Cal Guy: An Introduction -- By: M. Wendell Belew

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 015:1 (Fall 1997)
Article: Cal Guy: An Introduction
Author: M. Wendell Belew

Cal Guy: An Introduction

M. Wendell Belew

Home Missionary Emeritus
3187 Mangum Lane, S. W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30311

The bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941, signalled the beginning of the Second World War and also the beginning of change in the mindset of Southern Baptists. This change included a new worldview. As sons and daughters moved with the enlarged military and industrial expansion of our nation, parents and supporting church members became more aware of the places where people lived. They became interested in the kinds of people who lived in these places. Then they asked, “What are the religions of the people who live there?” The Baptists in military service and in industry began to reply, “There are not many Christians. We will start a Bible study—maybe a Sunday school and a church.” This time period became a kind of Baptist diaspora, a Baptist dispersion.

Baptists in the South were steeped in the concept of missions. They believed that as they were going to the world they should preach the gospel. Even laypersons could witness, and they did. God called some of them to preach. Seminaries were burgeoning with new students. New mission fields were being opened throughout the world. In the United States, Southern Baptists were planting churches in the north, east, and west and calling upon their Home Mission Board to help provide funding for pastors and strategies for advance.

It was at this point that this writer, at that time the Home Mission Board strategist for missions advance in these new areas, came to know Dr. Cal Guy, professor of missions at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Thus began a unique partnership—of a missions administrator with a seminary missions professor—and a personal friendship of many years.

There were challenges in the new home mission fields. Churches were springing up everywhere. Pastors were needed who knew how to plant churches and help them to grow. Seminary missions programs often dealt with the history of missions and with missions movements but seldom with the “how-tos” of doing missions.

This was not so with Cal Guy’s missions classes. Already these classes were producing more Southern Baptist missionaries than all the other seminaries combined. These students had a burning desire to do missions. Their interests were

instilled by their classroom experience and by the person of Dr. Cal Guy. He was a spiritual leader. He knew the names of his class members and never forgot them as they moved to pastorates and mission fields. He invited them to barbeques at his small ranch (which he actually farmed) ne...

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