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Some of your Best Ministry Is Just Being There

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ (1 Cor. 11:1).

In my last article, I shared how an elder named Paul Ayers impacted my life. I’d like to continue with the theme by telling you about my preacher. His name was Marion Henderson and he was fairly well known throughout Lincoln Christian University, where I serve as director of church ministries. His full time job was teaching at Lincoln, as well as coaching basketball and baseball.

But for 25 years he preached at our country church almost every weekend. For the first 17 years of my life, he was the only preacher I ever had. And to be honest, I had no idea he was a “big deal.” He was simply my preacher.

I don’t remember many of Marion’s sermons. I do remember a lot of the stories he told (which is probably why I tend to tell stories when I preach). And I remember that he was a constant presence in my life. I remember when I was about 11 or 12 years old, playing summer baseball. I looked out to where my parents were sitting and saw Marion sitting in a lawn chair.

He had driven from Lincoln just to see one of my games.

I remember the Sunday when I was 10 years old and he lowered my skinny body into the cold water of that unheated baptistery. I remember the night at church camp when I went forward at campfire and Marion was the one who put his arm around me, and after a brief discussion, told the campers that I was going to go to Bible College and full-time Christian service.

I remember the day I knelt before the elders of my home church and Marion preached my ordination. And when my Dad passed away, it was Marion who preached his funeral message.

Sometimes I think as ministers and church leaders, we overcomplicate ministry. We work hard on sermons, lessons, and strategies—and we should.

But a lot of ministry is simply showing up and being there.

That is what people remember as the years go by. I’m thankful for a preacher named Marion Henderson who was always there for me.

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