By Sharon Mager
BEL AIR, Md.—A past Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network President and trustee of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and former senior pastor of Oak Grove Baptist Church, Bel Air, Lewis McDonald, died on Dec. 11.
McDonald served over 50 years in ministry. He received his undergraduate degree from Baylor University and a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Gerry Hubble, a former secretary at Oak Grove Baptist Church said McDonald was extremely intelligent and was a valedictorian in high school and “top of the class” in both colleges.
Hubble said she remembers McDonald memorizing the Sermon on the Mount and then preaching it. She said the church recorded that sermon and has it on an album.
McDonald preached the annual pastor’s sermon in the mid-seventies at the Network annual celebration and at that time Hubble said Charles Casey, a former Mid-Atlantic Network president said, “That sermon did more for Maryland Baptists then will ever be measured this side of heaven.” McDonald was the president of the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network from 1980 to 1982.
McDonald became pastor of Oak Grove in 1971 and during his tenure the church added four additional ministry staff members. It was also during this time that he ordained seven full-time ministers and baptized his three sons. During the “McDonald years,”at Oak Grove the church began their “Living Christmas Tree” program that brought 10,000 people annually to the church during the Christmas season. He left Oak Grove in 1989 due to health issues.
He later served in a Methodist Church in Poolesville and the congregation tripled under his leadership before his retirement. They built an educational building and named it after McDonald. He also ministered at a Church of the Nazarene.
McDonald had completed his ministry calling, coming out of retirement once again to pastor Great Hope Bible Church, Jarrettsville, for over two years before his death.
In a Baltimore Sun news obituary, Gerry Hubble wrote, “McDonald will be remembered for his quick wit, story-telling and gift of preaching. He will also be remembered for his passion for sports; cheering for the Cowboys and Orioles, or pitching for the church softball team. Rev. McDonald was a dedicated husband and father.
“One of his favorite sayings was, ‘Love is a four letter word spelled TIME.’ Rev. McDonald lived that saying throughout his life and ministry with his final baptism being that of his grandson.”
He was also an author, publishing the book,”Pieces,” in 2011. It’s a collection of sermons based on the parable of the prodigal son along with his personal testimony.
Lewis McDonald is survived by his wife of 56 years, Patsy Lee; his three sons, Steven, David and John Mark; three daughters-in-law, Janet, Alana and Beth; three grandsons, Kevin, Jonah and Dylan; granddaughter, Chrissy, and her husband, Greg; great-granddaughters, Julua and Reba; his sister-in-law and her husband, Carolyn and Danny Powell.
A memorial service was held for McDonald at Oak Grove Baptist Church on Dec. 28. Those who shared memories included Aubrey Stewart; Ken Lyle, Dee Solomon; Bob Bullis, John Reeves, Mike Ward, Paul Simmons and John Mark McDonald and David McDonald. Harold Hubble, minister of pastoral care, Great Hope Baptist Church, officiated the service.
In addition to multiple saved souls, twenty-five people gave their lives to vocational ministry under McDonald’s leadership.
His favorite Bible verse was, Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”