You Gotta Love Dick Stratton

Last week I enjoyed the fellowship of Dick and Holly Stratton and their children, Michael and Macey. They stayed in our home a couple nights, preached (um, Holly devotionaled) at TCBC Sunday morning, then ministered all week at Peniel Bible Camp’s August Family Camp. I’ve admired the Strattons from afar for a while, but I really enjoyed getting to know them face to face. Both are among my favorite people in the world. We’re so like-minded it’s almost scary (at least for them, I imagine).

I’ve emailed back and forth with Holly, and we laugh at how similar we are. (We’re both opinionated, transparent “word people” who are married to almost perfect spouses—which is tougher than it looks.) I appreciate Holly! But this was my first real interaction with Dick, and he’s something else. He’s sooooo down to earth! Examples? He jumped on the trampoline with my girls, served them dinner (with a British accent, just to make it more fun), threw the football around the yard, gave my 5 year old  a ride on his shoulders during a neighborhood walk, and helped me pick a bunch of weeds. Seriously. I know, I often say a preacher “helped me mow my lawn” or “jogged 5 miles with me,” and what I usually mean is that I listened to him on my mp3 player while I did those things. But Dick (and Michael) really helped me pick weeds. Prickly ones. He’s just that kind of guy! Just like I’m the kind of guy that would let a guest—not to mention a college president—do such a thing! (blush)

As for Dick’s preaching ministry, he knows the Scriptures, and he knows fundamentalists. He graciously but determinedly tells his hearers what they need to hear—emphasizing the sovereignty of God, addressing our need to develop genuine discernment, focusing on heart issues and not just externals, helping us to recognize our need of grace, etc. He tactfully pushes against what has been status quo pseudo-spirituality in many fundamentalist circles. And most importantly, he doesn’t preach a message without intentionally pointing people to Christ and His gospel in practical, hope-giving, life-changing ways.

I’m eager to get more acquainted with Clearwater Christian College. But if the school is anything like it’s President, well, I’m impressed. His humility and love for the gospel are exemplary. I thank God for the Strattons! May their tribe increase!


13 Responses

  1. Yep, that’s the Dick Stratton I know too! Great post Chris. My middle daughter is a Clearwater graduate. I thank the Strattons everyday for how they have ministered to my family. Your observations of Dick and Holly are spot on.

  2. Yeah, but he was in Omega…

    Some stains can never be blotted out.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  3. I’m ready for another week at camp – that was a good one. The split sessions in the morning were a great idea.

    Don – face it, a man’s time in Omega tends to enhance his better qualities and serves to prepare him for a more effective life.

  4. Jim – I think you mean he is being used by God in spite of being in Omega.

  5. I think Jim means it as a sort of fundamentalist purgatory.

    heh, heh

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  6. When my youngest son was earning his accounting degree at Bob Jones, Dick Stratton was a great encouragement in his personal and academic life. He had a profound effect on my son. In addition, they had him over their house on a number of occasions and Holly was a tremendous encouragement to my son. IMNSHO, the Stratton’s are choice servants of Christ. Like you, Chris, I thank God for the Stratton’s and hope that their tribe increase!

  7. Thanks for the post, Chris. I had the privilege of travelling with Dr. Youstra for three summers on a music team when I was a student at CCC and was sad to see him go; however, after coming back to work for the college a few years after I graduated I have been ecstatic to be able to serve alongside Dick and Holly. His transparency in ministry to the faculty, staff and students is so refreshing and his door is ALWAYS open. His passion for discipleship is front and foremost. The alumni love them and I couldn’t imagine this place without them.

  8. I attended BJU back in the 90s, when Dr. Stratton taught accounting. He was my Intermediate Accounting teacher my freshman year–an amazing teacher!
    I remember going to his office to ask for help on the homework, and he would ask about dorm life, my walk with God, my church . . . and when he said, “I’ll see you in class,” I realized–we haven’t discussed the assignment yet! And he would say something like, “You know, I think a lot of people are struggling with this one. We’re going to discuss it again in class.” He knew how to focus on what is truly important in light of eternity–even as a business teacher.
    I remember the day after his dad passed away–Dr. Stratton took the entire class day to “preach” to all his accounting classes about what was really important in life and whether our lives would count for eternity. Many of us will never ever forget those lectures. . .
    After I took my first accounting job, Dr. Stratton counseled me through a difficult ethical dilemma I found myself in as a young auditor. He had the right balance of encouraging me to remain respectful to those I worked for, and at the same time, to insist that things be done in accordance with standard business ethics.
    I have the highest respect for the Strattons, and I pray God’s blessing on their ministry at Clearwater!

  9. I would have to echo your praise of Dr. Stratton. His humility while at Camp was, well… humbling. I think he spent more time holding baby Brynna than I did. It was very evident that here is a man who just wants to be used of God in whatever capacity.

    I also agree with Jim in that the split sessions with Dr. Stratton were excellent. It was great having interaction with him and other brothers in Christ during those morning sessions. I have not found many people as accomplished as Dr. Stratton who are willing to share their time and wisdom with us “penny stinkers.”

    And my wife was raving about Holly as well. What a great couple! Would love to know them better.

  10. Yep, that’s the Strattons I know. I’ve known them since BJA days, and I’ve known “Dicky” since 7th grade! I was privileged to be on the same NYC mission team from our church several years ago with Dicky (sorry, he will always be Dicky to me) and Michael. BJU’s loss was Clearwater’s gain when they left us. :(

  11. Thanks for this post. Holly Stratton was one of the most real people I knew in college. I took a class from her; I even sought counsel from her on a personal issue, and she was a tremendous help to me. It’s awesome to see the Strattons continuing to touch lives through their service for the Lord.

  12. Also, I am interested in Dick’s availability for yardwork…

  13. We had Dick and Holly as Sunday School teachers in our young married class at Hampton PArk Baptist Chuch. What a blessing and privilege to learn under their teaching. We also had awesome S.S activities as they often were active participants.

    Connected in Jesus,
    Zina Paul

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