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On Preaching and Ministry presented by The Jenkins Institute

Growing up copies of the Gospel Advocate sat on our mom and dad’s bedside table and by dad’s easy chair. Willard Collins smiling face on a back page article beckoned us to come to David Lipscomb College. Sunday lunch with a visiting V.P. Black, Charles Coil, Ed Wharton, Jimmy Allen or Eddie Cloer were common. Our heroes were preachers. That has not changed. At The Institute we want to encourage, support and supply ministers. We know we are not alone in that. So for our February issue of ON we have asked our writers to focus on MY HEROES IN MINISTRY. You’ll thrill to learn more about “well known” brothers like Thomas B. Warren from his grandson’s perspective or Batsell Barrett Baxter from his student Jay Lockhart but your heart will be touched as you meet Dick Hudson, S. Jacobs, and Lonnie William Mohundro, Jr. and remember our heroes are not necessarily the headliners but men of faith who touched souls and expanded the borders of heaven. Each influenced others in their own way with God’s Truths. Thank you for taking the time to read this edition of ON: Preaching and Ministry. We have been overwhelmed by the response to it since we launched last you. You can access all past issues HERE. We alternate months between Preaching and Ministry. We hope you will share the link to this with others. Thanks, and we wish you great preaching! If this is your first encounter with TJI or ON and you’d like a free subscription send your email address to TJI@TheJenkinsInstitute.com

- from The Editors, Jeff and Dale TheJenkinsInstitute@gmail.com



“Oh, To Be Like Thee” A Tribute To Batsell Barrett Baxter by Jay Lockhart, jaylockhart@whitehousechurch.org

While I was a student at David Lipscomb College (1959-61), Batsell Barrett Baxter was my teacher, my mentor, and my friend. His favorite song in worship was, “Oh, To Be Like Thee.” The song begins with the words: Oh, to be like Thee! Blessed Redeemer: This is my constant longing and prayer; Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures, Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear. The sentiment of this song was the goal of his life, and Batsell Barrett Baxter was as near to being like Jesus as any man I ever knew. Birth And Early Life Batsell Barrett Baxter was born on September 23, 1916 in Cordell, Oklahoma to Batsell Baxter (an influential preacher and educator) and Fay Scott Baxter (a loving, gentle, and supportive mother, but not a pushover). Batsell Barrett Baxter became a Christian in 1925 and began preaching in 1933. In 1938 he married Wanda Roberts and for almost forty-five years she was his companion, his confidant, and his closest friend. To this union three sons were born – Scott, Alan, and John. Education And Ministry Batsell Barrett Baxter attended David Lipscomb College and received his B.A. degree from Abilene Christian College. His graduate studies included an M.A. and a


Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and a B.D. from Vanderbilt University. His longest ministry with a local church was the more than twenty-six years he preached for the Hillsboro church in Nashville which, at the time, was one of the great churches of Christ to be found anywhere. In addition to the work at Hillsboro, Batsell Barrett Baxter had two other full time jobs: he was the head of the Bible Department at Lipscomb and the speaker for the nationwide Herald of Truth television ministry. He excelled in each of these three works. His preaching took him to many parts of the world, but he was best known for his preaching on television, at Hillsboro, and in campaigns like the Lubbock Bible Forum, attended by a total of 30,000 people, and the city-wide meeting held in the new Municipal Auditorium in Nashville with a similar number of attendees. An interesting sidelight about Batsell Barrett Baxter is that his best friends in Nashville were Willard Collins, then Vice President of Lipscomb, and Ira North, a speech teacher at Lipscomb and the preacher for the 3,000-member Madison, Tennessee church of Christ. These three tried to have lunch together at least once a week. They could not have been more different. Collins was a robust speaker with a thundering voice, North was flamboyant in speech and dress, and Baxter was more reserved and quiet. But, each was powerful in his own way. It is interesting that there was no jealousy between them. When a preacher was to be selected for the great cooperative meeting in Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium, the choice came down to Collins, North, or Baxter. Collins and North volunteered to be the master of ceremonies and to handle responses to the invitation, but both insisted that Baxter should be the speaker. John A. Broadus said that preaching is “proclamation through personality.” Broadus understood that the message was the most important part of preaching, but that proclamation could not be separated from the personality. Both Collins and North believed that Baxter was the personality to do the proclamation, but if one of the other men had been selected to preach, the other two would have supported him wholeheartedly also. Personal Remembrances I first met Batsell Baxter Barrett in the fall of 1959 when I was enrolled as a Junior in David Lipscomb College. Over the next two years I was thrilled by his preaching and teaching, and by the development of a friendship which continued until his death on March 31, 1982. While I was influenced by many preachers during the early years of my ministry, Batsell Barrett Baxter, in my judgment, the prince of preachers, influenced me the most. He was a humble and gifted preacher who


touched in a powerful way countless thousands of people, especially younger preachers who were privileged to be with him, to know him, to attend his classes, to hear him preach, to observe his life, and to see him as a preacher’s preacher. I close this article with three personal notes. First, I remember that one of the graduation requirements for Bible majors was to meet with Batsell Barrett Baxter five days a week for one hour during the final quarter of school. During that quarter we wrote a lengthy syllabus covering important themes of the Bible. Brother Baxter lost mine! I never saw him after that but that he apologized for the loss, but I did graduate. Second, I heard him tell about taking his sons to stock car races on Saturday nights. He would have rather been at home getting ready for a busy Sunday the next day, but he was at the races because his sons wanted him to go and he felt he needed to be there. I have never forgotten the sacrifice he made for his boys in doing something inconvenient for him because they wanted him to be with them. Third, brother Baxter was the speaker for the Herald of Truth. He would chuckle when he told of a little girl who watched the program with her mother. When it was time for the program to come on, the little girl ran to her mother and said, “Come on, Mama, it’s time for us to watch Bushel Barrel Basket on TV.” I loved Batsell Barrett Baxter. He left us too soon at the age of 66. However, through his writings and through the lives of those who knew him best he will live on as “he being dead still speaks.”


Carl Hugo McCord: A Hero of the Faith by Dan R. Owen, dan@broadwaycoc.com

Carl Hugo McCord had a great influence over my life. At age 18, I was not aware that he had been born in 1911 in Mississippi, nor was I aware of the details of his great education, nor was I aware of all the places where he had preached the word of God, nor of the books he had written. As an Oklahoma Christian College freshman in 1973, I had a profound respect for God’s word. I went to one of my first Bible classes and saw an older man clenching a tiny King James Bible in an arthritic hand while quoting passionately and extensively from the word. I was in awe of his memorization of Scripture. I listened with rapt attention as he explained the book of Genesis, explained the implications of the Hebrew words, and opened my eyes to the wonders of the biblical text. Not only was he tremendously knowledgeable and passionate, he was kind and soft spoken as well. He was almost always positive and complimentary of other preachers, even when he disagreed with them. I am still reminded of Hebrews 13:7 when I think of Hugo McCord. He was a man who “spoke to me the word of God,” and when I “consider the outcome of his way of life,” I want to “imitate his faith.” I loved hearing him teach. I loved listening to his answers to questions during lectureship panel discussions because they were thorough and biblical. I loved reading his articles wherever I found them. I loved his example of Christian conduct. I suppose the thing that accentuated my admiration for brother Hugo was the love he showed to me personally. Brother McCord let me take Hebrew from him without attending class the first semester. As I completed my work for him outside of class, he began to encourage me. He answered my bible questions with bible answers and, along with Raymond Kelcy, he opened my eyes to biblical language studies. As the years went by, Brother McCord tried to mentor me as a preacher of the gospel. He wrote me personal letters and I wrote him back. We expressed our love for one another. While working on his translation of the New Testament, he honored me with requests for input in translating certain passages. On occasion, he sat and talked with me and made me believe in myself as a preacher. I loved Hugo


McCord because he loved the truth of God’s word, stood strongly for it always, and because, for some reason, he loved me and believed in me. I know many other young preachers could say the same thing.

I believe in the Restoration movement. In the spirit of Hezekiah, Josiah, Nehemiah, and others who have pleased God by going back to the solid teachings of his word, Carl Hugo McCord held up the word of God for generations, calling Christ’s church to be faithful to the teachings of the apostles and prophets. I want to do the same thing with what is left of my life. Thank you, Brother McCord, for being a man of God, and an example to those of us who would walk in your footsteps! Brother McCord passed away May 14, 2004. I still miss him and the Lord’s church misses him too!


