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Edited by William Powell Tuck

The membership of River Road Church, Baptist, includes a wide spectrum of persons of varying educational attainments, wide economic levels, and all ages from children to seniors. They represent a variety of careers including merchants, trades, professions, community leaders, and educational faculty in the local schools, colleges, graduate schools, and seminaries. No matter the educational level of the membership, the church sought a highly educated clergy. The pastors called to serve River Road Church came with advanced graduate studies and earned doctor’s degrees. The five preachers in this volume span almost seven decades. Each stayed a length of time to accomplish the challenges he faced in the building up of the congregation and the enhancement of the spiritual life of the membership. Each preacher brought different gifts of preaching, management styles, craftsmanship, and vision.


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Are some churches more blessed of God than others, or are they simply lucky in the pastors they get? It says volumes of good things about River Road Church, Baptist, that they have called these five excellent preachers. You are wasting your time in telling me that preachers and preaching do not matter. And William P. Tuck, creative as always, devised in this book a new way to whet the appetite for local church history.

— Walter B. Shurden, Minister at Large, Mercer University
Author, The Baptist Identity: Four Fragile Freedoms

To speak of the elevated pulpit of River Road Church, Baptist, is much more than an architectural statement. This marvelous selection of sermons, drawn from each of the church’s five pastors, demonstrates the elevated style of scholarly, thoughtful, and faithful preaching that has characterized this church from its inception. Rooted in a deep piety that welcomes doubt and questioning, each of these ministers presents a gospel message that responds to the issues of their day with a courageous faith confronting a variety of social, political, and religious topics. You can read this book as an insightful church history, as a fine collection of sophisticated sermons with unforgettable illustrations, as a fascinating sociological study of a changing church community, or as simply biographical glimpses of five outstanding religious leaders of our day. However you read it, you will benefit from this description of how these masters of the craft of preaching presented the gospel message with honesty, relevance, and challenge.

— Tom Graves, President Emeritus, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond

About the Author

William Powell Tuck and his wife, Emily, are active members of River Road Church, Baptist. Bill has served as a pastor, seminary professor, and intentional interim pastor. He is the author of 23 books including Modern Shapers of Baptist Thought in America, Our Baptist Tradition, and A Pastor Preaching: Toward a Theology of the Proclaimed Word. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the University of Richmond, and in 1997 received the “Parish Pastor of the Year” award from the Academy of Parish Clergy. He and Emily are the parents of two children and four grandchildren.