February 6, 2001
Did you ever stop to think who is the Pastor's Pastor?
Where does the pastor go for help, comfort, advice, prayer, share important matters and even pain and hurt; and, have his pastor just listen and pray with him?
Pastors normally have no pastor.
In the 1970's, I went to First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana to Pastors' School to learn what I was never taught in any school I had previously attended. Our church had purchased two buses and I had no idea how to operate a bus ministry. Off to First Baptist Church Pastors' School to learn. Not being a "Baptist", it was difficult for most of my friends to understand why I would go to a "Baptist" Pastors' School.
Perhaps even more amazing is how Dr. Jack Hyles, Pastor of the Worlds Largest Sunday School, would find time to be my "Pastor" and friend on a one-to-one basis and extend ministry to me for over twenty-five years.
Although I was educated on how to operate a bus ministry at the Pastors' School, I was taught a lot more than that. I experienced the power of the Holy Spirit as never before. The thing I most remember about that first Pastors' School was the Power of God, the Power of the Holy Spirit! I was shocked that these Baptists at First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana preached "holiness" and practiced "holiness" more than I had experienced. I returned year after year to Pastors' School, and in some cases, learned what Jesus meant when He taught you will be persecuted for taking your stand for Me.
In the years that I attended Pastors' School and then became a personal friend of Dr. Hyles many could not understand that friendship. Nonetheless, Dr. Hyles reached out to me in love, concern, advice, prayer, phone calls, gifts, letters, visits, appointments, meals, basketball game and became my "Pastor." He like one other friend of mine was always there for me.
God builds the Church; not us! But, we are the ones who work and it is God that blesses our work to build His Church. I gained from my friend and "Pastor" more than I could ever express. How I thank God for my "Pastor," Brother Hyles.
In 1985 Dr. Hyles spent a lot of time with me both in person, on the phone and by letters. He was there for me when the worse crisis came in my life. He had me on his special prayer list. We would meet at the strangest places. We walked together at ORD, City Baptist, FBC, other churches, and he would open his heart of love to me like he has so many others. We took a ride one night around the greater Chicago area. He and I sitting in the back seat talking, sharing, praying, crying. He was my pastor and friend. I read his books and gained wisdom. I felt his concern for America and gained courage. I listened to his burden about soul-winning and began to win souls. I heard him pray and caught his vision and burden to care for others. I felt his heart for kids and began a Christian School. My "Pastor" had a huge impact upon me and I pray the ministry God has given to me has had an impact upon others in return. With Brother Hyles it was always about others! I pray I have learned that from him and practice that as I now pastor as God gives me strength.
I shall miss my "Pastor" and friend. My heart grieves and breaks as I sit alone in my study; but I know He is with the One he preached about so many years. I shall see Him again one day in the City of God. Until then may I remain faithful and true to our Jesus winning souls to Christ until He calls me home to be with Him!
Marvin H. Dennis