PART 2: THE PASTOR’S LIFE
1) The Word
Every part of the
Bible was important to my father and his teaching. He was compelled by
this passage, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
He read the Bible
daily and always completed reading it through each year. He not only
read it for himself, but He taught his people to read it daily. He
believed in the continuity of the Word—that is, that the Bible all fit
together to make one complete and beautiful picture of the finished
world of Jesus Christ. He saw and preached Christ in every book from
Genesis to Revelation.
remember when he preached through the Book of Leviticus and in his
message gave the picture of the two birds. One bird was sacrificed and
the blood spilt. The other bird was dipped in that that blood and
allowed to go free. They provided a picture of the blood of Christ shed
on Calvary for us. We were washed in the blood and set free to walk in
newness of life (see Lev. 14:51-53; 17:11; Heb. 10:8-18).
2) Winning sinners to Christ
My father always gave
an invitation following each sermon he preached. His motto was that you
never knew whose heart the Holy Spirit had been working in that week.
For this reason, he never failed to give them an opportunity to come to
Christ. His messages were not long or repetitious, nor were his
invitations long, but many came to Christ through them.
My father’s heart
also had a passion for missions, to send missionaries to all parts of
the world. Africa was especially heavy on his heart.
Pastor Hawkins was an
extremely organized man. Keep in mind that at this time there were few
assistant pastors, your directors, paid music directors, secretaries, or
salaried Christian education workers.
This was a church ranging in attendance from 500 to over 1000 on
special occasions. So his time and work were al organized. He began in
his about 8:30 a.m. His first appointment was kneeling beside his office
chair and talking to God. There was no telephone or secretary in the
church to interfere. Then he began to study. His preaching covered every
book in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
One morning of the
week he prepared and typed (seek and peck method) his message for the
following Sunday morning. Another day he spent his study time preparing
his message for the Sunday evening service. The third day was preparing
His Sunday school notes and outlines for all Sunday school teachers to
use. These studies were also book-by-book through the Bible. This he
taught to the teachers in the Tuesday night Bible study.
About 11:30 a.m. he
closed the office and often drove to pick up a few groceries before
going home for lunch at noon. Sometimes he helped to get the lunch.
Following lunch, he made calls to the sick—often to the hospitals. He
never called on just the people who attended his church, but he made
himself known to every person in the hospital room and always asked
permission to pray for each one. Many times he led strangers to Christ
in the sick rooms.
After his calling time
in homes (about 3:00 or 3:30 p.m.), he would often pick us up at high
school for a ride home (about a two-miles distance). Then he would sit
down in his plain old rocking chair before the radio with his Bible in
hand to go over his notes for his evening appointment and to read the
Scriptures. The radio, incidentally, was always tuned to the Chicago
Cubs baseball gave.
After dinner there
were the evening services or seminary classes which closed out the day.
Sunday prefaced Sunday
morning and evening. Monday night he taught at the Mishawaka Missionary
Seminary. Tuesday night was general Bible study, especially for teachers
of the Sunday school. The whole Sunday school was teaching the same
Scripture prepared for them in the Whole Bible Lesson Helps which
he prepared himself each week.
Wednesday night he
preached at the mission for the needy, especially for the homeless men
(whom we used to call “hobos” in those days). Thursday night was
prayer and praise service. Friday night was a class in the Mishawaka
Missionary Seminary again. I can never remember my father lying down to
take a nap during the time of his active ministry.
He conducted many
funerals. Hardly a week went by without at least one funeral. We used to
vacation at my grandparents, the same Porters in North Chester,
Michigan. I remember during one vacation period of three weeks, he was
called home six times for funerals.
Prayer meetings were
times to remember. Everyone who was a Christian was supposed to give
some word of testimony. My dad used to say, “It’s easier to testify
before the world if you testify before your fellow Christians. So if
someone didn’t testify and Dad knew the person was a Christian, he
didn’t hesitate to call on them. It didn’t have to be a long
Then there were the
prayer sessions when several prayed. Long prayers were not encouraged.
Dad had graduated from Moody bible Institute where D.L. Moody told the
story of the man who prayed so long that Moody said, “While our
brother is finishing his prayer, we will sing #201.” Incidentally,
there were about ten times or more people in prayers meeting in those
days than I see in many churches today.
I remember the Easter
Sunday when we had over 1,000 in Sunday school. That Sunday thirteen
came forward to receive Christ as Savior.
There were no youth
workers. Our youth group walled B.Y.P.U., which stood for Baptist Young
Peoples Union. The young people elected their own officers—president,
vice-president, etc., and met together to plan their own programs. They
made their own schedules of who was to speak, lead the singing, thus
planning their own meetings as well as parties and recreation
activities. It was excellent training in leadership.
My dad founded and for
many years operated the Mishawaka Missionary Seminary, which was an
abbreviated study of subjects taught at Moody Bible Institute. This was
a local evening school which was started to prepare preachers and
missionaries for future service.
Many young people were
dedicating their lives to Christ, and Dad felt it was necessary for them
(both the young and middle aged) to have further study of the Word of
God and how to present it to others. Those were the days of the Great
Depression, and going away to study as a place such as Moody Bible
Institute was often not possible. That’s why he started the evening
seminary. At one time, there were fourteen who were going out to various
field of appointment, either to overseas missionary work or to a