Well Done, Prof

Dr. Howard Hendricks
Dr. Howard Hendricks

Dr. Howard G. Hendricks, known simply as “Prof,” directly or indirectly touched millions of lives in the evangelical community and beyond. For more than sixty years Prof served on the faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), where he taught more than ten thousand students. He also ministered in person in more than eighty countries. Through speaking engagements, radio, tapes, films, the sixteen books he authored and coauthored, countless journal and popular-market articles, his service on numerous boards, and his work as a chaplain to the Dallas Cowboys (1976–1984), his reach was and is worldwide. His legacy, in partnership with Jeanne, his wife of more than sixty-six years, includes four children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Holding large audiences enthralled at venues such as Billy Graham’s conference center or Promise Keepers’ stadium rallies, Prof would confide, “It’s wonderful to be here with you, but I have a group of delicious students waiting for me back at the seminary.”

Excerpt from The Life of Howard G. “Prof” Hendricks http://www.dts.edu/read/howard-hendricks-prof/

I don’t write much because I often stand at a crossroads of what I’m willing to share that’s personal and what I’m not. Most people would say I’m an open book, but most people don’t deeply know me. This fact has nothing to do with others and is only a reflection on my willingness to be vulnerable and open myself up to letting people inside my heart. So, with that said, here is another small glimpse into my life and one of the many people who truly impacted me and have left an eternal mark.

I grew up in a small town where I was different in terms of dreams I was pursuing, and while I had friends, I felt completely off-balance, desperately wanting to live in a world where my creativity could flourish. As I began studying and performing music, traveling to different cities and meeting other artists, I finally felt at home, like I belonged somewhere and comfortable in my own skin. Fast forward past a lot of details with a record deal, Billboard chart and then leaving the music industry, and you will find me in college…where I had the time of my life and made incredible memories, friends and never felt isolated. I was again surrounded by plenty of people who had the same interests and quirks. During college, as I was praying over what to do with my music and career, I knew without a doubt God was calling me to seminary and ministry. I thought that was absurd, being that I was a female and definitely not from a “PK” background. But, three years later, as a matter of obedience, I sent my application off to Dallas Theological Seminary. And wouldn’t you know, the Lord proved Himself faithful and provided the opportunity to pursue a Master of Arts in Media and Communication…at seminary! This program was new to the school, but God knew all along what was in store and He was orchestrating a degree program perfectly suited for the gifts and passions He had long ago placed within me.

Excited to begin this new season in my life, but not knowing what to expect, I moved to Dallas and began classes at DTS. I assumed it would be easy to make friends and anticipated forming lifelong bonds with a lot of godly men and women I would connect with. But the truth is, I went through a great deal in my personal life during those years and am left with some scars because of the lack of friendships at seminary and some of the things I experienced from my peers. The reality is, we were/are young, and while God allowed me to go through some very heavy stuff early on in life, not too many people at that stage could relate to such intensely painful times–yet. Everyone will face battles at some point, but when I was walking through some of mine, there were only a handful of people (amazing people) who poured love into me and covered me with a wall of protection and prayer. I have not forgotten who they were and I will never be able to adequately express what abundant thanks I have for them. Aside from the select few around my age who showed spiritual maturity and godly wisdom, the strongest support and encouragement the Lord provided was through some of my professors. When I look back on my time at DTS, I choose to think of the incredible counsel and showing of God’s love by certain individuals and instructors. I was blessed beyond measure during my time there because of those who helped carry me through and gave me an even greater desire to live out my love for the Word of God.

Before much of my trial began in seminary (I was abandoned by my spouse and subsequently went through a divorce), I studied under “Prof” Howard Hendricks for two courses. The first was Bible Study Methods and Hermeneutics, where my understanding of how to properly approach and apply Scripture was given a solid, biblical foundation. I’ll never forget the speech he gave at the beginning of the course as he spoke directly to those in the room who didn’t come from a family understanding of their calling to seminary. His words are engraved on my heart and provided reassurance that I was not alone nor the only person with a more “normal” or “colorful” background. Hello–I was in the music industry. I’ve been some places and seen some things most people can’t comprehend. But, that again was part of the reason God had me there…because I could relate to those living real, un-sheltered lives.

In addition to my first time studying under Prof, I had a second, and even more rewarding time in Creativity–a class overflowing with ideas and fun as a smaller group of students were free to really unlock the gifts God had given us…for credit! I was absolutely in my element. AMEN. During this course we broke into small groups where our projects were critiqued, and at the end of the semester one group was awarded lunch on Prof at El Fenix in Dallas. It just so happens the little group composed of myself and two others “won” for the most creative and were taken to lunch with Prof. We were able to ask and answer questions and have time reserved just for us. It was so incredibly special and while I only spent a brief period of time with this man, the encouraging words spoken into me and the life lessons poured out in his classroom, bring tears to my eyes and deep joy to my soul. I am thanking God over and over again to have personally encountered such a spiritual giant who passionately loved and served the Lord.

When asked who has greatly impacted me and been a spiritual role model in my life, I will never hesitate to list Dr. Hendricks. Grateful doesn’t begin to express how I feel that God afforded little old me the opportunity to study under, learn from and speak with this man. Glory to God! He is surely hearing WELL DONE!

Words of Wisdom from Prof:

“Many of us want a word from God, but we don’t want the Word of God. We know enough to own a Bible but not enough for the Bible to own us. We pay the Bible lip service, but we fail to give it “life service.” In a world where the only absolute is that there are no absolutes, there is little room left for the authoritative Word of God as revealed in the Bible.”

“Nothing is more common than unfulfilled potential.”

“Dusty Bibles always lead to dirty lives. In fact, you are either in the Word and the Word is conforming you to the image of Jesus Christ, or you are in the world and the world is squeezing you into its mold.”

“How big is your God? The size of your God determines the size of everything.”

“Wives are the neck that move the man’s head.”

“Spend the rest of your life doing what God prepared you to do.”

One of my other former professors co-wrote the article linked at the beginning of this post and provides a wonderful look into the life of Dr. Hendricks. I encourage you to read about this man who truly left a legacy. http://www.dts.edu/read/howard-hendricks-prof/

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