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Giving to Southern helps train pastors for sustained ministries, says Minor
May 11, 2004
By David Roach
Earl Wayne Minor has proclaimed the Gospel in a combat zone in Southeast Asia, a hospice program in Florida and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
During each ministry opportunity Minor, a retired U.S. Air Force chaplain, says he drew upon the training he received at Southern Seminary nearly six decades ago.
Such useful and enduring ministry training is perhaps the most valuable tool a young preacher can receive, Minor said. And he financially supports Southern today so that young ministers can receive that same training.
"I try to influence young preachers to go to Southern Seminary because it's the elite seminary of all of them in the states, I think. I had the greatest guidance and the greatest help at Southern that any young preacher could possibly have," he said.
And from seminary, Minor quickly transitioned to fulltime ministry. Just two days after his seminary graduation in May of 1945, Minor joined the U.S. Army as a chaplain and was sent to the South Pacific combat zone. While in the South Pacific, he ministered to soldiers preparing for the invasion of Japan.
When Minor returned to the United States in 1948 he resigned his commission in the Army and requested reassignment as a chaplain in the newly formed Air Force. Minorís Air Force career took him to military bases in Ohio, England, Germany and eventually landed him a position in the Office of the Chief of Chaplains in Washington, D.C.
Those years of ministry in the military introduced Minor to devoted Christian soldiers and a special type of fellowship, he said.
"The best people I ever met were in the Army and in the Air Force," Minor said. "Highly trained, high moral standards for the most part, [they were] men who on Sunday and on Saturday and on Wednesday and every other day of the week loved God. ... It was a fellowship that was unlike any other fellowship I know. I still get calls from around the country, 'Wayne, how are you doing? I want to thank you for what you said to me, what you did for me.'"
After retiring from the Air Force as a full colonel in 1974, Minor served as a hospice chaplain for terminally ill patients in Leesburg, Fla., and began to pastor a small mission church.
Today he continues to pastor at the mission, accepting no pay, as a service to the church.
In the pastorate, Minor says he is continually reminded of the value of theological education. As untrained pastors are unable to sustain ministries at neighboring churches, Minor has become increasingly thankful for his seminary education, he said.
Southern Seminary showed Minor how to sustain a ministry by adhering strictly to the Word of God, he said.
"I think first of all that a man ought to be able to trust his professor to teach the truth, and Southern Seminary has not wavered and they always laid it on the line for us and taught us the Bible as I've learned to love it and held to the Word. And that, to me, is one thing that a young preacher has got to know going to school," he said.
Minor prays that in the future, Southern will continue to teach students the value of biblical truth.
"I would like to see Southern Seminary hold on. Every temptation in the world, every criticism in the world is going around about our seminaries, about Southern Seminary, and I think it's tragic. We listen to TV or we listen to radio or we read papers [and] it's not good news about our educational programs. I think that the seminary has got to hold to the truth and march down the road with it," Minor said.
One of the best ways to ensure that Southern is able to teach truth for years to come is for godly men and women to support the seminary financially, he said.
Minor concluded, "I like to remind people that what they have does not belong to them. The undertaker reminds me that he's never yet pulled a U-haul trailer behind a hearse. You can't take it with you. There is no greater cause in Baptist life than the proper training of the pastor in truth."