Reflections on More than Thirty-Five Years of Teaching

Today I emptied my office on the campus of Urshan College and Urshan Graduate School of Theology. I have completed thirty-five and one-half years of teaching at schools endorsed by the United Pentecostal Church International.

In the process of clearing out my things, it occurred to me that I was concluding this era of life not only on the same campus where it began, but also in the same building. In the fall of 1974, I moved into an office located on the first floor of the administration building of what was then known as Gateway College of Evangelism. W. C. Parkey, the president of the college, had asked me to serve as the director of Christian education. The office I vacated today is located on the second floor of that building; the name of the school is now Urshan College, which shares the campus with Urshan Graduate School of Theology. The nameplate on the door identified me as the professor of biblical studies.

I served in my role at Gateway for only one semester. Toward the end of the semester, I received a call from W.I. Black to explore my interest in pastoring. This led to seven and one-half years serving as pastor of the First Pentecostal Church in Dupo, Illinois. I had another connection with Gateway in 1980, when I developed a degree completion program for students who had done undergraduate work but who had not finished a degree program.

In the spring of 1982, I received a call from Kenneth Haney. He asked if I had ever thought about teaching in a Bible college. For the next twenty-five years, I served Christian Life College  in Stockton, California. For the first nineteen and one-half years, I was the executive vice-president and chairman of the department of theology. During the final five and one-half years, I was the president of the school and continued my teaching role.

In 2007, my wife Judy and I moved back to our home state, Missouri, planning to teach part time at Urshan Graduate School of Theology. The part time work was brief, about one year. Instead, while teaching, I also served variously as academic dean and administrator. For the final three years, I filled the full time role described by my last nameplate.

I will be on sabbatical during the next academic year. The plan is to do the necessary research and to write the second volume of my commentary on the book of Psalms: The Messiah in the Psalms. I have two books that should be published this year. The first is a book on Bible prophecy to be published by Word Aflame Press. The second is a revision of my doctoral dissertation, Andrew D. Urshan: A Theological Biography. It will be published by Emeth Press. I have other writing assignments due this year, including, but not limited to, chapters in a book on early high Christology. This project is directed by Dr. Jeffrey Brickle, a member of the faculty of Urshan Graduate School of Theology.

When the sabbatical concludes, I will become professor emeritus at Urshan Graduate School of Theology. This role will hold the possibility of teaching occasional courses. My plan is to spend most of my time in the future in research and writing. I am now seventy years old.

How many students have I taught? I don’t know the exact number, but an informed guess based on a review of yearbooks is that it is about 2,000. I take great joy in knowing that included in this number are former students now serving our Lord in a wide spectrum of ministries: pastors, missionaries, district and general officials, administrators, scholars, professors, writers, editors.

After forty-six and one-half years of marriage, Judy passed away in January of 2011. God had blessed us richly with a wonderfully fulfilling marriage that produced a daughter, a son, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. Judy is now present with the Lord.

On September 28, 2013, Susan Fuller and I were joined in marriage in a ceremony conducted by Timothy Dugas, Garry Tracy, and David K. Bernard. We are enjoying the sweet blessings of God with the knowledge that He brought us together for this season of life. With similar histories, mutual friends, common interests and values, and deep love for one another, we marvel at the joy we find in each day.

It is a blessed life living for Jesus. I have asked Him to enable me to live for His glory each day He chooses to give me.

∼ Daniel L. Segraves