Saturday, October 10, 2009

In Memory of Dr. David Edwards

Dr. David Edwards, pastor of First Baptist Church in Corsicana, died in a car accident yesterday.  David was a good friend.  When I got home from the hospital late last night, this is what I wrote about our friendship:

Sometimes pastors need pastors too.  We struggle with life’s ups and downs just like everyone else, and at certain points we need a patient, loving, listening ear.  We don’t have the luxury of whispering the latest gossip in the hallway, or “constructively” criticizing the sermon over Sunday lunch.  Instead, we rely on those rare and wonderful friends who can hear our hearts and handle our hurts with great care and discretion.

My pastor in this town was Dr. David Edwards.  It’s ironic that Dr. Edwards, the pastor at First Baptist Church, and I, the pastor at Grace Community Church, would have built such a friendship.  You see Grace Community Church notoriously broke away from FBC nearly 14 years ago.  Regardless of the irony, David and I enjoyed a real and honest friendship that was challenging, inspiring and forward thinking.  

When we’d meet for coffee on a nearly weekly basis, we’d talk about things that mattered, like our love for our families, our insecurities and weaknesses, and our goals and aspirations for our churches.  The only expectation we had of each other was to tell it straight.  There was no sense of the kinds of petty competition and unbecoming boasting that has unfortunately bled into the church world.  David and I were teammates, and we shared ministry tips and collaborated on ministry efforts in ways that were insightful and unselfish.

David always made me feel like an equal, even though he was 13 years my elder and had achieved much more than I, both academically and professionally.  We shared a common, passionate love for Christ, and we respected each other because we knew what it meant to be leaders who desperately desired to see the great impact of God’s grace in this town.  Our relationship was easy, and that, my friends, is hard to find.

So, as a pastor who needed a pastor, I mourn with the dear people of First Baptist Church (especially the family of Dr. Edwards).  Thanks for sharing your leader with me, and know that the people of Grace Community Church are fervently praying for God’s sustaining grace during this unimaginable time.   David was a friend and mentor, but he was, more than anything else, a pastor, and that’s just about the best thing a person could be to a pastor like me.