Mike Cunningham (ThM 91)
We started Entrusting Truth officially in January of 2008. It was the culmination of about three years of probing on how to help men get into the Word. It grew out of something I was doing with my three sons at the time. About three or four years earlier my oldest son had called one weekend and asked if I would help him learn to do what Prof (Hendricks) was talking about on his eight-message series on Synthetic Bible Study. We began to meet weekly for breakfast at a local restaurant doing a modified Synthetic overview of a book a week. In the middle of the summer my other two sons joined us and we were together for three years. At that point the younger two left the city for college and medical school. They had most of the New Testament and part of the Old Testament done. My oldest son and I finished the 66.
The men I was talking to about this ministry idea all said I needed to concentrate on helping men learn what I was doing with my kids. We put together a half-day workshop taking men through the process of an overview of 2 Peter.
Three years ago I was asked to extend the workshop to ten weeks. My role in this is to set the table, get out of the way, and be a cheerleader for what the men find on their own in the Word. I give them simple guidelines of how to approach the text, give them a text on which to use those guidelines, and then get excited about what they see, such as main themes and structure of the book. This process instils confidence that they can do it on their own. It is really exciting to see how to engage their kids at an age appropriate level.
I have many fond memories of my time at DTS. We came to DTS primarily out of obedience. Truthfully, we would have preferred to continue in the ministry we were serving at the time. But our Lord had other plans. Those plans included stretching and learning from times with professors, yes, but I think more than that, the interaction with others in my class and those ahead of us and those who started after we began. Particularly riding to the campus with John Hiddema and Dennis Caldwell each week talking about life and how we’re surviving the trek. Doing independent study with Dr. Reed was a privilege. Grading Leadership for Prof for two years and having the opportunity to travel with him and Mrs. Hendricks on one occasion stand out. We had our fourth child just before Dr. Chisholm’s irregular Hebrew verb test—I had to make that one up. Several students and their wives came to our aid during that time. It was the people, the quality of their lives, their heart for God, and the way they lived out their love for Him that made the time at DTS special.
Our time at DTS came at a critical time in our journey as a family. We arrived on campus after nearly ten years in a para-church ministry from which we were dealing with some significant wounds and betrayals. There were questions in our minds if we could continue to be useful—particularly in my mind whether I could actually do the work well enough to get through the process. The Lord used the crucible of that four years to deepen and affirm both my core belief in the crucial centrality of the Word of God in every believer’s life and my commitment, ability, and calling to give my life to getting men into the Book. Additionally, having been in an equipping and teaching ministry for ten years previously, I cannot count the number of times in class that the groan of my heart was, “I wish I had that information when ___________.”
Especially in Dr. Hoehner’s New Testament Survey class. I have led a couple of Summer Training programs on the New Testament, and I would have killed to have had that information then. Unfortunately, I was never able to convert Dr. Hoehner to a proper view of Texas A&M, though I gave him a “Texan by birth, Aggie by the grace of God” bumper sticker.
Mike has taught his Bible study seminar in numerous countries including north, west, and central Africa. He has produced his material in the book and workbook Your Walk, Their Walk in 2010. Mike also writes a daily blog, DadsTeachtheBible.blogspot.com, sharing his insights on transferring biblical skills to others including families. His videos are used by the Navigators in military ministry in Florida.