The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Worship

July 29, 2013

Joplin man has worn many hats during 70 years of ministry

JOPLIN, Mo. — Joplin Family Worship Center recently honored one of its member who likely has few equals when it comes to Christian service.

Not only was Aaron Wilson honored for his 70 years of service to God and mankind as a pastor, author and university president and professor, but also as a still-active musician.

"This 86-year-old gentleman complements our entire worship experience every week with his organ playing," said Dan Wermuth, pastor of the Joplin church.

A fellow member of the church, Al Carnine, calls Wilson a "who's who in religion."  

Wilson, born in 1926 at Corsicana, Texas, was attending high school in Texas when, at 16, he was called to preach. He had already been introduced to music, learning to play the guitar at age 10.

After graduating as valedictorian of his high school and completing a three-year program at Southwestern Bible Institute in Waxahachie, Texas, Wilson took over the associate pastor's job at Hope Gospel Tabernacle in Hope, Ark. He then returned to Texas to become associate pastor of his home church, Lindale Assembly of God in Houston.

His first head pastor's job was at Idabel, Okla., and he continued serve in various pastoral positions, as well as do evangelistic work, in the following years.

Then, in 1950, Wilson became friends with Kenneth Hagin, an enormously influential Pentecostal preacher, who had gained fame as the father of the nationwide Word of Faith movement.

At Hagin's request, Wilson wrote a major article dealing with Hagin's vision, as well as his life story, that was widely circulated.

In addition to his three books, "Basic Bible Truth," "Studies on Stewardship," and "My Church  Can Grow," Wilson's writing career came to the forefront with "Our Story...the History of the Pentecostal Church of God."

Joining the Pentecostal Church of God denomination in 1972, Wilson said he became interested in writing the history of that denomination because there was only an unofficial version that was not thorough or well-documented.

"Part of my philosophy in writing the book is that it would have to deal with the ministry and not the people, with my thinking that the validity of it is not who leads you but what you do," Wilson said.

He started writing the 300-page book 23 years ago and completed it in a year and a half. In addition to writing and 25 years as a minister, Wilson spent five years as president of Evangelical Christian College in Fresno, Calif.

He also served as head of the music department of Southern Bible College in Houston, while being delegated the position of national director of Christian education for the Pentecostal Church of God, International. The PCGI headquarters at that time were in Joplin but have since been relocated to Texas.

In his musical capacity, he served as the official organist for 18 straight years at the group's annual conventions.

Besides teaching at Messenger College, Wilson also served as editor of the college's publication, the Pentecostal Messenger. He continues to hold a lifetime position on the group's Board of Directors.

Although he retired at age 77, he was called back to full-time work with Messenger and after a few months was appointed vice-president of development. He retired again in 2011 but continues to do volunteer teaching for Messenger.

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