Great Preachers of the Past - Johnny Ramsey by Mike Vestal, m.vestalpreach@gmail.com

The first time I met him he said, "Why don't you sit down and tell that man (my future father-in-law, who also was sitting in the room) exactly what your intentions are concerning his daughter?" Then he left the room! Johnny Ramsey was one part Jeremiah, one part John the Baptizer and one part machine gun! And for the next thirty plus years, Johnny would be a spiritual father to me, a wise and trusted counselor and a very generous and faithful friend. To all who knew him he was simply Johnny. He never wanted to be called anything else. And this Johnny was both a “son of thunder" and a messenger of love.


Johnny Ramsey truly was a "walking Bible." Whenever Johnny preached, you heard the B-I-B-L-E and lots of it! The word of God filled his heart and his eyelids! (He often shut his eyes when quoting Scripture). Children in congregations everywhere tried to keep up with the number of verses he quoted, only to be astounded that they frequently could not. Indeed, it was not unusual for him to quote 200 or more passages in one sermon. Johnny Ramsey was born in Sherman, TX on July 5, 1930. He graduated from Abilene Christian, where he met and eventually married his sweetheart and best friend, Iris. Her kind, gracious ways were a tremendous help in Johnny becoming the great man of God he became. Johnny served as the local preacher for a number of congregations, especially in Texas, and mission work was done for a number of years in Australia, but it would be through his writing, gospel meeting work and speaking in lectureships that Johnny would especially leave his mark. From 1975-2000, he likely held as many or more gospel meetings as any man among us. He also left an indelible impact on hundreds of men he taught over the years in at least three different schools of preaching. Johnny was a master of the pulpit, thought well on his feet and had a simply uncanny way of taking seemingly complex matters and reducing them to simple but profound biblical truths. He had a phenomenal ability to recall people, events and Scripture. He also seemed to have a gift of discernment - he knew people and human nature! Many years ago during a phone conversation, I told Johnny of a man in the church where I preached who threatened to beat me up. Johnny was about to hold a gospel meeting for us and told me that he would tell me who the man was before the Sunday of the meeting was over (I had NOT divulged the brother's name or anything about his appearance). Sure enough, by the time the Sunday AM service was over Johnny told me exactly who the man was (and 140 people were present). I was amazed! Johnny Ramsey was a biblical scholar, but not in the sense some typically mean. He had mastered the English Bible. Johnny simply had a remarkable grasp of all things Bible related; his file cabinet brain had topically and thematically categorized things so he could weave together an incredible tapestry of a sermon. And like an unbelievable athlete or musical virtuoso, he made it look easy. He could violate some so-called rules of Homiletics and still preach a masterpiece. To listen to Johnny Ramsey preach was to be so saturated with Scripture you were "baptized" and to hear Jesus so exalted you were made to bow in worship.


I was in my twenties more than a few years ago when I heard Johnny survey the book of Revelation and Wendell Winkler preach on the Judgment at a lectureship in Denton, TX. To this day, it remains the most memorable night of preaching I've ever heard. It was "Home Run Derby" in Denton that night! And I knew how Peter must have felt at the Mount of Transfiguration when he wanted to construct altars one for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. I initially wanted to construct one, so to speak, for the Lord, for brother Winkler and for Johnny that night! But that is not at all what Johnny or brother Winkler would have wanted - they would want all the emphasis to be on Jesus! And what a valuable lesson: no matter how great the abilities of the preacher, the emphasis must ever be on the Lord whose message preachers are privileged to proclaim! If a man truly loved God and His word, he would have a real and a generous friend in Johnny Ramsey. Johnny did not suffer men of divided allegiances! But many of us over the years were given money, books, ties and other thoughtful gifts as an investment in our lives and ministries by Johnny and Iris. When our son David was born almost 30 years ago, we had no maternity insurance. My wife had serious complications in giving birth. The first offer of help was from Johnny Ramsey. He called to indicate that whatever the medical expenses were, he and Iris would be there to help. And help they did - and more. Johnny Ramsey was biblical, bold and blunt. But there was a beauty about his life that made him truly extraordinary. He showed me Jesus and he taught me much. He made an impact on every soul that ever heard him preach. As a master of the pulpit, he always exalted the Master and King. Tens of thousands were made to love God and to serve Him better due to Johnny's selfless efforts in his 57 years of preaching Christ. Johnny went to be with our Lord in 2006. I still miss the phone conversations, the meals we would share and going to high school football games with him. Just before he died, Iris told me how Johnny was quoting one Scripture after another. What had sustained him throughout his life and ministry - Jesus and His precious word - saw Johnny through life's closing moments and into eternity. How fitting! May the same be true of all who proclaim the message of Jesus Christ! All Johnny ever wanted to be known as was for being a gospel preacher, yet what a gospel preacher he was.


James Winfred Clark by Jimmy Clark, jp79cal@yahoo.com

Winfred Clark was born on September 20, 1923 to Raymond Clark and Ora Camp Clark. He was the oldest of their six children. He grew up in Munford, Alabama where he also met and married his wife of over 50 years, Edna "Polly" Stephens Clark. They had two children, Phyllis and Jimmy. Both children are members of the Bethel Church of Christ outside of Athens, Alabama. His three grandchildren are now all married having children of their own. What are some of the qualities that made him a great preacher? He was often identified as a preacher's preacher. The sign on the outside of his office simply said "study." While he had a formal education through Montgomery Bible College (later to become Alabama Christian College and now Faulkner University) receiving an undergraduate degree and a Masters degree from Alabama Christian School of Religion (now Ambridge University), his real education came from years of personal study in the Bible. It was a common occurrence for preachers to look to his study for insights. It was nothing to have mealtime interrupted with some preacher calling to talk to Dad about some Bible topic or local church matter. While having served as a local preacher for congregations in Alabama and Georgia, he spoke at several lectureships, held countless gospel meetings, wrote a few books, and dedicated his sermon preparation to expository preaching. The list of his "preacher friends" would fill a who's who list of highly respected brethren. Some of the most influential preaching brethren in his life were Franklin Camp, Gus Nichols, G. K. Wallace, Rex Turner, Sr. and more than I can remember or list. Preachers that Dad stayed close to were Bobby Duncan, Tom Holland, Don McWhorter and again more than can be listed. One of the hallmarks of his work was a balanced approach to not getting caught up in the extremes that plague the brotherhood. He knew how dangerous both


liberalism and radicalism could be. His latter days of work was in the development of a school (Alabama School of Bible Emphasis) which still exists. The school is a series of night classes where preachers would be called upon to give sermon outline material or Bible study materials for anyone to use on on practical basis. Much of his work in the school (as well as bulletin articles he wrote) was compiled after his death in a two volume set called Expositions of "The Expositor." The bodies of both he and mom are buried in Pinehill Cemetery in Talladega, Alabama (where he preached as the local preacher on three different occasions) with the simple words "Gospel Preacher" placed under his name on the grave marker. His humor, helpful insights and honorable work lives on after his earthly tent was folded and laid to rest awaiting the resurrection.


What do you guys at TheJenkinsInstitute do? For staters…

…more to come



CARL HUGO McCORD Hero of Many June 24, 1911 – May 14, 2004 by Earl Edwards

Carl Hugo McCord was born June 24, 1911, in New Albany, Mississippi. He was baptized at 12 years of age by L. L. Brigance. He attended Freed-Hardeman College (now University) from 1929 to 1931, where he received his A.A. degree. He then attended the University of Illinois in Urbana, the University of Tulsa, Virginia Seminary, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, LA, where he received the Th.D. in 1960 with a dissertation on The Fear of the Lord. He met Lois Henderson at Freed-Hardeman and married her in 1932. Hugo once said she was his first, current, last, and only wife! They loved one another dearly. In fact, on one occasion in later years, when it appeared she might lose her eyesight, he offered to give her one his eyes! The McCords’ union was blessed with two children: Charles (born in 1939) and Carolyn (born in 1944). Brother McCord served as a much appreciated local preacher in Urbana, IL; as well as Indianapolis, IN; Washington, D.C.; Dallas, TX; Louisville, KY; Bartlesville, OK; Gretna, LA; and Oklahoma City, OK. Much of McCord’s life was spent in Christian education. He served as vicepresident of Central Christian College (later Oklahoma Christian University) from 1954–60, working closely with his friend, President James O. Baird. But mostly he was known as a Bible professor in that institution. He taught many Bible courses plus Hebrew and Greek. One of his students said he was known as “the man with the answers” for any student with any difficult question! He started his teaching career there on a part-time basis . . . changing to full-time from 1960 to about 1980.


