Southern Baptists are grieving the loss of John Powell, church planter and pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in New Caney, Texas. Powell died July 18 in a highway accident. He was 38.
Powell died helping people involved in a crash on Highway 75 near the Oklahoma state line, according to reports. Authorities said a car caught on fire after being hit by a Chevy truck, and Powell and another man pulled over to help. Powell was struck by a semi when he saw it headed toward the other man and pushed him out of the way.
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, taught Powell in Sunday School and at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) in Louisville, Ky. Moore shared the news on social media, calling Powell “one of the best men I ever knew – sweet-tempered, humble, absolutely devoted to Jesus and to Katherine and to their kids.”
“He was everything I would want one of my sons to be when they grow up. … I can’t wait to see him again. And right now I’m just crushed,” Moore wrote.
Powell is survived by his wife, Katherine, and four young children, Gunner, Bennett, Ada Kate and Reese. Friends set up a GoFundMe page to support his family. Donations passed $228,000 at time of publication.
“In true form, this servant and gentle leader we all knew and love gave his life so that others may live,” organizers wrote on the page. “His life embodies what his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, said, ‘Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends’ (John 15:13).”
The Powells moved to New Caney from Hamlin, Texas, in 2016. Powell previously served as senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Hamlin; director of admissions at SBTS and discipleship pastor at Carlisle Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.