First Baptist Church of Dallas elected Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Alumnus Robert Jeffress as their new senior pastor at the end of a two-hour Sunday morning worship service, Aug. 12.

Jeffress, 51, moved to the First Baptist Church of Dallas from First Baptist Church of Wichita Falls, where he served as a pastor since 1992. Jeffress grew up in the church in downtown Dallas and was mentored under his predecessor and well-known Baptist statesman, W.A. Criswell.

“Whatever happens, I know I am in the center of God’s will,” Jeffress said to his new congregation after telling them that he felt God leading him to pastor at the church even during his college career at Baylor University.

“I will pour my life – everything I have – into building this church for the glory of God,” he added.

First Baptist Dallas has had no senior pastor since early 2006, when Mac Brunson took a position at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Fla. Brunson was immediately succeeded by Bill Anderson, who has served as interim pastor for nearly two years. Jeffress will assume his full-time responsibilities at First Baptist Church, Dallas, on Sunday, Sept. 16.

“Dr. Jeffress is unique in all the earth. Pastor, preacher, author, scholar, husband, father, statesman, and denominational leader—somehow he does it all,” Paige Patterson, president at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said. “Returning to one’s home church is not easy, but Dr. Jeffress will make it look easy. I, for one, am grateful to have him back close to Southwestern.”

Jeffress was awarded his doctor of ministry degree at Southwestern Seminary in 1983, after earning a bachelor’s degree at Baylor University and a Master of Theology degree at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is the author of 16 books, including “Hell? Yes!” and a 2002 Gold Medallion Finalist titled “The Solomon Secrets.”

Jeffress and his wife, Amy, have two daughters: Julia, a sophomore at Baylor University, and Dorothy, a sophomore in high school. Amy Jeffress earned a Bachelor of Science in Homemaking at the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts degree in Teaching English at Tarleton State University.