ATLANTA (BP)–“Deserving” is among the words colleagues used when missions professor Daniel R. Sanchez received the North American Mission Board’s distinguished service award this summer.
“It’s hard to think of anyone who would be more deserving of the Distinguished Service Award than Dr. Danny Sanchez,” NAMB President Geoff Hammond said of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary faculty member.
The award recognized Sanchez for “tireless and faithful leadership in evangelism, missiology, theological education and church planting among Southern Baptists throughout North America, as well as [his] influence for the Kingdom for reaching all people groups, especially Hispanics, for more than 35 years.”
Hammond described Sanchez as “a respected practitioner, researcher, professor and encourager to students and missionaries.”
Hammond added that he owes “a personal debt of gratitude to Danny for his courses in missiology and his supervision of my doctoral studies at SWBTS.”
“I never dreamed, though, that I would have the privilege to give such a great award to one of my mentors.”
Sanchez has taught missions at Southwestern’s Fort Worth, Texas, campus, since 1983. He also serves as director of the Scarborough Institute for Church Planting and Growth, which he established in 1993, and as associate dean for master’s degree studies.
Sanchez’ numerous inputs into Southern Baptist life have included chairing NAMB’s national Hispanic task force in 2004-05 and chairing a yearly consortium in which Hispanic ministry leaders from SBC-related entities share updates about Hispanic initiatives, assess needs in the Hispanic communities and churches and, in Sanchez’ words, “encourage one another to respond more effectively to the challenge of reaching Hispanics for Christ, discipling them, starting churches and training leaders.”
Sanchez also served as a member of the Committee on Resolutions at this summers SBC annual meeting in San Antonio.
The latest of his writings, released in 2006, is a book titled “Hispanic Realities Impacting America: Implications for Evangelism and Missions.”
“This was unexpected and it was very humbling to get this award,” Sanchez said after being honored during NAMB’s annual summer state leadership meeting in Atlanta July 31. “I thought it was very gracious of them to give this award in one of the major sessions of their leadership conference,” he said.
A native of San Antonio, Sanchez earned a bachelor’s degree at Howard Payne University in Texas in 1962; a master of divinity degree at Southwestern in 1966; a doctor of ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary in California in 1979; and a doctor of philosophy at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies in 1991.
As a student, Sanchez led in planting two churches. He then served as a missionary in Panama, teaching church planting, and continuing in that role as an assistant director of the Home Mission Board (currently NAMB) and as a state evangelism and missions director for the Baptist Convention of New York. He has also lectured and conducted church growth seminars in two dozen nations and 30-plus states.
Southwestern President Paige Patterson also affirmed Sanchez as “eminently deserving” of the NAMB recognition.
“Whether it is classroom instruction, international statesmanship or hands-on mission involvement in places that many Americans would feel uncomfortable, Dr. Sanchez has demonstrated as few other people the heart and the head of a missionary. Southwestern Seminary is profoundly honored to have him as a faculty member and we are grateful to the North American Mission Board for recognizing him.”
Sanchez and his wife Carmen have three children, Danny, Vivian and David.
Hispanics are “searching for an experience that connects them more closely to God than they find in their traditional forms of worship,” Sanchez said in a Baptist Press article last May. “… Evangelical Christians can be a blessing to them if they genuinely love them, establish meaningful relationships with them, focus on what is essential for salvation and include them in spirit-filled Bible studies and warm Christian fellowship.”
Art Toalston is editor of Baptist Press; Benjamin Hawkins is a writer for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.