Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dear Dr. J...

Dear, Doctor Jay, I told you a couple of years ago I would do this, write to you about the fateful day in Homiletics class in the Spring of '92 when your friend Dan Elledge spoke to us. I came across your email address on a slip of paper, and in an attempt to clear off my desk, I decided to finally sit down and check this task off my list. That day was a milestone for me, a benchmark in my journey with God, one I've shared with many an individual and have included in many sermons. At that point in time, I had been leading worship for about 5 years at home in youth group and at Bethany College for chapels and such. I was in my Sophomore year at Bethany (and the only Sophomore in the class since it was a Jr/Sr class. Don't know how I eeked in there, but it only adds to the impact of this account), still not sure what to do with my major of Church Leadership. You had your Sr. pastor come speak to us, but this was no class lecture. We had church! Pastor Dan preached a message about hope, for us, for our future ministries as Church Leadership majors. He blew me away. I was so inspired by his enthusiasm, and the fact that this 3 hour class was so out of the ordinary. After he preached, he started going around the class laying hands on people and praying for them. Katie was sitting behind me and I knew she was having a bad day. He started with her and prayed for her as tears rolled down her cheeks. Sitting in front of her, my only thought was, "I'm next!" I was so excited to have this anointed man pray for me. I couldn't wait. He came to me and laid his hands on me and I waited for his words with great expectation. He spoke the word, "worship." It caught me off gaurd. I didn't know if he was telling me to worship or what, so I waited for what he would say next. Again, he said, "worship." I was getting a little restless because he was hitting close to home. Finally, he said, "God is going to use you in worship, as David worshipped..." and I can't really remember what he said after that because I was so excited and I knew in that moment, God was speaking to me. I had never met Pastor Dan Elledge before in my life. He didn't know me or have any idea about my landing somewhere with my major and becoming a music pastor being one of the options. I had a divine moment with God. I had heard other people talk about those kinds of moments, but, now, I had one, and if I've ever been sure of the Lord's voice speaking clearly and directly to me, it was sitting in that desk in the W building at Bethany College in the Spring of '92. It was after that class that I decided to make music my emphasis in my major and let God use me to be a worship leader wherever I would go. I had a chance to thank Pastor Dan later at District Council that year, shake his hand, tell him what that class session meant to me. When I heard he had died the following Summer, I was affected. Of course I was heartbroken for his family, but it seemed like, for me, God allowed him to be here on earth long enough to speak into my life before taking him home. His divine words and sudden death left an impact on me that can never be clearly communictaed with words alone. There have been times in my ministry when I was entertaining leaving my current position and as I prayed, God brought me back to that moment in Homiletics class, reminding me of what He has called me to and making sure my heart was still the heart of a worship leader whether I stayed or left. It truly was a defining moment for me, so I thank you for being my Homiletics teacher 16 years ago. God bless you, Dr. Jay.

1 comment:

Bob Cook said...

Great story about your Homiletics class with Dan Elledge. Wow, what a great moment, and especially poignant since Dan was killed so tragically not long after.

God does have those special moments for us.

We love you, Shane.

Bob and Sherilyn Cook