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Pastor busy fishing for souls
In the pulpit
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Earl D. Williams, pastor of Wilderness Baptist Church in Midway, loves to fish, but seldom has the time to enjoy his hobby. He said he’s too busy fishing for souls.
Williams relocated to Fort Stewart in September 1990. After 21 years in the military, he retired as a sergeant first class in August 1994. While in the military, he served overseas in Russia, Korea and Germany. Williams was an On-Site Inspection Agency inspector for the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. He received a badge for his service.
Williams has been in the ministry since 1991, and has served as pastor of New Fellowship Baptist in Glennville, Odum Grove Missionary in Odum and First African Baptist in Claxton.
“I was called to Wilderness Baptist Church on Jan. 1, 2009,” Williams said. “The people at Wilderness are AAA. They have an appreciation for the word of God, affection for the house of God and an aspiration for the suffering of our Lord and Savior. They are hungry for the word and are very dedicated. They are people who enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.
“My vision for Wilderness is to cultivate, produce, send out and harvest. Members are growing spiritually,” he said.
The church’s motto is “living by God’s every word.” Wilderness is one of the oldest churches in Liberty County and will celebrate 130 years in September. The church has many ministries, including deacon and deaconess ministries, a mission ministry, a youth ministry, choir and music ministries, a trustees ministry and a workshop ministry. “The workshop ministry involves training for other ministries,” Williams said.
The pastor thinks “good pastors and ministers must know that they are saved. They must preach and study the word and remember we are the light of the world.”
He said he’s inspired by his wife Sallie, who also influences his ministry. “She was saved when I was lost,” Williams said. He also credits Chaplain Payne and Dr. Sinclair Thorne, his spiritual father. “Chaplain Payne was my first neighbor when I came to Fort Stewart. I was thinking about becoming a bass pro, but he told me my calling was to fish for souls,” the pastor said.
Williams and his wife have been married for 33 years. They have three children, Earl Jr., Latasha Butler and Jason, and two grandchildren. The Williams are both natives of Americus. They live in Hinesville and work at the Youth Challenge Academy on Fort Stewart. The pastor has been employed with Youth Challenge for 12 years and currently works in the counseling department. Sallie Williams is a health-care worker.
Williams has a bachelor’s of arts in religion from Saint Leo University in Tampa, Fla., and is now studying for a master’s of divinity at Andersonville Theology Seminary in Camilla.
He has served as vice moderator of the Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Association and is a certified teacher for the National Baptist Convention. In his spare time, Williams likes to work on computers. “I am a computer geek,” he said.
Anderson is the author of “Lack of Knowledge” and “Dare to Soar.”

Anderson is the author of “Lack of Knowledge” and “Dare to Soar.”
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