William L Watson is a second generation pastor/teacher who is singularly focused on communicating the word of God to meet the needs of people. He chooses to do this by knowing God intimately through the person of Jesus Christ and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to make God known to the world.
William currently serves as the visionary shepherd and compassionate pastor at the Historic First Baptist Church in Jackson, Tennessee. His innovative leadership style is being demonstrated through facility renovations; increased membership; two weekly radio broadcast on 97.7 and 96 KIX; a reconciliatory relationship with First Baptist Church N. Highland, and City Fellowship Church. He was also instrumental in helping to developing the Praise in the Park, worship with the city of Jackson. Rev. Watson is currently an Instructor in the local Baptist association and the Tennessee Missionary Baptist Educational State Congress. He is currently the Moderator of the Browns Creek District Association of Churches; State President of the Moderators Division for the Tennessee Baptist Missionary & Education Convention; and the Chairman of the Church Growth and Development Board for the National Baptist Convention America, International Inc.
Pastor Watson previously served as Assistant and Executive Pastor at Cummings Street Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee under the leadership of Pastor Gary L. Faulkner. In his tenure he served also as the Minister of Pastoral Care, Youth Pastor, Young Adult Pastor, and Director of Ministry/Christian Education.
Rev. Watson accepted his calling into the ministry at Greater Lewis Street Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee where the late Rev. W.P. Dixon (his maternal grandfather) served as pastor. He accepted Christ at West Camp Missionary Baptist Church in Batesville, Mississippi where his father, the Rev. Earl E. Watson was pastor.
When not in the pulpit, William Watson is actively engaged in civic activities in the city of Jackson. He is a sought after speaker for revivals, conferences, workshops, both locally and nationally, and most recently internationally, having traveled to Israel in May of 2016, South Africa in July of 2017, and Honduras in 2018 and 2019. He also speaks in both the local school systems and collegiate forums. Currently, he has spoken at Memphis City School graduations and spoken in chapel services at both Lane College and Union University. Pastor Watson also currently sits on the board of the Jackson Madison County Boys and Girls Club and the Jackson Equity Project. He is past board member of the Exchange Club.
William is the recipient of the Jackson Madison County NAACP 2016 William D. Smart Race Relations Award; Gamma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc. 2015 Loretta K Jones Hall of Fame Award; the Jackson Chapter of the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa Inc. 2013 Man of Faith and Perseverance Award; the Theta Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. 2013 Rev. James F. (RIP) Taylor Christian Leadership Award; and the 2013 Isaac Lane Faith and Witness Awards.
Rev. Watson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Christian Studies with a minor in Church History from Union University. He is currently enrolled in Memphis Theological Seminary in pursuit of a Masters in Divinity. He is an honorably discharged U.S. Army veteran and a proud son of the Rev. E.E. and Willie Jean Watson. He has two siblings, Captain Wilborne E. Watson and Mrs. Bettina Watson-Saulsberry.
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