The Daily Gamecock

'I wouldn't call myself a pastor': Yahweh disciple frequents Greene Street

David Hallman shares his message with the USC campus

Students who pass by may know him as the man with the sign or the Yahweh guy, but he is David Hallman, and he has a message to share with a campus he loves.

Hallman, 65, has quietly offered his message to the USC community for 25 years now, standing on Greene Street with his sign and flyers five days a week, most weeks.

“I wouldn’t call myself a pastor, or even an evangelist,” Hallman said “I’m a reminder.”

Hallman’s reminder to people is that they have a creator — Yahweh, the Hebrew name of God — and that Yahweh has created them for a purpose.

“We are a vehicle for (Yahweh’s) spirit ... whether we operate the way he intended for us is up to us,” Hallman said.

The sidewalks he stands on when handing out flyers, he said, are not property of USC, but of the city of Columbia. Hallman said he has asked permission multiple times from the school for a permit to stand on the actual campus, but it has never been granted.

“I have just as much access to the students where I’m at as I do on campus,” he said.

Hallman was arrested Feb. 9, 2003, he said, by a USC police officer who told him he was trespassing on university property. Hallman said that though he was not actually on campus property, he took his sign and walked away to another sidewalk, handing out flyers along the way. The officer arrested him, he said, and took him to the Richland County police department. The court dropped his case, he said, because they had nothing against him.

“All of this opened up doors (for ministry) I would not have been able to walk through (otherwise). But this is not the way to do prison ministry,” Hallman said with a laugh.

Hallman came to a point of enlightenment in his life close to 30 years ago. He had a successful job at PET Milk, a wife and two daughters, an education and money, but was, as he said, “a man most miserable.”

“There was always something gnawing at me, something missing,” Hallman said.

Seeing a televangelist preaching about Jesus was the trigger that made him realize he was missing Yahweh’s purpose for his life.

Since that point, he has devoted his life to “working for my creator.” Hallman worked real estate on the side for a while to earn money, and then quit to take care of his ailing wife.

“[Yahweh has] worked in my life since then,” Hallman said. “He’ll accept you where you’re at and take you where you need to be ... My whole purpose when I get up every day is to do what [Yahweh] wants me to do.”

Though his message is biblical, Hallman doesn’t put any particular religious label on himself.

“Christianity to the average person is not a very nice word,” he said. “They think Christians are hypocrites. (I’m someone who) reads the Word, believes it, and does what it says ... That’s what [Yahweh] intended for us all to do.”

Hallman said that though a lot of people pay him little attention when they walk past him and his sign, he has received a lot of encouraging comments from students — some of whom appreciate his message, and others who simply appreciate his quiet, non-condemning approach.

“I don’t have to say a lot, I don’t have to push anything. I have the easiest job in the world,” Hallman said.

Hallman said he has permission from several other schools in South Carolina and North Carolina to stand on campus and hand out flyers, including Clemson, where he plans to be next week during USC’s spring break.

When he is not on Greene Street or on another college campus, Hallman can often be found playing a round of golf in Columbia. He enjoys being able to walk the course and pray, he said, and he appreciates the humbling aspect of the game.

“I like the challenge about it ... you can go out one day and play like Tiger Woods and the next day like you never had [a club] in your hand,” he joked.

Hallman also frequents the Statehouse grounds, where he walks every morning and prays for the government and its leaders.

He prays for the school, too, and he truly cares about the students of USC, he said.

“When I’m standing there, I’m standing there because I really care about you all. I think of you young people as my own children,” Hallman said. “I can’t think of nothing better to be doing. I love the people.”