Remembering Dr. Sherman
This summer I’ve been spending time with the late Dr. Cecil Sherman. Dr. Sherman was my favorite professor and became a personal ministerial hero. I was fortunate to take his class on both “Baptist History” and “The Life and Work of the Pastor” when I was a student at BTSR in the 1990s. This summer I am co-teaching a class on ”Church Administration” for the diploma program at Leland. My fellow teacher, Adam Tyler, and I are using Dr. Sherman’s book “To Be a Good and Faithful Servant” along with our class notes as we address pastoral leadership.
What a journey. I took his pastoral class in 1997 and since that day have kept his notes at my desk for use in my own ministry. I joke and say I have often said “WWCD” (What would Cecil Do?) when pondering ministerial life. I remember still the frank nature of his classroom discussions and how he simply told it like he saw it.
Recently someone told me Cecil Sherman was more right than he was wrong. I can only hope that is one day said of me! Shortly before his death several of us who were former students gathered in his apartment and just spent the time listening to him share his insights on ministry.
When I first read both the leadership book and the autobiography I found myself traveling back. I was swept back to those days as an eager seminary student who had been hurt by experiences at Southern Seminary and somehow was trying to figure out how to be Baptist in the shifting sands.
I remember Dr. Sherman as a Baptist who bore the scars of the final days of the Southern Baptist Convention back when the world we once knew changed. I remember him as a professor who really did want to teach, challenge, and help students. But I remember him as a pastor. I never belonged to a church he served but as he shared his heart with us the pastor in Dr. Sherman came through time and time again. His love for the church and his desire for a church to be healthy and vibrant kept him going. I miss Dr. Sherman. I really do. I miss pastors like him. As I read these notes and work with students who are beginning their journey in ministry I am reminded why I became a pastor.