Thanking a Father in the Lord

Six years ago I had the privilege of joining other ministerial alumni of Blue Mountain College ( in honoring Dr. James Travis. Retired after teaching for 36 years, Dr. Travis influenced several generations of young pastors through his faithful, enthusiastic friendship and instruction. He was the first mentor many of us had in ministry. In my own life, Dr. Travis…

  • * encouraged me to make a firm, clear commitment to the ministry;
  • * sent me out on my first preaching assignment to a little church in north Mississippi;
  • * recommended me for my first staff position in a church;
  • * taught me (and many others) how to perform a baptism;
  • * preached at my ordination; and
  • * helped me settle into my first pastorate.

What he did for me was not special–he helped hundreds of young people get on their feet, get back on their feet, and stay on their feet during critical times in their lives.

I had someone take my picture with Dr. Travis during my visit to the campus. But for as long as I have been in ministry, he has been “in the picture.”

Dr. Travis passed away in 2005. I didn’t have an unlimited amount of time to tell him what he meant to me.

Paul was right when he said we do not have many “fathers” in the Lord. I have been fortunate to have had several over the years. Saying “thank you” to those men has become increasingly important to me as they age and as I realize the impact they had on me.

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