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At the Christian summer camp Sky Ranch, a ten-year-old Keith Yates accepted Christ as his Savior. His parents had sent him to meet some new friends, and he ended up meeting God.
Keith grew up in Richardson, Texas, and graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1971 with a bachelor’s in graphic design. He took the summer after graduation to be the arts and crafts counselor back at Sky Ranch. After stints as an art director for an advertising agency and newspaper office, God led Keith to Dallas Seminary in 1978. He began as the assistant art director in the Public Relations department and now is the deputy director of Seminary Communications.
“I decided I wanted to do something for the Lord, instead of just creating ads for shaving cream and shoes,” said Keith, “and I’ve been in ministry here at DTS ever since.”
Although starting at Dallas Seminary primarily as a staff member Keith began to take classes and graduated with honors with his Master of Arts in Biblical Studies in 1983.
It seems Keith always knew that he wanted to be an artist. The Richardson newspaper carried an article on Keith when, at the age of 10, he drew cartoons on T-shirts and sold them to neighborhood children. His skills led him to become the cartoonist for his high school newspaper. He followed his artistic bent by working for a print shop while pursuing his fine arts degree and there decided to go into commerical art and design.
While drawing and designing shows Keith’s emotional artistry, he found a physical expression through the martial arts. Beginning karate lessons at the age of 13 Keith is now one of the highest-ranking instructors in the United States. He’s on the board of directors for the Fellowship of Christian Martial Artists and the Gospel Martial Arts Union. A former karate champion, he travels all over the country teaching at Christian martial arts conferences. He has written hundreds of magazine articles and nine books and is currently the only person to serve as a contributing editor for both of the major publications for martial arts instructors.
Keith’s youngest son Rodney (17) shares an artistic passion and plays the saxophone in his high school band. Keith’s other children are an 18-year-old daughter, Regan, a 20-year-old son, Randall, and a 23-year-old son, Ryan, who is married to Cassie. Keith and his wife, Linda, have two grandchildren.
God has blessed Keith and Linda in a special way this last year. In January of 2002, their daughter Regan was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia, a rare bone marrow failure.
“We underwent the recommended treatment which the doctors said was 75 percent effective. But for us, it was not. Since her brothers did not match for a bone marrow transplant we embarked on an international search for a donor.”
While they waited Regan had over 70 blood transfusions to literally keep her alive. Keith and Linda believe strongly in both giving blood and in being testing to be a bone marrow donor. There is just a one in three-quarter million chance of matching someone on the bone marrow donor list, and by God’s grace, the Yates found one woman overseas who was a “6 of 6” genetic match. The bone marrow was collected and shipped to a hospital in Dallas, and Regan had her bone marrow transplant at the end of August. As this is written she has shown no signs of rejection or infection, conditions which affect many transplant patients.
Keith said that the donor is kept anonymous for a year just in case the transplant is not successful. “Perhaps we can travel next Christmas to see the woman whose gift of life saved our daughter.”
Also looking to the future, Keith will be teaching a new course in the fall with the Seminary’s new Media Arts program under Dr. Reg Grant, called Publishing Design for the Ministry.
“Since God is the author of creativity God’s people should be the most creative whether they are preaching, singing, or designing a brochure or newsletter. My goal through this class is to prepare students to use their God-given creativity to minister more effectively. I really want to start helping people be more effective in their own ministries.”
It’s a task that Keith Yates has been doing effectively for over 20 years at Dallas Seminary.
The mission of Dallas Theological Seminary is to
glorify God by equipping godly servant-leaders
for the proclamation of His Word and the
building up of the body of Christ worldwide.