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East Texas Baptist University Honors Dr. David Dykes with Servant Leadership Award

April 25, 2024

East Texas Baptist University celebrated the legacy of Dr. David Dykes at the David Dykes Servant Leadership Award & ETBU Scholarship Dinner Tuesday evening at the Green Acres Baptist Church Crosswalk Conference Center. Esteemed guests paid homage to Dr. Dykes' exemplary servant leadership and raised funds for scholarships supporting ETBU students.

Dr. Dykes, who served as the Senior Pastor of Green Acres Baptist Church from 1991 to 2021, has long been recognized for his dedication to Christ and servant leadership principles. Throughout his tenure, he made significant contributions to the Tyler community and beyond, embodying the spirit of faith in action.

"On behalf of East Texas Baptist University, Michelle and I thank you all for joining us in honoring a generational Christian servant leader in Dr. David Dykes," President J. Blair Blackburn said. "I am so very blessed to celebrate Brother David, who has been my pastor, my spiritual guide, and my friend. As I think of the legacy of David Dykes’ demonstrated spiritual leadership, he is not only deserving to receive ETBU's inaugural Servant Leadership Award, he is also worthy of having this honor carry his name in perpetuity."

The Presenting Sponsor for the event was Sheryl Rogers Palmer and her family in honor of their mother, Louise Herrington Pettis Rogers Ornelas.

"Sherry and the Rogers family recognize the impact that Green Acres Baptist Church had on Louise Ornelas," Dr. Blackburn said. "Their generous support as our sponsor of the David Dykes Servant Leadership Award pays tribute to Ms. Lou's unconditional love for her family, her devotion to East Texas Baptist University and Green Acres, and her admiration and appreciation for David Dykes and the late Dr. Paul Powell as her pastors. Thank you, Sherry Palmer, for your investment in scholarships to develop Christian servant leaders through ETBU."

The David Dykes Servant Leadership Award & ETBU Scholarship Dinner honored Dr. Dykes' ministry and service and also highlighted the importance of nurturing Christian leaders equipped to serve God's Kingdom. The event served as a platform to raise scholarship funds, ensuring that present and future East Texas Baptist University students receive the support they need to pursue a Christ-centered education and positively impact their communities.

"Thank you to Dr. Blackburn and ETBU for this honor," Dr. Dykes said. "The ETBU motto is ‘May the Light on the Hill Never Die.’ They have not experienced mission drift and have stayed true to their calling. At ETBU, they are doing work that will last for all eternity."

Attendees at the David Dykes Servant Leadership Award & ETBU Scholarship Dinner were treated to an evening of inspiration and reflection, highlighted by hymns of praise performed by the ETBU Music Department. Additionally, guests were privileged to hear a heartfelt testimonial from ETBU senior Christian ministry major Avery Abshier. Avery's testimonial, filled with personal experiences and insights about her time as an ETBU Tiger, further emphasized the importance of servant leadership and its profound impact on individuals and communities.

"ETBU does a beautiful job allowing students to get involved in serving others," Abshier said. "I was encouraged to serve with the BSM at Kids Club during my sophomore year, and it has been one of my biggest blessings during my time on the Hill. Every Tuesday, I get to spend time with kids in the community and show them God's love. Through this ministry, the Lord softened my heart and showed me that we have a mission field right here in East Texas. His heart is for all people.  Through service at ETBU, I have seen God work in my own story, my calling, and the lives of the kids I minister to each week."

 At ETBU, the integration of biblical faith and learning is fundamental to developing graduates who are equipped to be Kingdom minded leaders in their respective vocations. Dr. Dykes' longstanding connection with ETBU underscores the shared commitment to equipping servant leaders within the university community.

 "Whether at home or abroad, in classrooms with our faculty or in the community with our partners, we are developing devoted Christian servant leaders like Dr. Dykes," Dr. Blackburn said. "Through Dr. Dykes service on the ETBU Board of Trustees, his training of Christian ministry students in religion classes, and his biblical teaching at ETBU Chapel Services, Brother David has modeled for our students true spiritual leadership that exemplifies the humble servanthood of Jesus Christ."