I was reading Said at Southern the other day and come across a post where he was writing about mentoring and the one man who took an interest and the time to mentor him. This reminded me of how blessed I have been, all the other men who are writing on this blog have served as mentors to me. And I wanted to take some time to thank them for the time and energy that they invested in me, and also to introduce them to folks at my church who read our blog.
John Lucas was the first real Christian I ever met who was my age. When I met John I was simply another American kid lost in the postmodern mindset and in love with materialism. Yet in John I was confronted with a man who believed in things that were much firmer than I. He had meaning in his life in a way that was completely foreign to me. John was the first person that I ever remember sharing the Gospel with me. It was through his intentional friendship that I became a Christian. Then he began to teach me and model for me the Christian life. John showed that truth matters and he helped turn my love of reading into an edifying habit of reading theology. And since this time John has continued as an ever present friend and support. He is always there for me, he will probably object but I still see him as a mentor, a guy a little further down the road than me with much still to teach me. John I thank you for investing your life and time in me, I hope that God will use that investment to bless you, me, and others.
Josh Owen I met at the Home Depot where we were both employed, he was also one of my graders (Josh has just finished his Phd) but the first time I spoke to him was at the home depot. We began talking about books and ministry and before I knew it Josh was gone, he had taken a pastorate in Owen County. Later I ran into him on campus and he asked me to give him a resume and it led to me becoming the youth pastor at the church he pastored. There at Richland Baptist Church I learned about preaching by seeing him preach, I went on my first home (and hospital) visit with him. We read books and discussed theology. I saw him parenting small children as a pastor, I saw him be a husband as a pastor, I got to be with his family during their time of family worship. Josh opened his heart, family, ministry and his mind to me in ways that are rare. Josh I thank you for being patient with me and my inexperience. I learned as much at Richland serving with you as I did in my seminary classes. You helped me put the theoretical into a practical framework. Josh I thank you.
Mark Helton (who has not yet posted due to some family needs) is a man I got to know when I came to Sidney. Mark and I pastor churches about twenty minutes apart and we discovered that we share a lot of the same convictions and bad taste in movies (John, he knows what going monk means). So we have gotten to know each other and Mark has spent time talking with me and sharing his experience with me in ways that he certainly doesn’t have to. But it is a blessing to have a like-minded pastor so close to me who can share his wisdom with me. Mark thank you for being willing to share with me and invest hours in me that are hard to come by. I look forward to serving with you on this end of Pike County for years to come.
I am a blessed man. Most men in ministry do have the luxury of such wise counselors. Most men in their formative years do not have such influences guiding them toward truth and faithfulness to Christ. Men I thank you and pray that your tribe may increase. I pray that I may be a Paul to a young timothy that you were and are my Paul’s. Members of Sidney these are the other men who are contributing to this blog, I pray that you will listen to their words, because I have and will continue to.