In addition to his classwork teaching, he lectured widely in our brotherhood. Several major lectureships used him nearly every year because of the deep respect he enjoyed. Probably one reason he was so well liked and widely used was that, despite his unquestioned scholarship, he was a very humble man. One person said, “I can say without a doubt that Hugo McCord is one of the most, if not the most, humble men I have ever met.” That humility was undoubtedly a product of his deep spirituality. Another person said, Any assessment of the career of Hugo McCord will begin with the recognition that Hugo lives closer to God more than most men of his time. Few men have talked to their heavenly Father more than he has. Few have studied God’s Word more carefully or more frequently than he has. He is always anxious to know the Lord’s will on almost every subject. Hugo McCord also wrote a lot. Among others, he published the following materials: Disciples’ Prayer, Happiness Guaranteed, From Heaven Or From Men?, Getting Acquainted With God, Messianic Prophecy, The Christian Family, Credibility of Creation, Bible Lands and Sacred History, The Royal Route of Revelation, These Things Speak, The H. Leo Boles’ Lectures on Preaching, and Fifty Years of Lectures (2 volumes). In addition to the above, some two years after retiring from teaching he decided to use his linguistic abilities to produce his own translation of the New Testament. Thus, he spent the better part of five years combing over many of the approximately 5,000 available Greek manuscripts. Then in 1988, he consigned his completed translation to his alma mater, Freed-Hardeman University, which published it under the title, McCord’s New Testament Translation of the Everlasting Gospel. Brother McCord also did a lot of teaching and preaching in foreign countries. He took the Lord seriously when He said to go “into all the world.” One source reports that in the 25 years ending in 1985 (when he was 74 years old), he had preached or taught in 58 mission efforts in foreign countries like England, Scotland, and Ireland. Hugo McCord was also a courageous preacher. On one occasion a particular brotherhood paper asked for his recommendation and he refused, saying to the


editor, “I love you brother, but since you have recently endorsed Billy Graham’s work without pointing out any of his false doctrine, I cannot recommend your paper until you correct that!” As has been indicated, Brother McCord was nearly always well prepared and presented his materials without stammering or stuttering. In fact, one brother reports having heard him preach his famous all-Scripture sermon on Christ in which every word is a quotation, starting with the prophecies of Christ he quoted over 100 passages about His birth, life, teachings, death, resurrection, and second coming without missing one word! But then, the same brother tells that when he asked Brother McCord to say the ceremony for him and his wife-to-be, Brother Hugo forgot his lines and had to be prompted! Did even Hugo McCord have “feet of clay?” However that may be, Hugo McCord served his Maker well. 


God be thanked for his life.


DICK HUDSON: AN UNKNOWN AND UNSUNG HERO by Keith Parker, kparkers5@icloud.com

The apostle Peter? Preacher of Pentecost. Andrew? Simon Peter's brother. James and John? The Sons of Thunder. The apostle Paul? Absolutely--everybody knows Paul. Jesus? The Prince of preachers. Dick Hudson? Who? Dick Hudson was my preacher when I was a boy. I grew up in the country and attended a little country church outside of Huntsville, Alabama. If we had fifty on Sunday morning at the Glover's Chapel Church of Christ, that was a good crowd for us. No elders. No deacons. But for a few years, brother Hudson was our preacher. What do I remember about him? Not much. I don't know when or where he was born or where he grew up. I couldn't tell you anything about his education, his family or his hobbies. I don't remember a sermon that he preached or a Bible class that he taught. I couldn't tell you when he died or who preached his funeral. The only thing that I can tell you about brother Hudson is--he baptized me. I was about twelve years old when I responded to the invitation and confessed my faith in Jesus. We didn't have a baptistery in our little church building, so when someone wanted to be baptized, we had to drive to another building about five miles away. And there, at the borrowed building, brother Hudson baptized me. I'm a Christian today, partially because of the influence of brother Dick. On one occasion Paul said, "I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; lest any should say that I had baptized in my own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other" (1 Corinthians 1:14-16). The apostle Paul admitted that he could not remember all the people that he had baptized (Neither can I). But most of us remember the one who baptized us. And that one, for me, was Dick Hudson.


We have many preachers in our brotherhood like brother Dick. They never get invited to preach in our lectureships or seminars. They never get an invitation to speak in a Wednesday night series or a Vacation Bible School. They have not written a book or had an article published in a brotherhood magazine. But they are making an eternal difference in our lost and sinful world. They are the unsung heroes. The unfamiliar and the unknown who are changing eternity. I'm reminded of Clement. The only time that Clement is mentioned in scripture is in Philippians 4:2-3: "I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life." Clement was a worker with Paul. A true servant. One who made a difference in his life. Do you remember a preacher who made a difference in your life? Maybe it was a class that he taught or a sermon that he preached. Perhaps it was a statement that he made in the church foyer or an article that he wrote for the church bulletin. Maybe it was a visit that he made to a sick relative or an encouraging note that he wrote to a discouraged member. Perhaps it was the kindness he showed to his family or to someone in your family. Maybe he baptized you. If the preacher is still living, why don't you take the time to express a little appreciation. Write him a note. Take him out to eat. Have him over for dinner. Pray for him. I wish that brother Hudson were still living so that I could thank him for baptizing me!


My Hero In Ministry: A Tribute to Warren Wilcox by Denny Petrillo, dpetrillo@wetrainpreachers.com

On September 14, 2008 my longtime friend, mentor, teacher and co-worker, Warren Wilcox passed away. While there are many who have positively impacted me in ministry, no one compares to Warren. What was it about Warren that made such a positive impact? Consider the following: Church Leader To see his work ethic was an inspiration and an example worth emulating. His love for the Word was something that drove him to spend countless hours and late nights studying it. He was one of the best song-leaders I have ever seen. He was blessed with a great voice, but also had the ability to direct congregations in singing. He was always concerned that we would get so caught up in the music itself, the beat, the speed, etc. that one might forget the main purpose. Therefore he always said, before the first song, “Let’s worship together.” He tried hard to get our minds focused on the reason we were singing. In the Denver area there was a group called the “Singing Youth of Denver.” Warren was the director of this group. He would give countless hours of his time working with over 100 teenagers – every Monday night. He would organize trips where we would go and sing for congregations all over the U.S. Warren always had a spiritual emphasis with the Singing Youth of Denver. We had fun, but we always knew that this was about growing up in Christ and becoming responsible adults. Superior Teacher Warren wasn’t just good at teaching. He excelled, making teaching a craft that deserves the accolades given to a master craftsman. His skill in the classroom was a rare combination of enthusiasm for the subject, genuine interest in the student, and a passion for the Word. I’ve often said that I was able to attend Bear Valley when, like today, it had great men as teachers. I sat at the feet of Roy Lanier, Sr., Roy Lanier, Jr., W.S. Boyette, Avon Malone, Norman Gipson, and Monroe Tharp. These men were great teachers, but to me Warren surpassed them all. Christian Evidences


Warren was one of the great minds of our age in the area of Christian Evidences. Warren was so gifted in this subject that he could have traveled the globe full time teaching this subject. When he gave a Christian Evidence seminar (which he did hundreds of times) the crowds were large and captivated with the way he could take a difficult subject and plainly communicate it. When I was young and having doubts about God and the Bible, it was Warren’s seminars that convinced me. Faithfulness Warren was so very committed to the truth that it was an obsession of his. He frequently discussed ways that we could combat the liberal movements among us. In his years in the Lord’s church, you could always count on Warren to be faithful to the Book. Warren was a rock doctrinally. He never was blown to and fro by every wind of doctrine. He knew the Bible too well to be swayed by these winds of change. Warren’s life is a life of victory. It is a testimony that one can make it. He had obstacles in his life that few know about. But Warren moved on, keeping his focus on the main goal of eternal life.


Charles Wendell Winkler by Jason Moon, jasonmoonmail@yahoo.com

Wendell Winkler was a great preacher and teacher who lived most of his life in the 20th Century (1931-2005). For those who knew him best and sat at his feet as he trained men to preach, he was a real life “hero.” He was born on Jan. 10, 1931 to Merlin Paul and Lucille Ruby Fultz Winkler in Port Arthur, TX. The son of a preacher, at the age of 13, he preached his first sermon. On September 1, 1949 he married an elder’s daughter from the church in Port Arthur named Betty Sue Hargrove. Betty Sue was not only a loving, faithful wife, but she served as Brother Winkler’s secretary at Faulkner University. Together they raised three boys: Dan and Mike, both Gospel preachers, and Tim, a medical doctor. Wendell Winkler was an accomplished debater, writer and lecturer. But for 61 years of his life, he was simply a preacher. There are so many memories I have of Wendell Winkler. I was blessed to be trained by him at Faulkner University during his nine years of service there (1985-1994). During those years my classmates and I watched him preach, teach, train and mentor young men while preaching Gospel meetings many, many weekends during the school year. There is so much we learned, but the following are some of my greatest memories of Wendell Winkler. Wendell Winkler taught us to preach. He taught us a lot of Bible, but he said we’d learn the Bible to a greater extent when we got out in local work. He understood the principle that great preaching starts with proper preparation and is delivered with appropriate attitude, decorum and technique. Those who studied “Sermon Prep and Delivery” under Brother Winkler were taught by one of the best to ever understand the art and discipline of preaching. One of the greatest compliments ever paid to brother Winkler was, “It’s easy to pick out the preachers who were trained by Wendell Winkler.”


