Dallas: On Friday, October 16th I had the honor to participate in the dedication of the Pilgrim Chapel that towers over SW Dallas on the university hill of Dallas Baptist University. The chapel was designed along the lines the first Baptist church in Providence, Rhode Island. The church founded by Roger Williams in the early days of our nation.
The first gift for this chapel was given in 1999 in response to the vision of Dr. Gary Cook, president of DBU. In the early days, DBU actually met and worshipped under a tent on campus, but today the students will gather in a state of the art facility designed to be a place of worship and learning. The lead gift for this chapel was given by long time Baptist donor Bo Pilgrim of Pittsburg, Texas and founder of the Pilgrim’s Pride Company.
During the dedication service Dr. Cook called attention the ceiling of the chapel which is lined with scriptures. He called attention to the verse, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations” Mark 11:17. He called special attention to the words “all nations”, and then shared his vision of reaching the nations through the ministry and reach of DBU. As a vivid illustration of this reality he then had DBU students from all over the world come and introduce themselves and tell where they were from. As the students lined up I saw faces from practically every corner of the globe. Young people from Asia, South America, Europe, and Africa stepped from to identify themselves and the people they represented. The world has come to DBU, and through these students DBU is touching the world.
I walked away from this service with a renewed commitment to faith, perseverance, and vision. The Pilgrim Chapel shines as a beacon very Dallas because Dr. Cook and others believed it was possible, worked hard to make this dream a reality, and gave all the glory to God. Long before the chapel became a reality Dr. Cook could see it in his heart and mind. One evening he cast this vision to Adam Wright, a young leader charged with leading the campaign by sharing a verse God had burned on his heart—“We walk by faith and not by sight.” When we walk by faith we trust God to keep His promises, and to be God in our lives. We see what others cannot see. We risk what others will not risk. We may appear “fools” but we are “fools for Christ” because we believe.
Much is learned in the classrooms and libraries of our Baptist universities and seminaries, but some of the best lessons are learned when students see leaders living out their faith right before their eyes.