|Meet Our Champions: August Konkel, Dan Block, and Rick Hess |
with Jen Jones and me at the IBR Emerging Scholars Session
in Boston, November 2017
My high school pastor was the first. In 1993 I returned from a summer youth mission trip to Panama all fired up. But re-entry was difficult. I had glimpsed something worth dying for and I didn’t want to return to life-as-normal. At the time our family was attending a cozy Foursquare church in Denver, Colorado. Pastor Jim Hammond had the wisdom to harness my fervor by putting me to work in an official capacity. At 16 years of age, I’m sure I was the youngest volunteer “missions coordinator” our church had ever seen. I began presenting monthly missions updates during the Sunday morning service, telling about needs and opportunities around the world. Pastor Jim generously shared his microphone and his platform with a young woman who had no credentials and very little life experience. I don’t know if my words-from-up-front inspired anyone else, but they galvanized me for a life of service, helping me bridge the gap from my mountaintop experience overseas to life back home.
After my high school graduation, the congregation sent me off to Bible college with their enthusiastic blessing. My freshman year was everything I hoped it would be and more. I grew spiritually and academically. Critical for my development was a course taught by Professor Ray Lubeck, “Understanding Worldviews.” I came home that summer bursting to share what I had learned. Our generous pastor again shared his platform, this time by inviting me to teach an adult Sunday school class on worldviews. Then my pastor did something that still stuns me: he required all the church elders to attend. And he and his wife came, too.
|With Dan Block after I successfully defended my|
doctoral dissertation in April 2016