Wendell Winkler taught us how to be a minister. There’s a big difference in standing up to preach on Sunday and in what happens Monday through Saturday. That’s called ministry. Brother Winkler understood the value of knowing how to deal with real life situations. One of his most memorable lessons was called “Meet the Congregation.” In this class he introduced us to the types of personalities we’d have to “endure” in every congregation where we’d work. He knew if we were unprepared for these “real life” ministry moments, we would probably get discouraged and give up preaching. I probably didn’t appreciate the value of some of these lessons until one day, as a 30-year-old, I was sharing one of these lessons with an older preacher who, at the time, was around 65. After telling him how Wendell Winkler taught us to deal with this particular situation, the older preacher said, “I wish someone would have told me that when I was younger.” Wendell Winkler taught us to save our family. One of Brother Winkler’s favorite sayings was “If you don’t save anybody else save your family.” It was his way of saying “don’t succeed in ministry but lose your family along the way.” One of the valuable lessons he taught was about time management. He believed in the principle that a minister should only work in two of the three parts of a day. He divided the day into morning, afternoon and evening. His instruction was that if you had an evening activity that would take you away from your family, you ought to spend some time with them in the morning or afternoon of that day. He taught us to avoid the habit of letting ministry interfere with seeing your children play sports or attending one of their school programs. The fact that Brother and Sister Winkler raised three fine Christian men is a testament to his ability to manage ministry and family successfully. Wendell Winkler taught us to be normal. Even today I can still hear the clear and resolute voice of Brother Winkler telling preachers to “Be normal!!!” Brother Winkler was like the “sons of Issachar who had an understanding of the times.” His ministry and teaching career spanned the time when preachers, in the eyes of the public, went from being real and respected to counterfeit and criticized. Brother Winkler knew the only way to rise above that, in the eyes of people, was to be as normal as possible. So Brother Winkler encouraged us to have a life outside of the pulpit doing things like learning a hobby, spending time with people and doing fun things with family and friends.


It is these things and many more that caused so many to love Wendell Winkler. I’ve never met a preacher, who was mentored or influenced by Wendell Winkler, who did not hold him in the highest esteem. There were so many who just knew him as a preacher – and a great preacher he was! But those who knew him best loved the man we came to know outside of the pulpit in the classroom, hallway or office. To us he became our mentor, example and hero.

Near his grave in Tuscaloosa, Alabama is a granite bench with the inscribed words, “A friend of preachers.” He was that and so much more!


Who Was Gus Nichols? by Scott Harp, tnharper05@att.net

Have you ever heard a preacher say, “Brother Nichols said . . .,” or “I once heard Gus Nichols say . . .?” If you did, what followed were generally some pearly words of wisdom to illustrate a biblical point. Sadly, fewer are making such references, because, as with all things, time separates us from those of the past. Brother Nichols died in 1975 at the age of 83. For over fifty years previous to his passing, perhaps no local preacher did more for people in his community, for the church in his home state of Alabama, or for the brotherhood than Gus Nichols. At one time, there was hardly a place one could travel among members of churches of Christ and not get a familiar response to the mention of his name. He was born Bunion Augustus Nichols, January 12, 1892. He was the first of ten children born to a humble couple of Alabama farmers. At the age of sixteen, he “got religion” and joined the Baptist church. The young man was talented in music. There was hardly an instrument he could not play. Adding to this was a deep melodious voice. A common event in his early days was the singing school. So, he and his uncle, Sam Wyers, began teaching singing schools in the area around his Walker County home. In the summer of his seventeenth year, he and his uncle had just finished one such school session in the Iron Mountain School, a little south of Carbon Hill, when restoration preacher, Charlie A. Wheeler (1851-1937), came in to preach a gospel meeting. Brother Wheeler was known in the area for his evangelism. In his lifetime, he planted over 100 congregations after the ancient order, and baptized over 6000 people. As no revival meeting could hope to be successful without good singing, he asked the locals if they were aware of anyone who could lead singing for him during the meeting. Some suggested that he ought to try and get Gus Nichols to lead. Being contacted, the talented vocalist agreed to lead the singing without the


accompaniment of instrumental music, and the meeting got underway. Each night, the young man sang with all his heart, and then he would listen closely to the gospel being preached. In short, Gus Nichols was baptized at the hands of Charlie Wheeler during that meeting. When he reached the age of 20, Gus’ father “set him free” to pursue his own interests. When he was younger, he had attended local schools for a few winter sessions, but through the greater part of his life, he had worked on the farm. He loved learning, and sought to read everything on which he could lay his hands. So, he immediately sought educational opportunities. Within six weeks of entering school, he completed the course requirements for the 7th, 8th, and 9th grades. Gus Nichols began his preaching career when he was 25 years old. The year was 1917. He had married the sweetheart of his youth, Matilda Brown, three years previous. Three of the eight children they would have, Gracie, Vodie, and Flavil Hall, made for a thriving family setting. From the time of his baptism, he and a few others had started a little congregation there at Iron Mountain School. Nearly from the first, he taught a Bible Class, and on one Sunday per month brother Wheeler would come by and preach. His eagerness to be prepared to teach caused him to occasionally walk three miles to the train depot with an empty suitcase. There, he boarded the train for Jasper, and then walked another three miles out to where brother Wheeler lived. Filling the suitcase with books, he then made his way back home with the religious volumes he had borrowed from the elder preacher. One Sunday, unbeknownst to him, brother Wheeler announced that he had to be away for a meeting the following month and that Gus would preach. He later recalled that he had seven pages of notes for his first sermon. When he started his preaching, he kept losing his place. A little frustrated, he folded his notes up, and sticking them into his bib overalls, he preached the rest of his sermon from memory. After that, he determined to never enter the pulpit with notes, but to always preach from memory. Space in this article can nowhere near capture the things that this man accomplished over the years of his ministry. But, by way of introduction, consider the following—In 1918, the Nichols moved to Berry, Alabama where he attended what was then known as Alabama Christian College. He attended there until the school closed in 1922. Sessions were during the fall and winter. In the spring and summer he attended to farming, but he preached in different places throughout the year.


In 1924, the family moved to the town of Cordova, Alabama. Though he was there for only two years, he successfully preached and baptized many. It was during this time that he planted a new work in the town of Jasper. After a couple of years, the family moved further west to do mission work in the Alabama county of Lamar. Living in Millport, he began a circuit of preaching for three congregations each week, and within a couple of years he was preaching for five. In the seven years he lived in the county, he reported to the Gospel Advocate of having “delivered over 2500 discourses, and baptized more than 1000 souls.” Moving to Jasper, Alabama in 1933, he began preaching for the congregation at Fifth Avenue, which he had planted a few years previous. For the next 43 years, he built the church in that city. Within a year of his arrival, the need for elders in the congregation pressed him to start a Friday night men’s training class. Before long, men were coming from counties all around to attend. In 1965, it evolved into a Saturday school, and continues to this day under the name, The Gus Nichols School of Preaching. When radio came to Walker County, Gus Nichols was one of the first voices heard every day. WWWB1360 went on the air in November 1946, and Nichols was on every morning at 8:00am for thirty minutes. Later, a noon show was added, and for over seven decades the church has continued the daily broadcasts. The Alabama preacher began to be known far and wide through gospel meetings and lecture programs. For sixteen years, he conducted the question and answer sessions at the annual Freed-Hardeman Lectures, beginning in 1941. In 1948, he published his first book of sermons and became the editor of the Query Department for the Gospel Advocate magazine. When the church building in Jasper moved a block over in 1956, and became known as Sixth Avenue church of Christ, Gus Nichols was already a nationally known evangelist. No one was more capable to defend the truth than brother Nichols. He participated in religious debates well over one hundred times. Preachers far and wide sought his wisdom in how to best prepare themselves for defending the truth upon the polemic platform.


