pastor: n. a Christian minister; a shepherd
(#3 in a 22-part series)
To understand what’s going on with this series, read the intro to the first installment (posted Mon., Oct. 2).
Jerry Hurst. Jerry became the Westside Church’s associate minister roughly around the time I became a Christian (1976) and we became fast friends. He was also the director of a school of Bible and preaching* he had begun and, in fact, soon became Westside’s pulpit minister. Needless to say, he had a full plate.
And yet, I will tell you that few men in my life have ministered as powerfully to me as Jerry Hurst. How so? Primarily in three ways: (1) making time for me, (2) persisting in patient listening as I peppered him with a seemingly endless stream of questions and newborn babble, and (3) like an offensive tackle opening up all kinds of big and little doors of challenge and opportunity for me over and over and over again, he’d blast a hole in the line and then, in effect, tell me to run for daylight.
Four decades have passed and, at this moment, I can only recall a very few of the questions I ever posed him (i.e – what do you see I can do to help around here?; what on earth is Matthew 24 about?; and what are some good books I’d do well to read and own?), but his patience with me I will never, ever forget. He was patience personified. The way he’d roll his eyes at me whenever I’d always (rudely) barge in on him unannounced, gently shake his head, ask me what on earth it was that I wanted this time, give me that trademark Jerry Hurst smile, and then tell me (sometimes) to sit down, all the while knowing full well that whatever was about to happen was not going to be over with quickly.
LOL. Good times … that no doubt cost him way more time than I could have ever imagined at the time. Jerry was the first preacher I ever knew that I would come to know really well and refer to as “friend.”
Thank you, my friend, for investing much time in me and shepherding me in so many ways. Father God, do bless my friend in all ways and forever. Amen.
[ * The Westside School of Bible & Preaching was a three-year school in Duncan, OK, meeting all day long on Saturdays. I enrolled in WSBP in Jan. 1978 with no intent whatsoever of preaching, but simply to try to grow a bit as a Christian. However, by the time I early- graduated from WSBP (May 1980), I had been engaged in fill-in and part-time preaching on a virtually every week basis for close to a year. It was Jerry who first got me up to preach a sermon to a church and until Jan. 1980, every time I spoke with any church, anywhere, had been by his arrangement. ]