Distinguished Alumni: Stan Mast
Published by Calvin Seminary
My journey into the ministry began at a Reformation Day Rally in southeast Denver in 1962. As Dr. Peter Eldersveld of the Back to God Hour preached, I distinctly heard God calling me to the ministry. That was the last thing I wanted to do; my dream was to be a high school teacher and coach. But the certainty of that call was overwhelmed by resistance and kept me in ministry in the hard times when I wanted to flee like Jonah.
That call led me to Calvin College and Seminary, where I received an excellent education in the classic Reformed world and life view during the turbulent 60s. The most important thing that happened to me during those years was meeting the lovely woman who would become my wife. Sharon has been my strongest supporter and my most intelligent critic. God blessed us with two strong sons who gave me much joy and kept me humble.
I have fond memories of our time at the Seminary: rigorous theology classes taught by no-nonsense theoreticians balanced by down-to-earth practical classes led by warm-hearted pastoral types; raucous laughter in the coffee shop and potluck dinners in ramshackle apartments with classmates who would become lifelong friends; Friday afternoon basketball games and the all-college touch football championship; intellectual and spiritual growth in a warm family atmosphere.
But I wasn’t quite prepared to be a minister yet. That would come in the graduate school of hard knocks called the church. On my endless journey toward becoming a good preacher and a better Christian, I served four very different churches: a tiny mission church in the big city of St. Louis (Trinity, 1971-74), a missional church in the bustling western city of Colorado Springs (Cragmor, 1974-78); a rural/ urban church in the rapidly growing small town of Byron Center, MI (Heritage, 1978-87); and a historic tall steeple church in downtown Grand Rapids (LaGrave, 1990-2012). In the middle of all that, I had the privilege of serving as Coordinator of Field Education at Calvin Theological Seminary (1987-90).
My greatest joy in ministry has always been preaching the Gospel. So, I was delighted when I was appointed Adjunct Professor of Preaching at CTS right after my retirement in 2012. Contributing to the growth of students and practicing preachers brought a deep sense of fulfillment into my retirement years. And I rejoice that after nine years at CTS, I still have the privilege of serving as an Interim Minister of Preaching in local churches.
Along the way, I’ve tried to keep up with changes in the world, even as I clung to the historical faith of my youth. So, I pursued a ThM in systematic theology at CTS in the 1980s and a DMin in preaching at Denver Seminary in the 1990s.
I don’t feel all that distinguished, but thanks for noticing me. Throughout my life, God’s words to Paul in II Corinthians 12:9 have proven true. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
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