Criswell News

Criswell Honors Father and Son Alumni

Denis Reyes | May 22, 2023

Criswell College had the privilege of honoring father and son alumni Roland and Sammy Lopez at the Texas Baptists Family Gathering held in McAllen, Texas last month. The alumni recognition was a celebration of the father-son duo’s combined 85 years of dedication to ministry. The Lopez family stands as a shining example of Criswell alumni who have had a powerful impact on the lives of the people they serve and within their communities.

“We are grateful that Criswell would select Convención’s annual meeting as the forum for their Special Alumni Recognition of Dr. Roland Lopez and his son Sammy. The Lopez’ combined ministries have blessed Hispanic Baptists in Texas and beyond. Whether at the local church level as pastors, regionally with associations or companrismos, in convention leadership or state-wide ministry, or as evangelists nationally and internationally, Brothers Roland and Sammy continue their faithful response to God’s ministry calling in their lives,” said Jesse Rincones, Executive Director of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas.

For over a decade, Sammy Lopez has been the lead pastor of Mighty Fortress in San Antonio, Texas, revitalizing the church and instilling a fresh purpose. Committed to transforming lives for Christ, he strives for Church revival in the US and increased discipleship. Sammy, a spokesperson for I Am Second, is a renowned national speaker engaging audience on subjects like apologetics, discipleship, church growth, leadership, student ministry, and well-being.

“I remember listening to Sammy López during my college years at Congreso (the largest Hispanic student gathering in the nation) and being challenged to live a life that is holy and pleasing before God. He is also a champion for encouraging students to pursue full time ministry to those who have been called,” said Luis Juárez, Vice President of Student Affairs and Communications.

With over 56 years of ministerial experience, Roland has led growing churches in Texas and Arizona through his evangelistic preaching and training. As a pastor-evangelist, he has conducted 1,000+ revival meetings across the U.S. Roland currently serves as the Church Planting Specialist for the San Antonio Baptist Association.

“We’re so grateful for their example and their faithfulness to Ministry, and we’re so proud that they are Criswell alums,” said Luis Juárez.

Over the years, Criswell graduates have been sent out across the world, leaving a profound kingdom impact through evangelism and church planting.

“I was privileged to be part of the first graduating class of Criswell College back in 1976,” Roland recounted. “It prepared and equipped me to reaffirm my calling in evangelism and church planting.”

Criswell College provides a strong foundation for fulfilling God’s calling in various fields of ministry. The core values and commitment to the proclamation of the gospel at Criswell College are deeply ingrained in its students.

“The faithfulness of the word of God, the proclamation, and the belief in the gospel were evident in the professors and the college’s founder, Dr. W.A. Criswell,” Roland added.

Such dedication to truth has inspired countless students throughout the years, and the college’s emphasis on evangelism and discipleship has sown seeds of transformation in countless lives.

“Not only did we start one congregation, but that congregation birthed other disciple-making churches, and so we thank the Lord because of the way that we were equipped,” Roland shared with the audience in McAllen, highlighting the ripple effects of their ministries.

“Criswell not only prepares you but also humbles you, showing you exactly what you need to do in your ministry. I’m so thankful for Criswell College because it has helped mold me and shape me,” Sammy added.

“No one makes us prouder than Roland and Sammy Lopez and their testimony of how Christ has worked in their family. Through them, He brings people to Christ in Texas and all over the place,” said Dr. Barry Creamer, President of Criswell College, while announcing their recognition.

Criswell’s alumni recognition has served as a poignant reminder that the legacy of the Lopez family and the impact of Criswell College continue to leave a mark on the world, one life at a time.

Criswell College admits students who are Christians of good character, without regard or reference to race, national or ethnic origin, color, age, disability, or sex (except where regard to sex is required by the College’s religious tenets regarding gender and sexuality) to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of these classifications in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and other school-administered programs.