I met Wyndham in the spring of 1975. I was a freshman at NC State University and he was the campus minister. God indeed does move in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. I think about the barriers the Lord used Wyndham to break in my life.
The Spiritual Barrier
Wyndham counted the costs of becoming a disciple of Jesus with me. My life was about women, partying, and all the wrong things. I never thought I could or would be a Christian. The spiritual barrier for me was overcoming my sinful life but also believing and understanding that being a Christian meant being a man of strength, integrity, conviction, and character. Wyndham broke the barrier of how I viewed men who followed Jesus. He most definitely broke down the barrier of how I viewed ministers.
It wasn't just the absence of robes and collars. He was a man of deep conviction and intensity for God, but he also liked sports and could talk about them in a practical and knowledgeable way. It was a far cry from TV evangelists and the church I had attended back home.
The Racial Barrier
When I initially visited the Brooks Avenue church in the mid 70's I thought it would be my first and last visit there. There were just a hand full of black people in the church and one black guy in the campus ministry to whom I could not relate. Wyndham, the young campus minister, and many others showed me the love of God that could break down racial walls. Though there were laws against segregation, it was still the norm in the hearts and minds of many, especially in the church.
In the churches of Christ the strategy was to have a black church and a white church in the same town. At seminars there was always a preacher from the "black church" to give one of the keynote speeches. Wyndham mentored and trained me just as he would have anyone else, not to be a black minister, but to be a minister of the gospel who just happened to be black. Because of his influence, I was the first black man to be sent out to serve in the campus ministry in the churches of Christ, where diversity eventually became more the norm.
The Ineffectiveness BarrierWyndham, more than anyone, helped me overcome the areas that stood in the way of my effectiveness as disciple. My sanguine temperament and conflict avoiding nature were detriments to fruitfulness and impact. I wanted everyone to like me. Wyndham seemed to not care about that at all as he spoke the truth to me. He taught me the most valuable lessons in life and ministry—Put character and heart above the outward appearance. The greatest battle in life is the battle to conquer self. More than in words he demonstrated it in his life.
Recently when facing a challenging situation of major importance and consequence I could think of no better person to call to seek wisdom than my mentor, example, and best friend, Wyndham. He may now be physically disabled and retired from full time ministry, but the life lessons he has taught me will never retire from my heart and soul.
Shared from Wednesday Wisdom with Wyndham by Jeanie Shaw