William O. Crews was a Baptist statesman, who profoundly impacted our work in the western United States. He was a friend and mentor to many, who will miss him deeply. His impact at Gateway Seminary lives on through our emphasis on shaping leaders—Bill’s passion and legacy.
- Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary
Bill continued to be an avid reader, active witness, enthusiastic preacher and seminary recruiter here in his adopted home, the Pacific Northwest. His personal faith and love for Christ was inspirational for our students who had the privilege of taking a course from him or talking with him in our halls, where he still maintained an office.
- Mark Bradley, director of the Pacific Northwest Campus of Gateway Seminary
What I will always remember about Dr. Crews was his sense of humor. I cannot remember him speaking in public and not beginning his remarks with humor. It is especially remarkable given the amount of pain he endured during his life with the loss of both of this children. His life will be a testament of the joy of the Lord being his strength.
- Jeff Jones ’03, vice president of institutional advancement, Gateway Seminary
Our ministry and friendship with Dr. Bill Crews has spanned 41 years. My first encounter with Dr. Crews was as a summer missionary in Portland, Oregon, where he served as pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church. He was also my pastor at Magnolia Ave Baptist Church, a co-worker at the Northwest Baptist Convention when he was executive director and I was president of the Northwest Baptist Foundation, fellow church member at Northside Baptist Church in Vancouver, Washington, and most recently as president emeritus for Gateway Seminary (formerly GGBTS) where I currently serve as a vice president. To this day, I have in my Bible a picture of my wife and I along with Dr Crews at our son’s dedication service. I asked him once if he minded if Becky and I still referred to him as pastor Crews and not Dr. Crews. He responded that it was always the highest honor to be called “your pastor.” I am grateful to have been mentored over all these years by Dr. Crews.
- Tom Hixson, vice president for business services, Gateway Seminary
Dr. Bill Crews was good at nearly everything: pastor, denominational leader, seminary president and last but not least, relationships. His contribution to kingdom development in the west was enormous. He was a good friend and will be missed. His smile and humor made him a favorite with us all.
- Glen Paden
Dr. William Crews will be missed. He was a legend. I enjoyed chats with him when I worked at GGBTS in 1990-91 when My husband Barry was a seminary student. Dr. Crews was always a gracious gentleman and a humble biblical scholar. He introduced me to The Cotton Patch Gospel by Clarence Jordan.
-Jayne McClung Bauer
I knew him while I was a member of Magnolia Ave Baptist. In the pulpit, he easily wore the mantle of "The Rev. Dr. William Crews, Proclaimer of Jesus Christ." At other times he also modeled the emblem of "Bill, Lover of Jesus' Flock". A real man of grace.
- J. R. Hines
I came to Seminary life after already being in ministry many years. In the late 90's there were a few of us with greying hair who commuted 4 hours each way down to the Seminary each week and called Truett our 'second' home. I know Dr Crews could have been too busy to see so many of us, but he made time for us. He was a very approachable man who loved to mentor the next generation (Titus 2). I remember getting a call to his office where he asked if I would give one of the addresses at my upcoming graduation from Golden Gate Seminary. I looked at him and said, "Yes I would love to, but I am not one of your straight-A students, I'm just a commuting pastor who loves the Lord, the Church, my family and this Seminary." He said, "That is exactly why I want you." So I did. Our last visit at his northwest office was dear as he showed me all his eagles, books on leadership, and he told me of his love and care for the churches in the Pacific Northwest and the care of his wife. He will be greatly missed.
- Rick Rogers '00, pastor of the Congregational Church of Wahiawa, HI
Dr. Crews (Bill) was an incredible man of God. It was such a privilege to get to work closer through the Western Executive Directors Fellowship. The highlight of our meetings was the discussion on good books we were reading. Bill was always reading some book none of us had heard of. He would share how it could be used to impact and raise up leaders. When he spoke we would all listen for the gold nuggets we would hear.
- Rob Lee
What a fine man and wonderful seminary professor. Totally enjoyed the only class I got to take under him. In Expository Preaching, he said, "If you have a good sermon, you ought to preach it more than once!"...So I have.
- Bert Newton
Few men in ministry have impacted me as deeply. When you were with Dr Crews you were in the presence of a godly man, one who knew God's Word, one who understood God's heart for the northwest - and a man who knew more jokes and funny stories than any professional comedian! Working alongside him as president I was given significant insight into the real heart of Southern Baptist work in the western United States. Though he was born and raised in Texas, his heart belongs to the northwest! I will miss his regular emails and I already miss knowing of his prayerful support of my ministry.
- Steve Schenewerk
Dr. Crews served as our transitional pastor during our last pastoral search at Solid Rock Baptist Church. My respect and admiration for this man grew extensively during this time and we had many memorable conversations. Recently, Dr. Crews came and preached a sermon for us while our pastor was out of town. He was having some difficulty with the lapel mic and it had fallen off of his suit. Naturally, I got up from my seat and went on the stage to help him get the mic clipped on. Wile I was helping him, he asks outloud for the whole congregation to hear, "So, are you married yet?" Everyone laughed and I just replied, "No, but thanks for reminding me." He then went on to let everyone know that when it was time for me to be married, we had agreed he would officiate my wedding. Dr. Crews will be greatly missed. I will never forget the leadership he provided our congregation through that short period of time. Until we meet again...
- Jenelee Meister
I remember Bill’s trips to Roseburg and his friendship with Doyle Collins. They were polar opposites in many ways, yet because of their bigger than life personalities they both had a deep bond of friendship. I learned that these two men were united in their love for Jesus and a conviction for the furtherance of the Gospel. I am so thankful that he had occasion to preach in our church over the years and know that he will be deeply missed in the Northwest.
