Williams to head Texas Laity Institute
___By Dan Martin
___Texas Baptist Communications
___Dan Williams, pastor of Southland Baptist Church of San Angelo, has been named first president of the Texas Baptist Laity Institute. He will assume his new job Sept. 1.
___The institute was created in response to recommendations by the Baptist General Convention of Texas Theological Education Committee in 1995 and the Effectiveness/Efficiency Committee in 1997.
___The institute's mission is to provide laity a comprehensive and challenging program of theological education in the Baptist tradition, for the purpose of deepening and enriching the Christian faith and practice of participants.
___Williams was the unanimous selection from among a number of candidates and was nominated by a five-person search committee headed by John Cash Smith, an attorney from Orange. He then was unanimously elected by the Laity Institute board, which is headed by Herbert Reynolds of Waco.
___Phil Strickland, director of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission and staff liaison with the institute, said Williams has had "a long-time concern and commitment that laypersons have every opportunity possible to grow in faith and to serve through a deeper understanding of their faith."
___Williams, who has served the San Angelo church since 1993, said he describes his job as "being a little like seminary for laypeople. They don't have to quit their jobs but can do a systematic approach to learning more about Baptist distinctives, church history, how to understand the Bible and things like that."
___A native of Fort Worth, Williams grew up in a number of towns in West Texas, including Abilene, Jayton, Sweetwater, Paducah and San Angelo. He is a graduate of Baylor University and received the master of divinity and doctor of philosophy degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
___He previously served on the staff of Second Baptist Church of Lubbock and as pastor in Lafayette, Ind.
___His wife, Anita, also is a Baylor graduate. They have three children, Clay, Anna and Nathan.
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