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The influence of friends

This week I am in Nashville at the Partner's Summit hosted by LifeWay Christian Resources in partnership with our baptist state conventions all across our nation. It is a time to collaborate together on how we can strengthen our relationship and help serve churches in their mission of making disciples.

Last evening I ran into a dear friend Darryl Wilson, who serves as a strategist for Ky with the Ky Baptist Convention. Before I knew it I was in conversation with 3 church partners, who serve with me on our team and with Darryl. Then it hit me. Each of us had a KY connection with Darryl that goes back to nearly 20 years of us serving as Education or Discipleship pastors in Ky churches. The common thread for each of us beyond LifeWay was a friend named Darryl Wilson.

from left to right:  PK, Jonathon, Darryl, Tommy, Fran

I though about that off and on all night. I thought about PK serving at Cedar Creek Baptist, Jonathon at Little Flock in Shepherdsville, myself at Pleasant Hill Baptist, and Fran when he served at Simpsonville. Between us four church partners we serve over 1000 churches, and each of us were influenced by Darryl. Darryl fostered a discipleship making network that allowed us the exposure to each other and developed friendships and bonds that are not easily broken. Darryl believed in investing in young guys. (Noted we are not young anymore). Darryl became and still is a vital part of my ministry.

It is un-telling how many men were equipped and mentored by Darryl. I know that my ministry path would look different if Darryl was not part of that story. I'm sure my LifeWay team would be different as well. We never know what investments people make in your life until you are face to face with it over the course of many years. For Darryl he was following what he saw in the scriptures with Jesus and the disciples, and Paul to Timothy, to name a couple of examples.

This has spurred me to be more intentional in my interactions with disciple-makers and church leaders. I want to give them the same attention that was given to me, I want to encourage others the same way that I had been encouraged. Ministry is lonely, people let you down, but true friends keep your eyes on the mission and they don't let you give up. So here's to you Darryl, PK, Jonathon and Fran. So thankful to serve with you guys.