The Man with Ink in His Veins

     I want to begin by thanking those who have called, emailed and texted me regarding the recent articles on trailblazers of the state association. I am encouraged that people are enjoying reading about people who have been integral parts of our Arkansas work.

     Today, I was thinking about one who reported about the association, pastors, revivals and “gleanings” from churches for 33 years. I was just thinking about Baptist Trumpet Editor David Tidwell.

     As I thought about my friend of many years, I realized how blessed I have been to have personally known these about whom I have written. It was an honor to have known Bro. Tidwell from 1964 until his death on Feb. 12, 2002.

     Lloyd David Tidwell was born in Fort Smith in 1939. He answered the call to the ministry in 1955 at the age of 16, and a year later he was ordained by the Central Baptist Church of Fort Smith.

     Editor Tidwell was a man with a great smile and a wonderful sense of humor. And, if I didn’t know better, I’d say he had ink in his veins! He was an excellent writer and editor, and he dearly loved the work of publishing the Baptist Trumpet each week.

     He was a quiet leader in the state and national associations. Before becoming editor and business manager of the the Baptist Trumpet, he was pastor of four BMA churches: White Hall at White Hall, County Line at Nashville, Brister at Emerson and Sky Lake in Memphis, Tenn.

     Uniquely, I was later pastor of both Brister and Sky Lake; hence, our bond was made stronger. That relationship was enhanced as I learned from the members of those churches just how much they loved him as their pastor.

     Tidwell was educated at Central Baptist College and Southern Arkansas University. When I first met him, he was serving the state association on the Board of Trustees for CBC.

     While pastor of Sky Lake Baptist Church, he served as the first moderator of the fledgling BMA of Memphis. For several years, in addition to his editorial duties, he served the BMAA as a member of the Committee on Arrangements, which prepares for the annual session of the national association of churches. He also served terms as recording clerk for the state association. From 1973-76, Bro. Tidwell served as a Justice of the Peace for Pulaski County in Arkansas.

     But it was his ministry as editor of the Baptist Trumpet where Tidwell left his well-defined trail. He was a superb editor! According to my calculations, David Tidwell wrote more than 1,700 editorials under the masthead, “From Tidwell’s Inkwell.” He wrote insightful, thought-provoking editorials, and sometimes his unique humor would slip through. He also offered wise and scriptural counsel from time to time in his writings. Did I mention that he was an excellent editor?

     David Tidwell was married to his wife, Barbara for 43 years. He was very proud of their children, Benny and Rejeana Tidwell Albert; and, of course, his grandchildren were his pride and joy.

     My friend was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 12. Sadly, his family, church family and the association of churches lost him in 2002.

     I was honored to have been his pastor at Little Rock’s Chenal Valley Baptist Church at the time of his heavenly promotion. His longtime friend and former pastor, Richard Walters and I officiated his memorial service.

     Again, I remind you about a trailblazer. It refers to one who makes a new trail through new territory, a pioneer or an innovator. Sometimes the trailblazer takes up the task of one who preceded him or her and continues to mark out a path for others to easily follow. That is exactly what Editor David Tidwell did — and he did it very well.

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