BNG columnist Terry Austin, 72, died unexpectedly Sept. 22, according to a statement from the family.
Raised the son of a Southern Baptist pastor in Colorado, Austin went on to become a Baptist minister himself, serving in both congregational ministry and in denominational work.
He served 14 years as pastor of First Baptist Church of Morse, Texas, before taking on a series of roles supporting other churches as a consultant. Among those, he served a decade as director of stewardship for the Baptist General Convention of Texas. In 2009, he formed a consulting group and a book publishing company, Austin Brothers Publishing.
He and his wife, Sharon, were deeply involved in the work of a house church in Fort Worth, Texas, called Bread Fellowship. He wrote for BNG several times about the contrast of his house church experiences to his earlier life in traditional Baptist churches.
In December 2022, Austin wrote a BNG column titled “Reflections on the Ninth Inning,” in which he said he never expected to live as long as he did due to complications of contracting polio as a child.
“I’m in the ninth inning of my physical life,” he wrote. “I don’t know if there are one or two outs, but I don’t have much hope of extra innings. Physical life ends for all of us at some point. I was born in 1950 and had my 72nd birthday last month. In my childhood thinking, I had the opinion I wouldn’t make it past the year 2000. It seemed like a major feat to a kid, since the year 2000 would be another century. Besides, I had polio as an infant and my body was not equipped for the long haul.
“Since it is well past my expected date of demise, I can testify that my gratitude is great. I have experienced many good things in the past 22 extra years, things I never expected. However, I also have watched my always fragile body become even more frail, constantly having to adapt to doing simple things.
“Please don’t hear me complaining! I am not. The three axioms of my life are simple: Life is hard, God is good, and we need to laugh more.”
Although his body was failing, his mind was not, he said.
“I have written/ghostwritten more than 30 published books and assisted more than 100 other writers in getting their manuscripts published. I continue to teach our small house church group and a Thursday night Zoom Bible study. Opportunities to encourage others in the faith have come frequently. It might be the ninth inning, but I still have a bat in my hands.”
He was a graduate of Wayland Baptist University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
In addition to his wife, Sharon, he is survived by his children — Jeremy, Matthew and Andrew — and their families, which includes his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A private memorial service will be held to celebrate his life.
Read Terry Austin’s BNG columns here.