Last night, we had a commissioning service for my dear friend, Greg Van Court. Greg leaves this week to become the only other pastor Dayspring Fellowship has ever had in its 33 years, replacing our dear friend and the founding pastor, Jackson Boyett who was killed 3 months ago with his wife in a car crash. To get caught up on the events that led to this decision, see these previous posts.
For the last 7 years, Greg has been on a scholarly path, which made sense to most of his professors at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary since he has been labeled one of the most gifted language (Greek and Hebrew) students to come through SBTS in decades. In preaching the commissioning service yesterday evening and reflecting back on Greg’s role at our church, I found myself so grateful for a very unique role Greg played in my life and our church that I thought might be a good model for others pursuing scholarly work to consider.
For the last 5 years, Greg and I met every week for him to teach me Greek, since I was unable to go to seminary. However, Greg did not sit and lecture me, but he taught me Greek from the passage I was preaching for that week. A typical meeting would usually be mid-week and would involve me reading the passage I am preaching out loud in Greek, then for me to try to translate it. Greg would ask me questions as we went, help me if I got hung up, and would make sure I clearly understood the passage well in the original language before continuing my preparation to preached it. This became an invaluable part of my preparation to preach each week. Although I will miss being taught by a patient, gracious friend, I will most of all miss my friend. Yet, if he must go, I could not think of any better reason than for Greg to replace Jackson.
Scholars in the church, you have an incredibly unique opportunity to serve your pastors, leaders, and young aspiring ones in a way no one else can and with gifts no one else in the church possesses. Offer yourselves to those in your church who regularly preach and teach. Some may know the languages well, but others may not. Greg not only taught me much Greek throughout the years, but also showed me how the unique gifts of a scholar can be used to serve Christ’s church when a scholar possesses a pastor’s heart. Apparently, Greg’s pastor’s heart in the providence of God was placed there for a reason and has won out. For that I am grateful.
Greg’s oldest daughter approached me last night after the service and said, “My daddy knows Greek better than you.” To which I responded with, “Yes, sweetie, your daddy knows Greek better than most people on the planet. However, I am better at racquetball than your daddy.” Greg from a distance over heard the conversation and agreed. My fragile ego found great comfort in that.
Blessings as you go, dear brother! You will be missed, but as shared numerous times last night by our people, Dayspring needs you more, even if there now exists this gaping hole in my life for a Greek tutor.