Just a few days ago, one of my ministry mentors passed away after having a heart attack. As I reflect back on my experiences with the Rev. Dr. Donald C. Lacy, I am reminded most of how he continually encouraged me throughout my ministry.
We worked together for only a short period of time at Yorktown United Methodist Church. But, in that short time, we developed a lasting friendship and relationship as mentor/mentee.
Dr. Lacy found ways to speak words of wisdom and encouragement throughout my ministry. When I left Yorktown to take a full-time position at Elkhart Trinity UMC, he was one of the voices that helped me discern that call. While in Elkhart, he would call, write letters, and even visited and took me out to lunch at some top-secret restaurant/club on the Notre Dame campus (I swear…there was security…and you had to have a special password to get in the front door…seriously!). When I moved from Elkhart back to Muncie to take a position at Center Chapel UMC, he was one of the first to make a phone call. That phone call was quickly followed by a lunch here (he always invited me to “the OG…I know you like that place” he would say), a breakfast there, letters of encouragement, etc.
When we moved from Muncie to Lafayette Christ UMC, again, he was one of the first to call, to send letters of encouragement, and the like.
Heck, he even gave me a couple of “shout outs” in one of his books!
One of the practices/disciplines that Dr. Lacy practiced was a daily service of communion and intercession. Throughout my ministry, about once every three months, I would receive a letter from Dr. Lacy, with an order of worship from one of these services, where he would have written out a prayer for me, my family, my ministry, and my church.
I couldn’t help but feel honored and encouraged after receiving one of Dr. Lacy’s letters.
Probably the biggest lesson I learned from Dr. Lacy was the importance of encouraging others. So, this morning, as I reflect on my friendship with Dr. Lacy, I find myself asking…”Who am I intentionally encouraging?”, and “Who are my encouragers?”