Dick Woodward can’t move anything below his neck. But that hasn’t prevented him from training and mentoring pastors around the world.
Despite a degenerative spinal disorder that slowly robbed him of the use of his arms and legs, the veteran pastor provides audio Bible studies and ministry-training materials through the Mini Bible College (MBC) he founded in 1974. The college offers nearly 800 programs, which have been translated into more than 25 languages and are being used in 50 nations, including India, China, Sudan and Haiti.
Strange as it may seem, Woodward, 80, believes the MBC may never have been more than an idea had he not gradually lost mobility. He was a busy pastor. He founded Virginia Beach Community Chapel—which he led for 23 years before planting Williamsburg Community Chapel—hosted a TV and a radio program, and taught weekly Bible studies. Because of his hectic schedule, he never found time to record the Bible training materials he’d been sensing God wanted him to produce since he was in seminary in the 1950s.
“I realize now that the Lord wanted the Mini Bible College out of me, and in my busy schedule I was never going to have the discipline to do it,” says Woodward, who is now a bedridden quadriplegic. “I see my physical limitations ... not as a setback but a cutback because He wanted to improve the quality and quantity of my ministry, and I believe that’s what it’s been all about.”
The 15-minute audio teachings, which run the gamut from Old and New Testament surveys to teaching on marriage and family, were first made available on the radio. Today the programs are recorded on portable devices distributed through MegaVoice International. And they have spawned a church-planting ministry.
That’s the miracle that Woodward says has come out of his situation. Though he’s in chronic pain, he wakes up excited about every day because he has meaningful work to do. “Even though I’m a bedfast quadriplegic and can’t move at all, my ministry has prospered in quality and in quantity,” he says. “That’s like a divine paradox. The less I can do, the more He does.”
To learn more about Mini Bible College, and to receive a free copy of one of Woodward’s books, please visit icm.org/woodward.
Dick Woodward says that these truths are the secret to accepting a disability or any adversity:
- I’m not, but He is.
- I can’t, but He can.
- I don’t want to, but He wants to.
- I didn’t, but He did.
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