Written By: Emily Hutson
Picture an office with shelves filled to the max with books. A neat desk sits in the middle; however, this is not the office of just any professor. This office is Dr. Thomas Andrew Randle, 46, professor of Christian studies. He is a husband, father and most of all, a follower of Jesus.
Dr. Randle graduated from Belmont University with a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance and minor in youth ministry. He earned his master’s in Christian Ministry from Reformed Theological Seminary. He attained his doctorate in Christian Education from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Randle admitted he pressured himself to finish his doctorate because of the success of his older brother. “I couldn’t be the odd man out,” said Dr. Randle. All the men before him had their doctorate degrees, father and brother.
When asked how he ended up in teaching, he replied with quite the story. Randle confessed to being called into ministry but rebelling against God. He started pre-Law at Belmont but according to Randle, God quickly changed his mind. He embraced the idea after attending a church camp where he learned what ministry would be like.
Randle holds fiercely to the belief that this is the job he was called for. He loves every minute of it. Regarding the pay, he simply says that God is providing. He has been at Bryan for 15 years. He excitedly explains how much he loves to get paid to talk about Jesus. “What could be better than that?” he said. He happily states there is no place he would rather teach. Randle is a professor who cares for the well-being of his students long after they are gone.
Harley Schronce, freshman, said, “Dr. Randle is a professor that every student needs to know.” She explains that he creates a safe place within the classroom and this feeling of safety breeds a healthy space for learning. He expresses his genuine concern in a way that makes each student feel loved and cared for. “I am grateful to be in his class and to know he will there for any of his students at any time,” said Harley.
Martin Livingston, junior, said, “He is very transparent and extremely honest. He is approachable.” This reflects further to his character as a follower of Jesus. Martin explains that Dr. Randle truly loves Jesus and wants to see the effects of what he teaches on his students. He said, “He’s passionate about loving people.”
His colleagues are no different. They see that he is authentic and devoted. Dr. Scott Jones, professor of Christian Ministry, said, “He is not just like everybody else on the team and that’s why we get along so well.” Dr. Jones explains that they do not have the same strengths and gifts; however, their differences compliment each other. Dr. Randle brings a new perspective to the team and creates balance. Dr. Jones affirms that Dr. Randle loves his students and cares for the broken. “He’s like the energizer bunny with all the young men he mentors,” Dr. Jones said, laughing. His door is always open to those who need a listening ear. “What you see is what you get, and there is no better way to put it,” said Dr. Jones.
Dr. Randle’s most memorable teaching story is similar to something we could all face. He was teaching Christian Worldview class in 2002 when a baseball player told him he disagreed strongly. He asked the student to lunch. He explains, “Knowing the Lord is working when people are thinking and asking questions. That’s how I know God is at work.” He loves when his students ask hard questions or disagree. His students respect him so much that alumni still call and seek advice.
He has future plans but none that include leaving the school. Dr. Randle desires to write a book and watch his daughters grow up. He does admit he does not want to get stale or comfortable in the work he is doing here.
The happiest aspect in his life, other than his work for God, is his wife, Kelly Randle. Dr. Randle dotes on his wife with unrelenting love and affection. He brags about her love for the Lord and tells how she has brought him closer in his walk. Dr. Randle tells the painful story of his divorce all while making the point that Kelly is God’s pick for him. His divorce made him feel inadequate for ministry work, but he met Kelly and she reminded him that God’s plans are far better than the ones we create.
Through this time, he says he learned a lot about how to put your faith into practice. “God was saying to me, ‘you have to depend on me,’” Randle said. He explains that this trail strengthen his faith and opened his eyes to trust willingly. Randle also struggles with type one diabetes and has for 42 years.
Randle has been a follower of Jesus for 40 years. He has pastored a church and learned what it truly means to be dependent on God. “It’s not about me. God cuts my legs out from under me to remind me that it’s all for His Glory,” he said. He gives due credit to God for anything of his accomplishments. When he shares with others, he reminds them that it all goes back to God.
Randle believes and teaches that everything we do is for the glory of God. He encourages his students to grow and learn in their faith. Dr. Drew Randle loves his students and wants to see them succeed. He is a man that tries to faithfully follow the will of God.
Emily Hutson is a freshman English major at Bryan College. She deeply enjoys long strolls through Forever 21 and writing on her fashion blog. You can also find her reading in a corner somewhere or on Twitter or Instagram.