Samuel Stinnett Davison, born August 5, 1945 in Fairview, Oklahoma, was named after his great-great and great-grandfathers, who were Baptist preachers in England. His father, Clyde, was a hard-working man who instilled work ethic in his six children while sharecropping in Perry, Oklahoma. Bro. Sam’s days as a boy on the farm were filled with working in the garden, raising animals, and planting and harvesting crops. His mother, Anna, was a godly woman who kept right influences of music and Bible in her home. She prayed for a son who would be a preacher of the gospel, and God answered her prayer.
Clyde Davison saw to it his family was in church every time the doors were open. They attended the First Baptist Church of Perry. When Bro. Sam was six years old, an old-fashioned preacher preached about hell. Bro. Sam remembers, “That day, I not only realized hell was a real place, but I also understood that I would go there if I died the way I was. The next Sunday, the pastor preached about what Jesus did so people like me would not go to hell; how Jesus never sinned, but that He loved sinners and was punished for sin when He died on Calvary. I believed the message and called upon Jesus to forgive me of my sins and be my Savior.”
When he was twelve, an independent Baptist church took root in Perry. Discerning his family needed that type of Bible preaching, the Clyde Davison family became a part of the Calvary Baptist Church. The pastor, Dan Tidwell, was a “fireball preacher” who made a profound impact on Bro. Sam. At sixteen, while attending Silver State Baptist Camp, Bro. Sam heard a sermon from Harvey Springer on Jonah running from God, and two weeks later he surrendered to preach the Gospel.
Later, he met Sandra Lewellen, who became his high school sweetheart. At that time, he didn’t want to be a preacher and had a “Jonah experience” of his own before settling with the Lord. They both went to Springfield, Missouri to attend Baptist Bible College. They served at Seminole Baptist Temple under Raymon Tracy, of whom Bro. Sam said “his humility, his tender heart, his preaching with tears, and his wisdom all made a lasting impression on me.” Bro. Sam and Sandy were married in 1966 and graduated from Bible College in 1967.
Bro. Sam first entered ministry at First Baptist Church of Del City, Oklahoma as associate pastor. In 1974, he moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma, to pastor Bible Baptist Church. As Bro. Sam and Mrs. Sandy rolled up their sleeves and began to work and seek the Lord, He blessed and the church grew. They were blessed with three children, all of whom are serving the Lord.
In 1989, Bert Harrison, pastor of Southwest Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, asked Bro. Sam to preach at a banquet. He was convinced of God that Sam Davison follow him as the next pastor, and upon a vote of the church, he became pastor of Southwest on May 1, 1990.
Bro. Sam and Mrs. Sandy were ready to give their best years to the work at Southwest. He started his pastorate by preaching a week-long revival which bonded the hearts of the members to their new pastor. Under his leadership, the church flourished in attendance and giving. The church services have been blessed with Christ-honoring music and spiritual growth as Pastor Davison challenged the church through solid, Bible preaching. The ministries of Southwest are far-reaching, including missions, bus routes, Sunday school, door-knocking and visitation, children’s and youth programs, and retirement home, deaf, and jail ministries.
It hasn’t just been Southwest Baptist Church that has benefited from the ministry of Sam Davison. He served as Trustee of Baptist Bible College in Springfield from 1989-1992, and as President of Baptist Bible Fellowship International from 1994-1998. In the summer of 1998, Heartland Baptist Bible College came to Oklahoma City, and since May of 1999 Bro. Sam has served as President. He is respected for his mentorship to many fellow pastors, and has been a tremendous influence in training young men and women for the ministry, something very dear to his heart. Since 1976, he has also preached scores of revivals, missions conferences, youth camps, and fellowship meetings all across America and in several foreign countries. Through our CD distribution ministry, his preaching has inspired countless people as his sermons are heard literally all around the globe.
Sam Davison’s life and ministry can be summed up with a phrase he coined that has been oft-repeated here: “Keep the main thing the main thing.” The main thing to Bro. Sam has always been the preaching of the Word of God. In a recent interview, he said, “The absolute sufficiency of the Scriptures is what will keep us on track – that’s what keeps me going. It’s that simple …. just let the Bible influence what you do and let it shape your philosophy … I don’t believe we have reached a time when churches can’t be built by faithful preaching, soul winning, visitation, and calling people to holiness. To say it can’t be done is an indictment against the Word of God. The very fact that we now live in a society which is basically biblically illiterate says our opportunities are greater than they have ever been.”
As Bro. Sam leaves the pastorate of Southwest after twenty faithful years, he is excited about the future of the church and his own future of traveling with his wife, preaching the Gospel, and influencing young preachers. It is our prayer that the Lord will continue to bless them as they leave a legacy of leadership, love, and devotion to God.