Pastor Perry: The Face of Discipleship
In my high school days I mowed lawns in order to have some spending cash to hang out with my friends, which means buying cd’s and movie tickets. One of my customers was a retired pastor and sailor named Ed Perry, but I could never get myself to call him anything but Pastor Perry. He could have easily had me mow his lawn, pay me, and go on with the rest of his day.
THAT'S NOT WHAT PASTOR PERRY DID THOUGH, HE SAW A YOUNG MAN MOWING HIS LAWN AS ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY FROM GOD.
You see Pastor Perry was a compassionate man. He knew that I wanted to follow the Lord’s leading into ministry. So he did something that no one had ever done for me before. He discipled me. For years, every other Saturday I would mow his lawn, then after he would invite me into his dining room, give me a Vernors (my now favorite soda in the world), and have a Bible study with me. I would ask him questions about what I was learning in God’s Word and he would answer them with wisdom and wit. We would shoot the breeze and just talk. He would tell me stories of his time in ministry and in the Navy. Here’s this retired veteran and pastor befriending me - a teenager in high school.
As a young guy that made a big impression on me. No one else showed that type of attention in me, but he did. He probably had better things to do, other people to tell stories to, but he spent hours with me every other week. He invested in me. I’m sure I wasn’t the most interesting kid to talk to a lot of the time, but he cared about what I said and asked. Even after high school, every summer Pastor Perry would call and ask me over. The last time I saw him, I remember telling him about my ministry as a youth pastor and seeing him smile. I remember laughing with him about the stubbornness of youth group kids. And I remember him telling me how much He was looking forward to seeing His Savior face to face. This past week, Pastor Perry went Home to be with that Savior he loved so much. Although I will miss his friendship, I’ll never forget the lessons I learned from Pastor Perry. He has impacted me as a Christian, a husband, a father, and a pastor.
Why? Because he took the time out of his week to invest in some random teenager. He lived out what He believed. He was a discipler.
Every Christian is called to make disciples. Discipleship is more than a class you take after getting saved. It’s a relationship. Here’s a definition for you, discipleship is the progressive relationship between a teacher and a pupil for the spiritual growth of both. So first, one must have a relationship with another Christian and then you invest in that person so that both of you can become more like Christ. Discipleship can vary in appearance from Bible studies, hanging out, to just deliberate talks. Pastor Perry understood that and discipled a kid mowing his lawn. He made an impact on me to make me more like Christ and I made an impact on him. That's discipleship. What about you? Who are disicpling? Who are you investing in? Who is investing in you?
Look around, who has God placed in your life that you can influence to serve Christ better? Is there someone at work that you have a relationship with that you could encourage in the faith? Is there a friend or family member that has asked you some spiritual questions? Is there a teenager mowing your lawn? Take advantage of every opportunity for discipleship.
Be like Pastor Perry, you never know what the Lord will do through that discipling relationship.