First SBTC African American consultant dead at 77

February 15th, 2021 / By: Texan Staff / comments

First SBTC African American consultant dead at 77

FORT WORTH—Rainey Matthews Jr., a long-time pastor in Texas, died Feb. 12. Matthews was born in Fort Worth and started New Life Complete in Christ Baptist Church (later In Divine Order International Church) in that city. He also served as the SBTC’s first consultant for African American churches. 

Matthews moved to Michigan as a teenager and later became an amateur boxer before turning to pastoral ministry in 1996. 

SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards worked closely with Matthews and said of his ministry, “Rainey Matthews served the Lord Jesus Christ through his local church and the broader Baptist family through the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. His many contributions to Christ’s kingdom will be revealed when we all gather at Jesus’ feet!”

Casey Perry, former senior staff member for the convention, met Matthews when he was pastoring in East Texas and Perry invited him to preach for his church. They became close friends. “After I was chosen to serve as Minister/Church Relations director for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, I asked Pastor Rainey to serve as a consultant with our department,” Perry said. “We went to many churches together doing information meetings. It did not matter if they were predominantly Caucasian or African American churches. We did not see race; we saw brothers and sisters in Christ. That was all we needed to do the work of our Lord. It is my prayer that that same spirit will continue among God’s people.”

Matthews was preceded in death by his parents and by his wife Tharetha. He is survived by his wife Barbara, seven children, 27 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. 

At press time Matthews’ memorial service was scheduled in Arlington for Feb. 27.