Knowing God

My Story: Dave Stedman

A man's mission in life switched from music to Jesus.

Dave Stedman and Rich Atkinson

In high school my family changed churches. And every Sunday, the pastor would teach as much as preach. He would teach things from the Bible I had never heard.

I was so interested by the time I actually graduated from high school I had a box of notes I had taken on the back of church bulletins. I was intrigued, but I didn’t really know what to do with that box of notes or that information.

Also, during high school, we got a new band director. Since I was not the natural athlete, I decided to get involved in music. And this new band director said, ‘“Our goal, our vision, our mission is not just to be a good band.

We are going to have the best musical ensembles in the state.” Parents hated him, but the kids followed him. I would have followed him anywhere.

I believed everything he said about every subject—way beyond music--who to date, what to wear, how to spend your study hall, so this guy was a strong leader. I liked the cause. Many of us signed up to give away our spare time and interest to having better bands and better music groups.

When I went away to college all that went away. And I was shattered without “Mr. T” to tell me what to do now. I was really looking for input, for guidance, for a mentor.

That’s when I started to bump into people who I called “religious guys” in my neighboring dorm at the time. Then they started coming to my dorm. They were having meetings on campus that first met in a dorm room and then a lounge and then they had to find a bigger place.

And they were praying together, singing together and having Bible-learning lessons. Just to get the guy off my back, I went a few times.

A man, who I later found out was a staff member of Campus Crusade for Christ,  was giving this group some support, encouragement and resources.

He asked me if I knew anyone in my dorm who I considered a future leader—someone that would have leadership potential. I could only think of Jim—because he always said he wanted to be the governor of Hawaii someday.
“Do you think that’s leadership potential, Doug?” I asked.

“I don’t know let’s go talk with him,” he said.

It turns out that Doug wanted to talk with him about Jesus. I sat on the bunk bed listening. It was like those cartoons with the light bulb going on over my head. All of the sudden, I knew what to do with all of those notes I had taken in churches.

I had realized there had been something missing. I had always wondered about. How do you become a Christian? What are these guys talking about?

It was simply trusting and believing that when Jesus said he was God, He was, and He had the ability and the authority to forgive my sins and He did. So I said, who doesn’t want to get in on that?

It’s worth taking a chance, so in partial ignorance and a partial box of religious church notes I became a Christian that day. Doug came back and met with me, teaching me what it meant to be a Christian—a Christ follower.

Even though I had 3 and half years of college left at the time, my mission changed from “best music ensemble” to “this is good news and how can I communicate this good news to other people more effectively?” And maybe do that for life?

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Dave and his wife, Jean have been married 40 years and currently live in Orlando. They have 4 grown children and one grandchild. Dave’s hobbies include old music, old railroads and old movies.

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