Every student at Dallas Seminary loved their required class with Dr. Howard Hendricks, affectionately called “Prof”. It was there that our lives in ministry would be marked with a lifetime of skills for independent Bible Study. So many of our lives begin the day with Observation, Interpretation and Application.
As a Senior at DTS, I set my sights on an elective class taught by Prof. It was a class on Discipleship. However, the class had a very limited enrollment but the challenging prerequisite was a personal word of approval from Prof himself.
Getting approval from the Prof was going to be tricky. He was always surrounded by students, colleagues and getting an appointment with his office staff would never be in time for the enrollment deadline. My plan was to intercept him at the end of chapel in the hallway where the faculty filed out of the service.
I occupied a seat in chapel near the front, next to the door leading into the faculty hallway. During the closing prayer I slipped out of chapel, exited through that door and waited. Faculty members streamed out of their loft and I tried to be inconspicuous.
Prof’s laugh and voice broke the din of noise. He was in conversation with his colleagues, I followed. There was never a break in Prof’s stride as I followed like a hungry puppy looking for crumbs to pick up.
In a break in his conversation, I called out, “Hi Prof!” He never slowed, cocked his head toward me, “Yeah, Fong, what’s up?” Startled that he knew my name I tripped over my own tongue, stammering out my request, “May I have permission to enroll in your Discipleship class?” “You got it, Man! See you in class.” I floated out of the chapel.
Years of ministry followed seminary. Then, I was honored to step into the position of President of a seminary. I invited Prof to be my inaugural speaker. He accepted to be a part of that very special day in my life. It was amazing.
Once during the busyness of leading a ministry of God my phone rang. “Hey, Bruce, this is Prof calling. Don’t need anything, just called to tell you that I love you.” Click I can still hear him speaking those words from that phone call today.
The next time I see Prof will be in heaven. He graduated into the presence of His Savior today. What a blessing to be a part of the amazing legacy that he has left behind. I loved that man.
photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography