“I, Being in the Way, the Lord Led Me”
Abraham sent his servant back to his home country to find a wife for Isaac. After a “random” meeting with Rebekah, Abraham’s niece and Isaac’s future wife, the servant worshipped God and said:
“I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren,” (Gen. 24:27).
When discussing his life, Dr. Hanna frequently quoted the first eight words of this verse. God led him and his wife Mary to six different colleges over fifty-nine years to teach and to lead. The progression of God’s hand at work occurred with him opening one door and then closing it as the next door opened. When asked if he would change any of the doors he went through, or didn’t go through, he said no. He knew God led them to each college and each of the thirteen positions he held. Their decision process regarding the next move or promotion did not include the amount of money they would make, the benefits available, or the prestige of the position. They moved out of the Lord’s way and followed where he led.
At age sixty-one, Dr. Hanna had progressed from President to Chancellor of Bryan College and taught part-time at Tampa Bay Theological Seminary. Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) took over the campus the next year and asked him to keep teaching. They never asked him his age and he never volunteered. He could have started taking social security that year, but instead, he ignored that door and they were led through a different door. He commuted from Dayton TN to DTS in Tampa for eight years.
When Dr. Hanna was sixty-nine, he received a phone call over Christmas break asking if he would move from Dayton to Houston and teach full-time. They ran through that next door and followed God to Houston.
Dr. Mark L. Bailey Chancellor, DTS; Senior Professor of Bible Exposition this fall wrote the following about Dr. Hanna and his contributions to DTS:
Dr. Ken Hanna, who oversaw the DTS extension site in Houston for so many years, is uniquely gifted as a Bible teacher, theologian, and academic administrator. With his background of excellent leadership throughout his ministry career, he was an obvious choice for us to appoint him to lead our initiative and expand our footprint for DTS—Houston. His combination of theological commitment and his “energizer bunny” work ethic made him an invaluable addition to our team. We all owe him a great debt of gratitude for his faithfulness and tireless efforts.
Dr. Hanna loved teaching and the Houston campus grew with him there. After his first year, DTS wanted to expand Houston into a branch campus. He became a coordinator for eight years and the campus grew to 300 students with multiple staff and faculty.
God began to lead them through a new door: one that would allow him to reduce the stress of leading the branch campus. He started teaching Bible Study Methods initially at the DTS extensions of Tampa and Los Angeles, and then later in Austin, San Antonio, and Washington DC. He loved the teaching and the students but not the airline travel. For five years after leaving the coordinator position, he traveled to the various sites teaching the new DTS students.
Fargo became an extension site in 2013 and six students started the DTS journey with Dr. Hanna. His daughter and her family lived in Winnipeg Canada and he and Mary wanted to experience Fargo to determine if they wanted to move there in the future. Winnipeg lies 221 miles north of Fargo.
God led Dr. Hanna and Mary for the last time through a new door to a new state: North Dakota. At eighty-two, he decided to retire from DTS. They joined Bethel church in Fargo and decided to teach one more time. For five years they developed curriculum and taught an adult Sunday School class on different aspects of studying the Bible. In December 2021, after teaching on the Book of Revelation, they will put down their microphone for the last time.
Their goal had been to get out of the way of the Lord and follow to wherever he led. Even though he loved to teach, he followed God’s leading into administration in every school. He made a difference in how others taught young men and women the word of God. When others cared only about money and getting ahead, Dr. Hanna and his wife Mary cared about making a difference with the next generation. Generations of people whose lives have changed thank Dr. Hanna for his years of service but especially for these last twenty-five years. He could have chosen to collect seashells in the Gulf of Mexico but instead, he chose to keep letting God lead him.
* Thank you to Teri Verduyn for sharing this profile of Dr. Kenneth G Hanna on the occasion of his retirement from teaching Core Classes at Bethel Church in Fargo.
Dr. and Mrs. Hanna to be honored on December 12
Dr. Ken Hanna is retiring from ministry, after years of serving Bethel Church through our Core Classes and in the Traditions service. On Sunday, Dec. 12 we would like to take the opportunity to honor Dr. Hanna with a reception in the FLC from 10:15-10:45 AM. Join us as we thank and honor him. If you would like, you may bring a thank you card to share as well.