Harold Hendricks led the team into our services at Talpa.  It was a group of men from First Baptist Church in Richland Springs who had been convinced by the passion of an old friend named August to check out this very young pastor.  At the age of twenty two, I would become the youngest pastor in the one hundred years of the church’s history.  They decided over the protests of one committee member to invite me to come.  I later learned that he said loudly to them on the way home, “If we bring that kid and recommend him as our pastor they will throw us out of the church!”  I am glad I did not know about the comment in advance.  It would have crushed me and maybe caused me not to even go preach for them.  The interim pastor came and asked me if I was seriously considering coming.  I told him that I could see no reason not to since it would be a full time position.  I had taken a lot of bible at Howard Payne and together with my personal studies felt that I could serve there without a seminary degree until such time as I would be ready to pursue graduate education.

We went in view of a call in the Spring of 1974.  The church voted unanimously to call us.  The member of the committee who had been opposed to bringing me was asked why he voted to call me and he answered, “That is not the same young man we heard in Talpa.”  God’s Spirit had fallen on me in power that morning.  I preached as I had never preached before.  It was to be true of my years in Richland Springs.  My boldness and passion had reached a whole new level.  I felt I was being carried along by the Spirit.

On a humorous note there was a man named George Lewis who was almost totally deaf who was a deacon there.  I had not been accustomed to preaching at a microphone and had been very loud in my delivery.  As Shannon walked past me she said “Dan, you were so loud!  You killed these people this morning!”  Mr. Lewis said, “Young man that is the first sermon I have heard in years.”  I think my volume kept everyone awake and my passion woke up a sleepy church to some new and great days.  Unseen behind it all was the power of the Holy Spirit who was leading and molding me for God’s purpose.

Dan Wooldridge

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