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 Rick Grover, senior pastor of East 91st Street Christian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Wayne Smith, retired minister from Lexington, Kentucky: Wayne is a lifelong friend who taught me that our commission to love and serve people always trumps my own agenda or strategic plan.
Leonard Wymore, retired NACC executive director, Johnson City, Tennessee: Leonard and my grandfather were best friends, and I sat in Leonard and Thelma’s home many times just listening to the ongoing discussions about the Christian church/church of Christ movement. Leonard taught me to value the legacy of our movement by keeping its principles moving forward for future generations.
Alan Ahlgrim, retired pastor and current director of pastor care and leadership development with Blessing Ranch, Tampa, Florida. I’m in a “pastors covenant group” led by Alan, and I’ve watched him serve and lead for many years now. Alan has shown me the vital importance of “soul care” for long-term sustainability in the ministry.
Fred Norris, retired professor, Johnson City, Tennessee: Fred was my main professor at Emmanuel Christian Seminary, and he modeled how a brilliant academician can still connect with and care for people. Though I am not brilliant and not much of an academician, it has been good to see how pastoral ministry is not antithetical to “book smarts.”
W. F. Lown, former president of Manhattan (Kansas) Christian College: “Bill” Lown was my grandfather, and he served in Christian leadership for more than 50 years. He helped me see who you are behind closed doors will often determine the strength and reach of your public ministry. He was a man of consistent integrity in both the private and public realms.