Shane Anderson graduated from Walla Walla University in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in theology. He currently serves as the lead pastor of Pioneer Memorial Church, on the campus of Andrews University. Below is a revealing of God’s leading in his life, as told to Emily (Huso) Logan ’17.
On my journey, one of the most powerful lessons I have learned is to trust in God’s leading every step of the way. But surrendering to His plan for my life hasn’t always been easy.
I remember that the day I decided to follow God’s call to change my major to theology felt like one of the worst days of my life. At the time, I was a freshman engineering major. I loved design and research, taking things apart and putting them back together. I had grown up in a spiritually divided home and had no intention of going into ministry.
In the two weeks leading up to that day, I felt strongly impressed that God was speaking to me, and I was wrestling with that call. At the end of the two weeks, I found myself at the college running track on a Sabbath afternoon, surrounded by wheat fields, praying to God. “I don’t want this career,” I said. “I didn’t ask for this.” The spiritual pressure was unrelenting. After much resistance, I said, “Fine, if that’s what you want me to do, I’ll do it!” Immediately, I went from being blood-pumping red in the face, sweating, and angry to one hundred percent at peace. I knew very clearly that God had said, “Okay, you made the right decision.”
Because of the strength of that initial call, I have always felt that whatever happens with my career is clearly up to Him. Since then, I served as a student missionary in Micronesia, married my wife Darlene (Hintz) ’94, worked for the Washington Conference for ten years, attended seminary, and welcomed two daughters. Up until my recent appointment at Pioneer Memorial Church, I served as a senior pastor for the Shenandoah Valley Academy campus church in New Market, Virginia.
During my tenure there, I worked to replicate in Shenandoah Valley Academy the blessing I experienced through Adventist education, including at Walla Walla. Adventist education saved my life. At a time when my home life was in chaos, I found peace and stability in the classroom with teachers that cared about me. Walla Walla College provided a transformative place for me to explore and learn about Christ. I wanted the same for the students at Shenandoah Valley Academy. With faith and a lot of difficult, focused work, we were able to bring the school back from near closure to a healthy enrollment.
I shared about the positive changes we made at Shenandoah and my beliefs about how we can transform Adventist education in my book, How to Kill Adventist Education (And How to Give It a Fighting Chance!) (Review and Herald, 2009). To briefly summarize, I believe that to revive our schools, we should be both academically and spiritually excellent. We shouldn’t have to choose between the two. We should have top-notch academic programs to the best of our ability—and, our number one priority must be to establish our students in a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
I would love for Walla Walla and for all our institutions to be Christ-centered, faithfully Adventist, overflowing, academically excellent places, and I’m doing the best in my new context here at Andrews University to see that happen. I’ve witnessed God’s plan come together repeatedly over and over and over again. Our task and privilege is to trust that He will guide.