I called my dad’s secretary in Phoenix to try to find out where he was so I could ask him a question. She gave me the number to his hotel in a different state. The hotel answered, “Good evening Red Roof Inn.” Tommy Barnett, one of the greatest legends of all time, staying at the Red Roof Inn. I absolutely loved it! The prince of pastors staying at a Red Roof Inn.
I said, “Dad, why are you staying there?” His response, “I stay where the church puts me.”
No complaints, no drama, no diva spirit, just flowing wherever the local church decides to put him. Amazing! No matter if churches have kept him at the best hotel or the worst, he has always been gracious.
My father has truly been a friend to the local church. Always been thankful, always grateful, always been a friend to the small church as well as the large.
I will never forget that as a boy my dad took me to California on a preaching trip. The church told him 500 people would be there and only 30 showed up. The pastor was so embarrassed he started to tear up at the poor attendance. My father put his arm around him and said, “I didn’t come for a crowd I came for you, buddy.” It was at that moment I found my hero.
There is so much to learn from men like this who value relationships over convenience, preference, or exclusive opportunities. Pastors like my dad who talk to the people after speaking on the road and realize MINISTRY OFF THE PULPIT IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS ON.
He realizes that he is always on assignment for the one.
I am in the ministry largely because of this special man. He taught me that there is more value in relationship, friendship, and good standing with a church than where you stay, how you fly, or how big your entourage is.
He kept it simple, went with the flow, loved the one, and served the church with a humble attitude. God help me to live out his same values. Thanks Dad!
The way you carried yourself is why I am in the ministry today. May your lessons and model of humility never be too far from my heart.