Alliance News Feed – Generational Discipleship
by Calvin Dorsey, lead and planting pastor of Sandusky (Ohio) Life Church
I searched through the department store for the perfect gift, like an archaeologist hoping to find that one object that wasn’t merely a rock but also a calcified gem from some ancient creature. Why was this gift so important to me? It was the first time I went Father’s Day shopping for anyone, and ironically, this man for whom the gift was for, I had no biological connection.
His name was Benjamin Isabell, and he was the first godly man I had ever witnessed in an up-close-and-personal way. Though a flawed man—as we all are—he wore his imperfections in such a way to display only the grace of God bestowed upon him. He never met a person who didn’t deserve his help nor someone unworthy of his love. The largeness of his generosity was rivaled only by the size of his inviting smile.
Pastor Isabell, as we affectionately called him, taught me from age 19 not only how to be a man but also, more importantly, how to be a man of God. Unbeknownst to me, he discipled me. He generously offered his time, treasure, energy, wisdom, and knowledge to see me transformed into Christ’s image.
Having experienced this tutelage from such an early place in my walk, the concept of discipleship was forever ingrained in my philosophy. Over the last 15 years, I have always sought out and maintained a consistent mentor-pupil relationship in every aspect of my life. Whether it’s marriage, school, ministry, or any other intangible of life, I see discipleship as essential for the believer’s health.
Shortly after my time concluded with Pastor Isabell, I searched for new counsel, and God led me to Dr. Ron Morrison of The Christian and Missionary Alliance.
Still very influential to this day, his example and teaching have set the bar for Christ-like leadership within the church. His heart to equip and support next-generation leaders is reminiscent of the apostle Paul’s. He makes himself available to contact for support and offers genuine concern for my family’s needs. Paul’s appeal to Timothy was to establish generational discipleship, and I see that same fervor in Ron’s heart.
Growing up in a household where strong leadership was sparse and godly leadership wasn’t a thought, I had to look elsewhere. A person I strongly admired was none other than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I know when you see that name, you think, Cliché. But I didn’t have just a general affection or respect for him; I deeply admired him for his tenacity and strong sense of justice.
I listened to several of his speeches in constant, repetitive nature. I sought out to play him in theatrical school performances. I repackaged his sermons, speeches, and writing for class presentations. Though I never met him in person, he shepherded many of my passions today. His life was a testament to the value God places on every individual’s life. His teachings showed me that standing up for injustice was not just a human rights agenda but also an attribute of the God Almighty.
To have the privilege of discipleship and the example from these strong men of color was life changing. There was a strong sense of comfort and familiarity knowing that we as Christian African-American men experienced similar cultures, saw the world through the same lens, and are citizens of the same Kingdom.
My prayer is that I can continue to honor God by following these men as they have followed Christ and set the same example for the next generation of leaders.
Source: Alliance News Feed – Generational Discipleship