“For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers” (I Corinthians 4:15).
Paul was writing to express his desire that younger ministers have a deeper appreciation for those who have labored before them for the cause of Christ. Having completed a course at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary concerning our Pentecostal heritage, allow me to name a few names of the father figures who have helped me in my earlier years in the ministry.
First, there was Marvin Cavanaugh, the director of Teen Challenge of Memphis, who led me to Christ and mentored me in 1971-1972. At Trinity Bible College, I was further instructed by a dynamic Bible teacher, Paul Davidson, whose deep love for the Word of God and for his dear wife, laid the foundation for my ministry today. In 1981, God allowed us to serve under the awesome pastoral leadership of Ernie Moen while I taught at Christian Life Bible College in Rockford, Illinois.
Now, as members of Phoenix First Assembly these past 15 years, Doris and I have experienced our greatest spiritual growth and blessing. Tommy Barnett, our pastor and friend, has continued to encourage and to bless us with his teaching, integrity, focus, love and mentoring. My children came to grow and become strong for the Lord under the ministry of our beloved Pastor Tommy. He has been a true father figure to us all, exemplifying the heart of Jesus throughout these years. Because of his dedication to solid Bible-teaching, both of our children are fervently serving the Lord today. Pastor Tommy has helped many thousands of men and women to grow stronger in Christ, as a true father figure should, and he has done it with an enthusiasm and vision beyond any man I’ve ever known.
So, value the men that God brings into your life who have helped you grow spiritually. American society today has too few fathers who are effective role models. Pray right now for these men. Ask God to bless them and give them the strength and wisdom to mentor and to bless the young women and men who cross their path.
“What I’ve committed to you, commit the same to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (II Timothy 2:2).