At the close of this academic year, Dr. D. Martin “Marty” Butler, Dean for Administration and Student Services, will retire. His 20 years of service to NTS have had a profound impact on the institution–administration, faculty, staff and students–and he will be greatly missed. At the staff retirement party that was held for him in May, Dr. Butler shared the following reflection on his life of ministry. We are sharing it here as a tribute to his life and to the legacy that he leaves behind.
YOU ARE LOVED DR. BUTLER AND WILL BE GREATLY MISSED!
BY THE NUMBERS
I have made no secret about the fact that I am 62, going on 63 years of age. We old people tend to like to reflect on the past and get sentimental about things, so I would not want to disappoint you. As retirement approaches I have been thinking about the numbers. My whole career has been wrapped up in working with numbers, so why not spend a few minutes looking at some.
- It was 53 years ago this summer when a nine year old kid was invited to a Vacation Bible School being held in the basement of a neighbor’s home. My two sisters, one ten and one eleven, and I went every night. We learned that the VBS was one event being used to launch a new church in town, the Church of the Nazarene, which was to be housed in an old farm house about a half mile down the road. The three of us attended every week, sitting on the front row. Mom and Dad would drop us off at the church, but not attend. Before long, the claims of the Gospel pierced our young hearts and we all three knelt at the altar the same Sunday morning and invited Christ into our lives. Soon my parents started attending. Soon they, too, invited Christ into their lives. More children would be born into the Butler home–6 of us in all. Three of us are ministers in the Church of the Nazarene today. All six of us are devoted Christians–all because a neighbor invited three kids to VBS.
- It was 47 years ago at that same church where I sensed God’s call into ministry.
- 45 years ago I enrolled as a member of the first class at Mount Vernon Nazarene College, now University. The school officially opened on October 13, 1968. That same date, I met (my wife) Ruth for the first time.
- 43 years ago next month we were married and moved to Bethany, Ok where she finished nursing school and I finished my undergraduate degree and my first Master’s Degree.
- 40 years ago I enrolled as a student at NTS and graduated in 1975.
- We were blessed at the birth of Ryan nearly 37 years ago while we were pastoring in kentucky. Our second child was a daughter, Erin, born nearly 34 years ago after we had moved back to kansas City to work for the Seminary. She lived only 48 hours and is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery, just off the edge of Swope Park. How blessed we are that Ryan and Bethany named our first granddaughter Erin. It makes her life even more special to us.
- In the intervening years, I have completed 39 years of full-time ministry–four years in the local church, four years at the Nazarene Headquarters, and 31 years in higher education, twenty of which were here at NTS.
- I estimate that I have driven into this parking lot (at NTS) and parked my car in that same spot more than 4,500 times.
I have often said that everything good has come to me via the Church of the Nazarene. It was in the Church of the Nazarene that I was saved, sanctified, and called to minister. It was in the Church of the Nazarene that I took my first communion and in which I was baptized. It was in Nazarene educational institutions in which I was educated and where I met my wife, and it was in a Nazarene Church where we were married. Ryan was dedicated to the Lord, saved, sanctified, and baptized in the Church of the Nazarene. He attended a Nazarene college where he met his wife; and they were married in a Nazarene
Church, and our two granddaughters were dedicated there. A few weeks ago, Erin was baptized and took her first communion in the Church of the Nazarene.
We are blessed.
God is good.
We covet your friendship and your prayers.
Keep inviting those neighbor kids to VBS.