This weekend I have the privilege of teaching and equipping over 60 pastors and church leaders.  As I was preparing this evening for that time together, my mind kept going back to 1980.  You see, it was in August 1980 that I became a Christian at 14-years-of-age while attending Acworth United Methodist Church located just north of Atlanta.

I had a wonderful Sunday School teacher named Lenis Black.  Mr. Black was an incredible teacher and one of the most influential Christian leaders I have ever had.  To read more about his impact on my life, click here.

On one particular Sunday morning, Mr. Black said, “Brian, we’re going to pray with Jim (our pastor) just before the service.  Why don’t you join us?”

Now remember, I was a 14-year-old teenager who was a Christian less than one month.  I did not even know how to pray.  But since it was Mr. Black making the request, I said, “Sure”.  We then entered Jim’s office and to my horror it was just the three of us.  There was no place to hide.  Everyone was going to pray.  Mr. Black went first, and then myself.

I have no idea what I prayed that morning.  It was probably just a repeat of Mr. Black’s but it was from a pure heart and was the best I could do.

Unbeknownst to me or anyone else in the room, God did something supernatural that morning.  What I didn’t realize was that prayer time was the very first time I served a church leader and was propelled on a trajectory which changed the course of my life.  Fast forward over 30 years and I have spent the majority of my adult life serving pastors and church leaders.  It all began on that Sunday morning in Pastor Jim’s office.

The significant role Lenis Black played in the process is not lost on me.  When I speak to those 60 leaders this weekend, here are six things he did that changed the course of my life:

  1. He Asked Me – God is waiting to unleash greatness in countless people in your church.  They are simply waiting for someone to ask them to join in His great story.
  2. He Provided Easy Access – This opportunity to serve was high-impact with a low time commitment.  It was also in the everyday flow of my life.  I was already at church.  It did not require a night away from my family or another commitment.
  3. He Believed In Me – Do you truly believe God can use anyone?  Mr. Black did and my life was never the same.
  4. He Invested In Me – Many would refer to this as discipleship.  He spent time with me and gave me opportunities to stretch and grow in my faith.
  5. He Gave Me Access To Other Leaders – The best thing to do with young, emerging leaders is get them in the orbit of older, more-experienced leaders.  Older leaders provide a priceless perspective that makes younger leaders better.
  6. He Provided For Me A Strong Christian Male Influence – Young boys need strong male Christian leaders in their life.  Mr. Black filled that void for me.

Do you have a Lenis Black in your life?  Maybe someone is just waiting for you to ask them to join in the leadership journey.  It could change their life, and the lives of others.


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