Paul Mills works as the head men’s basketball coach at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK. While his employment is to coach and mentor fifteen young men, he is also a husband to Wendy and dad to Audrey and Abbey. Read his DTS story below:
Teaching truth and loving well go hand-in-hand. The apostle John encourages us in 1 John 3:18 to love not “with word or with tongue, but “in deed and truth.” So many of my players have heard empty phrases of how people are for them. I do not want to be added to that list. Therefore, I often tell our players that one of the best things I can do for them as a person and as a player is to treat them honestly.
I don’t want to be a coach who uses the word “love,” and it ends there. My responsibility to my players is to honor them by displaying attributes that leave no doubt in their minds that I am doing “deeds” to show my commitment to them. Those “deeds” can be displayed through my organization, punctuality, time commitment, and conversations. Honesty also displays my love for them. I love the quote that says, “genuine love will not enable bad behavior.” Thus, candid conversations can reinforce their good actions and address concerns over poor behaviors. Honesty confronts and encourages.
Although I did my coursework online, I have fond memories of my time at DTS. I would make the short drive up to Dallas on occasion while I coached at Baylor University and sat in on DTS lectures and chapels. When Dr. Mark Bailey taught BE101, I would sit in the class even though I was an online student. I was in awe as he took us through Scripture and unpacked it. I have listened to most chapels via podcast over the past decade, but I would make time to drive up and listen to some of them in person. While attending chapel, I sat in the faculty section on a couple of occasions, totally unaware that there was a seating structure. No one ever said anything to me about moving. Everyone just greeted me with a smile and a hello! They were so gracious regarding my ignorance.
My fondest memories are of God’s work of illumination during class. I am incredibly grateful for professors who invested in my life. Dr. David Klinger is from Houston and was one of the premier athletes in the country in the 1990s. I grew up in Houston, so I was aware of Dr. Klinger’s accomplishments on the football field in the collegiate and professional ranks. I remember being upset when he did not win the Heisman trophy as a college player. When I had Dr. Klingler as a professor for a Bible exposition class, he answered my questions about the value of ministry in sports. I was motivated by how sports presented an opportunity to share the gospel. I have stayed connected with several professors, and I am grateful for their mentorship.
DTS’s commitment to Scripture is by far the best contribution that has aided me in my daily activities. I heard Dr. Swindoll say once that a sign of maturity is when we “eventually learn to feed ourselves.” That thought has stuck with me. DTS has helped me better understand God’s word and learn how to “feed myself.” DTS’s continual investment in alumni by providing access to Logos and classes ensures that the seminary remains a resource I regularly use. DTS has been one of the best investments I have made in my development as a husband, dad, and coach.