By Jack Cottrell
(From our series “The Best or Worst Advice I’ve Ever Received.”)
As early as junior high school I had decided I wanted to be a preacher, but well-meaning high school teachers pressured me in other directions. I grew up on a farm and was active in vocational agriculture during high school, and was awarded a nice scholarship by our county farm bureau. Thus, by the time I was a senior, I had changed my mind and decided to enroll in the University of Kentucky to study agriculture.
Either in the summer of 1954 or 1955, during senior week at Camp Northward Christian service camp in Falmouth, Kentucky, one of our preacher-counselors was brother Wayne B. Smith. I already knew him from revival meetings, and he knew my preacher ambitions and my earlier intentions to enroll in Cincinnati Bible Seminary. When he heard I had changed my thinking on this, he sat me down one night in the cafeteria after lights out and explained to me in no uncertain terms why I should go back to my original plan and become a preacher. Wayne’s words and passion touched my heart. I enrolled in CBS in the fall of 1955, and the rest is his story.
P.S. When I entered CBS and went to pay my first semester’s tuition (a grand total of $64.00—or $4.00 per semester hour!), I was told someone had already paid half of it. I knew immediately who that someone had to be.
Jack Cottrell serves as professor of theology at Cincinnati (Ohio) Christian University.