Obituary for Dr. Bill Self

Dr. William L. Self

Dr. William L. Self, pastor emeritus of Johns Creek Baptist Church, died January 9, 2016, from complications of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease – one day shy of his 84th birthday.

Dr. Self served as Senior Pastor of Johns Creek Baptist Church from 1991to 2012. Previously he pastored the Wieuca Road Baptist Church from 1964 to 1990. More recently, he taught at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology, where the William L. Self Lecture Series was established in his honor. Additionally, he served as chairman of Day 1 radio ministries, and served on the Board of Trustees of Mercer University.

He was a 2014 recipient of the Candler Centennial Medal, given by the Candler School of Theology of Emory University, for extraordinary service to the school, church, and society for the last century. Dr. Self was graduate of Stetson University, Southeastern Theological Seminary, and earned a doctor of theology degree from the Candler School of Theology of Emory University.

He served as special envoy at the inauguration of William Tolbert as President of Liberia, and also was invited to the Republic of Korea to negotiate religious liberty issues. In addition, he was invited by the government of the Republic of China to visit Taiwan, during which he met with the president of Taiwan.

His most recent book, “Surviving the Stained Glass Jungle” is about his years as a pastor.

He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Shealy Self; his children Lee Self and wife Birgit Voss; Bryan Self and wife Karen Self; grandsons Benjamin and Carter Self; sister Susan Walton; and niece Joanna Gresham and husband Scott.

A memorial service will be held at Johns Creek Baptist Church on Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 2 pm. Reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the William L. Self Lecture Series of McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University.

Additional information about the life of Bill Self can be found here.

8 Comments. Leave new

  • George Houston
    January 11, 2016 8:25 pm

    Bill Self has been faithful to his ministerial calling. In every sermon I heard Dr.Self preach I came away knowing more about the person & character of our Heavenly Father. Dr. Self has been a consistent reminder that joy is possible for followers of Christ.

    • Elizabeth B ABRAMS
      January 5, 2022 8:16 am

      A wonderful minister of the Gospel! Angels surely sang Rev Dr Self to his rest. Such men we have lost!

  • Dr. Self was a true insprition and spiritual leader. He helped bring me back to the Church.
    I got to know Bill outside of “Church”. He and Caroline were always interested in current events in my life and were always unbelievably supportive. I will miss his quick wit and that smile.
    I pray God welcomes this outstanding minister and His longstanding messenger with love and mercy.
    May God bless, protect and give comfort Caroline and the family during this dificult time.
    Much love,

  • Buddy L. Johnson
    January 13, 2016 6:04 pm

    Dr Bill Self was a treasured Pastor and friend. During his pastoral at John’s Creek, I had the privilege of interacting with him regarding some church projects. The spiritual leadership and extraordinary insight he provided was instrumental in the success of our projects.

    On a personal basis, his wisdom shared was immensely helpful in coping with some of life’s challenges.

    Dr Self will definitely be missed, but I find great comfort knowing he is at peace in the arms of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

  • Richard and Denise Lewis
    January 14, 2016 12:05 am

    Dr. Self welcomed us to the community back in 2000 and reassured us every Sunday that we belonged at Johns Creek Baptist Church. It was not long before we were immersed in the church and Dr Self’s sermons challenged us to grow our faith. Sometimes a simple message would pivot our thinking. I am so grateful Dr Self emphasized praying for your children and praying for your spouse back then. He instructed us to pray over them even while they were sleeping. I believe making this a part of our lives impacted us greatly. I will forever be grateful. Rest In Peace, Dr. Self. You will live in our hearts forever.

    Richard & Denise Lewis

  • The Romantic Side of Bill Self
    My lasting memory of Bill will be the misty-eyed minister on August 2, 1980, our wedding day and Carolyn and his anniversary. As my father and I walked down the aisle at WRBC in Carolyn’s wedding dress, Bill was moved by this reminder of his and Carolyn’s wedding day!
    God bless the Self family.

  • Retired Pastor Mance Mapp, Jr. Calvary Baptist Church of Atlanta ,Georgia
    December 23, 2021 1:56 pm

    Dr. Self was my mentor that made me want to be the best proclaimer of the gospel of Jesus . i always loved to watch when he preached the the good mews of Jesus Christ. . He will always be in the memory of God fearing people.

  • Camille Ronay
    June 2, 2024 11:10 am

    I was a part of the strong Youth group at Wieuca Road Baptist Church long, long ago. Without that cohesive group and Dr. Self, I cannot imagine my teen years.

    I am thankful to God that I had those memories from the mid-and-late ’60s to build my life on.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed