October 19, 2020
With the 2020-2021 academic year underway, one seminary professor is beginning a new journey. Rev. Dr. Gary Strickland, who recently retired as Professor of Pastoral Care, taught students how to provide care and counseling to others, especially in some of life’s most challenging circumstances. He also previously directed the Doctor of Ministry program.
“One of the things I appreciated the most about my time at Sioux Falls Seminary was the privilege of contributing to the learning and future ministry of the many wonderful students I taught,” recalled Strickland. “I often hear from former students about things they remember from class or individual conferences that made a positive impact in their ministry. It is humbling to see how God used those experiences to contribute to their development.”
Gary joined the faculty in July 2007 after living out his calling for 28 years in a church setting. For those who know about his younger years, his service to the church comes as no surprise. Gary’s childhood was so steeped in church life that he once preached to his neighborhood from his front yard. Using a child-sized ironing board as his pulpit, he boldly proclaimed the good news to anyone who would listen.
In many ways, Gary’s spiritual journey was defined by his family. His maternal grandfather was a Baptist pastor and his first model for vocational ministry and his grandmother was the embodiment of saintly living. That same heritage was very much alive in his parents as they lived out their faith personally and publicly. Although he started preaching as a young child, Gary didn’t feel the call to ministry or the desire to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps until high school.
Gary earned a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. In 2007 when Gary relocated from Mauldin, SC, to Sioux Falls, SD, he was looking forward to pursuing his passion for teaching. At that time, he looked back on his wide variety of practical experience and educational opportunities feeling as though God had prepared him for this passion.
“My time in Sioux Falls and working at the seminary has been a joyful experience. I am grateful for the opportunity to teach, counsel, and walk alongside women and men during their seminary experience, and I still have a sense of awe that I get to be a part of that process in their ministry journey.”
We are grateful for Gary’s years of service to Sioux Falls Seminary, our students, and our community. By sharing his years of pastoral experience with students, they were better prepared for service in the kingdom. In recognition, Dr. Strickland has received the title of Professor of Pastoral Care Emeritus. He will continue to mentor Kairos Project and Doctor of Ministry students on a part-time basis and teach on occasion.
“I am a different person than when I came, as I am definitely older, maybe some wiser, and have picked up a few grandchildren along the way. I am more aware than at any previous point in my life that I still have a lot to learn. While my schedule and location are changing, my journey is ongoing. I intend to always be a learner and educator. In addition, I plan to be involved in some form of pastoral ministry as long as the Lord allows me to do so. My time at Sioux Falls Seminary has been a wonderful chapter in my life’s journey and to paraphrase the Apostle Paul in Philippians, ‘I will thank my God every time I remember you.’”
In retirement, Gary is looking forward to spending time with his wife, Stephanie, as they take the next year to travel and spend time with their children and grandchildren. Please join us by thanking Dr. Strickland for his service. Greetings and notes of congratulations can be sent to: Sioux Falls Seminary, Attn: Gary Strickland, 2100 S. Summit Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD 57105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.