUR GOD, GREAT GOD!

  8. Karl Winters says:

    Rest in peace, brother.

    I will see you again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *