From left, Robert Shaver, Charles Whisnant, Donald Whisnant, Sandra Hulsey, Barbara Jean Campbell, Bus Driver, Melvin Gray. Great trip as I recall. (Thanks to Don for remember these names.)
Only as I look back can I get some perspective as to what I was doing, even when I didn’t really realize it. I believed teaching the youth and myself the Word of God, learning and teaching what God said in scripture, would there be genuine change. TOPICAL PREACHING IS NOT AS GOOD AS EXPOSITIONAL TEACHING. In my opinion, making people feel emotionally guilty about their life is not necessarily the best method of getting people to love the Lord. (Another article I see needs to be addressed)
If I remember, even in those early days, I was always with other teens. From my early preteen days we were always playing with a group of kids. Playing softball was our life. In our side yard, be it on Indiana Avenue or 21st street, or down the road, we were nearly everyday in the summer playing softball with a group of kids. That is what I remember most about my childhood-- playing softball during the summer.
Going to church camp was another activity that was a must. Every summer a group of youth would go to camp in North Carolina. Youth camp was a must for a lot of years even when I was a Pastor.
Any activity that we would have would be for the purpose of encouraging Christian living. And in almost any activity we would always teach the Bible. Whether there were two or fifty we would have fun, but in the end we wanted to teach the Bible.
My mindset was set on learning and teaching and showing and living a life that was pleasing unto the Lord. I had no clue about theology until I went to Seminary. I really had little clue about Bible doctrine, but I did read a lot and listen a lot to those who did. I must have absorbed some of that listening and reading. I wanted to be a Pro preacher/teacher. Like a Pro teaching golf.
I was totally focused on making my life’s work preaching and teaching and working in the church. I remember I couldn’t really focus on playing sports, because I knew I would be preaching some day. I couldn’t, I must admit, focus on dating my girlfriend of three years. She always wanted to be alone on a date, and I was usually with a group of kids from the church. When we would go to preach somewhere, it was usually Don and Algie and me. (I was not skilled in the area of taking my girl friend, was I dumb or what.) DUMB, FIRST CLASS. But I was totally honest in my dumbness.
Those early days we spent most of our time, when not in school, with kids in some kind of activity. We did play a lot of softball and football. We had a lot of Bible studies in our home. We had a lot of activities at the church. We had Sunday Morning teaching, Sunday afternoon we had a radio program and then on Sunday Evening a youth program and then church, and then after church another activity. Nearly every day was filled with some kind of activity that gave opportunity to teach. That was fun.
So naturally when we went to Seminary, I was expecting to have some of the same kind of ministry that I had at Roanoke Baptist Temple.
I BELIEVED BIBLE BAPTIST SEMINARY WAS THE BEST PLACE TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL BIBLE TEACHER AND PREACHER in 1966. They didn't have a class on preaching, pastoring or being a youth pastor.
While my focus at BBS was on learning the Bible, which there were good teaching, it was another story as to how to apply those principles in a local chuch setting.