We asked 35 Christian leaders, “Who is the influencer with the biggest impact on your life and ministry?” Most of these leaders listed several influential thinkers, writers, innovators, and leaders more of us should get to know. This response is from Bob Russell, retired senior minister of Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Kentucky.
Those who have most significantly influenced my thinking in recent years would be:
Ben Merold, retired minister, Harvester Christian Church, St. Charles, Missouri. I’ve learned a lot from observing Ben’s ministries and am thankful we’ve become close friends while conducting mentoring retreats together. At age 88, Ben’s joyful, energetic, and commonsense leadership inspires me to finish strong.
Al Mohler, president, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky. Since the passing of Chuck Colson, I consider Al Mohler Evangelical Christianity’s most articulate spokesman. Although I disagree with some of his Calvinistic views, we are friends and I admire his unwavering stand for the inerrancy of God’s Word and his clear biblical worldview. His book, The Conviction to Lead, is a great read.
Fred Craddock, distinguished professor of preaching. There’s no one I’d rather hear talk about preaching and storytelling than the late Dr. Fred Craddock. He understood what made preaching effective and was always able to communicate his thoughts in a captivating, convicting, and humorous way. I mourn his passing.
Bob Shannon, retired Christian church minister. The most concise and clear sermon writer I know. I’ve long admired Bob’s talent as a wordsmith and orator. Hearing him preach always inspires me to work harder at sermon writing.
Matthew Sleeth, former emergency room doctor and chief of staff at a New England hospital. Dr. Sleeth and his wife, Nancy, were converted to Christ a decade ago, left their affluent, hectic lifestyle, and now dedicate their lives to leading others to the Lord. Author of, 24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life and Hope for Creation Guidebook: Part One (Blessed Earth), Matthew has helped me look in a fresh way at the need for a weekly Sabbath and the need to be a good steward of the earth’s resources. Dr. Sleeth is one of those people who looks at Scripture with unconventional eyes and sees things most of us have overlooked. He is a brilliant thinker who always challenges my thinking.