pastor: n. a Christian minister; a shepherd
(#1 in a 22-part series)
So it is that October is Pastor Appreciation Month. And so, each weekday this month (twenty-two days) I have resolved to pen a paragraph or two of heart-felt appreciation for what I perceive to be some specific and singular work of good shepherding of my soul performed by a preaching minister I have known within the heritage of Churches of Christ.
This list is, of course, quite incomplete; there are many other names I could add and the absence of a name in this series should not be construed as meaning anything but simply silence. It is rather random, too; the names that will appear are certainly not “ranked,” nor even merely in chronological order. Some of them have long since passed on; others still live in the flesh. In a sense, and in many instances, these preachers don’t even share a great deal in common with each other on a number of specific doctrines and beliefs; they cut no small swath across the theological spectrum. However, they do share this much in common: I knew them well (as in face-to face and over a significant period of time), they influenced and blessed my walk in Christ in some very real and practical ways, and so, I am deeply, spiritually indebted to them.
First up: Hubert Plumlee. Hubert was the first preacher I can say that I ever really “knew” and our connection came to be when I was midway thru high school,* indeed, before I ever started “going to church” as we say; before I was even a Christian. Looking back at how we met, I now perceive it as “the providence of God,” but in the eyes of the yet-to-believe, the encounter would certainly qualify as “pure, chance.” And while I could mention many things about him, I will note this one thing here: he believed the best about me. He trusted me in big and small ways and he didn’t have to tell me so; he made it that clear. He seemed to have a confidence in me that I did not have about myself by any stretch of the imagination. And that was huge to me at that time; gigantic I tell you. And so, for believing in me, Hubert, believing in me more than I believed in myself – for planting in me some sense of worth – I thank you, and thank God for you still to this day.
[ * – I first met Hubert in my hometown (Duncan, OK) when he was preaching with the Eastside Church in Duncan. Coincidentally, he also preached for a time with the Lakewood Church in Baytown, TX (though I can’t recall if that was right before or after his time in Duncan) and I now preach with the Missouri Street Church in Baytown. ]