Dick Woodward can’t move anything below his neck. But that hasn’t prevented him from training and mentoring pastors around the world.
Despite a degenerative spinal disorder
that slowly robbed him of the use of his arms and legs, the veteran
pastor provides audio Bible studies and ministry-training materials
through the Mini Bible College (MBC) he founded in 1974. The college
offers nearly 800 programs, which have been translated into more than 25
languages and are being used in 50 nations, including India, China,
Sudan and Haiti.
Strange as it may seem, Woodward, 80,
believes the MBC may never have been more than an idea had he not
gradually lost mobility. He was a busy pastor. He founded Virginia Beach
Community Chapel—which he led for 23 years before planting Williamsburg
Community Chapel—hosted a TV and a radio program, and taught weekly
Bible studies. Because of his hectic schedule, he never found time to
record the Bible training materials he’d been sensing God wanted him to
produce since he was in seminary in the 1950s.
“I realize now that the Lord wanted the
Mini Bible College out of me, and in my busy schedule I was never going
to have the discipline to do it,” says Woodward, who is now a bedridden
quadriplegic. “I see my physical limitations … not as a setback but a
cutback because He wanted to improve the quality and quantity of my
ministry, and I believe that’s what it’s been all about.”
The 15-minute audio teachings, which run
the gamut from Old and New Testament surveys to teaching on marriage
and family, were first made available on the radio. Today the programs
are recorded on portable devices distributed through MegaVoice
International. And they have spawned a church-planting ministry.
That’s the miracle that Woodward says
has come out of his situation. Though he’s in chronic pain, he wakes up
excited about every day because he has meaningful work to do. “Even
though I’m a bedfast quadriplegic and can’t move at all, my ministry has
prospered in quality and in quantity,” he says. “That’s like a divine
paradox. The less I can do, the more He does.”
To learn more about Mini Bible College, and to receive a free copy of one of Woodward’s books, please visit icm.org/woodward.
Dick Woodward says that these truths are the secret to accepting a disability or any adversity:
- I’m not, but He is.
- I can’t, but He can.
- I don’t want to, but He wants to.
- I didn’t, but He did.