Grateful Tribute to Great Man – “Dr Al”

Madly cleaning my office before I head out for camp speaking again.

Found this:

dr al

Suddenly realized Dr. Metsker – a pivotal figure in my life and ministry – was younger than me when he passed into glory.

His was a life well-lived.

He was instrumental in Youth For Christ, and founded and directed Kansas City Youth For Christ (which, sadly, no longer exists).

And he began “Christ Unlimited Bible Institute” in the early 1970s.

Shortly after parole I began working as a “minister of sanitation” (aka Janitor) at a church in Newhall, California.

During Easter vacation week I was tasked with washing the windows of the k-6 school the church operated. Thankfully I was assigned a couple teens to assist.

One was Billy Bob Maxim. His parents were raised in Kansas City and grew up with KCYFC. They sent Billy Bob and his brother back to KC each summer to attend the ranches (camps) YFC offered.

Billy Bob came back and started a YFC-like Bible club. No one had told him he couldn’t, so he simply did.

And during the window washing Billy Bob asked me to speak at his YFC Club.

I replied, “What’s a YFC club?”

One thing progressed to another, and I spoke at the club which met in his home.

A week or so later Jerry Johnston, one of Dr Al’s “preacher boys” (also an early favorite of Jerry Falwell) came into town. In a conversation he told me about Christ Unlimited Bible Institute – a place where students spent three hours a day in the Word, one hour a day learning methods of youth ministry…and hours of practical, on-the-job experience.

Sounded like a good fit for a guy who got saved in jail enroute to a few years in prison. With no church background I had nothing to unlearn, but much to learn.

But  I was only months out of prison, and still on parole. Would the officials allow me to go even if the school accepted me?

I filled out the application, put a stamp on it, and mailed it…and waited.

A few weeks later I got word that I was accepted. California officials transferred my parole to Missouri…and off I went.

Who knew?

Al and Vidy (his wife) years later told me they were driving from the YFC office to their home as Vidy read my application to Al.

They wondered…do we accept a guy who is pretty much fresh out of prison? A guy who is still on parole? A guy who did a whole lot of bad stuff?

They prayed for guidance…and then decided to give me a chance.

Who knew?

I flew to Kansas City with a bit over twenty bucks to my name. No job, no place to stay.

The date was August 31, 1977.

As I waited for someone to pick me up at the airport, I opened the Word and decided to read Psalm 31, since that was the date.

And the last verse ministered to me as only the Word of God can:

“Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord.”

Before the sun went down August 31 I had a job and a place to stay.

Who knew?

As I got to know Al I knew the man had quirks – as do we all. But, oh, he had energy. He had wisdom. He had love.

And he poured his all into us.

He dropped Al-isms regularly:

“Involvement is the key to success.”

“Use them or lose them.”

“What got them there keeps them there.”

“You look good to me.”

“I hate the power company.” (long story)

“Quote or you won’t be quoted.”

And, for anyone who had the privilege of knowing Dr Al, who can forget this:

dont quit

In fact I put a booklet together to hand to our graduating class, “Quotations from Chairman Al.” I need to search and see if I still have a copy.

Who knew?

Al and Vidy have influenced thousands upon thousands.

Many are still in vocational ministry. Three of Midland’s staff members are CUBI grads, another had parents who worked for the ministry for years.

Who knew?

All I know is that I’d not be equipped to do the work had it not been for Al and Vidy deciding to let me come to CUBI.

All I know is that every day I put into practice something Al taught and, more important, modeled.

In the years since his death there have been some who have trashed his name, his work, his reputation. Some of that tripe has been published in newspapers. They couldn’t attack his character or his morals; so they attacked his methods. If you don’t know of what or of whom I speak; don’t research it. Ignorance of such stuff is not a bad thing.

But, oh, it irks me.

Was Al perfect?

No. But he deserves to be praised, thanked, and honored.

And this is a small attempt on my part to so do.

Every life touched through my availability is tremendously indebted to Dr Al.

And I am one of thousands.

Who knows how many souls have been saved, how many Christians have been exhorted, edified, challenged over the years through those who were taught, loved, and sent by Dr. Al?

We know Who knows.

And I ask Him to give Al a high-five and a hug from me.

From all of us.


Author: Jack Hager

Jesus invaded my life shortly after my arrest at age 26. I spent the first few years of my new life incarcerated. Went to Bible school after parole; have served with Kansas City Youth For Christ, Headwaters Christian Youth (Rhinelander, Wi), Family Life Ministries (Bath, NY), and now with Midland Ministries (Saint Joseph, Mo). Married with four children, work with youth, adults, inmates. Heavily involved in Bible quizzing for four decades. Narrow minded about Jesus and the gospel; fairly open minded about most other things. Speak in churches, camps (both teen and family), civic groups, public schools, Christian schools and colleges...amazed I get to do what I get to do....favorite verse Romans 15.13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that you, by the power of the Holy Spirit, may overflow with hope."

5 thoughts on “Grateful Tribute to Great Man – “Dr Al””

  1. Thanks Jack.

    I never met Dr. Al but did meet Indy at Nationals in KC one year. I felt like I knew them as much as Tim and Kim talked about them.

    I really enjoyed reading this and did know some of your story. Very encouraging.


    On Fri, Jul 12, 2019 at 7:33 PM Random Stuff from Jack Hager – wrote:

    > Jack Hager posted: “Madly cleaning my office before I head out for camp > speaking again. Found this: Suddenly realized Dr. Metsker – a pivotal > figure in my life and ministry – was younger than me when he passed into > glory. His was a life well-lived. He was instrumental ” >

  2. Jack, thank you for taking me down memory lane back to 1978 when I worked for Dr. Al building KYFC TV50 and later began directing (and editing) television and attended CUBI!! This was great preparation for me and the work I was privileged to do with Campus Crusade for Christ as a Video & Television Producer and a few years later language administrator with the JESUS Film Project. Grace and peace to you Jack in our Lord Jesus Christ!!!

  3. Thanks Jack! Love this and am so Grateful and Thankful for These beautiful hearts who enthusiastically gave their all and poured out Jesus to us all. Don’t you ever quit has resounded in my ears my whole life through every struggle.

  4. Seems like only 43 years ago when I had the pleasure of meeting Dr Al while attending Circle C camp the summer of ’77. Every Saturday night a bunch of us 14 year olds would get bussed in from Shawnee Mission for events, which always ended in the Rainbow Room… spent an entire day walking 20 miles, sponsors had put up $200 to raise money for the TV station… pretty sure I walked the full 20, felt like it anyhow…

    …not sure why, but I found myself reflecting on those memories this morning, figured I would google it, and ended up here.

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