About Dr. J. B. Buffington
Junious Bryson Buffington was born on July 8, 1923 in Morriston, Florida to John and Irene Buffington. He was the 8th of 9 children. In a sense, the ministry of Dr. Buffington began with the prayers of a faithful mother. Irene Buffington passed away in 1965 with the satisfaction of seeing God answer her continual prayers that God would use one of her children in the ministry of the Gospel. J. B. was saved in the spring of 1942, at the age of 19 and he had no idea what the Lord had planned for him.
The world was at war in 1942, and the United States Army Air Corps had plans for young Mr. Buffington. He became a pilot of the famed B-17 bomber. God protected him through 17 missions in the European theater in the last months of World War II. One of the most poignant illustrations anyone ever heard in a Buffington sermon was his description of sitting on the runway awaiting takeoff for his 18th mission when the message came over the radio, “Shut off your engines, boys. The war is over.”
Bryson (as he was known by those closest) married his childhood sweetheart, Betty Jane Woods on July 1, 1944. He returned from the war to Betty in Ocala, Florida, where he went to work for Mr. Lindsey of the Belk-Lindsey Department Store. He quickly rose to the store manager position, but God had bigger plans. He was called to preach in 1946 and was ordained in 1950 at Olivet Baptist Church in Ocala. In the following years, he became known as a student of the Scriptures. While attending Seminary he pastored small churches in the hills of North Georgia. He graduated from Tennessee Temple College in 1953 and earned a Master of Divinity degree from Temple Baptist Theological Seminary in 1956, earning valedictorian with each
degree. After Seminary he pastored in Micanopy, Florida and then in Bristol, Florida. Pastor Buffington’s scholarship and ministry was later recognized in the form of three honorary doctorates, in divinity, humanities and theology..
In 1963 he began his ministry at Calvary Baptist Church of Lakeland, Florida. Over the next 30 years, Calvary was blessed with tremendous growth. Hundreds of Polk County residents met the Lord through the ministries of the church. Many continue to serve the Lord and attend Calvary today. Others faithfully serve in churches as members, leaders and as missionaries around the world. The church began a program for
missions giving in the early ‘70’s known as Faith Promise and well over 100 missionaries received financial and prayer support from the congregation. This program became a model to churches all over the country.
Dr. Buffington was known for his passion for local and world evangelism. He was best known as a gifted and passionate Preacher of God’s Word and was frequently called to lead Bible, Missions, and Evangelism Conferences in churches and colleges both here and abroad..
Dr. Buffington resigned his Pastorate at Calvary Baptist Church in 1993. He continued an active schedule of Bible, Missions, and Evangelistic conferences in churches and mission fields as long as his health allowed. His cassette and radio ministry continue today.
When he was frequently asked what his most important ministry was, he consistently answered that it was the ministry to his family. Betty, the love of his life was always first and his children never came second to his pastoral ministry. He enjoyed the love and respect of his children and grandchildren throughout his life. It is his greatest legacy that each member of his family has chosen to follow his Lord.
Dr. Buffington went to be with his Lord on Thursday, August 20, 2009 at his home in Lakeland.