Yesterday I had to honor to be the guest speaker in chapel at Dallas Baptist University as a guest of Dr. Gary Cook. It had been probably over 20 years since I had set foot on the campus. My first memories of the university date back to Otis Strickland and stories of Decatur Baptist College. My father received his first honorary doctorate from DBU when I was in high school, so the school has always held a special place in the hearts of the Lowrie clan. When I turned up the drive to climb the hill leading to the campus it reminded me of a city of light on a hill. What once was a Spartan campus had become an oasis of beauty and learning.
Under Dr. Cook’s leadership DBU has embraced its future with a bold aggressive vision of taking Christian higher education to new heights. The campus grounds reveal the majestic beauty of God’s hand at work through green grass, flowers, trees, and ponds. To keep up with the growth of the student body the university has added new buildings and housing for students. Currently DBU is building two new buildings that will be great additions to the campus.
I walked away from this experience with two profound impressions. I was deeply impressed by how a humble willing servant of the Lord can make such a big difference over the course of twenty years. I had read the statistics of the amazing growth and vitality of DBU under Dr. Cook’s leadership but to walk the campus with him opened my eyes to a reality stats can never capture. Dr. Cook at the ripe old age of 37 years old took on a God-sized task and became a useful instrument in His hand. He confessed that at times he turned to the Lord in desperate prayer, but he kept turning the Lord and the rest is history. In many ways the story of DBU should impact the students as much as the lessons taught in the classrooms. Life lessons often are much more powerful in changing the hearts and lives of people.
The second impression I walked away with revolves around the students themselves. Even though I had brief passing conversations with a few. The experience of worshipping with them touched me. Too often we measure universities by endowments and stately buildings. Universities are much like churches in that respect. The true significance of a university is not its structure but rather its student body. If our future rests in the hands of the coming generation then we are in good hands. The students of DBU and all our Baptist schools are preparing to be the heroes of tomorrow. Our investment in their futures is one of the greatest investments we can make for the Kingdom of God.
I am discovering there is more and more good news in the BGCT if you are willing to go out and look. Granted we have problems and difficulties, but let’s not overlook the amazing things God is doing right under our noses.