Stan Coffey, founding SBTC president, dies
AMARILLO, Texas (BP) -- Stan Coffey, longtime Amarillo pastor who served as the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention's founding president, died Dec. 26 after an extended illness. He was 68.
Coffey served Southern Baptist churches in Texas, New Mexico and Arkansas for 40-plus years. He was pastor of The Church at Quail Creek in Amarillo (formerly San Jacinto Baptist Church) for nearly 35 years, from 1975-79 and from 1984 until his death.
Coffey, who played a significant role in the founding of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, gave considerable support to the fledgling convention as pastor of the large Church at Quail Creek.
After the convention was formed he was tapped as its first president, serving from 1998-2000.
"Prior to the existence of the SBTC, Stan Coffey pastored the largest church in the reformation group pushing for the formation of a new convention," SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards told the Southern Baptist TEXAN, newsjournal of the state convention. "Being a man of conviction, Stan was willing to put his reputation on the line for the cause of biblical inerrancy and cooperative work among Baptists. He paid a high price for his efforts with challenges to his health and ministry. Through it all he remained faithful to win people to Jesus.
In comments to the Amarillo Globe-News, Richards said Coffey's "contributions were immeasurable" to the state convention. "What he did in the early stages of the SBTC will be told for all eternity." Coffey helped Southern Baptist causes "until his final days," Richards said.
"Earth's loss is heaven's gain," Richards told the TEXAN. "Pray for the family and church during this time of sorrow."
Coffey was a recipient of the SBTC's W.A. Criswell Award for Pastoral Evangelism and the H. Paul Pressler Distinguished Service Award for his work during the SBC's Conservative Resurgence and his key role in the founding of the SBTC.
Coffey also served Southern Baptists in a variety of other positions; he was a trustee of the North American Mission Board, a member of the SBC Executive Committee; and president and vice president of the SBC Pastors' Conference.
Known as a passionate evangelist, Coffey's church was consistently recognized for its high number of baptisms -- nearly 10,000 during his 35-year tenure.
Gene Jeter, a deacon and 40-year member of the Church at Quail Creek, told the Globe-News, "What I loved about Stan is that he always preached the gospel of Christ." Coffey "always gave everyone an opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Thousands of people have accepted Jesus Christ through his preaching over the course of his career."
In recent years, Coffey spoke out as a prominent voice for biblical values. During the recent debates over same-sex marriage, he consistently pointed to Scripture as the definer of marriage. His convictions politically were rooted in his longstanding commitment to biblical inerrancy.
Last summer, Coffey became a public advocate for what he regarded as compassionate immigration reform, including involvement in a coalition of evangelicals who launched an ad campaign urging Republican House members to support immigration reform that included a path to citizenship.
Coffey was the author of several books, including "Building the Greatest Churches Since Pentecost"; "Comfort, Peace and Hope: Help for Hurting Hearts in the Time of Grief" and "The Return," according to business profile site ZoomInfo cited by the Globe-News.
The Return, Coffey's last book, focused on biblical prophecy. The funeral home obituary noted that Coffey had conducted conferences on prophecy across the nation, with engagements booked well into 2015.
Coffey's other pastorates included First Baptist Church in Albuquerque, N.M.; three Texas churches, County Line Baptist in Morton, Hurlwood Baptist in Lubbock; and First Baptist in Josephine; and Trinity Baptist Church in Texarkana, Ark.
Raised in Sweetwater, Okla., Coffey was saved at age 6 and took his first pastorate at age 20. He earned degrees from Wayland Baptist University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and California Graduate School of Theology.
Coffey is survived by his wife Glenda, a son, Scott Coffey of North Carolina; a daughter, Natalie Coffey Archer of Amarillo; and nine grandchildren.
Former Amarillo Mayor Trent Sisemore who formerly served on staff with Coffey at The Church at Quail Creek, told the Globe-News, "Stan was my pastor, mentor and friend. For 26 years, I had the honor and privilege of serving as his music minister. He was a humble, meek, godly man, but was an eloquent spiritual giant in the pulpit. He was one of the great leaders of the SBC."
The funeral was today (Dec. 30) at The Church at Quail Creek. Burial will be at Buffalo Cemetery in Erick, Okla.
Rob Collingsworth writes for the Southern Baptist TEXAN, online at www.sbtexas.com. Baptist Press editor Art Toalston contributed to this article.