“People usually are talking our best kids out of preaching by telling them they are too smart or talented or gifted and have more potential. But what could be a greater call?”
When Allan Stanglin was a little boy, folks would pat him on the shoulder and tell him he’d be a preacher some day.
This visionary encouragement came from his parents, grandparents and leaders of his home congregation (Pleasant Grove Church of Christ), some of whom even offered to pay his way to preaching school.
But Allan had a different vision. Sports media.
After he graduated in 1989, and for the next 19 years, he gave sports reporting all he had. And it eventually sent him to Texas Stadium after church services on Sundays to cover his beloved Dallas Cowboys.
It even got him on the team plane. He also scored post-game locker room access to the Dallas Mavericks and an open microphone to analyze, pontificate and talk sports, sports and more sports in several Texas radio markets.
“I got paid to give my opinion, and to think about sports. How great is that?” he said.
Most notably, Allan served as sports director for the Texas Rangers’ flagship station, KRLD. On his blog, allanstanglin.com, he says “working for and with the Rangers every single day for five years would drive most people straight into 12-step counseling programs. It drove me into the ministry.”
Along the way, Allan built his own team. He married Carrie-Anne Rowland and they have three “wonderfully perfect” daughters: Whitney, Valerie and Carley.
Together, Team Stanglin tentatively answered the call leading Allan to ministry. He had always remained active in his local congregation, all the while growing spiritually. He did more speaking, and was getting the questions again, “Why don’t you preach?”
All along, Allan sought to glorify God on the airwaves. He had his own bully pulpit for God where he could keep things positive, not tolerate profanity and share his faith. But eventually, he realized he was justifying not making a change.
In 2005, he was accepted to Austin Graduate School of Theology in Austin, Texas, given a part-time ministry job and offered a place to live. Even before he finished school, he found himself in the pulpit fulltime.
Even before Allan completed his first year of graduate school, he was contacted by Legacy Church of Christ in North Richland Hills. The congregation needed a new preaching minister.
Allan sent the only two tapes he had. And he was hired.
He still cannot believe it, calling the journey “weird and wonderful.”
“I spent my first 40 years living for me. And I have asked God to give me another 40 years for him. That’s our 40-40 deal,” Allan said.
He said he regrets not answering God’s call on his life much earlier, but also recognizes that his experiences have given him much perspective and lots of stories to tell.
Unlike those who encouraged him as a young boy to follow the call to preach the gospel, Allan has observed that young men are not given that same encouragement anymore.
“I do try to encourage our young and talented men to consider preaching,” he said. “It seems their parents and counselors and youth ministers and teachers usually are talking our best kids out of preaching by telling them they are too smart or talented or gifted and have more potential. But what could be a greater call? How could you be better than to be a proclaimer of the good news of salvation?”
By Dawn Shelton (90)