Roger Deerinwater told the Examiner today, Friday, November 13, 2015 the turning point in his life came in January of 1971 at age 21 when the preacher at Fairway Baptist Church in Wichita Falls, Texas, said,” One day Jesus is going to return, Jesus may come before I finish my sermon today.” The Wichita Falls native said he was 21 and he started feeling turmoil inside him in the middle of the sermon. He recalled the Bible verse Matthew 10-32-33, “If you’ll confess me before men I will confess you before my Father which is in heaven, but if you deny me before men, I will deny you before my Father.” So I said I’ve got to go down that aisle. And I didn’t want to do that. I was just distressed. I knew I deserved to go to hell. I was scared to death. I thought everybody here knows my mom and dad.”
“All of a sudden the preacher Paul Burleson yelled out, ‘Come on boy!’ and I shot out of the pew. I went up and grabbed him. I was crying like a baby. I was just upset. He said, ‘Roger why are you coming?’ I said I want to rededicate my life.” He said when were you saved? And I said two minutes ago. I prayed, “Jesus, you promised to give a guy peace. As soon as I said that I felt peace. All the hatred and anger I’d felt was gone. I knew I was ready to meet God. I had to stand at the front of the santuary with the pastor and facing the conregation like they do in Baptist Churches.”
He said he asked Burleson later if he was talking to him when he screamed over the microphone, “Come on, boy!” Burleson said he didn’t know why he said that at that particular moment. He’d never done it before or since.
“I don’t know why God has allowed me to remember the words of that prayer. As soon as I prayed I stood up, all the disillusionment was gone. I knew I was ready to meet God. I was clean,” Deerinwater said as he recalled the dramatic moment.
“I went home and told my wife Carol and she was brushing her hair and she said, ‘So what?”‘
Deerinwater said his wife was skeptical at first because of all the changes he’d gone through in his life. He said he called his dad and told him he was going to be baptized that evening. His dad said, “Well, son, you’ve already been baptized.” My dad made sure we were all in church every Sunday. But he always rewarded my brothers Dan and Bub and me by taking us to P-4 after church for lunch.”
The former Wichita Falls Rider High School football player further said, “I first made my commitment to Jesus at age nine. I might’ve gotten saved when I was nine. Eternity will tell when I was saved.”
He said his wife came to Christ 30 days after he did. He said, “If she didn’t like me before I was a Christian, she really didn”t like me after I was a Christian.” He said there was a turbulent phase during that month. He called out to the Lord, “I thought things were supposed to get better.”
Deerinwater recalled the pastor came to see him and his wife.. He said, “Carol, have you ever been saved? She said I have, but not like him.”
When the pastor and I moved the coffee table an object my wife loved was broken. Roger remembered thinking his wife would be furious because the item had been given to her by her grandmother.
“She said, ‘That’s okay. Roger didn’t like it anyway.’ This was not the response I expected. So I knew then she’d been saved. She got baptized.”
“I felt a call to become a pastor one night at Fairway Baptist Church. Jimmy McCracken was preaching. I thought I wanted to preach the gospel. I had seen guys earlier say, ‘I’m going to be a missionary, but they never did. I didn’t want to be like them. I went forward that day at church without telling my wife. She didn’t know I was going down front. I didn’t know how to tell her.”
Deerinwater recalled sheepishly that he probably should’ve let his wife know what he was doing before he did it. But it was a spur of the moment decision.
“She has been my helpmate in the ministry for 40 years. Carol is always the good, sweet person anyway. She is my wife and the mother of our four children. She has been a stay at home mom until our administrative assistant left at First Baptist Church of Archer City and she took that job. I think God’s call is on my life. I don’t think that ever leaves.”
“We’re going to One Life Cathedral Church in Wichita Falls now where my son Josh is one of the preachers. We have church at 10:30 a.m. every Sunday in the Wichita Theater.”
He said he thought he would take another church someday. He further said, ” I was physically tired after 26 years at FBC of Archer City. That’s the reason I resigned. I just ran out of gas. I just needed a short rest”
He went on to say, “Now, if I pastored another church it would be a smaller church. Churches have seasons just like pastors. I wouldn’t be adverse to taking on another body of believers.”
Deerinwater was on staff at First Baptist Church at Wichita Falls, Texas before he accepted the senior pastor’s position at First Baptist Archer City 26 years ago. He said Morris Chapman called himbefore that and told him he’d like him to serve as youth director at First Baptist of Wichita Falls. He served in that position until he was called by First Baptist Church of Archer City. Chapman served in numerous capacities with the Southern Baptist Convention after leaving the pulpit in Wichita Falls. He currently holds the title President Emeritus of the Executive Committee for Southern Baptists.
“I didn’t call them. They (First Baptist of Archer City) called me. I always believe God is sovereign,” Deerinwater said today. Deerinwater is a graduate of Midwestern State University and attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.
“God is God. And we’re supposed to follow his directions. I became the pastor at First Baptist Church in Archer City,Texas and that became our home. That’s where we raised our four sons for 26 years.”
The sons are named Joshua, Caleb, Micah and Amos. Joshua is in the ministry and Amos is the branch manager for American National Bank in Archer City. Micah is serving his country in the U.S. Army. Caleb works for AT&T.
Deerinwater is currently supply preaching, handling funerals and weddings. He is willing to pastor another church, saying he believed the call to preach never ends in a preacher’s life.
Dr. Morris Chapman today, Friday, November 13, 2015, told Examiner the following: “During the years I was the pastor of FBC of Wichita Falls, I had the privilege of getting to know Roger. I had heard so many good things about his dynamic Christian life, exceptional preaching and teaching skills. He was deeply loved by his people. After getting to know him, I learned that everything I had heard about him was true. He is a champion for Christ and a winsome witness for our Lord Jesus Christ.”