504 Java Profile

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

On Randy Johnson and Faithfulness in Ministry

My friend Randy Johnson has been a youth minister for almost 40 years, 26 at the same church. He is retiring as a youth minister, something that has become extremely rare. I got to fellowship with Randy at the Texas Baptist Youth Ministry Conclave where we were surrounded with others who have been faithful for a long time. Dr. Phil Briggs made a cameo appearance despite dealing with a family tragedy. Jane Wilson keeps finding a way to speak into youth ministers in a fresh way.

Randy's legacy will never be known this side of heaven. He has influenced people like me (we coauthored a book back in the day). He has influenced institutions, serving on boards and committees. He was instrumental in the creation of a youth ministry degree at Howard Payne University, his beloved alma mater. He serves now on the board of the missions education center near the border in South Texas, a wonderful place where people are trained in ministry. He has helped with the YM Conclave for as long as I can remember. There is no way count the number of people who have directly or indirectly been better because they crossed paths with Randy Johnson.

But beyond the youth ministers and interns who have been encouraged and equipped by Randy's presence in their lives are the students. My brain is not wired for the higher math needed to calculate the exponential impact that he and his wife Carol have had on class after class of students who have come through their ministry. I am glad that some have sent notes--Randy teared up a little as he told me of a college girl who wrote to tell Randy that she was able to stand as a disciple because of her experience in ministry where Randy was the shepherd.

The book of Hebrews tells of the heavenly audience that surrounds earthly faithfulness. Randy, I know you don't seek the recognition, but I hope you can hear their applause as you close this chapter of ministry.  I know that I am inspired and encouraged by my friend who is finishing this chapter and finishing well. It will be fun to watch the next chapter be written.

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