BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) — Philadelphia pastor K. Marshall Williams Sr. received Oklahoma Baptist University’s Herschel H. Hobbs Award for Distinguished Denominational Service June 10 in Birmingham, Ala.
Williams, senior pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church in Philadelphia for more than 35 years, was the 2006-2008 president of the Baptist Convention of Pennsylvania/South Jersey and was elected as president of the state convention presidents’ fellowship in 2008.
He was the 2014-2016 president of the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention and a member of the 2012-2014 African American Advisory Council of the SBC Executive Committee.
In addition to his pastorate, Williams is vice president of The Georgia E. Gregory Interdenominational School of Music; Nazarene Community Development Corporation; and No More Excuses Ministries. He is community outreach director for the Germantown Academy of Fort Washington, Pa., and a founding trustee of The Community Partnership School in North Philadelphia.
The award is named to honor the Southern Baptist denominational service of Herschel H. Hobbs, a prolific author and radio program host who died in 1995. Hobbs was pastor of First Baptist Church in Oklahoma City from 1949-72 and is the namesake of OBU’s Herschel H. Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry.
“I’m honored and humbled that OBU would think about me and honor me with this award,” Williams said at an OBU gathering prior to the June 10-11 SBC annual meeting. “Thank you and God bless you all for giving me this opportunity.”
When asked what one thing he would tell students who are preparing for their ministry after school, Williams emphasized the importance of a personal relationship with Christ.
“The most important relationship you can have is not in the horizontal but the vertical,” he said. “Your ministry should be nothing but an overflow of your relationship of Him.”
God’s call must be answered with a yes, Williams said, because “when God calls you, it’s an unaltered conviction that you must do what the Lord is calling you to do.”
Will Smallwood, OBU senior vice president for advancement and university relations, explained what the award means to the university.
“We want you to know, Pastor Williams, that you are a great representation of what this award is about,” Smallwood said. “This award represents the best of what we have to offer and we are so thankful for your service.”
C. Pat Taylor, OBU’s interim president, noted, “We always want to point our students to role models. As we try to grow our world’s next pastors, evangelists and missionaries, we love to recognize people like Pastor Williams who epitomize the things we are trying to teach.”
Williams has spoken at OBU several times including a chapel message in November 2017 and as a keynote speaker at the 2016 OBU Pastors School on the OBU campus in Shawnee.
He has served as a missionary with Sports Ambassadors, a basketball evangelism ministry team that toured the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan and five countries in Africa. He has also served as an adjunct chaplain and Bible expositor for the Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles and 76ers.
Williams holds an M.Div. from the Palmer Theological Seminary of Philadelphia and an undergraduate degree from Augsburg College in Minneapolis.
Previous winners of the Hobbs Award include Juan Sanchez, president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and senior pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin; Anthony Jordan, former executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma; Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary; Rebekah Naylor, former IMB missionary to India; Tom Elliff, former SBC president and IMB president; David S. Dockery, former president of Union University and now chancellor of Trinity International University; O.S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone Financial Resources; and Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.