one to one: Lessons about life, ministry, and grandkids
by Keith Burden, Executive Secretary, National Association of Free Will Baptists
I spoke at the national convention preaching conference when it met in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1981. At the conclusion of the convention I was elected assistant clerk. My first year as assistant clerk was in 1982 at Fort Worth, Texas. I took enough notes to fill up two Big Chief tablets!
I remember asking Clerk Waldo Young in advance of that meeting what he wanted me to do to help him. He asked if I could take minutes. I told him I thought I could do that. During the first break of the General Board meeting he read over my notes. He handed them back to me and said, “That’s going to be your job from now on.” I had the privilege of assisting him for the next 18 years.
You learn a lot about a man by sitting beside him on the stage through 18 conventions. We witnessed some turbulent, controversial meetings. I can honestly say I never saw Brother Waldo lose his composure. He always exemplified professionalism and was a genuine Christian gentleman.
As a young man, I remember being amazed at his wisdom and insight. He was usually spot-on when predicting the outcomes of business decisions. Although he seldom spoke or expressed opinions publicly, I had the chance to hear some of the things he said under his breath at the clerk’s table. I still chuckle over some of them.
I admired his attention to detail. While my notes reflected the events that transpired during business, Brother Waldo picked up on little things I missed. To his credit, he never made a big deal about it. He quietly made the corrections and spared me embarrassment by not pointing out my mistakes.
He taught me a lot about parliamentary procedure. He was never too busy to explain things to a young, inexperienced assistant who was eager to learn. He was not possessive or territorial. When he finally stepped down after 30 years of service, he graciously handed over the reins and walked away.
I appreciated his commitment and loyalty to our denomination. He was not a fair-weather Free Will Baptist. He stood by us through good and bad times. He was not ashamed to be associated with us. He supported our causes and was a team player.
I respected him as an accomplished musician. His willingness to use his talent for the Lord and his unique ability to communicate the gospel effectively through music warmed the hearts of multitudes as a member of the Oklahoma Ministers Quartet.
I am especially grateful for the example Waldo and JoAnn set for their family and the rest of us. Their 60-plus years of marriage stand as an incredible testimony to the sustaining grace of God when a man and woman commit their life to Christ and one another.
Brother Waldo was ushered into the Lord’s presence on Sunday morning, October 8, 2017. On behalf of a grateful denomination I am thankful for his service to Free Will Baptists.
About the Column
One to One is a regular feature of ONE Magazine. Written by Keith Burden, executive secretary of the National Association of Free Will Baptists, the column explores life, ministry...and the joys of grandchildren.