On Saturday night near Sherman, Texas, John Powell stopped to help someone whose car was on fire after it had hit a truck. The driver of that car survived but 38-year-old pastor Powell and father of four was killed, when another truck struck Powell.
As reported by The Houston Chronicle, Powell’s final sermon was two weeks ago and focused upon Psalm 72. During Powell’s sermon, he implored his congregation at North Houston’s Emmanuel Baptist Church that ‘in the poor man’s distress, Christians might be there.’
“How could we pray that God would have compassion on those that need it while not having compassion on them ourselves?” asked Powell. “It would be like praying for someone who got robbed and beaten and thrown into a ditch alive while we pass on our way to wherever we’re going.”
“How could we pray that God would have compassion on those that need it while not having compassion on them ourselves?” – Pastor John Powell
Among the online tributes to Powell, Russell Moore – President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission – tweeted on Sunday: “I am shocked and shaken and grieving this morning, beyond what I can say.”
“My former student John Powell was killed last night, hit by an eighteen wheeler while helping stranded motorists off of a highway.”
On Monday, Emmanuel Baptist Church released a statement about their minister who moved to the Houston area in 2016 to lead the church plant: “This past weekend, our church experienced one of the greatest tragedies we can imagine. Pastor John Powell, in an act in the image of His sacrificial Saviour, was killed in a traffic accident. While we deeply grieve this loss, we remember what he would want us to remember: that Christ is the head of this church, and the vision and passion that John instilled in us is still alive.”
A GoFundMe has been set up to help support Powell’s wife Katherine and their children Gunner, Bennett, Ada Kate, and Reese.
“His love for the local church and selfless care for friends and family was evident to all,” wrote Andrew Walker, who set up the campaign.