The Beauty of Kindness

Earl Dannen headshot
Pastor Earl Dannen of Faith Bible Church in Spokane, WA

Last weekend Rob Green and I had the privilege of traveling to Spokane, WA for the first of three consecutive weekends to teach a series of modules on Biblical Counseling.  The training has been hosted by Faith Bible Church of Spokane in partnership with our biblical counseling training center here in Lafayette.  Their goal is to equip their members to counsel biblically in a variety of ministry settings, and also be a blessing to other evangelical churches in that part of the country.  Faith Bible has offered this training for three years and they have always done a tremendous job of serving those of us who teach, along with each person in attendance.

A Special Leader

The counseling pastor at Faith Bible is Pastor Earl Dannen.  Earl is known for his strong love for people along with his comprehensive knowledge of God’s Word.  Many men and women would say that the Lord has used Earl to transform their lives, marriages, and families.  His love for God is simply infectious.  Earl is also blind.

An Unusual Schedule

The On the Road Training generally begins on Friday evening at 5:00 and runs through 10:00 pm.  Since Spokane is on Pacific time, 10:00 pm to them feels like 1:00 am to our bodies as we are concluding our teaching.  The program starts up again on Saturday morning at 8:00 and ends at 5:00 p.m.  The challenge we had this past weekend was that the only flight we were able to book arrived in Spokane at 10:30 in the morning, over 6 hours before our first teaching responsibility.  That is not an insurmountable problem–there are always projects we can work on when the flights work out that way.

However, Earl Dannen had a different plan. Even though he had all sorts of administrative duties to think about, Earl decided to organize a special outing for Rob and me.  Somewhere along the line he had heard that we liked to ride bicycles, so he put together a bike hike for us.  The gentleman who picked us up from the airport had several road bikes on a rack on the back of his car.  We checked into the hotel and then headed for the Centennial Trail which runs along the Spokane River.  We were actually able to ride all the way to the Idaho State Line.  It was a 23 mile round trip that was absolutely beautiful scenery.  The headline was that we were able to have a great time of exercise and fellowship before we started our teaching responsibilities.

That is Biblical Kindness

Ephesians 4:32 simply says, Be ye kind…” What Earl did for us last Friday will not make it on CNN.  It will not be written up in the history books.  But it made an deep impact on me.  Earl could very easily be consumed with all the challenges of his life but he chose to look beyond himself and serve someone else.  Earl would be quick to tell you that the source of such an act was God Himself.  The fuller rendering of Ephesians 4:32 is, “Be kind of one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has forgiven you.”  Just as God–that’s Earl Dannen.


I walked away from that event wondering about ways I could show greater to the men and women around me.  I have had several opportunities to do so even this week.  Earl’s act of kindness ministered to me and I would like to do a better job of being kind in the days ahead.  How about you?  How have others been kind to you, and what opportunities is the Lord giving you to act in a similar way?

Be ye kind.

Steve Viars
Dr. Viars has served as a pastor and counselor at Faith since 1987. He is an author, national speaker, and Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Biblical Counseling Coalition.