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My very dear friends,

The scene is a fellowship gathering after evening worship at The Bible Church of Little Rock in the mid-1980s. An angry young man, donut in hand and bee in bonnet, approaches an elder and, with an edgy undertone, asks what the elders are doing to train the next generation of leaders. The elder furrows his brow, nods his head, and walks away.

A few minutes later the elder returns, brow still fixed in furrows, and asks the restless young man, “What are you doing at 6:00 Saturday morning?”

The following Saturday, and every Saturday after that for the next year, I drove the still-empty streets of Little Rock to Cedric’s house, where we sat together and talked through a chapter of John’s Gospel and the weighty things of life.
It was just what I needed. It was my first regular, personal, extended, one-on-one discipleship at the feet of an older man. Cedric took me under his nurturing and protective wing to the point that he traveled with me to Jackson to visit RTS—to see for himself whether this might be the seminary for his young charge.

My next taste of mentoring was under Randy Martin, the Senior Pastor of UPC with whom I worked in Las Cruces. My first day on the job we drove to El Paso to visit a man in the ICU who had caused someone’s death in a head-on collision. (This was not part of the Pastoring 101 syllabus at seminary.) Over the next year Randy welcomed me at his side in a ministry medley—from premarital counseling, to pumping iron while memorizing scripture, to pastoral visitation, to leading youth and young adult camps, to comforting the grieving—with debrief and reflection after each encounter.

John Pickett succeeded Randy and took a collegial approach with me. We shared ministry and responsibility, and we philosophized and dreamed and planned and solved problems together. His experience and maturity led the way, but he joyfully listened to the not-quite-so-angry-nor-young man and shared his vocation with me.

In Slovakia many years later, I served with John Lesondak, a Schaefferian doppelganger with considerable savoir-faire who became an invaluable resource as I bumped up against thorny strategic, cultural, bureaucratic, and relational roadblocks. No matter what stumper I laid before him, he always gave me novel and creative ways to think it through.

I mention these fathers and brothers who shaped my life and work the past 40 years not only as a tribute to them and to ask you to thank God with me for them, but because, as I’ve reflected on the boon they’ve been to me, I’ve wondered how much of this is happening in the church these days. I had the privilege in Slovakia of playing the Old Man with young men in Trnava, Nitra, Košice, and Bratislava (and still meet with many of these lads on Zoom); but I’m curious about the mentoring scene on this side of the world.

So, please write to tell me about your experience: Who has mentored you? Who are you mentoring? How is it going? And what’s happening in your church? Are young Christians gathered under the wings of more-mature believers in some sort of mentoring-matchmaker service? Does it just happen serendipitously? Is it prompted by a brash question from someone eating a donut? Please let me know.

And, again, thank God for Cedric, Randy, John, and John.

*

A miracle occurred.

It came about this way: I was asked to consider teaching a class at our church in Bryan, and I whimsically counter-offered to lead a discussion group through George Hebert’s poetry. Remember, I’m in Aggieland, and I’m pretty sure A&M doesn’t stand for Alliteration & Metaphor. And although I prepared for the first session, I also prepared to listen to the crickets while people stayed away in droves.

Imagine my stupefaction when not one, not two, but ten of us sat around the table talking about Holy Mr. Herbert and his poems. And it wasn’t just me talking: all contributed, and, if I read them right, they enjoyed it. And not only did they come back the second week, but they seem content to keep at it as we walk through his carefully crafted collection of poems, The Temple.

Please pray for this little band of brothers and sisters: Thank God for them, of course, as I do. And let the title of Herbert’s book of poems guide your prayers: The Temple is where God meets his people. It’s the place to get to know him, to worship him, to enjoy him. Herbert’s poems create just such a space. So please ask God to lead us toward him, into his presence, into adoration and delight in him, through Herbert’s lines.

*

God has another gift in store for us in March: Jana, one of our first friends in Trnava, and who was part of the church plant in Bratislava where we served our last two years there, is coming to Aggieland. Cue the music!

*

Paula said to tell you that you are amazing. You are.

*

Now may our great God and Lord, Jesus Christ, gather you under his mothering wing: may he through his more fully-fledged saints sanctify, cultivate, and ripen you, till you bear fruit thirty-, sixty-, and a hundredfold, so that you will be able to nurture others, for the glory of Christ and his people with him. Amen

Kris (for Paula)

PS: I love books.
George Herbert: Love (III) George Herbert: Love (III)
The Enemy Within at Audible The Enemy Within at Audible
Copyright © 2022 Kris Lundgaard, All rights reserved.


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