Saturday, April 14, 2012

In Memoriam

Seven people have served as coordinator of the Tennessee Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in its 20 year history—Lloyd Householder, Bill Junker, Monty Jordan, Lila Boyd, Don Dixon, Terry Maples, and myself. Three of these friends have gone on to be with the Lord during the past year—Lloyd, Bill, and Monty. Last night at the 20th anniversary meeting of the Tennessee CBF General Assembly, I had the opportunity to lead the congregation in a time of remembrance for these three leaders.

I was privileged to know all of these men and call them friends before they became part of the CBF movement.  I first met Bill Junker when I was a college student.  We later became colleagues in collegiate ministries, and he asked me to write my first published work for The Student magazine.  Lloyd Householder, an innovative and creative communicator for Baptist causes, was also a committed denominational statesman who tackled big projects like Mission 70, a young adult conference that pulled together the resources of many agencies. Monty Jordan served as pastor and leader in Tennessee Baptist life.  I always looked forward to seeing him and Diane at Executive Board meetings at Brentwood.

Each brought their unique gifts to a cause they loved—the work of free and faithful Baptists.  Their examples and commitment have been an encouragement to all of us who have followed them.  As I think about the future of Tennessee Cooperative Baptist Fellowship specifically and CBF generally, I wonder what advice they would give as we begin our third decade?  I don’t know what they would say, but humor me as I speculate a bit.

I think that Bill Junker would tell us, “Remember ‘the least of these’ as you plan your ministry.”  Bill never sought a fight, but he did not shrink from one.  He would want us to be prophetic and bold.  He loved people and responded to their need.

Lloyd Householder would pat us on the shoulder and tell us, “Don’t be afraid to try something new.”  Lloyd displayed a quiet and confident willingness to step out in faith and embrace ideas that would move the church forward.  He was not afraid of the new or untried.

Monty Jordan would remind us, “Caring community is important.”  To the best of my knowledge, Monty was the only one of these three men who spent most of his life in the pastorate.  He cared for people, walked alongside them during times of need, and brought that same compassion to the work of Tennessee Baptists.  He would remind us to care for one another.

As I think back, I realize that all of these men shared these characteristics: quiet confidence, strong integrity, and caring spirit.  They enriched my life and the CBF movement.  We would do well to remember and embody the strengths they brought to CBF.

“Thank you, God, for these faithful servants who stood tall for Baptists.  Thank you for the encouragement and support they gave to me and others who have accepted the baton from them.  We thank you for your lives, their gifts, and their impact on us.  And we thank you for the wives and families who stood alongside them.  Lloyd, Bill, and Monty are worthy to hear these words from you:  ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Amen.”

No comments: