In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Clay Coursey, 1935-2024

Portrait of Claylan Coursey. IMB Photo

Clay Coursey, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Kenya, died Feb. 6, 2024, in Lubbock, Texas. He was 88.

Clay was born Sept. 17, 1935, in Lamar County, Texas, to the late M. H. and Ruby Coursey. He graduated from Lubbock Senior High School, and received the Bachelor of Arts from Wayland Baptist College, in Plainview, Texas; the Master of Arts from North Texas State University in Denton, Texas; and the Master of Divinity and the Doctor of Ministry degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

He married Patricia Davis on Dec. 24, 1954. In 1963, Clay and Patricia started the First Southern Baptist Church in Gooding, Idaho. Four years later, the family relocated to Fort Worth where he entered seminary.

In 1968, the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed Clay and Patricia missionaries to Kenya.

In Kenya, Clay taught at Mombasa Baptist High School, served as a church starter/developer and as an adjunct professor at Kenya Baptist Theological College. His obituary reported that he directed the Giriama Pilot Project, which resulted in starting 185 new churches. He also created and directed a program for teaching churches to start new churches without involvement by a missionary. He directed plans for starting new churches and evangelism projects throughout Kenya and other eastern and central African countries.

He is the author of several books: “How Churches Can Start Churches,” “How a Church Can Include and Keep Its Members,” “God Did It! We Experienced It!” and “Adventuring with God.We Survived.You Can Too.”

Clay is preceded in death by a grandchild, Andrew Blake Coursey; two brothers, Hartman Hutson Coursey of Lubbock, Gerald Wayne Coursey of Colorado; and two sisters, Jacquelyn Coursey Thompson of Lubbock, and Ruth Coursey James of Wellman, Texas.

He is survived by his wife, Pat; son Michael C. Coursey (Annette) of New Deal; daughter Laura Coursey Ringle (Dean) of Houston; son Scott Coursey (Rhonda) of Lubbock; grandchildren; great-grandchildren; and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins and friends.

A celebration of life was on Feb. 13 at Bacon Heights Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Lottie Moon Offering, IMB, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230, or online at Generosity Resource Center – IMB Generosity

Read an obituary here.