“I’ve always liked a big pulpit!” – Dale Frankum
I was in my front driveway attempting to stain a pulpit for the church I planted. The facility we rent had a small one, but I like to preach from larger pulpits. My neighbor Pete built me a large pulpit that was light-weight enough to move around. Dale Frankum was going door to door, urging people to get out and vote. He happened upon my crude workmanship and said, “What are you painting?” I told him it was a pulpit that my neighbor built for me. He smiled and shook my hand and said, “That’s a big pulpit. I’ve always liked a BIG pulpit! Make sure you preach!” He told me that he hoped our new church would succeed and that we would see many souls turn to Christ. He asked us about strategy and plans, genuinely listening as I answered questions. He told me he was glad I was still in Brazoria. Then he laughed, asked me to vote, and went on to the next house.
Dale loved big pulpits. He wanted to deliver a big message from a big pulpit. He wanted to change the world. I think he knew he couldn’t change the whole world, but he had a tenacious desire to change what he could where he was. Actively involved in every aspect of small-town life, Dale left a legacy of service to our small town. It was difficult to find a civic activity that did not involve Dale. When the youth group I led repainted a community center, Dale was consulted and provided paint. When our church worked to run a week-long mission project, Dale helped lead the effort. When the civic center does anything, Dale was involved. His influence is difficult to avoid. It is nearly impossible to find someone in Brazoria that does not have a story about Dale. Dale used his pulpit and it was big.
I’ve lived in Brazoria Texas for almost 11 years now. In all that time Dale has always been present. Consider that for a moment: Dale invested his entire life in a small obscure town in south Texas. His life and ministry were devoted to improving his surroundings. From food for the poor and clothes for the homeless, he worked to help the down-trodden. From getting out the vote to MC’ing the local Miss Brazoria Pagent, he served the community. From laboring to preach the gospel in his own church to organizing and running huge events in which he would preach, he attempted to reach the lost. From opening his church to serve teachers at commencement and training opportunities to helping to organize the bachelorette, he used his time and goods to advance society. Dale invested his life, goods, and heart into this town.
To be clear, Dale Frankum and I were not close. We landed on opposite ends of the theological spectrum. Our interactions were minimal but we were always respectful of each other. We had different ideas on how ministry should run. We had different opinions on what success is and is not. But, we both love a small obscure town. I use the present tense because Dale’s love will not end simply because he has gone home. He left a legacy that will be remembered. I believe we shared a mutual respect for laboring in the same town and we both believed that the preaching of the gospel brings life to a dead world.
Dale will be missed. His presence and charisma have served to influence and change the small town I live in for the last 11 years. His pulpit was big and his voice was loud for the gospel in a small town. He has gone home and we will continue the work here until we join him. So if you’re reading this, “make sure you preach!” Dale has gone home, now you go preach the gospel.