Over a period of twenty-five years, Terry M. Turner received three degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary: 1991 Master Arts Biblical Studies, 1995 Master Arts Christian Education, and 2014 Doctor of Ministry in Christian Education. He planted the Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church (MFBC) in May 1991 with a core group of sixteen members. As of 2019, he has led the church for 28 years. Turner had additionally led the way for nine new church plants in the last fifteen years ranging in location from Chandigarh, India to Rowlett, Texas.
In 2008, MFBC completed construction of a 45,500 square foot worship center with Turner serving as the general contractor. MFBC has grown to a present membership of over 2,300. He attributes a great deal of the church’s growth to developing an understanding of how to use audio visual technology while attending DTS. Turner’s implementation of such technology into his lesson plans and throughout the ministry allows him to be on the cutting edge for high tech ministry tools. He has committed his years in ministry to building the family as a church-wide concept with the understanding that the family is God’s greatest instrument for evangelism and discipleship. This is a concept for ministry Turner acquired as a student in his Christian Education courses.
His fondest memories as a student at DTS include worshiping in chapel when Bill Bryant played his trumpet with such spiritual fervor as if Bryant were in the presence of Jesus. Turner recalls the excitement of sitting at the feet of Dwight Pentecost in class while he explained the many concepts of pre-millennial dispensation theology with such clarity that he could mentally see the return of Christ. Turner enjoyed laughing at John Hannah’s humor while Hannah made church history fun and exciting. The most inspirational times were in the Bible study method courses taught by Elliott Johnson; Turner gained a greater understanding of Scripture by mapping books of the Bible. Perhaps the most important benefit he received from DTS was a vision of Christian education and family ministry as taught by Kenneth Gangel and Mike Lawson.
Eddie Lane served as Turner’s mentor. It was through this relationship and Lane’s biblically based courses on the subject that Turner’s interest in African American history began to peak. This was Turner’s first encounter with applying Scripture and biblical principles to race relationships and ethnic family structures. Years later this study of the differences in ethnic marriages influenced the subject of his 2014 Doctoral Dissertation “Comparing Marital Satisfaction for Christian Couples Across Multiple Ethnic Groups.” In December of 2017, he authored a book on family and race relationships entitled God’s Amazing Grace: Reconciling Four Centuries of African American Marriages and Families.
Turner has also been an advocate for bridging race relationships while serving in many different capacities as a Southern Baptist church planter, pastor, and convention leader. In 2011, he was elected to serve as President of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Bible Conference. The next year, he was elected as President of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (2011-2013) and was the inaugural President of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention African American Fellowship. Turner also serves as a trustee of Gateway Baptist Theological Seminary (Ontario, California) and Criswell College (Dallas). He has been married for 35 years to the love of his life, Nancy; they have four children, one son-in-law, three daughter-in-laws and eleven grandchildren.