The world lost a great and Godly man in the middle of the night. Heaven gained a whole lot of laughter and some really great stories.
Pastor David Terhune was our boss in Indiana for four years, but he was more than just a boss. He was a mentor, a friend, a pastor, a hero, a father figure. I learned and laughed more in those four years than at any other time in my life.
Being on staff with Pastor Dave was an adventure, to say the least. Creativity and energy were encouraged, and even demanded. Pastor Dave led the charge well. Creating our own outrageously fun VBS programs on a nearly zero budget, holding block parties for a low-income apartment complex, even doing a Survivor parody on Sunday morning, the possibilities and opportunities were endless. Pastor Dave wanted to ensure that we laughed every day, so he had us all take staff breaks together. But to be honest, it wasn’t just break time, it was Pastor Dave’s story time! He was a phenomenal story-teller and we usually laughed ourselves to tears before heading back to our offices.
Ken and I were fortunate enough when we lived in Marion to be “adopted” by Pastor Dave as well. Ken and I were not just employees, but like family when he opened his home to us for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We thought it might feel a bit strange to sit at another family’s table, but it wasn’t. The same laughter rang through the house and we felt right at home.
One of my favorite Pastor Dave crazy plans was for our Christmas Eve service. At our 11:00 p.m. service, he wanted to have a reverse offering. Offering plates were filled with cash, and passed around the congregation. If you had money that the Lord was telling you to give, you put more money in the plate. If you needed money, you could take what you needed.
As an extremely reasonable and cautious staff, we would counter. “What if someone takes the whole plate of money? What if we become known as the church that just hands out cash on Christmas Eve? We might get all kinds of people here who aren’t here for the service, but just for the money.”
“Then we’ll be known as the church that welcomes people who are just here for the money. But in the mean time, they’ll get a touch of God’s love.” It was God’s money, not ours.
And sure enough, we always had overflowing offering plates by the end of the night, which was set aside for the benevolence fund. We also had people who left in tears because they could get their kids Christmas gifts. One man had stopped to ask for help with gas money so he could get home for Christmas and he was shocked to be handed an offering plate and told to take what he needed! A nurse desperately needed a new pair of shoes for work. She grabbed a handful of cash quickly from the plate as it passed by. Later, when she counted it out, she realized it was the exact amount of the shoes she needed. The stories went on and on.
He had the gift of evangelism like I’ve never seen in anyone else. Pastor Dave led people to Christ at a gas station while dressed as a shepherd on the way home from the Christmas production. He refurbished bicycles for the homeless. He led our church out of a million dollars of debt in less than 4 years. He dressed up like a homeless man and sat outside our church panhandling. He collected shoes for children Iraq. He dumpster dived behind Dollar General to get VBS supplies. He welcomed gang members from Ken’s basketball ministry to our church picnics. He planted a church in the midst of a terminal illness. He preached each week until he could no longer stand. Then in the last few weeks of his life, he preached from a chair. He loved the Lord and his neighbor with his whole heart.
And I loved Pastor Dave with my whole heart too.
Pastor Dave is running up and down the streets in heaven with a new body today. And a crowd is gathering around him, waiting to tell him thank you for leading them to Christ, and ready to laugh at some really great stories.
17 thoughts on “Heaven Just Gained a Whole Lot of Laughter”
I laughed and cried when I read this!!! It was a lot of fun to work with Pastor Dave even if I only had that privilege for one short school year! He really was a great pastor and an amazing man. My strongest memories are pre-service prayer times in his office on Sunday mornings…wow! …his strong call to action for every member of the church …and then there were his silly comments about me making candy for him after I returned from earning my Master of Divinity.
Unfortunately, I only ended up with an MA so I didn’t have the opportunity to bring him candy.
Well said, Robin. You captured his essence. Thanks for writing.
Great tribute. So glad you were privileged to have him in your lives.
Wow, there is no better way to describe him. Whenever I here his name, I think of Winnie the Pooh – (who else could do a service on Winnie the Pooh). But most of all I think of that day he led me in the sinners prayer on March 13, 1992. I was so Blessed to have him in my life and he will be truly missed! My Love to the whole family.
A wonderful man because he only wanted to show Jesus to everyone he met. It was always about Jesus and never about Dave. Now he is celebrating with the one he lived his life for.
Pastor Dave was the ONLY pastor that my husband would listen to and actually try to implement in his role as a father and husband. He was soooooo dear to many of us, a true man of God, When winter came and wednesday bible study was’nt cancelled but the weather was bad he called me to tell me that he was concerned about me and my childrens safety and prayed that the angels would guide our vehicle to and from church. I know that he will always have a special place in my daughters heart, as well. But the thing that stands out in my mind the most was the evening he came calling to our home to visit with my husband. We had company, Pastor Dave did’nt want to impose so he lovingly looked at my husband and out of his mouth came Arnold Schwarzenegger voice as he stated ” I’LL BE BACK”. To this day we think of him everytime we leave someone’s home and threaten them, warning them we’ll be back. What we give to could you to that promise that you’ll be back again but you left this world with your very special loving mark and tender touch of the Masters Hand. I know your treasured are stored up in heaven but you left many jewels here on earth that will so dearly miss you. Thank You for Giving To the Lord, I am a life that Has Changed.
