Dr. Dan. Photo credit: Jason Lounds
Yet, even with the headphone protection, he continued hearing the voice, a sort of nagging came through his headset again and again.
Grentz, a member of the Delton Church in Michigan, is affectionately called “Dr. Dan.” This very busy Doctor of Veterinary Medicine got the message. The voice wasn’t just anyone wanting his attention; he knew the voice belonged to the Holy Spirit.
He also knew why the voice didn’t stop, so Dan quit kicking against the pricks. He’d been asked to serve as school board chairperson for Battle Creek Academy (BCA), and he had a million “too busy” arrows in his quiver. Although he’d been praying about his decision, there remained the overstuffed quiver. “I distinctly heard God’s voice telling me to do this. I turned off the engine, took off my headphones, and walked to the house to let Ruth know.” He points out that his wife, Ruth, is a God-fearing woman. “She understood that when God says go, you had better mind.” Ruth, like Dr. Dan, is well aware of his busy life, and realizes other challenges might arise. Regardless, she offered him immediate support because, first and foremost, Ruth trusts God to lead him.
Dr. Dan is now finishing his second year as school board chair and admits, “Yes, there were challenges that literally tried to shake us the first few weeks. Then COVID-19 hit, and that made the school year even more trying. And at the end of the school year, our principal accepted a position at Southwestern Adventist University. That added more responsibility to keeps things running smoothly until we could procure a new administrator. God had someone prepared when Ranjan Fernando came to take BCA to new heights in August 2021.”
Of course, Dr. Dan wondered from the start what exactly God wanted him to do specifically for BCA, the flagship school of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination which celebrates150 years of educating children for the cause of Christ in June 2022. Thus, during the past school year, Dr. Dan says,” I felt impressed that we as a school needed to be proactive in encouraging and incentivizing academic effort, achievement and excellence in our student body. We award many needs based on scholarships through our Christian Mission and Worthy Students programs, but until now we didn’t have a program which is a merit-based scholarship program. Out of this impression, the Battle Creek Academy Merit-based Scholarship Program was born.”
Dr. Dan continued on to inform that award funds will be given to qualifying students on a semester basis (twice a year) and the level of funds awarded will be based on the student’s level of achievement each semester. He chose the example of Jesus choosing twelve disciples as an idea to form 12 groups of professionals to help bring this merit program to fruition, and to keep in financially viable. “If [there are] 10 people in each of the 12 groups, and each [one] donates $200 a year, we can reach our annual goal of $24,000 without stretching anyone’s bank account too much,” he stressed. He emphasized that this is just one specific source of funding and also brought attention to the fact that all donations are appreciated.
With all that said, Dr. Dan also brings attention to how the school’s demographics population of students, parents, teachers and administration has changed to a multi-cultural setting from its beginning 150 years ago. “As we approach the upcoming sesquicentennial, we are now serving a large percentage of local and immigrant Myanmar (f/k/a Burma) students that have made Battle Creek their home. This demographic change at BCA has shifted our paradigm to a mission school approach that demands a higher level of monetary support from its constituents and donors. These immigrant students currently make up about 60 percent of our student body.” With further emphasis, Dr. Dan notes, “These students would not have the opportunity of an Adventist education without the help of benevolent individuals supporting BCA.”
When one learns about Dr. Dan’s encounter with God, you can understand the “why’s” of his passion for Adventist education, as he shares his background. “My roots run deep at BCA where I went to high school. I taught there for four years, several nieces and nephews attended there, Ruth and I sent all three of our children there, including Katie who is completing her “freshwoman” year there, and our son Shadrach teaches there. Before becoming school board chair, I was a school board member for nine years.”
The role of a school board chair is a demanding one as this story reveals. So, what is Dr. Dan’s advice to others who are in such a decision as whether to accept or not accept such a position? His response is gracious but emphatic, “Be willing to listen to God’s voice. God called Samuel several times before he was sure it was indeed God’s voice. Be willing to be a Samuel, to listen and to accept. The path will not always be easy, but God will walk in front of you with His angels beside and behind you. God equips those who are willing to follow His leading and call.”
Betty Kossick was a professional freelance writer, journalist and poet with 50-plus years of experience. She remained faithful to her calling until her passing on Feb. 2, 2022.