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Doyle Glliam – A Man After God’s Own Heart

7EB23A8F-19B7-4246-BAC9-8246F7A6E5C5Doyle Gilliam began teaching at Sunset in 1977. Because of his love of the Word, he demanded the best from his students: the best in reading, homework, memorizing God’s Word, in teaching the Word, and the best in giving back to God what He had given them. Doyle could demand the best because he gave the best. He gave his all in preparation for teaching, preaching, and mission work. He gave his best; he gave his heart.

You can’t say “Doyle Gilliam” without saying “Doyle and Louise Gilliam.” Sunset graduates learned to love this couple from day one. Louise kept students’ children in her little room down the hall. No one had to wonder what his or her children were being taught or if they were being cared for. “Mrs. Louise” not only helped the children of the students, she taught those who were her “helpers” to love children, their husbands, and mission work.

Doyle began his training at Abilene Christian University then went Florida Christian College He later returned to get a Master’s Degree from Abilene Christian University. In 1957 Doyle, Louise, and family traveled to Malawi then on to Zimbabwe where they worked until 1977, when Cline recruited them to come to Sunset. Not only has Doyle preached in Texas, but 18 other states and many other countries. Doyle lectured at South African Bible College in the early 70’s and even then was well known and loved for his kind heart, gentle spirit, and extensive knowledge of God’s Word. Doyle has taught while at Sunset include The Gospel of John, World Religions, Old Testament History, Gospel and Culture, The Cults, Romans, Hebrews (AIM), 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians and Philemon, and many preaching classes.

Chapel is a daily part of the Sunset curriculum. Doyle never failed to inspire the students to do God’s will. He instilled in the students a desire to be more than just a preacher. He reminded them that there is a world outside the Sunset building that needs the Gospel. When he quoted scriptures in the Chewa language of Malawi, you could see the tears in his eyes and the longing for a people he loves. In chapel more than anywhere Doyle showed he was “a man after God’s own heart” when he told of tribes with whom he has shared a meal on the floor of their huts or in a barren field under the dry, hot sun. His soft, kind voice expressed a deep love for all people who God created. His heart was at Sunset, but it was also across the vast sea in another land God has not forgotten.

Missionaries were chosen to be teachers at Sunset. Men and women who had been on the field and had experience that new mission families could use not just for missions classes but for a lifetime. Doyle and Louise were among those missionaries chosen to become full time staff members. The “on-the-field” experience Doyle brought with him has allowed him to train thousands of Sunset graduates who in turn take the Gospel all over the world. Doyle retired from classroom teaching in May. He will continue to help teach the Annex class on Sunday at Sunset. He will be missed in brown bag and the classroom. New students will miss a great opportunity of sitting at the feet of such a man, but Doyle’s legacy lives on in the hearts of Sunset graduates who can say he truly is “a man after God’s own heart.”

— Linda Wagner, Advancement Office Manager (Lifeline Newsletter, Sunset School of Preaching, Summer 2011)

Some of the feelings expressed about this “man after God’s own heart”:

“I remember so well the humble example of Doyle and how that has helped me to remember to remain humble and to remember that God can use humble servants to accomplish many beautiful things in His work of salvation.”

“Just to listen to his stories (about) missions in Africa made me want to be there. He was the one instructor that I sought advice (from in) the conversion of my firstborn while attending Sunset. He will be sorely missed when the Lord takes him home.”