He believed preachers should study the Bible and write. His life-long practice was to study the Word of God an average of five hours per day, which led to strong writing skills. Always biblically laden, his common sense approach made his writings understandable and practical. He wrote a number of books, and submitted articles to many religious journals. He was editor of at least four journals in his career. The best known was, Words of Truth, which he began in 1962. It continued several years after his passing. Two different colleges conferred upon him the prestigious and honorary doctorate of laws degree. In 1969, the Gus Nichols Library was dedicated on the campus of what is now Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama. The accolades poured upon this man are far too many to report here. But, perhaps no one of his level of leadership in the church was known to be more humble than he. He was the veritable preacher’s preacher. A year or so before he died he estimated that during his tenure at Jasper that 41 gospel preachers had gone out from there. Loved and respected by all, he was one-of-a-kind. It was estimated that he baptized over 12,000 people in his lifetime. He passed from this life November 16, 1975, and was buried in the “Circle-Of-Honor,” in the Walker County Memorial Gardens, north of Jasper. May we never forget his contributions to the spreading of the borders of the Kingdom of Heaven.


Preachers Who Impacted My Life: S. Jacobs by Dan Jenkins, ddjenkins@earthlink.net

S. JACOBS Tamil Nadu, India Date of Birth & Date of Death: unknown

There are those individuals who touch your life for such a brief time, but their impact on you lasts a lifetime. Such is the case with the lessons I learned from a brother who was part of my life for parts of four days. I know so little about him— nothing about his background but he changed my life. It was forty years ago I was preaching at the Shades Mountain congregation in Birmingham and the elders asked me to go to India to help the one hundred Indian preachers we were supporting. Over a period of about three months I met with all of them and spent a week with each of them teaching at the school of preaching. This school, started by our missionary, Carl Johnson, was in the Nilgriri Mountains at an elevation of 6,000 feet. Most of the three hundred congregations which were part of this work were located in the plains below these mountains. Just three days after arriving in India, our brother S. Jacob came from the plains (where the temperature was 110+every day) to the cold damp atmosphere of the school at the higher elevation (temperature was in the 50’s with strong winds). Our brother, because of age and asthma, became so ill I thought he might die before we could get him on a bus to return home the next day. In the diary I kept during the trip I wrote,” Brother S. Jacobs arrived last night. He suffers very much from asthma, and the weather was just too bad for him. He is a former police official, a very great encouragement to all of the preachers in his area. He left this afternoon; I felt so sorry for him, he could hardly get his breath.” I was impressed by him, but had no real idea of the impact he was having in those congregations on the plains where he preached. As he left, Lesley Lawrance, the director of the school, told us that when we visited the plains we would see a different man. The next week we drove to the area around Veliakovil. Brother Jacobs was waiting for us and I could hardly recognize the man—his energy level was unbelievable! I was able to spend two days with


him and visited nearly forty congregation. We traveled over unmarked, often unpaved roads, yet our brother was able to find all of them. In fact there are 112 congregations in the area and he has preached in all of them. The impact he had on me was so powerful then, and maybe even more profound now. As he had aged he was no longer able to ride his bike. So he sat on the handlebars of the bicycle and a young “Timothy” pedaled it. I thought of the conversations this “Paul” and “Timothy” must have had. How can one ever measure the eternal influence this old soldier of the cross had on those Christians in a hundred congregations? I wrote in my diary, “His humility, devotion, and determination to work for the Lord have a profound impact on every person who meets him.” I saw it with my own eyes and it changed me. The reason he impacted me so much was because as a young preacher I foolishly thought that it was really important to preach at big churches, to be asked to speak often at special events in other congregations, to be invited to speak in gospel meetings and lectureships. It’s not just young preachers who struggle with this problem. Do you recall that on the way to the upper room, the apostles were discussing who would be greatest in the kingdom? Jesus’ answer was the great one in the kingdom are those who serve the most. Our brother Jacobs taught me how wrong I was. In my diary I wrote, “He’ll never make any mark among those who seek to find ‘great preachers of today,’ nor would he want to. He’ll pass from this life, probably will be cremated or buried in an unmarked grave, yet think of how sweet that day will be when standing before men the Master will confess him before the Father. God give us more men like brother Jacobs.”


James Ira Vansandt, Sr

by Van Vansandt, vanvansandt741@icloud.com

James Ira Vansandt Sr was born December 11, 1931 to William Ira and Sula Vansandt, in Eclectic Alabama. Jim passed from this life on March 22, 2001 in Corinth Mississippi. He was married to Bonita Marie (Bonnie) Henry. Four children were born to this union, three were adopted and others were allowed to grow in this family environment. James, La’Chon, Van and Cris were born to Jim and Bonnie. Perry, Trae and Sam were adopted. Maurine, Bonnie’s younger sister, and Irene, a teenager from Russia, lived with Jim and Bonnie for some of their teenage years. Jim and Bonnie’s introduction to the gospel and the Lord’s church came in the late 60’s. J.D. and Lela Foshee, John David Parker, and the Wetumpka Church of Christ, had a great deal to do with the instruction, example and eventual conversion to Christianity for both Jim and Bonnie. My mother obeyed the gospel first and then my father followed suit after hearing a sermon, “If your family is in heaven, will you be there with them?” My dad’s first “talk” was made among the men of the Wetumpka Church of Christ, during the men’s training class. I remember my dad telling often of the cotton mouth he suffered, the preparation to get it to be the perfect five minute talk, and


then when he delivered the speech he always said: “I said everything I had prepared, said it a second time, sat down and it still only took me a minute and a half.” This did not cause him to quit nor be deterred. My mother informed me that my dad never “set out” to become a preacher. He preached his first “real” sermon in the Philippines when Brother Charlie Davis made a quick trip back to the states. When the family moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, dad became the associate minister with the East Side Church of Christ. His first, full time, work was in Tallassee, Alabama in the early 1970’s. During this time he enrolled in the Alabama Christian School of Religion, where he would later teach in the undergraduate program when it was known as Southern Christian University. My mom and dad traveled abroad doing mission work in South Africa, the Bahamas, Jamaica and at least ten different trips into Russia, in a 3 year span. When leaving Russia for the last time, my folks returned home with the afore mentioned Irene. She would live with my parents until she went to college. Both my parents had great care and concern for children. The last several years of his life, Jim was the director of Pine Vale Childrens Home in Corinth Mississippi. This is where my mother met Trae and Sam and would eventually adopt them. Dad also served as president of the board for Illinois Christian Camp. Let me share several things that caused him to seem great in my eyes and make such an impression, for good, on me as well as countless others. First, my dad was committed to his conversion. Before obeying the gospel, my dad had contact and background with a denominational religious body, with which in the words of my mother, “he could take it or leave it.” Prior to his obedience, his religion was in name only at best. When my dad was baptized by John David Parker, there was a complete change, yes a new man. Dad was drawn to the scriptures, especially the “historical” parts that he could relate to his own travels of the “Holy Land” while in the service for 21 years. While in Vietnam he would study the book of Ephesians for a whole year. My dad was committed to his conversion to Christ. Second, my dad was not and orator, nor was he drawn to public speaking, but he loved the gospel message. In fact my father had no formal training with the exception of his time in the service. At the time of his conversion, he had no formal education past High School. Some might have seen my father as the “teacher” type preacher. He was not animated, nor was he a great user of swelling words. No, my dad was the prime example of a simple man, preaching the simple soul saving message of the cross. Yet, to a tow headed, wide eyed, impressionable son, who


thought his dad was it, my dad was Peter and Paul rolled into one, and I wanted to be just like him. My dad loved the Gospel message. Third, my dad was one who loved people. Lost or saved, he loved them all. Those who knew the scriptures well, he cherished time spent with them. Those who wanted to know the scriptures better, he made time to spend with them. This type of love is what moved him to go on his first mission trip to South Africa with Ivan Stewart. Besides his trips abroad mentioned earlier, my dad would be a part of many designed stateside mission trips, door knocking campaigns, even taking a position in what was considered a mission area in Illinois. This call would take us away from our sweet home Alabama and bring us to the unknown of Monticello Illinois and even further north to Cooksville. While in Monticello, we became acquainted with the family of Carl and Mary Rivers. This family would affect our lives for years to come. Recently, while visiting Sullivan, Illinois, I got to see a family that was a part of the church in Monticello. Greg Swango has been preaching the gospel for many years now. His wife Bonnie told me that my dad was her first introduction to a gospel preacher and his approach to scripture and the value of a soul left an indelible positive mark on her life. Bonnie was very complimentary of my father’s way of teaching and his compassion toward all listeners. My dad loved people. Fourth, my dad was a Bible man. When I was a senior in high school, I got to take a college course “The Preacher and His Work,” under the watchful training eye of my dad. Often, during this time, my dad would encourage me with these words: “If you will preach God’s Word, as it is written, and as it is intended, you will always be able to find a preaching job.” I have held on to this all my preaching life. Not because I have often needed to search for a new preaching position, but rather, I have held on to the importance of preaching God’s Word as it is written and how God intended it to be presented. Jim Vansandt was a Bible man. Finally, and these are not in order of importance, my dad loved the Lord. It was always evident in his speech, his demeanor, the way he treated others, the way he loved his family, and the way he loved God’s people everywhere. For a preacher of the gospel to make a difference in the lives of others, there must never be any doubt in a man’s love of the Lord. It will be seen, and if not seen it becomes a terrible deterrent to people’s search for the truth in God’s word. My dad showed his love for God in his servant attitude, in his teaching at Alabama School of Religion,


