A well-loved Oklahoma Baptist pastor has died of cancer at the young age of 46. Shane Hall, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, passed away from stomach cancer on Feb. 16. But just days before he died, the father-of-two had the privilege of helping baptize his youngest daughter.
In what Hall’s wife, Misty, describes as “truly a miracle,” the pastor was brought into the sanctuary near the end of the worship service so he could assist in baptizing 10-year-old Mallory.
“I just wanted to baptize Mallory,” Hall had told his wife after learning that he likely wouldn’t live much longer.
But the pastor defied the odds and was able to partake in the wonderful moment of joy and celebration.
“For him to say that and then to see it within two or three weeks was just a precious gift to him. I felt like, that’s what kept him here for a while, his wanting to fulfill that desire to see her come to know the Lord,” Misty Hall told Baptist Press.
“When I heard about Shane Hall’s miraculous efforts in helping to baptize his daughter, I wept,” Frank S. Page, president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, told Baptist Press. “It spoke of a father’s love. It spoke of a pastor’s determination. God bless him and his family as they continue to make a difference.”
Jared Lee, Hall’s friend since elementary school, also witnessed the joyful event. Speaking to Baptist Press, Lee recounted Shane’s words on the special day:
“This is my daughter, but now she’s also my sister in Christ,” Hall reportedly said, adding, “But she still has to do what I tell her to do.”
“He’s more like a brother than a friend. … We were both the best man of each other’s wedding,” Lee said. “There are so many people that would refer to Shane as their closest friend. He just had an infectious personality and he just loved people.”
When Shane was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, doctors gave him just months to live. But Shane soldiered on, beating the odds by years. He spent his last days in prayer and worship.
“I’m worshiping Jesus,” Hall told his wife days before his death, asking her to assist him in raising his hands as he lay in bed.
Misty shared that she and her husband also listened to Charles Billingsley’s “I’ll Run to You” together. Shane mouthed every single Billingsley lyric: “Though my heart and flesh may fail, You’re my very present help, My tower of strength, My portion evermore.”
Shane began to weep, thanking Jesus for all He had done for him.
“And we just had that sweet, sweet time with the Lord, and he just worshiped,” Misty said. “That was such a precious, precious gift to me from the Lord, and just [being] with the Lord.”
Hall’s church announced their beloved pastor’s passing on Facebook Feb. 17:
“Dear First Southern Church Family …
Our dearly loved Pastor Shane passed this afternoon peacefully at home. God has chosen to heal him in an eternal way. Certainly, our prayers, support, and sympathy are extended to Misty, the girls, and the extended family. For us, as a church family, we grieve and seek to understand while we lean on a loving, faithful God.”
Pastor Hall was active on the Southern Baptist scene and was a featured speaker at the 2017 Pastor’s Conference at the annual Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix.
In 2016, he gave a brilliant talk on his experience with cancer. Watch it HERE:
“From his leadership at the state level to the SBC level, he has demonstrated a great commitment to the advancement of the Gospel,” Anthony Jordan, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma executive director, said following Hall’s death. “But Shane’s greatest quality has been his ability to face this great trial with an abiding faith in Jesus that has always pointed to the faithfulness of God.”
“More than anything, just knowing who God is has helped me the most,” Misty told Baptist Press. “It’s been a long almost four years. I’m just resting in the Lord’s grace and His sufficiency.”
Please pray for Hall’s church and his grieving family at this time.