David Hardage, B.A. ’79
Pro Ecclesia Medal of Service
David Hardage always knew he was called to ministry. He has been preaching since he was a teenager, and his tenure as the executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas has brought him to the pulpits of churches across Texas and beyond.
“I was called to be in ministry when I was 10 years old,” Hardage says. “I never doubted that I knew that’s where I was headed.”
Born in Waco, Hardage was raised in La Mesa, Texas, south of Lubbock. He started preaching at 14 years old in West Texas in the small towns and churches around La Mesa.
He continued preaching in Waco as a Baylor student while pursuing his degree in religion.
Hardage says his decision to go to Baylor was “really a family thing, but also personal.”
His father graduated from Baylor, as well as both his older and younger brothers. He met his wife, Kathleen, B.S.Ed. ’79, when they were both students through Student Foundation, and their son and daughter continued the family legacy by also attending Baylor.
“I think the opportunity to pursue higher education in a Christian institution, particularly at a place like Baylor, is a unique opportunity, one which should be taken advantage of today.” Hardage believes that students with such an education will be “academically and spiritually prepared for what they’re going to face in the workforce in the world ahead of them.
Hardage went on from Baylor to earn his master of divinity at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and his doctor of ministry from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Hardage pastored for 25 years before he made his return to Waco as the director of the Waco Baptist Association. This return to Waco brought him one step closer to Baylor, where he later returned for a job at George W. Truett Theological Seminary as the director of development.
It was while serving in this role that Hardage was appointed the executive director by the Baptist General Convention of Texas in January 2012.
“I had been in the local church, I had served the local Baptist association in Waco, and I served in one of the convention’s institutions. Those happened to be the three things that the Convention does. And so, the connection to Baylor added an additional element of my preparation for the opportunity to come and serve the Convention. It came together, and I didn’t see it at the time. But so much of that happened to be centered around my experiences at Baylor.”
The Baptist General Convention of Texas comprises well over 5,000 churches, and the Convention’s mission is to share Christ and show love, as Christians are called to by the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.
A hallmark of Hardage’s tenure was his weekly visits to churches across the state. Within months of assuming his role, he began traveling by invitation to visit congregations, and meet with pastors and church leaders.
After 10 years of service in the Baptist General Convention of Texas, Hardage retired at the close of 2022.
But his 42 years of ministry is not yet at an end. “Whatever, wherever the Lord would take me,” Hardage says “I’m open to that opportunity, that possibility.”