Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A True Southern Baptist Hero...


In his mid-thirties he surrendered to the ministry leaving behind a lucrative position with a prominant insurance company as a safety inspector. His first church was a small split from a almost as small Southern Baptist Church in Kimball, Nebraska. From the beginning, he was bivocational times 2 working as a garage mechanic by day and as a washer of milk cans at a local dairy by night. Witnesses still living recall a well-dressed young man with manicured nails heading off to do ministry. His first visit back literally brought tears to the eyes of one witness who would later share with me how those hands had become cracked, dirty, and broken indicating the drastic change in life circumstances. His entire ministry was spent among small congregations of no more than 75 members at the most. In fact, the majority of his churches were planted by himself with little help from anyone else except for a few churches in the South who would make the journey to the Northern Plains to help for a few weeks. At times a typical Sunday would include a 200 mile circuit holding services in three different communities. Most of these communities that he would serve were Native American with oppressive environments. He knew the joy of seeing a person come to Christ and he also knew the sorrow of absolutely no one showing up for Easter Sunday. He knew the thrill of beginning something new that had never existed before and he also knew the devastation of being dismissed by his own converts while away attending his son's college graduation. He never earned a seminary degree and he never formally graduated from high school. Even with no education that would qualify him, he would eventually receive appointment by the Home Mission Board because his work simply could not be ignored. He would later earn an associates degree from a local community college and attend classes at a university. There are a dozen or more congregations in existence that he faithfully founded under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Though I doubt that he will ever be formally recognized by any denominational entity--no statues will ever stand in his honor--I suspect that one day in Heaven's courts he will recognized as the hero that he is. It will by my great honor to accompany this seasoned man of God to the this year's Southern Baptist Convention in San Antonio. He is a messenger from the Canyon Ferry Road Baptist Church in Helena, Montana, and he is my dad--Pastor Ted Samples.

2 comments:

Taran said...

Dave,

A tremendous post. I look forward to visiting your Dad's mansion one day!

May you both have a blessed time together in San Antonio.

Geoff Baggett said...

Dave,

Awesome testimony. My dad was a humble carpenter in Tennessee. He has already gone on to be with the Lord. I miss him much.

Make the most of your days with your father.

Geoff