I grew up on the Alabama Gulf Coast and love it. But it’s a little more than just loving it, it’s in my blood. The majority of my earliest memories are of water skiing up and down the canal, fishing off the coast of Orange Beach, shrimping in Perdido Bay, and sitting at the end of our pier drinking coffee and watching beautiful sunsets with my family.
I’ve got an old black and white photo of my father-in-law, Wilkerson V. Jones, standing next to Babe Ruth, one of baseball’s greatest players. Ruth of course, went on to baseball immortality and is among the sport’s pantheon of stars.
But in my book, Wilkerson went on to immortality too. His legacy is revealed in the lives he positively affected, including me. The interesting connection between Ruth and Wilkerson is that they both grew up in boys’ homes. Both had rough starts to life and it was effectively at a boys home where their lives took a turn for the better. It was people investing in them that made a difference. Continue reading “Don’t Forget Tennessee’s ‘Least of These’”→
On Feb. 18, 1952, the S.S. Pendleton was caught in a brutal winter storm generating 60-foot waves that slammed into the 500-foot tanker. The seas became so intense that it split the ship in two. The captain and six others were in the forward part of the ship; the other 32 in the aft as the two sections began drifting apart.
When the distress call came into the Coast Guard station, the station’s commander turned to a 24-year-old Bernie Webber and told him to take a boat out and attempt a rescue. Webber asked for volunteers who would go. Three other men, all younger than Webber, quickly stepped forward. Continue reading “This Could Be Our Finest Hour”→
Wilkerson V. Jones would’ve turned 100 this coming July 4th. He was well known all over Mobile, Ala. It seemed as if he knew everybody and everybody knew him.
He is a member of the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame, was active in his church, and was tall, handsome and distinguished. A southern gentleman in every way, married to the same woman for well over half a century, and together with Ms. Juanita, they raised nine children.
I had few personal encouragers like Mr. Jones. It seemed as if no one was more interested in the church I was pastoring in Tennessee than this man in Alabama. He read everything I wrote and provided feedback, whether I asked for it or not. He examined every word of the church newsletter and even called me one day and asked what “bulk rate” meant. Continue reading “The Impact of an Orphan”→
The 2016 U.S. presidential election was quite a spectacle! During the primaries, the Republicans seemed to get a new candidate every day. Then there was the general election campaign to elect the new President!
You don’t want your process of selecting Sunday school leaders to look like that!
Sunday school leaders should be enlisted not elected. Nominating committees work diligently to enlist volunteers for various positions of leadership in the church. A few Sunday school classes actually elect their teacher. The teacher of these classes often accept the task of teaching, but will they cooperate with church leaders to understand Sunday school as a strategy for growing the church? Continue reading “Seven Steps to Enlisting Sunday School Leaders”→
Tony Evans told a story about lying in bed and noticing a crack in the ceiling. He calls a painter and the painter repairs the crack and repaints. A few months later, Tony looks up and notices the crack had reappeared. A little annoyed, he calls the painter and he once again repairs the crack and repaints. A few more months go by and the crack again reappears. This time Tony calls a different painter. The painter observes the damaged ceiling and says he can’t help. Tony asks him, “What do you mean? You’re a painter!” The painter replies that, of course, he could repair the crack and repaint, but that isn’t the problem. The problem is that the house’s foundations are shifting. Continue reading “Four Foundations to Grow a Great Sunday School”→
Imagine the scene as the Farr family arrives at church. Mr. Farr goes to a men’s Sunday school class on the third floor of the building. Mrs. Farr says, “I’ll meet you in the worship center after Sunday school” and turns down the preschool hallway, where she teaches a class of 3-year-olds. Molly, 14, heads to the second floor for the youth class, and Joseph, the third-grade son, runs in a different direction for his class. And this is a church that promotes itself as being a family-friendly church. Continue reading “15 Steps to Becoming a Family-Friendly Church”→