Missionary Spotlight: Dr. Randy McWhorter
FRESNO – “God has not lost any power here,” Randy McWhorter declares. “There is a bright hope for California churches as they begin to realize that we are more like the First Century Church than anything else.
“We are living in a culture that is anti-Christian,” Randy continued. “We have to find not only creative ways, but we have to be very intentional about sowing the seeds of the gospel and reaching people for the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Randy joined California Southern Baptist Convention (CSBC) in August 1999; he currently is Healthy Church Group leader/evangelism director. He spends some 200 days a year traveling throughout the state providing leadership to Healthy Church Group consultants, pastors and church leaders to enable them to attain and maintain healthy congregations.
His responsibilities include ensuring that Healthy Church Group consultants are well trained and able to assist CSBC’s diverse congregations as they fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
“Churches that are intentional about reaching their communities for Christ are finding great success,” Randy stated. “Churches that are committed to the status quo or who are not open to new ideas that seem to be effective in today’s culture are churches that are struggling to be healthy.”
Born in Vallejo, Randy is a second-generation Southern Baptist pastor with a teaching spirit and the ability to communicate effectively. God has uniquely gifted Randy with a heart sensitive to His leadership and a natural desire to help people know Christ and to make Him known.
At home on a Saturday night at the age of six, Randy knelt beside the couch with his father, Monty, and accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. One week later, he shared his new faith in Christ with a friend.
“I don’t know if I didn’t know any better or because that is what I had been taught to do in Sunday School, but I remember being in David’s backyard and telling him about the decision that I had made,” Randy recalled. “When David asked if that was something that he could do, I said, ‘Sure!’ We went to the side of David’s house and got on our knees. I led David, without any training or anything, in the same prayer that I had prayed the Saturday night before. David accepted Christ.”
Throughout his life and ministry, Randy has striven to replicate the joy he had when he shared the gospel with David.
“I have found out that the more you share, the more possibilities there are that somebody is going to accept Jesus,” Randy said. “I believe that the reason there are not more people accepting Christ is because there are not enough believers sharing Christ. The more we share the more God uses our testimony and the more people accept Christ.”
Randy received his call to a preaching ministry at the age of 19 while enrolled in the Ventura County Sheriff’s search and rescue program. God dealt with Randy in a dramatic way as he served on the ministry team of a church children’s camp in the mountains near Frazier Park in Kern County.
“I don’t know what Jacob went through when he wrestled with God, but God and I had a good long talk one night,” Randy said. “The end result was the total surrender of my life to Him. I’ve told people that I would often doubt my salvation before I would doubt my call.”
Randy redirected his educational priorities from law enforcement to a preaching ministry, transferring from Ventura City College to California Baptist College (now University).
“The most remarkable thing that I did in college is that I graduated!” Randy laughed. “However, it seems as though some of the most important decisions we make in life we make in college. Both my life’s work and my life’s partner happened to me while I was in college.”
While going to CBC and attending his father’s church in Santa Paula, Randy met his future wife, Leigh. They dated for two years, married upon his graduation from CBC, and moved to Texas where Randy enrolled at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.
Randy earned a master of divinity degree at Southwestern while serving as associate pastor of Patillo Baptist Church for three years. Upon graduation, Randy and Leigh returned to California where he pastored for three years at Calwa Baptist Church in Fresno and for 15 years at First Southern Baptist Church (now Shoreline Baptist) in Fountain Valley.
“I’m excited to be serving California Southern Baptists,” Randy said. “I consider it a privilege and honor.”
Randy has a doctor of ministry degree from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, and serves as adjunct professor at Golden Gate teaching basic evangelism in the master of divinity program and leadership seminars in the doctor of ministry program.
Randy and Leigh have three grown children and four grandchildren.
Randy’s message to California Southern Baptists:
“If we are going to be the church that God wants us to be, we are going to have to be a praying church, an engaged church, a sowing church and a harvesting church.
“There has never been a better opportunity to serve the Lord or to share Jesus Christ with the lost than there is in the day in which we are living.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV).
Pray that God will give wisdom, protection and boldness to the 2,100-plus California Southern Baptist pastors who are serving Christ in a state where much of society has turned hostile to the gospel.
Pray that God will fill CSBC leaders with wisdom in making the right decisions as Southern Baptists continue to be the greatest evangelistic and church-starting group in the world.
Pray that CSBC leaders, pastors and laypeople will continue to focus on that which is most important – fulfilling the Great Commission beginning in California in our day.
Praise God for His work in the life of the seemingly down-and-out churches that have made a dramatic turnaround. They have relied on Him, are growing, and are excited about the future God has given them.
Praise God for the opportunities we have had to start 100-plus churches in California every year despite current difficulties.
Praise God that more and more CSBC churches are realizing evangelism is the church’s greatest need.
Praise God for my children who all know Jesus Christ and who are serving Him.
The U-Turn Church – New Direction For Healthy and Growth by Kevin Harney & Bob Bouwer is an informative and encouraging book focusing on practical ideas for the church in a state of stagnation or decline. It offers hope and shows how any church can make the turn toward health and effectiveness.
“The U-Turn Church walks you through the roadblocks of tradition, lack of vision or leadership, structural problems and concerns about denominational distinctives to forge a new way forward into a hope-filled future.”
Did you know?
A healthy church is one that has developed effective systems to ensure the spiritual maturity of disciples – committed followers of Jesus Christ. Factors in the life of a disciple that measure commitment:
Worship that is regular and habitual, corporate and private
Fellowship with other believers
Service/Ministry to believers and non-believers
Discipleship, involvement in a learning community
Evangelism that actively shares one’s faith
Dr. Randy McWhorter
Healthy Church Group Leader – Evangelism Director
California Southern Baptist Convention
678 East Shaw Avenue
Fresno, CA 93710
559.229.9533 x. 244