I Am Wilshire – Bill Bruster.
Hometown: Madill, Oklahoma
Education: BA, Oklahoma Baptist University; BD and PhD, Southwestern Seminary; Post-Doctoral Study, Oxford University
Profession: Baptist minister
Present city: Southlake
Tell us about your family.
My mother and older brother died when I was 11. My four siblings and I went to the Baptist Children’s Home in Oklahoma City when I was 13. Charlotte and I married in 1962 — God’s wonderful gift to my life. We have two children who live close. Our daughter, Julie, is married to Brent. Our son, Anthony, and his wife, Amy, have three children. Julie and Anthony are attorneys.
Tell us about your work/volunteer life.
I was a pastor for 35 years, with my last pastorate at First Baptist Church in Abilene. I was in the room the night after Daniel Vestal was defeated in his run for SBC president, when 18 of us decided to start the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. I was CBF’s national networking coordinator the last 12 years of my career. I served on the boards of nonprofits, Southeastern Baptist Seminary, Carson Newman College, and on the boards of the state conventions in Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas. I currently chair the boards at Global Baptist Seminary and Gaston Christian Ministries.
What are your favorite hobbies?
I enjoy golf, travel and reading.
Where is your favorite place to travel?
We’ve been to all 50 states and many countries. My favorite is Norway; New Zealand is a close second.
What brought you to Wilshire and when?
First Baptist Abilene hosted George Mason for a young adult weekend in the early 90’s. When we moved to Dallas in 2000, there was no doubt where we would go to church.
Where are you engaged at Wilshire?
I am involved in Compass Class and am a regular teacher there and in several other classes.
What’s surprised you most about Wilshire?
Nothing surprised me, but I am most pleased with how we rebounded after our welcoming decision.
What do you think God is up to in your life?
I read Richard Rohr daily and am becoming more conscious of the need for contemplation and looking for the presence of God. I have been more of an activist.
Tell us about your faith journey.
I was baptized at Trinity Baptist in Oklahoma City at 14 and started preaching at 15. I grew spiritually from preparing sermons and being a role model for parishioners.
What’s something interesting most people wouldn’t know about you?
I was part of the “Gatlinburg Gang” in the 80s, trying to save the SBC from fundamentalists.
What adjectives describe you?
People say I’m open minded, loyal and determined.
- If you’d like to be featured in “I Am Wilshire,” email Carolyn Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org.