In Praise Of The Leaders Of My Youth

Recently, as I was sitting in church, I was reminded of my first pastor. The pastor that influenced my life more than any other.

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When I was born in Vancouver, Reg Layzell was the pastor of our church, Glad Tidings. Pastor Layzell was my pastor throughout the first 16-17 years of my life. One of my fondest memories of Pastor Layzell was when he took me to his vacation home on Keat’s Island for a week after my Dad passed away. Spending time fishing and boating with him and Grant Livingstone was great.

Pastor Layzell was very big on prayer, giving, missions and worship. If you were in the Glad Tidings choir or orchestra, it was mandatory to be in the prayer room a half hour before the Sunday night service. He also taught the importance of tithing and supporting missions work. Glad Tidings was also a great church to learn about worshipping God. Some very strong worship leaders came out of that church.

Pastor Layzell was also a big supporter and promoter of kid’s camp. I remember all the great summers that I had as a kid: camping, boating, canoeing, playing baseball, going to chapel, playing in the worship band, hiking, singing around campfires. They were such influential days.

I first learned that I was a leader at camp. One summer, I was put in charge of one of the four camp sports teams. That team came in first place that summer. The next year, I was put in charge again and that team also won. I had never considered myself a leader before that.

Camp was also the place that I developed a close relationship with God. I remember memorizing scripture, praying at the altar, writing notes from our daily classes and worshipping God with all my heart during our chapel sessions. They were special times in a young man’s life!

So I want to say many thanks to Pastor Layzell and all the pastors and camp leaders in my life and the lives of so many other campers. Thanks to Lou and Marion Peterson, Wayne Stilling, Bob Hoggard, Dan BurrKevin Preston and so many others! 

Question: What people have been influential in your walk with the Lord? What are you doing to mentor and influence the next generation for God?

Check out my new book: “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure’. It is now available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

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