An open letter to young ministers By Wallace B. Henley, for The Christian Post
Dear young men and women in ministry:
As I write, fall is upon us — not of falling leaves, but of falling Church leaders. Scarcely a week goes by that we don’t read about wayward pastors, dallying denominational executives and bureaucrats, and others who should be models of chaste and heroically respectable living.
Even my beloved Southern Baptist Convention, from whom I gained a love for the Scriptures and a passion for evangelism and missions, reportedly is being investigated by government agencies.
I call aging an “ascent up ‘Mount Hoary.’” That old word in another era brought to mind whitish-gray hair as a symbol of wisdom and respect. “Hoary with age” was in those times a title of honor.
So, young ministry leader or student, I want to share with you priceless principles to which I have turned often when I wanted to succumb to disappointment, and, Jonah-like, hop a ship to Tarshish. The principles I will discuss came from great men and women who mentored me, or whom I watched from afar … people who had no idea that the eyes of a young, impetuous eager beaver were focused on them.
One of the nice things about Mount Hoary is that the higher up its slopes you get the more you can see where you’ve been, and where you’re going. As I look back down there, those heroic and faithful people are still cheering me on, in God’s wonderful reality they are also up there on the peak of Mount Hoary, shouting at me not to give up no matter how hard the climb.
As I age, I understand better the importance and blessing of the “great cloud of witnesses” of Hebrews 11-12.
One of those in my life was Professor Hudson Baggett, under whom I studied at Samford University. Dr. Baggett was not a timorous type, but a well-focused straight shooter. In 1960 he was not far in time from the Second World War battlefield where he was gravely wounded. He still winced from the pain.