Breakfast with a Friend and Mentor

Yesterday, I drove an hour north of my home for an early lunch with Tom Ash a personal friend and mentor, at a “Cracker Barrel” restaurant. Within 30 seconds of being seated (NO exaggeration!) something that would take me 30 minutes or more, he had the name, marital status and important insight into the spiritual condition and struggle of our server! Gloria [not her real name] is the single parent of a 13 year old son. She currently lives with her parents and has recently been released from a rehabilitation facility, where she was treated for an addiction. And, not knowing who or what we were (pastors), when asked about her marital status, blurted out, “The only person I’m interested in marrying is the one God will choose for me. I won’t be marrying the wrong person again!”

Tom’s listening skills and approach to initiating conversation challenged me. After listening to more of Gloria’s story, he said to me, “Ed, most people want to talk about themselves and will do that if you give them a chance. When I talk to people I assume they want to tell me about themselves, so I open conversation with simple questions.” Subsequently we learned Gloria had trusted Christ as her Lord and Savior, but needed a church home, and a Christ centered support group. I encouraged her to find a church with a Celebrate Recovery program, something with which both Tom and I have had direct and positive experiences. Gloria then hugged us both and said, “I had a rough start this morning, but now know that God sent you here for me.”

The bottom line on this was being reminded of what discipleship is all about. Making disciples is about bringing people from where they are to where they need to be in Christ, and that requires getting to know them first. And maybe, just maybe, it “ain’t all that hard.”

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Ed has had over 30 years of ministry experience, sixteen of them at Greenwoods Community Church in the southern Berkshires of Massachusetts. More recently he has fulfilled an extended transitional interim assignment for the Alliance Southeast of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Leesburg, Florida. In addition, Ed has had nearly 13 years of experience in the field of geriatric healthcare. Ed’s is happily married to Lynn, having recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Lynn is a true partner in ministry, having served Greenwoods Community Church as its Children's Ministry Coordinator for over ten years. She is a decorator, colorist, instructor in furniture painting, and an artist in her own right. For over 20 years she had her own business, Whimsical Brushes, teaching and traveling throughout the Northeast. Lynn is also active as a women’s outreach speaker for Stonecroft Ministries in Florida. God has given Ed a burden to be a mentor pastor, developing leaders for the church in the 21st Century. One way in which he is fulfilling that calling is through Rockbridge Seminary, where he serves as an adjunct professor of Spiritual Formation. Ed has earned degrees from Cairn University (B.S. 1971), Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M. 1979), and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min. 2007). He has published several articles on the Spiritual Heritage of Litchfield County, Connecticut, and led several tours of sites associated with the Village Revivals that spawned the Second Great Awakening in New England. In his spare time, you are likely to find Ed at the piano or pecking out a blog on his blog page

One thought on “Breakfast with a Friend and Mentor”

  1. I like that story of life in its simplicity about bringing people to Christ. First, build the relationship by listening to them, then listen to the Holy Spirit living in you to respond. Thanks for sharing


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