I saw an Instagram post a few weeks ago from Dan Ohlerking. He posted a picture of Billy Hornsby that hangs on the wall within the ARC – Billy Hornsby Center for Church Planting building. I scrolled through my feed, double-clicked to “like” it and moved on. Later that day and the days following, I found myself thinking about Brother Billy and the legacy he left behind. He is in heaven now along with his beautiful wife Charlene.
When I met Brother Billy in 2007, I was serving on staff at my church as our Pastor’s assistant. I was new to ministry and Brother Billy took time to talk with me and poured out wisdom about ministry, family and serving. He connected me with his sweet assistant, Gayle, to help me learn the ropes and to this day, she is a dear friend and a voice of wisdom in my life.
That’s what Brother Billy did…he loved you, he validated you in your calling and he connected you with people to help you. He cared about EVERYONE!! Through the next several years he would visit our church often and each time he’d pour out wisdom and guidance to our pastors, he would speak into our church, and he would love and encourage our staff.
When Brother Billy became sick and was nearing the end of his days, my pastor, his family, and a few of us from our church drove to visit him in the hospital. Brother Billy was frail but he, like always, just poured out. He spoke destiny over our pastors, their children and our church. He talked about what was really important in life, recited scripture and encouraged us.
When it was time to depart we prayed together, ending with Brother Billy praying for us!! We all gave hugs to him and Charlene and when I leaned down to give him a hug, he sweetly whispered, “You’re precious to do what you do for them (my pastors) and God is going to bless you for it.” I could not even see over the tears that filled my eyes.
On the entire ride home I thought, “I don’t feel precious, I feel selfish at times, I don’t always have a good attitude…how could he think what I did was of value…precious?” You know why? Because like Christ, Brother Billy looked at the heart…he saw your best intentions and placed value in everyone and everything. He loved the Lord with passion and was one of the wisest people I’ve ever known. I was no one to him in the grand scheme of his life…but he made me feel like I was a someone and boy did he impact my life. I still think and reflect on things he taught and said. I miss hearing him teach in our church, I miss his wisdom, funny stories and the way he thought EVERYONE should plant a church:)
Finding those people who speak into your life, who gently steer you in the way you should go is invaluable. Thousands of people were touched by the life of Billy Hornsby and I think he would fully expect them to touch the lives of thousands more. Relationships are so important…accountability, encouragement and guidance from those further down the road is a necessity in growing in our calling. We need each other!
Who is speaking into your life? Who are your go-to people…your 3am friends? Who are those people speaking life over you and praying for your increase? Find those people, foster those relationships and be that person for someone!
Philippians 2:5, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Jesus Christ.”