My new church family had an overwhelming weekend. The Senior Pastor Emeritus of First Baptist in Carrollton, Dr. Wayne Allen, passed away last Monday. Though I never met the man, I’ve learned quite a lot about Dr. Allen. Enough to be profoundly in his debt for raising a leadership at FBCC that has hearts and minds focused on Christ and on His kingdom. I’m so very grateful to him for building a loving and welcoming church family where we can begin anew.
And I couldn’t help but think of other men of God who have made such a difference in my life. Like the man I consider my own Sr. Minister Emeritus, Dennis Slaughter, who led a growing church with a big heart for almost 30 years. But I see him as the man who wrote notes to each of my children in their first Bibles. With a hula-hoop around his middle or with ant antennae sticking out of his head. I can hear him deliver his lines in various musicals and sing the annual church picnic song. I don’t get to see him and his precious wife very often anymore, but I love every opportunity I have to give them both a big hug and let them know the depth of my appreciation.
He reminds me of another Sr. Minister, Rev. (Brother) John Schuler of Casa Linda United Methodist Church. I don’t remember much about his sermons, or even the activities of that little church in Dallas, but I remember his heart. And his smile. And the way he’d let us kids call him BJ.
I remember Stan Allcorn who performed our wedding, and Dr. David Hankins who baptized me, both at First Baptist Church in Commerce, Texas.
And then some other special ministers. Ron Key stands out, blessed with an amazing ability to lead worship and write church musicals. Keith Ferguson, anointed music minister of my new church who moves me with his talent and his heart for the Lord. Rodney Hull who made such a difference in my kids’ lives. Wes Wilkinson who has begun to challenge them with new inspiration. Robin Smith, who is as much dear friend as minister, yet his heart becomes completely exposed when he worships the Father. Weldon Gilmore who could pull off a singing dragonfly, yet speak in such depth as to draw tears, even his own.
My current Sr. Minister, Dr. Brent Taylor, reminds me a lot of Weldon and Denny. He talks to us, sharing from his heart. He has a passion for the Word and offers truth without apology. But he can also crack a joke with a totally straight face. He is such a delight to hear and I feel so blessed that God led us to our new church home.
I know I’ve focused mainly on men in the ministry who have made a difference in my life. This week leading up to Father’s Day is a perfect opportunity to herald other fellows who have meant so much to me!
I can start with my brother, Randy Starks. What a wonderful time when “Bubba” went from tormentor to best friend. And that he still remains. He and his family are some of my favorite people! His son Daniel and my son Richie inspire me, too, and not just with their laugh-a-minute personalities. Men of depth and strength, I can’t wait to see what God does with them.
I learned the true meaning of father watching my sweet hubby with his dad, Gerald. That man is the epitome of respect and humility, yet absolutely brilliant. And then there is sweet hubby. An amazing provider, an excellent father, a supportive encourager.
All of these men deserve honor for what they have done or are doing for the kingdom, and my sincerest gratitude for how they’ve touched my life.
Your turn. What men or women have blessed your heart? Leave a note of who they are and what they mean to you. Then drop them a line and let them know how much you appreciate them, too.