The Brotherhood of the Second Cross was established on Father’s Day 2005 where 160 men stood before their wives and children to pledge themselves to purity, self-sacrifice, loyalty, and excellence. Today, hundreds more have joined the commitment.
A good friend of mine frequently says, “People may not remember all you say and do, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.” That idea jumped to mind yesterday as I heard of the passing of a great man–Rev. Derald Musgrove.
He served for more than two decades as a denominational leader in my home state of Kansas and was an important mentor in my life, particularly in the three years we worked together in serving the churches of the state. I remember numerous lunches at diners, chicken places, or one of Wichita’s many cafeterias. And while the food was generally not worth remembering, the conversation was life-changing.
In those moments I learned about ministry, the church, decision-making, managing conflict, and so much more. Today as I serve our denominational nationally, helping churches get healthy, I can’t begin to measure how much of my efforts were shaped by those chats over room-temperature food.
But the content wasn’t half of the value. Even more, Derald Musgrove let me feel that I mattered. Not many superintendents take time to eat with their district youth director three or four times a week. Nor do they share their insights into some of the most important decisions facing the churches they lead. He spoke to me, not as an instructor, but as a peer–genuinely wanting my input and contribution to the conversation. Not a typical connection for an experienced leader in his sixties to make with a 29-year old.
Many people will describe Derald Musgrove and speak of his wit. He was a great story teller, and if a picture’s worth a thousand words, then his photographs spoke volumes. But on a much deeper level, this man was a leader who communicated value to everyone he encountered. There are decades-worth of Sunday school teachers and ushers and little kids at camp who know his smile and remember the warmth of his genuine interest in their lives. I was a beneficiary of that spirit up close.
At the core of his wit was the ability to laugh at himself. He took God and family very seriously, but carried himself and the rest of life with a lighter touch. He even enjoyed my occasional bouts with immaturity, like the time a couple of us convinced a boy that Derald Musgrove was buried in the camp cafeteria column that bore a plaque with his name. Sure, it traumatized the kid the next time Bro. Musgrove preached at his church, but we still laughed about that the last time we got to chat.
In the years that I worked with Derald Musgrove, I developed a thought that has stuck with me since. With some leaders, you like them less as you get to know them better. With a few others, you like them even more, the closer you get. Derald Musgrove was certainly one of the latter.