Sometimes I wake up with a deep and clear line of thinking going on in my subconscious. It’s funny what can trigger it off. A few weeks ago I was browsing on Twitter and came across a photo of an old friend of mine from our church youth days, Paul Counsell. He was pictured with his 6mth old grandson and in the caption he was called Grandad. It made me smile and brought back many happy memories of what was a truly superb youth group back in the late 70’s at the Full Gospel Church on Pasture St in Grimsby.
As I woke up the following morning I found myself going over the memories from the church and youth group, and just feeling so appreciative of the Godly input I had received in those early days as a believer. The pastor of the church, Glyn Thomas, and the secretary, Bill Counsell, were two wonderful men of God from whom I learned so much.
Glyn had a very down to earth approach to Christian living and a great sense of humour. I remember one time there was a visitor in the meeting and they had brought a rather unsound ‘message in tongues’. It actually sounded like a chicken rather than a distinctive tongue. There was quite a bit of smothered merriment as we tried not to laugh out loud during the prayer meeting. Pastor Thomas handled it brilliantly by concluding saying (as I remember), “Well friends, all I can say is, as a hen gathers her chicks, so the Lord gathers us!” Of course we all burst out laughing, but that was indicative of his easy and witty style. I learned so much from him.
And I can still hear Mr Counsell relating stories from his own youth under the ministry of his old pastor from Blackburn assembly. Many a time he would say, “As old Fred Watson used to say…..”. Bill took the time to run a Bible class for us youngsters after the main Sunday morning service, and over a coffee we would raise our questions and he would lead an in-depth discussion of the subject matter. His intention was to pass on his experiences and learning and imbue us with the same solid Biblical background he had received himself.
The legacy of these two men of God in those first few months and years of my Christian life has been tremendous. I often thank God for the godly grounding I received from them, and how much it has helped me in my walk with the Lord these past 38 years. I didn’t really realise it at the time but they left a heritage in my life which I believe is still bearing fruit all these years later.
Of course there were others who contributed greatly to my early growth as a young believer. Alan and Chris Leeman used to host the young people at their house after many a Sunday night service. We loved the fellowship and food, and Alan and others would share from the Word a thought or a message to help us.
Also, in the year before I left my hometown for Manchester Polytechnic I was also greatly mentored by Jo Hall and Linda Cawkwell (now Ng), in particular with regard to youth work and Youth for Christ activities in the area.
And only last week, I was reminded of how important is the legacy we all leave behind by attending the funeral of Phil and Jean Wooffindin. The testimonies of the input they had into the lives of many people were wonderful to hear. They are a precious couple who will be sadly missed by many.
So what of the legacy we will leave behind? Are we building a Godly legacy of encouraging people in their walk with God? Are we setting Godly examples? Are we sowing the Word of Life into peoples’ lives around us? It’s a challenge, and one that bears serious reflection. I thank God for the Godly legacy I received, and I pray I can be used of God to pass on to others what I have received. By His grace 🙂