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The Power of To(gether)

“One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives.”  Euripides

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” Helen Keller

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;”  John Donne

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe unto him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.”  Ecclesiastes 4:9

Moses had Aaron.

David had Jonathan.

Elisha had Elijah.

Paul had Silas.

Moody had Sankey.

Graham has Bev Shea.

God uses individuals, no doubt about it. But our individualistic American culture too often promotes the individual and misses the vital place of two or more. This week I traveled to South Carolina to speak at several events, all as it happened on college campuses. I took a student with me as I often do, in this case Ryan Edwards, a young man who has come to be a great blessing over the past couple of years.

But this time I did something else. I took a colleague. I do this far too rarely. Mark Liederbach, our dean of students and a disciplemaker I greatly admire, joined me in ministry. He and I have written a book together. In fact, Monday night at Furman University we led a student forum on that book. We currently teach a class together. We have spent a lot of time talking about students, discipling, and making SEBTS more a culture of mentoring and spiritual growth.

I love this man. He has the hand of God on his life. He is a man of God. So off to SC we went. I spoke in chapel at NGU, a place I love like few others on earth. Mark led a class of collegians and shared his passion for worship and discipleship. We led the forum that night. We have both spoken individually on scores and scores of college campuses. But doing this together provided a special joy.

I spoke the next morning at Anderson University, but we particularly enjoyed conversations in between these events, sharing struggles, affirming strengths, pushing one another to be more like Christ.

I can say that over the past 2-3 years no single man other than my son Josh has caused me to think more about my walk with God, my role as a teacher-mentor-leader, my efforts as a husband and father, and the gospel’s place in my life than has Mark Liederbach. God used a message Mark preached in chapel a while back to start a new trajectory in my life focusing more on the local church. This led me to the place that I now serve my local church and love being there week after week.

We will be spending more time together. I need men of God in my life. We are talking about more writing to come, perhaps an ebook, maybe more.

If you are a man, who is the man or who are the men in your life who just by being in their presence cause you to want to know Jesus more? Mark is not the only colleague who has that impact in my life. But he plays a key role, and this week I was reminded of that.

Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one my sharpens another.” Be iron. Find more iron. And sharpen one another.

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alvinreid@churchleaders.com'
Alvin L. Reid (born 1959) serves as Professor of Evangelism and Student Ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he has been since 1995. He is also the founding Bailey Smith Chair of Evangelism. Alvin and his wife Michelle have two children: Joshua, a senior at The College at Southeastern, and Hannah, a senior at Wake Forest Rolesville High School. Recently he became more focused at ministry in his local church by being named Young Professionals Director at Richland Creek Community Church. Alvin holds the M.Div and the Ph.D with a major in evangelism from Southwestern Seminary, and the B.A. from Samford University. He has spoken at a variety of conferences in almost every state and continent, and in over 2000 churches, colleges, conferences and events across the United States.