ATLANTA — Danny E. Watters, age 66, longtime Georgia Baptist pastor and Georgia Baptist Convention missionary, entered into his eternal home Thursday evening, April 30, at Kindred Hospital in Atlanta after a battle with pulmonary fibrosis.
One of Georgia Baptists’ most beloved and respected leaders, Watters endeared himself to pastors all over Georgia and beyond with his affable personality and genuine concern for others.
After serving as pastor of Beulah Baptist Church in Douglasville for almost 22 years, Watters assumed the role of a Georgia Baptist missionary by becoming the director of the Church-Minister Relations Department in June of 2005.
Previous to his pastorate at Beulah, Watters served as pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Tallapoosa and Spring Baptist Church in Chatsworth. He graduated from New Orleans Seminary in 1982.
Watters had been intricately involved in denominational life for years and served Southern Baptists as the chairman of the Order of Business Committee and as a trustee for GuideStone Financial Resources, formerly the SBC Annuity Board.
His service to Georgia Baptists has been extensive, including as chairman of the Executive Committee and chairman of the Administrative Committee. However, he typically and selflessly worked behind the scenes to support and encourage others in leadership roles he could have easily won.
Watters is survived by his wife, Becky, who throughout their marriage demonstrated outstanding faithfulness to the church, to her husband’s ministry, and to her own place of service as a former member of the board of directors of The Christian Index.
Watters’ survivors include three grown, married children: Chad (married to Kim Javery), Scarlett (married to Tim Rackley) and twin sister, Shonna (married to Kyle Privette), and three grandchildren: Brianna Rackley, Watters Rackley, and Whitner Privette.
Jerry Vines, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and longtime friend to Watters, remarked, “Danny Watters was a great friend to me personally, and the same to countless numbers of pastors. In addition, he was a great pastor and Baptist statesman. We will miss him, but rejoice in the promise of reunion ‘Just inside the Eastern Gate.’”
GBC Executive Director J. Robert White stated, “Danny was a very dear friend whose influence upon my life and ministry has been significant. I have never known anyone who had a better understanding of the church and how to minister to ministers, to families, and congregations.
“He was the best I have ever seen at ministering to churches in conflict and bringing them to resolution.
“Danny was a glowing example of what it means to be both a loving pastor and a loving family man. God blessed Danny and Becky with 47 years of marriage and ministry. He loved his children and his grandchildren and talked about them constantly.
“Danny was an outstanding leader in our convention staff. We will all miss him more than we can express.”
Marcus Merritt, who served with Watters in the Church-Minister Relations Department, commented, “Danny has been my friend for almost 30 years. He spoke at my dad’s funeral. He encouraged me when I was distressed and preached in my pulpit when I was a pastor.
“For the past few years I have had the privilege of working side-by-side with him at the Convention. I have witnessed him treat many others with the same love and compassion he showed to me all these years. Georgia Baptists have been blessed beyond words by the life and ministry of Danny Watters.”
Frank Cox, pastor of North Metro First Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, explained, “Every pastor has lost a real friend in the home going of Danny Watters. His love for ministers is unquestionable. Our valleys have not been nearly as deep because of his timely words of encouragement. Our hurts have healed more easily because of his tears and intercession on our behalf at just he right time.
“His laughter and practical jokes are legendary among his friends. I can truly say that he will be sorely missed. Remember, heaven never becomes near or dear to you until you make a deposit. In Danny, we have made a precious deposit. I am a better person because he was my friend.”
Bryan Alexander, GBC Executive Committee chairman, added, “Danny Watters became to me what he has been to so many, a faithful friend and mentor. God has used Danny to bring the peace and grace of God to many hurting pastors in our beloved Georgia Baptist Convention. We have truly been blessed by his leadership and commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The celebration service for Danny Watters will be Tuesday, May 5, at Beulah Baptist Church in Douglasville. Visitation will be on Monday, May 4, beginning at 4:00 at the church located at 4031 Bankhead Highway, Douglasville.