- Rick Hahn
The Northwest Baptist building won't be the same without Dr. Crews. The first time I met Dr. Crews, he invited me to his office to look at some of his mementos, including a piece of the Golden Gate Bridge presented to him in Mill Valley. After so many years of meeting new students and young people in ministry, he still exuded excitement at the prospect of meeting more people and getting to invite them in for a "show and tell" about the Seminary's history and to encourage them to be lifelong learners and servants. Once during a preaching class, we asked him about his fashion sense. He told us that life is too short for boring clothes. If you enjoy suspenders, bow ties, or any other wardrobe item, just let people know and you'll get plenty as gifts! In that class, he also shared candidly about some of the pain and loss he and his family faced. I so appreciate the way he refused to treat mental illness as a shameful secret or taboo topic but instead insisted, "What really matters are two words: In Christ. Are you in Christ? We suffer and face different challenges, but 'in Christ' has the final say." As an employee in the NW Baptist building, I enjoyed coming to lunch on days when everyone working in the building ate together. Dr. Crews was often the first one in the room, ready for a time of storytelling and fellowship. One time, he started to tell me a story about "the old days," stopped partway into it to ask, "Have you heard this one before?" and then, before I could answer, said, "That's okay. This is a good one. I'll tell it anyway." He was an incredible example of standing firm, loving people, and approaching ministry with enthusiasm and gratitude.
- Ashley Seuell, regional campus librarian, Gateway Seminary
Dr. Crews had a heart for all of the west to be trained and was instrumental in starting up the regional campuses. His library of leadership books continues on at the Ontario campus. While I didn't see him often, I always appreciated him taking time to talk with me. I remember one such summer meeting when we were commiserating together about the heat--both in AZ and OR. I look forward to seeing him again!
- Julie Hines, regional campus librarian, Gateway Seminary
I will remember Bill Crews with fondness and appreciation. In 1989, we sat down together and talked about me joining the faculty. He showed compassion and grace and encouragement to an intimidated young man. He became my president, and later became a friend who liked to talk about Baptist history, especially in the Northwest. One Saturday night I was stuck in Houston. I missed my connecting flight. I was assigned to preach at a Northwest church in the morning. Who would accept such an assignment at 10 pm on Saturday night? Bill Crews, that's who. He preached for me and later became that church's interim pastor! These past few years his office was right across the hall from mine. He would slip into my office and we would talk. He always had a story about someone from Northwest Baptist history. I will miss Bill Crews, but I will remember him often.
- Mike Kuykendall, professor of New Testament studies, Gateway Seminary
I considered Bill Crews a true statesman for Christ. We became friends when he first became president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, CA. I was a member of the Community Advisor Committee for the seminary at the time. Bill was very effective in public relations to the Marin County community. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to sponsor him in the Rotary Club of San Rafael. He was always willing to speak to civic organizations or preach at our church, Tiburon Baptist Church. I asked him on many occasions and he never refused. He always had a friendly greeting for everyone and was known for his humor in the pulpit and public engagements. He was an amazing person that experienced several tragedies in his personal life but was able to keep a happy demeanor to the public eye. I pray for peace and comfort for his family and friends.
- Forrest Goff
Many are the remembrances I have of Dr. Crews. He was an avid reader, especially in the field of leadership. He was excellent in remembering people and their names to develop relationships with them. He was able to lead the seminary in difficult days and steadied the course of the seminary. Bill was excellent in maintaining relationships. That I will remember the longest. Bill cared for people and treated others well.
- David McCormick, professor of Cecil G. Osborne Chair of pastoral care and counseling, Gateway Seminary
It was my privilege to be appointed as professor and chair of the World Missions department at Golden Gate Seminary by the invitation of Dr. Crews! He added to that shortly thereafter the privilege of directing the Kim School of Intercultural Studies. Together with others we cut the ribbon to dedicate the remodeled offices and revisioned emphasis of the various programs associated with an expanded cultural emphasis. His vision extended to culturally sensitive ministry to all peoples! His was a missionary heart! With highest respect for his godliness, leadership ability, and sincere humility he pursued that vision and won my respect! I am privileged to have been a partner in God's service at Golden Gate.
- Dr. J. Ray Tallman
I first met Bill Crews through one of the Rotary Clubs in Riverside, CA, around 1981. He and my dad (Cecil Rigney) were great friends. When I joined Magnolia Avenue Baptist Church in late 1982, Pastor Crews baptized me (although due to my being 6'4" tall at the time, he shared with me after coming out of the water that some of my hair was still dry, at which time we both humorously pointed out that my baptism may have been compromised). Pastor Crews' love of the Lord truly showed in his love and compassion for others. I remember when he preached at my sister's funeral in January 1985, when he gave pre-marital counseling to Kaci (my beautiful wife of 31+ years), and seeing him on special occasions when our paths would ironically cross, yet the time spent was joyous. Thank you, Bill, for being a friend, a counselor, and a true man of God. May your soul rejoice in the Lord.
- Kevin Rigney
Bill was at first only Dr. Crews, as he came to be the pastor of Magnolia Ave. I have graduated from CBC and was at Golden Gate Seminary when Dr. Crews came to take the pastorate at Magnolila, after my personal mentor Dr. A. Larry Nixon had moved to Texas, after suffering his second heart attack. As I met Dr. Crews his life, his soul, deeply touched mine. He became a mentor and spiritual father very quickly. Bill was never one of my closest confidants, but he listened on many occasions as I shared my heart. From my seminary days, to the early uncertain days after seminary Bill was there. We would meet, share, and sometimes just fellowship over a meal. After serving here for 30 years Bill flew down from Washington to preach my anniversary sermon here at FBC of Rosamond where I have served for nearly 35 years. He has been so kind over the years to this small town pastor. I look forward to our next meal, this time in Glory.
- Mike Janz