In mid-June, 1975, my wife, my one-year-old son, and I moved to Kansas City, Missouri, so that I could begin my new job as music editor for Lillenas Publishing Company. We immediately began attending a little church in the suburbs, Grandview Church of the Nazarene. That same week, Dr. Morris Weigelt moved to KC to take up his appointment as Professor of New Testament at Nazarene Theological Seminary. He and his family started attending Grandview Church as well.
His influence on me began as I simply heard him preach and teach. Though I had grown up in the church, he opened for me a whole new dimension in Bible teaching. He laid open God’s Word in greater depth than I had ever imagined possible. He taught with warmth, practical relevance, and a sense of bubbling fascination. His considerable intellect was blended with a spirit that was passionate and contagious.
So imagine my surprise when in 1977, he came to me and asked me to team-teach an adult Sunday School class with him. Each Sunday morning for three years we sat side by side on stools and together taught a Bible lesson to a room full of adults. Our only coordination was a brief phone conversation on Saturday night to set general direction. Otherwise, the back and forth between us was completely unscripted. The format was his idea.
Tell me, why would a Bible scholar and expert teacher in the prime of his career approach a 27-year-old kid with such a proposal? I had never taught the Bible to adults—I had never even considered it before he approached me. But I’ve never stopped teaching the Bible since, both in person and in writing.
Most importantly, Morris’ example turned me on to creative communication of biblical truth. That passion is still alive and well in me and burns behind everything I do. He showed me that God’s Word could be taught with greater depth, warmth, and relevance than I had ever dreamed.
The Lord turned my life toward doing that same thing through hymns. Congregational music can be much more than a temporary emotional experience. The truth about Jesus Christ demands that it be more. Hymns can help nurture our eternal relationship with the Living God.
Dr. Morris Weigelt helped open my eyes to this possibility, and I thank the Lord God for his influence in my life. The Lord has used him to help me fulfill His calling.