George Shuttleworth: ‘Jesus led me all the way…’

By Robin Talley* | Oct 24, 2023

George Shuttleworth

On October 8, First Baptist Church, Sun Lakes, celebrated George Shuttleworth’s legacy of service and retirement with a thanksgiving worship service and reception. At age 91, Shuttleworth, associate pastor and director of worship, retired after more than 70 years of ministry, including the last 30 years at the Sun Lakes church.

Shuttleworth and his wife, Joan, moved from Toronto, Canada, to Sun Lakes to retire from High Park Baptist Church in the early 1990s. But retirement was postponed when he was asked to serve as the worship leader at First Baptist, Sun Lakes, in 1992.

Shuttleworth attributed several factors to his longevity of service.

“A daily walk with the Lord, in His Word and prayer, has kept me serving Him,” Shuttleworth said. “John Peterson’s hymn “Jesus Led Me All the Way” has been true of my walk with the Lord.”

Marc Drake, who served as senior pastor at First Baptist from 2010 to 2022, noted the dedication of Shuttleworth and his wife, Joan.

“George taught Bible study classes and men’s discipleship groups,” he said. “Along with Joan, he consistently made pastoral visits to the church family as well as to others in the community. He also has a special heart for sharing the gospel with those who do not know Christ.”

When Shuttleworth was still in his teens, he felt called to be in the Lord’s work. Compelled by this calling, he enrolled in seminary right out of high school. After graduating, he joined an evangelism team where he not only served as music leader in the conferences and meetings but was out sharing Jesus with anyone who would listen.

“His life story is a testimony of one who gave his life away to others in hopes of pointing them to the eternal hope of heaven,” said Stephen Foss, Sun Lakes senior pastor.

First Baptist Church, Sun Lakes, Pastor Steven Foss (second from left) and Archie Snowden (far left), deacon chairman, honor Joan and George Shuttleworth during a special Sunday morning worship service Oct. 8.

Before coming to Arizona to retire, Shuttleworth served at three other churches for more than 40 years. He has a pattern of sticking with a church and the people he serves.

“People at church become family,” he said. “They know you and your needs. They are there to see you through difficult times. They can also tell you what you need to hear.”

Shuttleworth also credited his love for what he gets to do — lead people to worship the Lord — as one of the drivers that kept him going.

“There is nothing that gives me more joy than to hear people praising the Lord,” he said.

After the worship service on October 8, a dinner and reception were held for the Shuttleworth family.

“Many people were able to come and share with the family their gratitude and admiration for the dedication they have shown for the Lord’s work,” Foss said.

When asked about his plans for retirement, Shuttleworth said that he and his wife plan to continue helping their Sun Lakes church family in any way they can, whether that is continuing with personal evangelism or visiting with church members who can no longer make it to church due to health concerns.

An old adage in church circles says there is no retiring from being a Christian. Shuttleworth’s life continues to be a model of what it means to follow Jesus all the way.

*Name changed for security

Robin Talley*, longtime Arizona Southern Baptist, is a former Last Frontier missionary with the International Mission Board.

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