In the early 1960s at Dallas Theological Seminary, a young student named Chuck Swindoll was advised, "Be on the lookout for a professor named Howie Hendricks. He's a man worth getting to know." That advice led to a mentoring friendship that continues to shape the lives of both men.
Hendricks is celebrating his fiftieth anniversary at the seminary. Swindoll is now the school's chancellor, after seven years as president, even as he continues his Insight for Living radio ministry and pastoring Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas.
Mentor and student were reunited as Leadership's Marshall Shelley asked them to reflect on their relationship and what it takes to keep yourself growing.
Howard, what do you remember about Chuck Swindoll as a student? What was your first impression?
Howard Hendricks: What impressed me about Chuck was he sat right under my nose right in the first row.
Chuck Swindoll: Within spitting distance.
Hendricks: He needed an umbrella. (Laughter)
Chuck always asked perceptive questions, always took copious notes. He would follow me out of the classroom and continue to pick my brain.
I love that in students. I have an intense interest in students and their learning, and I feel I am doing what God put me on the planet to do. I couldn't care less what a student already knows. I want to know if he or she is interested in learning. If he is, I'm going to give him everything I've got, the best that I've got.
Swindoll: That came through in his classes. I didn't sense he was trying to grade me. In fact, I don't know that my grade was ever that important to him. He put his finger on what would go with me the rest of my life—if you learn to study and learn to love it, you're going to do it.