in his work with children at Pine Vale Children’s Home, in his work as a Gospel preacher. My dad showed his love of the Lord in his training of his children and his loving of his grandchildren. Jim Vansandt loved the Lord. From some of my earliest days I have been blessed to come in contact with some great preachers of the Gospel, many you may know even better than I‌John David Parker, A.J. Kerr {son in law of Gus Nichols} Rex Turner Sr., Rex Turner Jr., Ray Christman, William Woodson, Dowell Flatt, Everett Huffard, Curtis Cates, Billy Clark, Charles Tharp, David Underwood, Ralph Gilmore, Hudson Nichols, Garland Elkins, Guy N. Woods, Earl Edwards, Coleman Crocker, Jerry Jenkins, Dan Jenkins, Wendell Winkler, Dan Winkler, Willard Collins, Bobby Duncan, Keith Mosher Sr. and one of my most cherished friends Billy R. Smith. This does not include some of the preachers of my generation who are making a great impact for good among the work of the Lord, as well as the newest crop of young preachers of which my son is one. All having been such a great blessing. Yet, in all my life there is one who, for me, outshines them all. The one who has always done that is Jim Vansandt, my teacher, my mentor, my earthly example and inspiration, my dad. May God bless you all as he has blessed me and as he blessed my father.


Thomas Bratton Warren

August 1, 1920 – August 8, 2000 by Bart Warren, bartwarren@yahoo.com

Thomas B. Warren was born way down in Carrizo Springs, Texas (southwest of San Antonio). He was a great athlete as a young man (baseball, basketball, tennis, golf, and ping-pong!), even played a few rounds of golf with the late great Byron Nelson, but he is forever linked to and known for his academic endeavors. He graduated high school as valedictorian of his class, graduated from Abilene Christian University with the B.S. degree (magna cum laude), from the University of Houston with the M.A. degree (in religion), and from Vanderbilt University with the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees (in philosophy). He also did post-graduate studies at various times in various places. Additionally, he was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force having served during World War II as an aerial navigator. Tom served as a teacher of Bible, Theology, Christian Apologetics, Philosophy, Logic, and Mathematics. He taught at Abilene Christian College (1946-47) and was Chair of the Department of Bible at Fort Worth Christian College where he was also


President (1959-61). He was Chair of the Department of Bible at Freed-Hardeman College (now University) from 1964-1971. He was Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Apologetics at Harding Graduate School of Religion (1971-79), and also served as Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of Philosophy and Christian Doctrine and Apologetics at Tennessee Bible College. I believe it would be fair to say that Tom Warren cast a large shadow. In a number of different ways, he made an impact on people and places – on students and congregants – on opponents and beloved. Tom made a lasting impact because of his wife. He was married to Faye C. Brauer on October 3, 1941. They remained a dynamic duo for nearly 59 years until his death in August of 2000. Faye was the perfect partner and compliment to Tom. They had a love and a marriage to be envied and emulated. Dr. and Mrs. Warren were the parents of two daughters (Karen and Jan) and one son (Lindsey). Those three children gave Tom & Faye five grandsons. Really and truly, one cannot properly consider the life of Tom Warren without due honor and consideration of his bride. Tom made a lasting impact via the written word. He was a prolific writer, having authored or edited more than fifty books. He tackled subjects such as biblical interpretation, marriage & divorce, human suffering, the logical problem of evil, life after death, the deity of Jesus Christ, the authority of Scripture, and the existence of God among others. Christian bookstores, Universities, and Preacher Training Schools continue to demand and make use of his work. He (along with others such as the late Garland Elkins) also edited journals and lectureship books. Many know that he was the founding editor of the quarterly journal, the Spiritual Sword, and continued in that role for twenty years (from 1969 – 1989). However, most have no idea that the journal did not start in Memphis at the Getwell Church of Christ. The short-lived origin was actually Tom & Faye Warren’s garage in Ft. Worth, Texas. In 1958, Warren, Roy Deaver and A.G. Hobbs produced a monthly journal titled the Spiritual Sword that spanned eleven issues. The publication would reappear some decade later under the oversight of the Getwell eldership. Tom made a lasting impact as a debater. He held 18 public debates. The most wellknown would have to be the encounter with atheist Antony Flew in 1976. He debated such issues as the existence of God, the Gospel Plan of Salvation, marriage & divorce, and Christian ethics. He was bold in his desire to stand on the polemical platform – he was often connected to campaigns where full-page ads were taken


out in large and local newspapers challenging (begging and pleading with) atheists to public debate. Tom made a lasting impact as a preacher. He served as the located or pulpit or associate preacher for a number of congregations. Notably among them would be congregations in Ft. Worth and Seagoville, Texas and in Memphis, Cookeville, and Somerville, Tennessee. When his health allowed, there were times he held as many as 25 Gospel Meetings in a year. He loved to preach – and he was powerful. Hidden Treasures & Talents The above facts are what most know about Thomas B. Warren. He was an imposing professor. He was an intimidating debater. He was a straightforward and uncompromising editor. He was a forceful preacher. However, there are a wealth of things that many would be surprised to hear. Tom Warren was funny! He loved to laugh and sing. Not only did he seek to get his grandsons to think, he sought to make them laugh. Since he was proficient in several languages, he would sing silly songs in Spanish and sometimes German. He had sayings, phrases, and other ways of turning words around that were unique to him. He was the nickname king – everyone in the family had numerous names foisted upon them that soon simply became part of the domestic fabric. Your given name was banished. Your new “unique” name(s) was/were here to stay. Tom Warren was also an amazing artist. In his younger days, he was a commercial cartoonist. To the delight of his grandsons, Tom could at any moment quickly (and perfectly) draw Snoopy, Beetle Bailey, Dagwood, or any other comic strip character. These skills would serve him well as he produced illustrations for his books and debate charts. However, his talent was not limited to the pen/pencil. He was also remarkable with the paintbrush. He produced a number of impressive portraits and nature / landscape / wildlife paintings.


Finally, Thomas B. Warren was kind and gentle. He was the kind of man that intimidated those physically larger than he because of his intellect‌yet‌he was the kind of man who endeared himself to others because of his heart.


Lonnie William Mohundro, Jr. January 3, 1928 – April 11, 2009 by Tim Lewis, tlewis@northmac.org

Lon Mohundro was born near Ferris, Texas on January 3, 1928. He was raised in the Methodist church but was never very committed in his attendance or dedication to that denomination. He served in the Coast Guard from 1946 to 1948 and spent 18 months in the Philippines. After completing his military service, Lon attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, obtaining his B.A. in Business in 1952. While attending that university, he met and married Jeanne Peteet, who was a member of the church of Christ in Highland Park. Due in large part to Jeanne’s example and influence, Lon entered into a serious study of God’s word with Brother Mac Lefan and was baptized just a few months before he and Jeanne were married on June 11, 1949. After his graduation, Lon worked in the Property and Casualty area of several different insurance companies. The family eventually moved to Garland, Texas and became actively involved with the Saturn Road congregation, but when Lon became a partner in the Wilson– Welch Insurance agency, the family moved to Oak Cliff and attended the Wynnewood Hills congregation. That move dramatically altered the course of their lives. During the 1960’s churches of Christ were making a concerted effort to evangelize urban cities in the Northeast through The Exodus Movement – an outreach model that involved large groups of Christians in the South forming ready-made congregations in major cities in the Northeast. The Wynnewood congregation was the sponsor for a group that went to Burlington, Massachusetts. In 1967, at the age of 39, Lon sold his partnership, and moved his family half way across the country without any prospects for employment. He eventually took a job with the Curtin Agency, in Cambridge, but made it clear to his employers that while they could count on him to do his best, his vocation in New England was involvement with the Lord’s church. That “involvement” eventually included serving as one of six elders at the young age of 40.


