Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Thank You, Friend

Someone once told me, “Tom Logue is too nice a guy to be a state director of student work.” Tom Logue passed away on Saturday in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was a nice guy and a Christian gentleman. He was one of the most genuine people I have ever known. The phrase “what you see is what you get” applied to Tom.

Tom was part of what we call “the greatest generation.” They were great not just because they won the Second World War but because they went on to rebuild the world and bring fresh vision to a denomination. For one example, Tom is representative of those Baptist men and women who took a stand on the side of human rights in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He was state director of Baptist student work (campus ministry) in Arkansas when Central High School in Little Rock was integrated. When the state student convention met in Jonesboro that year, the students passed (with only one dissenting vote) this resolution:

“We believe that the Christian position in the matter of race relations includes the teaching and example of Jesus regarding the worth of all individuals . . . and abstaining from and discouraging violence in the settlement of any differences.”

Tom was mentor and colleague to me in many ways. He modeled care and concern for those he supervised as a state leader. He had the ability to call out and encourage the best in those with whom he worked. On denominational and social issues, he was not afraid to take unpopular stands but he always did it in such a way that his opponents had a difficult time being offended! Tom encountered loss and grief in this own life, and he was candid about his struggles and the lessons he learned in those trials.

After retiring from Arkansas Baptist State Convention, Tom became founding coordinator of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas. He used his relational networks and personal prestige in the state to give the new organization a boost. When I was considering a similar move in Tennessee, I drove to Little Rock to meet with Tom and seek his insight (and perhaps a blessing). As always, he was encouraging and helpful to a younger colleague. His vision and passion was contagious.

There are not many like Tom left, but their influence lives on through family, friends, colleagues, and former students. At times of loss like this, I stop and give thanks for those who have blessed my life—people like Tom Logue.

1 comment:

Mike Young said...

Thanks for sharing your memories of Tom Logue. I didn't know him well. However, he is part of one of my best memories from my time as a collegiate minister. Myself and 3 other colleagues from various colleges in Louisiana were traveling to Oxford, MS to attend an annual peer gathering one summer in the mid 1990s. We stopped at the airport in Jackson, MS to pick up Tom Logue and W. F Howard (long time State Director of Baptist Student ministries in Texas. Dr. Howard also taught many of us at Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth).

We spent the next 3+ hours listening to their stories from many years of challenging, encouraging and ministering to college students. Their humor was contagious, their wisdom was inspiring, and their genuine love of college students apparent in every story. I think of the profound influence leaders such as Tom had on generations of students. My life was absolutely changed by collegiate ministry. I serve in ministry today specifically because of the influence of men and women like Tom Logue. He will be missed. I echo your last paragraph.