• Dr. Andy and Renie Bowman

Listening, Hearing, and Helping Each Other

Many years ago I was a very young and inexperienced pastor of a little church in a small town. I certainly meant well and was struggling to do my very best, but I was overwhelmed by church issues and circumstances. It seemed I just couldn’t get a handle on what to do next, when to do it, and just exactly how to accomplish it. So it follows reason that my church was hurting under my leadership.

On a specific day I remember that I had prayed for divine guidance. Sometime later that same day, out of the blue I felt impressed to call the senior pastor of our state’s largest church. This man was definitely one of my heroes. Amazingly, my call was put through to him immediately. And instead of giving me a “big shot” brush-off, he listened patiently as I explained who I was and told him a little of my story. Eventually he asked me to come in to see him and told his secretary to make me an appointment.

That Man Listened

When the day of my appointment came, we met and I poured out my heart…and that man listened. Then he began to share some insights, some advice and at the end of our visit, he prayed for me. Over the next few years we became friends and kept in touch, meeting for coffee and counseling for a young wet-behind-the-ears preacher boy. This godly man became a mentor and a tremendous encouragement to me. He probably never really knew how much of an influence he was in my life.

I received word last week that my mentor…my friend…had stepped into the presence of God. I was saddened but at the same time I rejoiced that I had the privilege of knowing him and having his touch on my ministry.

Am I Helping?

Then I started wondering. Am I helping anyone else along the road of ministry? Am I a positive influence, taking the time to listen, advise and encourage? And now I am asking you, are you doing the same for someone in your life. Do you make time to assist others who are attempting to learn what you already know? Do you deliberately seek out ‘teachable moments’ where you can pass on a word of encouragement? I realize that you are probably not on staff of a church as a minister, but believe me, you have knowledge that you can put to positive use in the life of a family member, friend or a coworker.

I believe we all leave influence behind us. But the question is, is your influence encouraging and uplifting, or are you carping, negative and critical?

I am forever grateful for the impact made in my life by Dr. Bailey E. Smith. I was never the same after learning about pastoring from him. May I leave that same kind of legacy for others to come.

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