Lon has always had great empathy for others and according to his wife, Jeanne, he began to feel like he did not know enough about the Bible to give sound advice to the souls he was shepherding, so, in 1974, at the age of 46 the family moved to Lubbock, Texas, where Lon enrolled in the Sunset School of Preaching. It was a difficult time for him because he had never done a lot of reading and the coursework was demanding, but he persevered and graduated in July 1976. Following graduation, Lon and Jeanne moved to Bridgewater, New Jersey to work with the Garretson Road church, which was started in 1966 as Exodus: New Jersey. He spent five years as the pulpit minister for that congregation and then moved to Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania in 1981 to begin working with the Fourth and Arch Street Church of Christ in Sunbury. He spent 10 years preaching for that congregation and also served as one of four elders for two of those years. In 1991 he was invited to become the minister of the West Chester church near Philadelphia. He remained there until his retirement from the pulpit in 2003 at the age of 75. Not long after Lon began his work in Sunbury, Pennsylvania an out of duty member wandered into the building one afternoon looking for literature about the congregation. As it turned out, the man wasn’t interested in restoration but was concerned for his children and wanted them to have an opportunity to learn the truth. In no uncertain terms, Lon asked him, “You know where you should be, don’t you?” That man was my father. A week later we were in Vacation Bible School. Two months after that my father was restored and my mother was baptized. Within the next year my two brothers and I were baptized and we have all been faithful to the Lord ever since. That’s the kind of influence Lon had. He never met a stranger. He was a passionate soul-winner. He took advantage of every opportunity to talk with people about the condition of their soul. In fact, he would often sit on a bench at the mall while his wife was shopping and if anyone “dared” to sit down, he talked with them about God, Jesus, and the Bible. He desired to go to heaven and wanted everyone else to have the opportunity to hear the good news of life in Christ. Lon’s life was heroic in so many important ways. He had the courage to leave denominationalism when he learned the truth; that’s heroic. He had the faith to uproot his family and move to the Northeast to help plant a congregation of the Lord’s church in a region where the church was not very prominent; that’s heroic. He entered into the rigors of ministry training at the age of 46; that’s heroic. He


served God as a preacher in three different congregations in the Northeast where his loving leadership was desperately needed; that’s heroic. He loved his wife with the love of Christ for nearly 60 years; that’s heroic.

While I admire every one of those major life choices none of them explain why Lon Mohundro is my hero in ministry. He is my hero in ministry because he was instrumental in restoring my father and converting the rest of my family. Without his influence I might never have heard the truth and would most likely never have known the joy of salvation and life in Christ. His influence in my life is reminiscent of a monument that was erected in honor of a south Pacific missionary. The monument simply said, “When he came there was no light. When he left, there was no darkness.” That is the impact he had on my life. He did the same for countless others. That is why Lon Mohundro is my hero in ministry!


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"Great Preachers of the Past - My Hero in Ministry & Why� John B. Shelton April 9, 1934 — November 8, 2016 by Bryan D. McAlister, bryan@centervillechurchofchrist.org

December 3, 1978, a young couple with two sons, one 6, the other, not quite four months, were in the audience of the Anna, IL church of Christ. On that day, the wife and mother left the two boys in the pew next to a woman named Kathleen Ritchie. Accompanied by her husband, this young couple responded to the invitation offered to the audience. John helped to baptize her while he took his public confession to be restored. From that moment forward until this moment, I have not known life without the presence of the people and the gifts of the Lord Jesus Christ and the fellowship of His people. The names are too many to call to tell of treasure which was poured out into our lives. Among those names, none stand out so prominently as does the name, John B. Shelton.


From John’s obituary the following words are offered: “John graduated from Trigg County High School in Cadiz, Kentucky, in 1952. He attended Freed-Hardeman College, earned his Bachelor of Arts at David Lipscomb College, and Masters in Communications from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale (SIU-C). He became a minister of the Church of Christ at the age of 18, ministering to the Green’s Chapel Church of Christ and the Horse Cave Church of Christ, both in Hart County, Kentucky, and to the Cadiz Church of Christ in Trigg County, Kentucky. He and his family moved to Anna, Illinois, in 1965 where he ministered to the Anna Church of Christ for 30 years and to the Wetaug Church of Christ for 5 years, retiring in 2000 from full time ministry. He continued to be an active member of the Anna Church of Christ after his retirement as both elder and church treasurer. John taught school the entire time he was in the ministry. He taught at Hart County Schools and Trigg County Schools in Kentucky, and then as a graduate assistant at SIU-C. He became the first faculty member hired at Shawnee Community College in Ullin, Illinois, in 1969. He served as a Speech and English professor and Chairman of the Communications Department for 25 years, retiring in 1994.” Our family never knew life in the church in Anna, IL without John being in the pulpit and being in our lives. John possessed a seemingly natural ability to communicate in a way that was both compelling and complete. It seemed as though he never left anything “out” in terms of an explanation or a description. His command of the word was stellar, and his use of scripture was solid. He truly “preached the word” and those who heard him were the better for it. His style? Well, it was predictable. Descriptive introduction, three points, and a conclusion. Classic for the college english and speech instructor. As a result of working two careers, ministry and commuting to teach college, John’s was involved in a near fatal auto accident in 1989. His injuries were severe. A shattered left leg, a broken jaw, and multiple lacerations. His doctor wanted to amputate his leg, but John insisted he not. John healed (he was told he would not), and even in the altered gate of his walk (he wasn’t supposed to do that either), John was still able to walk with his characteristic dignified walk. I remember mom taking us by the hospital to see John. I remember when John would return to the church to preach. To my awareness there was no insistence that he do so under any time frame. John still had so long to go in his recovery, but there he was, using a wheelchair, and his jaw wired shut, and he preached. I can’t remember what he preached, I’ll just never forget that he was desperate to preach. He preached, because he had to.


I remember how he did not withhold telling personal anecdotes when he preached, but not to the attention of himself, only to illuminate the text. That’s where, if you were listening you could learn of Cadiz, KY, the importance of supporting children (New Pathways for Children), and you could also learn when it was ok to cry before an audience. Most vividly, after John’s accident, he shared his (dignified) tears, but always on Mother’s Day. This man of such distinguished presence never caused one to assume his heart was filled with anything but grace and love. On November 12, 2016, my brother and I stood in John’s pulpit. By his request we memorialized our shared hero. There has never been a higher compliment or greater honor bestowed, than the day we were invited to tell of one who poured his life into ours. The only man we adore more is our dad. To us, John was like a father. He was there where we obeyed the gospel, he was there when we married our spouses, he was there for our success and our failures, and he is with us still. My brother preaches, standing in the pulpit of our home church, where John always stood. I preach, standing with the influence which touched my brother too, the influence of a man who only preached because he had to preach.


Winford Claiborne, A Preacher’s Preacher by Mike Johnson, mjohnson@richmondcc.org

Winford Claiborne became a close friend of mine in the skies over Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina in 1980. He was flying The New Dimension Quartet (a barber shop group) from dear ole’ FHC to a pair of singing performances—one in Bowling Green, KY and another in North Carolina—on the same day. It was over those Carolina mountains that one of our singers accidentally kicked open the luggage door in the small 5-seater plane. The wind dragged our performance hats right out of the plane. He related that story all over the country saying how funny it must have been for some farmer who found four of his cows wearing hats the next morning!


That is just who Brother Claiborne was, a very down-to-earth man who just happened to have a personal library that rivaled a college library. And, he did not just have those books in his house. He read them; he used them. They were his world. He did a masterful job of taking what he found in those books using that knowledge to communicate his concerns about the present state of the world. There may never have been a man in the history of our brotherhood who understood the current culture better than he did. He listened to, read after, and debated in person, over the airwaves, and through the written word those who were instrumental in forming the dangerous mindset that he saw pervading his world. He truly was somewhat of a renaissance man. He was an academic who could hold his own with any philosopher, preacher, or professor. He never shied away from a challenge even from those who might have been considered at the top of their profession. Some of his fiercest words were advanced against humanists and their teaching that man is the center of the universe. He knew this was the undergirding foundation of atheism and all of its tenets including Darwinian evolution, which he also battled continuously. He was also a business man. He owned a sporting goods store in Chatsworth, GA. Whoever spent any time with him, walked away thinking at least two things. First, “That must be one of the kindest and most energetic men I have ever met!� When you were in a conversation with him, you were his focus. He was a tremendous listener who retained what you told him and he would bring it up at a later date. The second striking thing about Brother Claiborne was his voice. He was made for the radio! He could really draw you into whatever topic he was addressing simply by the power and magnificence of his voice. Although I must admit, that soothing voice caused me to fight sleep during a 7:30 AM class at Freed-Hardeman! By far, his greatest contribution to preachers was his ability to fashion the Word of God in response to the words of men. Brother Claiborne reminded us of two things continually throughout his preaching life of 71 years. To preach like Brother Claiborne was to stay fresh and current with the thinking of the day. He always knew what was dominating the spiritual landscape. He knew who the spokespeople were and he knew how they were fashioning their arguments. He called them out and, if necessary, reamed them out! He was a masterful wordsmith


as he targeted the core of their arguments. Those were the very things that dominated his messages during his tenure at the International Gospel Hour, which he took to new heights. The other thing that preachers can learn from this great man was the conviction that the ancient message of God speaks to the modern era of man. He was full of Scripture. There are few who were his equal in applying Scripture to the modern questions of the day. But, perhaps the greatest single thing about Brother Claiborne was his love for his “Ms. Mollie.” I loved hearing him speak of her and talk about her. He complimented her raising of their children while he was away from home. He spoke about how much she supported him by insisting that he do the work that he seemed created to do. His undying love for her led him to care for her at their home when she was mentally and physically unable to care for herself. Brother Winford Claiborne was a great man who used his talents for the Lord in the most efficient ways possible. He used every method available to him to spread the message of God. He was a friend. He was a mentor. He was a preacher’s preacher.


