By Sherrie Norris
Anyone who knows the Rev. Bill Warren knows that he doesn’t waste any opportunity to share his faith and to tell others about Jesus. A recent vision has led the 86-year-old retired minister to return to the pulpit, if for just one day, to follow what he said is something special God is leading him to do.
“For Such A Time as This, a one-day revival, is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 25, beginning at 2 p.m. at Beech Valley Missionary Baptist Church in Sugar Grove.
The theme of this historic event is simple: “Whosoever will, let them come — today is the day.” According to his family, this could possibly be one of the greatest days, if not the greatest, in Warren’s lengthy ministry, as he makes the effort to reach out to those who need the Lord.
“Preacher Bill,” as he is known throughout the High Country area and beyond, will be assisted at this event by his grandson, the Rev. Toby Oliver, current pastor of Liberty Grove Baptist Church in Ashe County, and other family members who will be helping with music.
Why Beech Valley? He pastored the church for 25 years before he began to experience declining health, his family told us. “We are very grateful to Pastor Riley for allowing him to use the church and facility to host this revival.”
According to Warren, who will deliver a special message that day that the Lord has laid upon his heart, the sermon will be followed by a time of invitation and decision, onsite baptism and communion service.
It is the hope of Warren and his family that members of the churches he has pastored over his 40-year ministry will join them on this special day. Those churches include Clark’s Creek, Gap Creek, Stony Fork, Beech Valley and Union Baptist, his “home” church since childhood.
On behalf of the Warren family, his daughter, Lottie Oliver is asking the community to be in prayer for all involved in this upcoming revival.
“Please pray for this special time together as God leads Dad to be used one more time to share Jesus with all who will come. We pray a revival will break out across these mountains — with folks being convicted, saved, renewed and refreshed from the Holy Spirit . . . with commitment back to God . . . a desire for an intimate and meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ, our Savior, to carry them through with His Holy Spirit for the rest of their lives.”
Soon after Oliver posted information last week on social media about this revival, responses began pouring in from friends, relatives and associates far and wide. One wrote, “This is so awesome and goes right along with the prayer revival my church has been having, going on 27 weeks! God is moving and getting His people ready.” Another shared, “I am so excited about your dad’s faithful obedience. I can’t be there, but will start praying now for all. God is so good.”
Others have vowed their support in similar ways. “Praise Got that he is still being used by God to preach His word.” . . . “God will be busy that day!” . . . “We need this!”
In case of inclement weather, the revival will be held at the same location on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 2 p.m.
Beech Valley Missionary Baptist Church is located at 3663 Buckeye Road in Sugar Grove.
Who is Rev. Bill Warren?
Bill Warren is a man who has given his life in service to God, country and his fellowman.
Born and raised in Zionville, he left home a young man of 18 in 1952 for the US Army, reporting to Fort Jackson, SC for basic training before shipping out to Korea with the 40th Infantry Division.
He met his lovely wife Libby (Oliver) at church following his tour in Korea. The couple married after a brief courtship: Their love for each other has stood the test of time, now for 65 years and counting.
Their journey together has included four children, nine grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren, a decorated military career that spanned more than two decades, including deployment to Vietnam, and required multiple relocations for him and his family, both together and separately, locally and abroad.
Warren was on a search and destroy mission in Vietnam when he learned that his son Billy was born. Son, Greg, was also born during one of his overseas missions, meeting for the first time when Greg was 9 months old. Daughter Linda (Herman) was born earlier in South Carolina, and Lottie, in Texas.
Not an easy venture for a family with small children, the Warrens relied on each other, and their faith in God, to see them through the challenging times.
it was in 1974, as Sgt. Major Bill Warren, stationed at Fort McPherson, Ga., contemplated retirement, that his call to the ministry became clear.
Two years later, he surrendered to the call to preach and accepted his first pastorate back home at Clark’s Creek Baptist Church in Valle Crucis.
From there, history continued to be made, with countless stories of how God led, guided and provided for the Warren family. His collection of commendations, awards, and keepsakes are numerous, but nothing means more than his well-worn Bible, which has served as his roadmap to life everlasting — and the knowledge that he has helped lead countless people to the Lord.
Today, even after more than 40 years in the ministry, “Preacher Bill” still believes there is more work to be done — “For such a time as this.”
Mark your calendars now to join Warren and his family for this upcoming revival.