I received news today that Galen Skinner passed away. I'm late as usual...it happened last August, but I just read it today in a periodical I read called "The Christian Standard". Who is Galen Skinner? He was the first full-time pastor of the church of which I'm now the pastor (although he wasn't called pastor, I'm sure, the Christian church movement really wasn't into that title back then). But from 1960-1962, he preached at the church location on Emerson Street (now Bloomington Bible Church). This means a lot to me, because I build on a foundation that he and many other faithful people have laid. I like to think that 3-5 years before I was born, God was thinking, "I'm going to give Galen this calling to preach at this little church in Bloomington, IL so that they will have a love for preaching and the Bible...then I'm going to create this chubby little kid from Indiana who will have a passion for my Word. When he grows up, he will preach in this place that loves to hear the Bible."
It makes me feel very small. I wish I could have known Galen. I did speak briefly with him on the phone when I was planning our 50th anniversary of the church. He couldn't come because he was in poor health in 2004. He was gracious enough to send a video greeting and prayer which we played on September 2005 to the congregation in both services. I could tell from those brief encounters that he loved the Lord and he loved people. In some ways, his DNA is all over this current body. Thank God for this brother. I know he is hearing, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"
Someday I plan on hearing the same words and standing by Galen's side as we worship our Savior together. I'd like to think we'll be joined by the kid or student or young adult that God is preparing to take my place eventually.