This is the final week for my doctoral cohort to meet together as one whole group. So I wanted to give a shout out to these wonderful people who have helped me grow, learn, and become a better follower of Christ.
First, the name “Habladores.” In Spanish, it means “people who talk too much.” Lorie made the comment that she had never been around so many men that talked as much as we did. Thus the name stuck.
Here are just a bit about these fine folks, going left to right.
Jon– Pastor, Dayton Ave. Bapt. Church in Xenia, OH. He is married to Sarah and they have two daughters. Jon is a former computer programmer who entered the ministry after spending several years in the business world. He is a Pastor’s pastor. Calm, funny, compassionate, and has truly been an amazing encourager to me personally. Jon is leading a vibrant church and has had to battle tremendous time crunches to do both school and ministry. But he has flourished.
Bob– Bob was only with us for a short while before he left Tullahoma, TN for Florida to take a pastorate. Bob was very articulate and made a huge impact on the group in a short amount of time. Bob loved turning any conversation back to ministry and making Jesus’ name great.
Kevin– Assoc. Pastor, Lynwood BC, Cape Giradeau, MO. Kevin comes from the Christian counseling world. We both are SWBTS grads (as are a couple others). Kevin sees people as they really are. He loves baseball and his wonderful family. Kevin and I got to go watch marching bands together one night. Kevin has shown that leadership comes in different forms and people. His style is to lead from his heart and through grace and love.
Lorie– MissionFuge Camps Director, Lifeway. Lorie is sharp, passionate, and a consummate professional. Being the only lady in our group has made for some interesting discussions and moments. But Lorie has always proven she can run with the big dogs. Usually she was outpacing us. Her desire for missions, community involvement, and service led our whole group to serve together at Sojourn Church in Louisville. Lorie got it all organized then picked up the paint brush and showed us how to lead and serve.
Joe– Pastor, FBC Littlefield, TX. As a former teacher and coach, Joe brings a level of leadership to our group that is very obvious. Joe is an amazing scholar, prolific reader, and master writer, but he is also a pastor with a fervent heart for the Lord. Joe has the ability to form the tightest, most well-thought arguments, and then talk college football like you were sitting on the front porch. Joe has been our leader from the very beginning, even if he didn’t know it.
Raul– Spanish congregation pastor, FBC Flushing, NY. None of us will ever forget when Raul shared his thoughts on the homogeneous unit principle for church growth in a statement called “The Death of a Dream.” Raul loves multicultural ministry and he comes at it with vibrant passion and intellect. His wit is very quick and he loves to make you laugh. But when it comes to the Gospel and Christ’s church, Raul inspires you to believe we can have a taste of heaven, here on earth…every tribe, tongue, language, nation, all praising the King of Glory.
Ned– Pastor, FBC Bethany, MO. Ned served his country proudly in Desert Storm and in the trenches of youth ministry. Ned is absolutely hilarious. He has kept our group in stitches at many dinners. Yet after the humor, Ned is compassionate, loving, and has the biggest heart in any member of our group. Ned cares deeply for people and it shows in the way he loves his wonderful (growing) family and his wife and the rural church that many have forgotten.
Gary– Pastor, FBC Diana, TX. A man who loves motorcycles, cowboy boots, the Texas weather, and Letournea University. Gary loves to talk research and ask the tough questions about ministry. We have all observed Gary lead his church through an amazing re-visioning and change process. His demeanor is thoughtful, grace-filled, and inquisitive. Gary is a huge encourager to this group and has kept each of us going by consistent prayer and nudges to finish the race well.
Rob– Youth Pastor, Forest Hills Bapt. Church, Nashville, TN. Rob is like his mac computer. Edgy, technologically better, in-tune with the culture, capable of talking politics, sports, news, and ministry all in one sentence. He is definitely a thinker and a scholar. What I have learned the most from Rob is how to minister effectively to the changing culture we live in. He is a communicator and his passion for leadership and ministry shows through every nook and cranny of his being.
Waymond– Pastor, Fair Park Bapt. Church, West Monroe, LA. What can I say about Waymond? Waymond is creative. He is colorful. He is an encourager. He loves the Lord and His word, obvious in his marked up Bible and ability to make biblical illustrations to nearly any topic. He loves his wife, Rachel, and their children. He loves his church and seeing people come to faith. Waymond has challenged each of us to sit back and enjoy the ride, that really includes me. He bought my son, Isaac, a little monkey which he sleeps with every night. That is the kind of man Waymond is.
Clinton– Youth Pastor, The Chapel in North Canton, North Canton, OH. Clinton is one of the sharpest, most innovative and creative youth ministry practitioners I have ever met. He is articulate, poised, and has vision for what the church needs to become in the US. You just listen to Clinton speak about youth ministry and the missional focus of the church and you become engulfed in his passion and dreams. Clinton is man of vision and a man focused on his family. One day, we will all read about Clinton speaking boldly at a national conference or writing a best selling book. But he won’t do it for the accolades, he will be doing it to expand the Gospel to all peoples.
These are my friends. I am already missing our times together. I wish and pray God’s riches blessings on every one of them. You have all meant so much to me and this journey in my life.