Jackie W. Fox, A Beloved Mentor and Friend by Lance Cordle, lance@calvertchurchofchrist.com

Jackie Fox began preaching at the age of fourteen. He worked with the Holly Springs congregation (Holly Springs, MS), the River Road church in Nashville, and the Austinville congregation in Decatur, AL. He was married to Libby and had two children, Molly and Alan. At the time of his death at the age of 45, he was the local preacher for the Austinville Church of Christ. Though his death came at the apparent peak of his life, he was influential in the lives of numerous people, both young and old. My association with Jackie began as a preacher intern at the Austinville church in the summer of 1981. My girlfriend (now my wife) and I were making plans for marriage the next summer and I was trying to gain skill and experience so I could begin preaching full-time upon graduation. I interviewed for the Austinville internship during lectureship week and went about making other plans just in case that did not turn out favorably. A few weeks later I visited the church on a Sunday morning and was offered the position. That summer turned out to be pivotal for me because I then had a mentor who would indeed help me to improve myself as a preacher and one who would become a trusted friend and confidant. Jackie continued in those capacities until his untimely death. As a preacher and Bible student, Jackie was outstanding. He had been trained at Freed-Hardeman and had furthered his education to the graduate level. His sermons were not flashy, but rather, Bible-based and easy to understand. I recall one particular sermon where he stressed the importance of safeguarding children by referring to the fences around the rooftops of Israelite houses (“battlements� Deuteronomy 22:8). He authored workbooks for Bible class studies, two of them coming on such difficult books as Hebrews and Revelation.


He encouraged me to work-up one to two sermons per week during the summer so I would be prepared to meet the demands of local work. He allowed me to preach at Austinville a few times and he also made arrangements with nearby congregations when they needed someone to fill-in for their preacher. This gave me valuable preaching experience and gave me opportunities for teaching adult Bible classes. He was a firm believer in a strong Bible School program and promoted it faithfully. The Austinville Bible school was excellent in breadth and depth, both of young people as well as adults. Jackie also invested heavily in Vacation Bible School and made sure that his summer interns took a leading role within it. Jackie was a devoted personal evangelist. He created introductions to long-used methods that transitioned the students in ways that would lead many of them to ultimately obey Christ. In his everyday work, he tried to maintain balance. His approach was the first half of the day for study for sermons, classes and other office work, then to do visitation and unforeseen but necessary work in the afternoons. It is an approach that I try to follow even to this day. His visitation of those who were shut-in, in nursing homes, or in hospital was also a matter of firm, but flexible planning. When in the hospitals, he tried to be positive and caring. Again, his example of brief, minimally intrusive visits to the sick and hurting is one that I find myself following, time after time. He taught me that it is good to pray with the sick, encourage them, and try not to be too inquisitive while conveying the love of God. Jackie cared deeply for his family and it was so evident in the way that Libby and his children returned that love. They were a family that expressed that love in such a way that was not overdone, but was at the same time, genuine. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with them during that summer. His love of his own family was extended to others in his work with Maywood Christian Camp. Another requirement of an Austinville internship was that the student attend and work during the week of camp that Jackie directed. Kids of all


ages played, studied and sang together in a week that brought old friends closer to each other, as well brought strangers to friendship. The end of the week brought sighs of relief mingled with tears of sadness and joy at goodbye. Jackie was active on Maywood’s board of directors and diligent in its support. Even now, the last week of Camp is known as Jackie Fox Week. One final trait of Jackie Fox that made him great was his quirky sense of humor. His love of clean, innocent, pranking and joking was well known. I remember visiting with his family that Sunday I visited Austinville. We had finished eating and Jackie looked at me and said, “Lance, would you like a nice, big slice of apple pie?” To which I responded, “Sure!” Without batting an eye, he said, “That’s too bad; we don’t have any.” It seemed that most of the time, he went around with a sly grin on his face (after all, his last name was Fox!). That sense of humor endeared him to many people and helped him navigate through the life of a preacher (which we all know is not all fun and games). I am thankful for my decision to spend a summer as an intern at Austinville. I am glad that the preacher there taught me, encouraged me and befriended me. Even though many Christians today have never heard of him, he has had a great impact upon many lives, especially on my life and that of my family. I thank God for my late, beloved friend, Jackie Fox!


JERRY AUSTIN JENKINS January 15, 1936-October 26, 2010 by Jeff A. Jenkins, jeffajenkins@gmail.com

Jerry Jenkins was born on January 15, 1936, in Huntsville, Alabama. He attended Freed Hardeman University (AA), David Lipscomb University (BA), Harding Graduate School of Religion (MA), Alabama Christian College of


Biblical Studies (MT), and Abilene Christian University (DM). For a time Jerry served as Dean and Greek Instructor for Alabama Christian College of Biblical Studies. Jerry and his wife Mamie Frame were happily married for nearly fifty years. Mamie encouraged him in every good work in which he was involved. They had four children, Jeff, Carey, Dale, and Melissa. They also had nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren. What are some of the qualities that made him a great preacher? Jerry’s greatest passion was soul-winning. He conducted thousands of Bible studies using the Jewel Miller Filmstrips. Early in his preaching life he developed a special “close” to be used following each film. These “closes” are still being used today. He once said that he baptized every person he studied with who invited him into their home for a meal. For many years the Roebuck Parkway Church averaged baptizing one person every week. Jerry had a passion for mission work. He and his wife Mamie were the first missionary couple to Belize, Central America in 1969. He directed sixty-four campaigns and spoke for all of them throughout the country of Belize. In addition he conduced radio and TV programs throughout the country of Belize. He baptized and developed a long time friendship with brother Melvin Davis who serves as the preacher for the Belize City Church of Christ. Jerry conducted over 100 evangelist campaigns and preached for each of them during his life. He loved young people. He founded Maywood Christian Camp and Jefferson Christian Academy in Birmingham. He believed strongly in Christian education. He served on the board of JCA until his death. Along with these boards Jerry also served on the Board of Directors for Rainbow Omega and the Advisory Board for Freed Hardeman University. Shortly after moving to Birmingham to work with the Roebuck Parkway Church (at the time it was known as the Woodlawn Church), Jerry began a


weekly television program. He hosted The Living Word television broadcast for forty-three years. It became the longest running religious broadcast in the state of Alabama. The Living Word was shown throughout the state of Alabama and around the world on the Gospel Broadcast Network. Jerry Jenkins loved the Lord and the Lord’s Church. He loved people of all ages, social standings, nations, and all walks of life. He exemplified what it means to be a Gospel Preacher and a man of God. His life could be characterized as a life of humility, grace, concern, and love. On one occasion we were on a preaching trip in Alaska. We were driving

somewhere along the Alaskan Pipeline partially looking at the scenery, but mostly talking about preaching and ministry. We were asking Dad a lot of questions and he was doing his best to give us answers. During the conversation Dale asked Dad, “How do you stay with one congregation for so many years?” Dad thought about it for what seemed like several minutes. We were waiting for a wonderful, earth-shattering word of wisdom. Finally, Dad said, “You don’t move!” That’s pretty much a snapshot of our Dad; a wise, thoughtful man who could succinctly answer any question one asked.


TJI Recommends‌

 

Order daily devotional books for every member of your congregation at OneWordStudy.com ($3.00 each!) and order your own One Word Preaching Resource for $3.50 at the same site. A great preaching plan.


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Coming March 2017

Coming and Going When, How, Why to leave & How to Begin Again

On preaching and ministry, volume 2, number 2  

My Heroes in Ministry

On preaching and ministry, volume 2, number 2  

My Heroes in Ministry