Monday, June 11, 2007


"The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers...." (1 Corinthians 3:8-9a).

Ever so often, somebody will ask me, "Who has been the most influential minister in your life?" I have a difficult time with that question, because the answer for me is, "whoever I happen to come into contact with at any given moment." I glean, yea, siphon things from every ministerial leader with whom I come into contact. I learn different things from different teachers. From some, I draw insight into content of a Biblical passage. From others, I learn by watching how they conduct their ministries. And from others, I draw validation that maybe I'm not such an oddball after all! Some have stuck in my heart from my days as a senior pastor. Others have encouraged me as a children's minister. And others have fired my passion for pure study and research. So narrowing down such a company is a daunting task.

But having said that, I made a list of pastors, teachers, and leaders who have probably had a bigger impact on my life than most. What is my criteria? Uhhhh, well, it's pretty subjective. I'm sure there are men on the list that, during some other month, would have been included. Did they give me a direction in my life and ministry? Did they influence my personal philosophy of ministry? Did they intervene at a time when I had a deep need? Do I like their style? It's my humble opinon the whole way.

Today's post will feature men (and one woman) I know personally. These have had more of a direct influence on my life. The next post will feature some prominent, nationally known individuals whose books and broadcasts have helped me (and even then, there is overlap in that I have met and interacted with some of them).

Okay, enough disclaimers....on with the list.....

TEN WHO PERSONALLY INFLUENCED MY LIFE AND MINISTRY (in absolutely no particular order)

1. Phil MacIntosh--As the pastor of my home church in Colorado, Phil took a special interest in teens. He became a mentor and helped me understand what I felt was God's calling to the ministry. He gave up part of his vacation to drive me to San Diego for my freshman year of college. Discipleship ministries often refer to "Paul and Timothy" relationships. I think that sums it up.
2. Walter Flescher--the pastor who baptized me. He was an older preacher who came out of retirement to lead our home church B.P. (before Phil). Quiet dignity, strength, and humor that came from experience. I was stunned when he very nearly called down God's wrath on the school district for teaching sex education in the schools.
3. Jackie Wann--my first Sunday School teacher. wasn't until I was an adult that I could appreciate Jackie's volunteer spirit. She studiously prepared each lesson, drove the church bus, and even led the youth group. I never once heard her complain. As I got older, she even gave me a taste of children's ministry by letting me teach a third grade group at Vacation Bible School.
4. Wally Lundquist--the Honorable Wallace Lundquist was an attorney and later a judge, but to the kids, teens, and adults at church, he was Wally. A giant of a man, with a deep baritone voice, Wally could make the Scriptures come to life as he taught. But he also freely gave of himself to whoever had need.
5. Richard Niessen--it was tough picking a college instructor from my days at Christian Heritage College (now known as San Diego Christian College) because all of them exerted a great influence in one way or another. But Mr. Neissen was the apologetics and Bible instructor, whose deadpan delivery and in-depth knowledge captivated me early in my college career and fired up a love for Christian evidences.
6. Don Brown--he was my best friend's dad, but also a gifted lay minister. His wit, wisdom, and recollections can be enjoyed on his devotional site Parson Don's Garden.
7. Glenn Solum--this amazing man of God probably shook hands or had acquaintence with so many "big names" in Christianity, yet he himself was not well known. Glenn worked with Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators, and brought his discipleship skills to his ministry. He was the pastor of the "Family Bible Church of Orange County" (no longer in existence), my girlfriend's home church. Glenn encouraged me, gave me preaching opportunities, and recommended me for ordination.
8. Rick Lunsford--I didn't know Rick very long, but the brief time our paths intersected was incredible. Combining a deep passion for the Lord with an incredible enthusiasm and energy, Rick served as the assistant pastor of Family Bible (under Glenn Solum) before the Lord led him to Idaho to plant "Family Bible Church of Idaho Falls." Rick was on my ordination council and subjected me to some pretty intense "grilling." :-) Nowadays, Rick is involved in Gratefully Grafted ministries, a Jewish-Gentile reconciliation group.
9. Warren Cuppy--after Rick Lunsford left for Idaho, the church brought on Warren as assistant pastor. Warren wasn't in that position long, as Glenn Solum had started suffering the effects of a brain tumor. Warren and I spent a lot of time together, sharpening each other's theological skills and encouraging one another . "Cup" eventually became the pastor of Family Bible in Orange County and then later moved on to a church in Idaho.
10. Dick Bull--my current pastor. If you were to look in a dictionary for the word "pastor", I wouldn't be surprised to see his picture. Pastors love the church as a rule, but Pastor Dick loves the people in the church. His continuous encouragement has been a personal blessing through my time at EPCBC.

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