Editor’s Note: The following is part of an ongoing series examining the evangelism experiences of significant figures from Southwestern Seminary’s history. This story is taken from a Baptist Standard article—written by former Southwestern professor Ray Summers—on the life of E.D. Head, Southwestern’s third president and the second occupant of the seminary’s Chair of Evangelism.[1]

E.D. Head had a burning conviction that he should be busy as a Christian. After professing faith in Christ at age 11, Head was driven by the desire to serve. More specifically, he wanted to preach. 

“From the beginning of my Christian experience, there was nothing for me but the ministry,” Head later said. 

In his youth, Head led prayer meetings and preached wherever he could, often to friends and family members. He wrote sermons and presented them to a friend for his critique. Within a few years of his salvation, Head sensed the call to minister to one man in particular in his hometown of Arcadia, La. 

This man was often seen on the streets of Arcadia laughing and joking with all passersby, but neither they nor he were interested in the condition of his soul. The 14-year-old Head offered to preach to the man, and when he agreed, “the Sunday afternoons which followed witnessed some unusual services.”

“In the loft of a cotton gin, with a box for a pulpit stand, and with his audience of one comfortably seated on the floor, Douglas Head began his life ministry as a preacher,” writes Ray Summers, a faculty member at Southwestern during Head’s presidency. 

On one of these Sunday afternoons, Head preached on Romans 5:19, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of the one shall many be made righteous.” 

“The ‘audience’ was so moved by the truth of the message that he broke forth into shouting,” writes Summers. “This so disturbed passersby that the ‘service’ was moved from the gin out into the woods.” 

On the Sundays that followed, Head used a pine stump for a pulpit, and the man used pine needles for a pew. After a time of such consistent exposure to the Gospel through the preaching of the Word of God, this man joined Head’s home church in Arcadia. Before the age of 15, Head had won a soul to Christ. 

“From then to now, E.D. Head has given every evidence of one who possesses the ‘preacher instinct,’” writes Summers. “His preaching is always biblical as well as practical. He preaches the truths of the Word with a ring of sincerity, which makes the message doubly effective. His messages are filled with human interest, comfort and the Christ.” 


[1] Ray Summers, “The Life of E.D. Head,” Baptist Standard, 30 July 1953.