God brought Shane and I together. Back in 1999, when I was a young church planter, I attended my first SBC annual meeting. While there, I went to the mic and asked some question about insurance for planters, identifying myself, my church, and the town in which I was planting.
A few months after the Convention, Shane’s dad, an evangelist named “Tiny” Hall, showed up at my storefront church and introduced himself. He has seen me at the Convention and his ears perked up when he heard where I was planting. He was from Oklahoma, but had a brother in my Indiana town and had once planted churches in the area. We had a friendly visit and talked about him coming to preach a revival at some later date.
The next year, our new church was in the process of purchasing a local building to convert into a worship facility. We were nearing the closing date, having raised a significant amount of money for the down payment. We were $3,000 short with ten days to go, praying that God would meet our need. That week, I got a call from a young preacher named Shane Hall.
“You don’t know me,” he said, “but my dad met you last summer.” We shared a few pleasantries then he got down to the reason for his call.
“We had a member who passed away and left us $30,000. We felt led to tithe on that money to missions… could your church plant use $3,000?”
I don’t know if those are the exact words, but that’s how the conversation went – A “God story” we would tell for years to come, usually every Convention when we got together to share a meal and fellowship together. Shane would later come up on a mission trip to help us with evangelistic work and fixing up our new building where the church still meets today. We’ve been friends ever since.
In the course of our friendship, I’ve come to realize his giftedness as a preacher and pastor. He has been an effective pastor and seen the churches he’s served grow and reach people for Christ. He has been active in Convention life, both in his home state of Oklahoma and, most recently, in his service on the SBC executive committee.
As gifted as he is, what I’ve admired most about my friend is his godly character. He has always been an encouragement to me, but also to just about every person I’ve met who knows him. Shane is the real deal. He strives to live what he preaches and teaches — in his ministry, his marriage, his family, in every sphere of life.
Over the past few years, he and his wife have been an example to me of faithfulness and trust in the Lord. In his battle with stomach cancer, a nearly always terminal disease, they have continued to trust that God is good, that he is faithful, that he is in control, that he loves us, that he is worthy of our life and devotion. He has modeled faith and faithfulness in the midst of suffering. God has miraculously brought him through, and even as he continues to have health problems, he has never wavered in pointing others to Christ and his goodness. He’s become more than a friend. He’s a man I admire and want to be like.
When Dave and I were talking about the Pastor’s Conference in St. Louis and who we might ask to preach, I didn’t have to think twice: “Shane Hall!” I am delighted that he has been selected and know that we will all be blessed. He’s already been a blessing to me.
Please keep Shane in prayer as he continues to fight health problems related to his battle with cancer.