I entered Freed-Hardeman College in 1980 as a Bible major. It was my desire to spend my life preaching the good news about Jesus. While I preached for some congregations while in college, I didn’t begin full-time work until 1984. Thirty-two years later I am still preaching, and I absolutely love what I do. While there are many things I’d change if I could live my life over again, becoming a preacher would not be one of them.
However, preachers aren’t born, they’re made. And while I am still a work in progress, I have a number of people in my life that have been influential to me, and have encouraged me in my desire to preach. So, for the next week or so, I plan to acknowledge and thank some of these people (Romans 13:7).
There is no way that I can express in just a few words how much my dad influenced me to become a preacher. Dad, himself, preached for more than 60 years (50 of which were at one congregation). I have no memory of dad ever talking to me about becoming a preacher, but he spoke through his influence.
Dad was a model of what a preacher should be. Preaching wasn’t his job, it was his love and passion. In him, I saw a love for God, a love for the church, and self-sacrifice. Dad was a great preacher, and was in high demand on lectureships and in gospel meetings, yet I didn’t know of a more humble man. Dad taught me to be plain, simple, and preach to be understood. He avoided the “ivory tower philosophies” and “hobbies” that often become distractions to preachers, and he simply preached the gospel of Christ.
Before Johnny Ramsey passed away, he was asked who he thought was the greatest preacher in the brotherhood. Johnny’s answer was, “Frank Higginbotham.” I treasure brother Ramsey’s evaluation of my dad, and while I may be prejudiced, I would have to say I agree with him. Dad passed away unexpectedly two and a half years ago and every once in a while, without thinking, I still grab for my phone to call him, and am suddenly jolted back to reality. Dad was my mentor, and if I could ever be worthy of carrying the “mantle” of another and receiving a double portion of one’s spirit (2 Kings 2), I would want his. Thanks, Dad!