This month we are celebrating 40 years of Christian Ministry with my mentor, friend, colleague and leadership coach Dr. G. Ted Taylor. On April 17, 2011, Dr. Taylor will have served in faithful Christian ministry for 40 years.
I met Dr. Taylor during the fall semester of my sophomore year at CU (1996). I was in his Religion in Life class. I was dealing with my own call to ministry and that class helped solidify what I believed God was doing in my heart. Over Christmas break, I surrendered to the call of ministry and switched my major to Religious Education. Dr. Taylor became my adviser, mentor, professor and personal life coach. I spent hundreds of hours in his office talking life and ministry.
After I left CU in 1999, I kept in touch with Dr. Taylor all through seminary. His name was on every resume that went out to churches I was applying. He sent letters of recommendation to everything I asked. I called him often for counsel and encouragement as a new youth minister.
When we landed back in Northern KY in 2004 and I joined the CU Church Relations Council, I would see Dr. Taylor every year for the annual meeting on campus. Again, we would spend time talking ministry and life. I loved those visits because I got face-to-face time with my father in the faith.
And in 2008 when I was hired on at CU to take Dr. Taylor’s old position in Educational Ministries, our relationship blossomed even more. Now he was my colleague and coach in a new job with very different leadership dynamics. My success in the first couple years where basically his doing.
We have worked together on all kinds of projects. We talk about everything from marriage, ministry, church, students, parenting, and leadership trends. He and Ms. Sheri have adopted my family as their own. Our boys consider them their third set of grandparents. We have vacationed with them in TN.
Dr. Taylor is celebrating 40 years in ministry. He has a website where people are leaving him personal messages. Here was my message to my mentor, friend, pastor, professor, and father in the faith.
Words will never describe what Dr. Taylor has meant to my life. He has been a teacher, a mentor, a friend, a father-figure, an inspiration and a model of Christian leadership unlike any other. I consider his family, my family. I have been treated like his second son.
If ever there has been someone who has continually invested in me, Dr. Taylor is the one. He has pushed me further than I wanted to go and when I arrived at the finish line, he pushed me to go again.
I know I am not the same person since the day I met him back in 1996. During these 14 years of knowing each other, I have learned what it means to disciple another person by walking alongside a friend. Dr. Taylor has walked alongside of me for the entire journey and continues to teach me the ways of God by his words and example.
Dr. Taylor, Ms. Sheri, I love you with all my heart. Thank you for being faithful to give your lives away.