Coy Wilkerson retired as pastor of First Country Baptist Church, Surprise, April 30, marking 19 years as pastor of the church and 64 years of ministry among Arizona Southern Baptists.

Wilkerson had served Arizona churches since May 1955 as pastor, interim pastor and church planter. He served on the Arizona Southern Baptist State Mission Board staff for 17 years.

Wilkerson was personally involved in starting 32 churches throughout his ministry, not including those he helped start as a consultant for Arizona Southern Baptists. During 1990-1999, the State Mission Board staff started 139 churches.

Here’s Wilkerson’s advice to young pastors: “Love Jesus supremely, love people enthusiastically and work real hard.”