As an organization, our focus is to disciple the disciple makers in developing nations. Jesus called us to go into all the world and make disciples. It is difficult to truly make disciples if we have no concept of the Word of God and what it means to be a disciple. With this focus, Global Action embarks on the campaign “Make Disciples Now.”
Looking back through my life, I have been blessed to have a number of people “disciple” me in my walk with God, my personal life, and the ministry that God has put before me. I realize that I would not have had such a rich life without the people I have been able to walk with and glean from over the last 46 years.
None of these people were perfect and they made mistakes, but each one contributed to my life in a perfectly wonderful way. What I learned from them have given me the ability to walk out the purpose God has called me to do.
The 25 years that I was associated with Bethany World Prayer Center in Baton Rouge was an incredible foundation for me. I think about our founding pastor, Roy Stockstill, Pastor Larry Stockstill, Rick Zachary, Ted Haggard, Chris Hodges, and the list could go on. When I was a struggling teenager, these men took me under their wing and saw the potential in me. When I was a missionary, they protected me early in ministry and taught me invaluable lessons of leadership. When Shary and I walked through the tremendous heartbreak of losing our first two children, they were there to comfort and strengthen us. They gave us a strong biblical foundation to build on, which has been invaluable to us.
As a young missionary, I had incredible men of faith, dedication and wisdom to show me the way. I think of Joey Williamson, the first missionary I worked with in Central America. His incredible work ethic and sacrifice was unmatched. He literally gave his life to see the gospel brought to the unreached areas in the war torn areas of the jungles of Central America. I still remember the day he was killed and the impact that he has perpetually made on my life. We had the privilege of working some years under Don and Amy Matheny in Africa. We were just kids yet they opened their lives to us and believed in us enough to allow us to learn from them what ministry is all about. Don and I would ride for hours on our mountain bikes and during our water breaks, we would talk about life and learning to listen to God.
Shary’s parents, Billy and Charlene Hornsby, were an incredible godly influence on both of us. The hospitality, the generosity, the desire to make others successful will forever be embedded into our lives. Although they are both in heaven now, they continue to make a daily impact on our lives. Billy was one of the best disciple-makers I know.
And my parents, Ted and Margie Long, are the two best Christians that I have ever met. Their dedication to God is something I reach for constantly. The life lessons they have taught me is too long to list but I think back to a most important one from my dad. After a series of “compromising” situations that I’ve put myself into, he challenged me to be the leader God called me to be. I told him, “Dad, I don’t want to be a leader.” To that, he replied, “Son, you don’t have a choice. You are a leader and you will lead people one way or the other.” At that point in my life, I decided to lead others in the right direction. It was one of the turning points in my life.
There are many others which brings me to the realization that I have been blessed with a privilege that not all have. That is why I have chosen to do what I am doing – to be a part of making disciples around the world. The millions of untrained pastors in developing nations who are doing their best but failing because they lack knowledge of God’s Word and the understanding of being godly leaders. They will not fulfill their potential of being the mature leaders that they could be if they are not shown the way.
Join me in Christ’s great cause! #makedisciplesnow