Dave and Nancy Morris had always had a passion for serving the local church in whatever vocation or stage of life in which they found themselves. And after Dave’s retirement from a long career as a family physician, the couple was ready to find new ways to be involved in the life of the church.
The Morrises spent a significant amount of time in the small northeast Texas town of Atlanta. Dave practiced family medicine in Atlanta and was able to deliver nearly 4,500 babies, often praying for them with their parents as they came into the world. A desire to be closer to their own family brought them to Katy, a suburb of Houston, in 2010.
“We made this transition, and it was hard,” remembered Nancy. “It was hard emotionally. It was hard financially—for Dave to start all over again.”
Shortly after moving to the Houston area, the Morrises began attending Christ Church Katy, a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America, where the pastors were alumni of Reformed Theological Seminary.
“We moved here on a Tuesday and went to Christ Church on Sunday, and we’ve been here ever since,” said Nancy.
It was a love for and involvement in Christ Church that caused the Morrises to feel led to contribute to the ministry of RTS Houston. Dave, who had become a ruling elder at the church and was recovering from stage four lymphoma, discovered something that caught his eye while reviewing the annual budget for the church: a line item designated for a student’s seminary tuition. The student was a pastoral intern at Christ Church named Curt Mire.
“That kind of started us thinking that if we did a scholarship, we could have a double benefit of relieving the church of that burden, plus providing for Curt’s education,” shared Dave. “It all started with looking at a budget at a session meeting and thinking that this could be a ministry we could have.”
The Morrises decided to set up a scholarship fund at RTS Houston so that leaders in their church like Mire, who was studying for an MDiv degree, would be able to complete seminary and enter pastoral ministry without financial concerns. Other RTS Houston students called to ministry have also benefited from the scholarship.
“If nobody meets those criteria at our church, then it applies to anybody at RTS Houston, and then even more broadly if that need arises,” said Dave.
Mire, now an assistant pastor at Christ Church, recounts how much the support of the Morrises meant to him throughout his time in seminary and as an intern: “I began to preach more at Christ Church about a year or two into my internship. Then I really got to know the Morrises. Dave was very interested in the process for preparing a sermon and delivering a sermon. So we had lots of great talks about that.
“They wanted to see someone go into ministry, but they knew it wasn’t just money that makes a minister.”
Curt Mire“They eventually approached me with this idea. They said ‘We want to take the financial burden away from Christ Church to pay for seminary.’ And that was a wonderful blessing for me, for the church. It was something that they wanted to do.”
The scholarship fund remains a tangible blessing to Christ Church and RTS Houston. However, the Morrises’ relationship with students like Mire wasn’t merely financial. Their support of his development in ministry went beyond finances to something much deeper.
“I’m still at the age where some people can become second parents to me, in a sense. The Morrises are like second parents,” Mire commented. “They wanted to see someone go into ministry, but they knew it wasn’t just money that makes a minister. It was studying. It was growing. It was fitting into a church body. It was learning how to preach.”
The Morrises agree that their impetus for supporting the seminary boils down to seeing Bible-believing gospel ministers raised up in the midst of their own congregation. In that way, they have the unique blessing of being able to see the direct result of both their prayers and their financial provision.
But there’s at least one more key reason the Morrises have for their confidence in the mission of RTS, of which Mire is also an example.
“We want people’s hearts to prepare for the next generation.”
Dave MorrisSam Patterson, the founding evangelist of RTS, was known for asking, “Who is going to pastor your grandchildren?” In the spirit of Patterson’s question, the Morrises care deeply about investing in future generations through the ministry of the church.
“Assuming the Lord doesn’t return soon, there’s going to be another generation following us, and maybe another,” said Dave. “And if a generation is not revitalized spiritually, then it doesn’t take long for deterioration to set in. We’re ready—we want people’s hearts to prepare for the next generation, particularly those in our age group. It’s just an orientation toward the future.
“I was reminded of the Scripture out of Matthew 6:21 about ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ So, I think a good question would be ‘Where’s your heart?’ at this stage in our lives and other people’s lives. That’s our orientation.”