The first time I met Pastor Dave was when Steve Richard brouht him over to where I work in plymouth.Steve asked me if I minded if Pastor Dave gave a devotional and sang with his guitar. I said that would be find and welcomed them both. Pastor Dave sang then he gave a devotional and presented the gospel of Jesus with such boldness to my clients. When he was ready to leave I thanked him several times for presenting the gospel with such boldness. I then went home and told my husband about this Pastor Dave I just had met. I was drawn to Pastor Dave Terhune. I Felt his love and passion for lost souls.We attended the cross untill Pastor Dave got very ill. We had many good visits with him. I CRied one whole service he preached because my husband and I loved and respected him so much and then to see him slowly getting worse was more than we both could bear. We were honest with Pastor Dave and told him he understood and told us we were always welcome back. He prayed with us and gave us his blessings on our lives.
I was 16 when i heard Pastor Dave for the first time. Sitting at my dad and stepmom’s kitchen table in Plymouth, IN while Pastor Dave filled my head and heart with Laughter, Love, and Literacy of my Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (BIBLE). I’m 30 now, and when he started the Church in Rochester i was so happy to hear he was in my hometown. The first time we reconnected it was like long lost friends embracing. His humor, his love, his gift of spreading the word and touch of God. He is a Treasure in Heaven. An aweseome Man!!!
We are blest to have know Partor Dave. Such a loving legacy he left. We knew he loved us. We loved him and he will be greatly missed. Cant wait to see him in Heaven with his new body. He was truly a blessing in our lives. He made a difference in our life, and everyone he met. Our lives will never be the same. Enjoy your heavenly reward Pastor Dave, we will be there with you very soon. Get those mansions ready.
Thanks for sharing these memories. They made me laugh and cry. Those were special days on staff at Lakeview. Pastor Dave was such a unique blend of various characteristics from his humor to his “give you the shirt off his back” generosity. He was a minister of the Gospel that just seemed to have a special anointing of God on his life and a gift for leading people to faith in Christ. We will dearly miss Pastor Dave. He was an amazing person, friend, and mentor with a great impact on the world around him! I can only imagine how excited he is to be home in the presence of God, and Robin, you said it so well – there’s a whole lot of laughter going on:)!
I’m sorry I never had the honor of meeting Pastor Dave but he helped a dear friend of mine through some difficult times and I’m so grateful for that. He must have been a true disciple of Jesus, spreading the love everywhere he went and to everyone he met. A truly “good and faithful servant”.
That was perfect, Robin. Thank you for sharing!
Robin, I loved your words honoring Pastor Dave here. He was a wonderful gift to our community in Bluffton also. So many lives came to know the Lord because of him.
I am Jessica Sheets momma! I remember meeting you and your husband when Jessica and our younger daughter Jaymie were in college and you two kind of adopted them. Thank you!!!!!
Pastor Dave was the one who married us 36 years ago at his first church in Petroleum Indiana. He taught “Power Hour” on Thursday nights for young adults, making the Bible truths come alive in our lives like fasting and praying! He was our weekly Tuesday night vistor who built a relationship with my husband first and then led him to a personal relationship with Christ, Dave’s best friend! Pastor Dave baptized both of us and dedicated all three of our children. He was the Pastor we called on when our parents pass away. Speeding to the first church service of his FIRST church planting (Sonlight – Bluffton IN) we were pulled over by the local cops and asked why we were in such a hurry. . .We were issued a warning because they all knew Pastor Dave!
The Sunday after 911 we had went camping at the Salamoina State Park and drove into Marion. . .Pastor Dave was there preaching comfort to all of us in those first few troubling days of the unknown.
Our lives have been so blessed to have known Pastor Dave, Susie and the kids. He always told us that when we get in heaven our work on earth would be seen in the basket we would receive in heaven. I am sure Pastor Dave is pulling his basket of blessing with a semi on those beautiful street of gold!
Reading your post brought back amazing memories, but then reading these comments took it to a whole new level. What a perfect way to honor Pastor Dave’s legacy: with stories of the lives he has influenced. I will miss Pastor Dave but look forward to a great reunion filled with laughter in heaven.
Dave was a great man. I haven’t seen nor spoken to him in twenty+ years but that does not diminish his importance to me.
I do not consider him “pastor” Dave and I did not know him in that capacity whatsoever. He was just Dave; a good man, which is a rarity.
If you asked for help he would help, but usually he helped and no one ever knew that he did so.
Thank you for being.
I just recently heard of Dave’s death. I first met Dave 48 years ago when I started attending Bluffton High School where we were both in band. Dave could play the trumpet and I, well I tried play the tuba until Mr. Baxter told me I would be better off singing in the choir. Dave would end up marrying Susan “Susie” Captain whose brother, Kenny was my best friend beginning in the 6th grade. My memoories of Dave are of a young man who had a love of life, could laught with the best of them and make you laugh about the craziest things. I also knew Dave to have a deep faith and I see from what I’ve read here he impacted many people for the Kingdom of God and brought many people to Jesus. Well done good and faithful servant!