During a few of my church visits, I have encountered some rather humorous situations, especially when the pastor and church members wonder why I am there. For some of them, visits from state missionaries are not a normal occurrence. In my case, I have had several occasions when people would say something like, “Now, who are you?”
One time, a pastor – when introducing me to his congregation – forgot my name and simply said, “And now, we will hear from the man from Montgomery.” “The man from Montgomery” sounds like an important person but, as I came to the podium, I felt the people might need to know my name and that I was a state missionary and not a representative of the governor or the Alabama Bureau of Investigation. The visit went well, and the people seemed to be encouraged by the presentation I offered concerning state missions.
Another church visit is equally memorable. I was visiting a congregation of Hispanics in a new church start in our state. As I came to the door of the church, a cute little boy saw me and, with a big grin, he turned and shouted, “Momma, the old gringo is here.” Now that is a welcome committee to remember.
More recently, I was in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., for a one-night speaking engagement. The pastor, Jeff Vanlandingham, a former Alabama Baptist, introduced me in the most complimentary fashion I can ever recall. He said to his congregation, “He is the man with One Mission, The Great Commission.”
If I have a legacy among Alabama Baptists, I would love for it to be what my friend, Jeff Vanlandingham, articulated. I would like to be known a “The man with One Mission, The Great Commission.” I couldn’t ask for a better introduction, and I am humbled by it. Thanks, Jeff, for answering the question, “Now, who are you?”