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March 2014

Life on Purpose


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one to one: Lessons about life, ministry, and grandkids

by Keith Burden, Executive Secretary, National Association of Free Will Baptists


An Example of Whole-Life Leadership


I recently helped officiate the funeral of a lifelong friend. I had the extraordinary privilege of growing up in a church under the influence of godly laymen like Brother Bill, who modeled a high level of Christian commitment and integrity. Though many of them are gone, their influence on my life continues today.

Brother Bill was first and foremost a follower of Christ. Of all the hats he wore in his lifetime (and he wore many), he was most proud and outspoken about his relationship with the Lord. When it came to his children, he didn’t care what profession they chose as long as they were Christians.

He was a devoted student of the Word. He believed in the inerrancy of Scripture and spent countless hours studying its pages and learning its principles. He leaned on those principles frequently when advising others or dealing with problems in his own life. He developed a vast knowledge of God’s Word and a remarkable ability to understand it in the context of daily living.

He was a man of prayer. His children fondly remember how he led “devotional times” around the breakfast table, reading Scripture and leading them in prayer. He almost always closed his prayers by saying, “Lord, keep us humble and faithful.” Those two words sum up his life as well as any.

Speaking of faithfulness, he was unfailingly faithful to his local church. If the doors were open, he was there…with his family. He served for years as the song leader in his church and loved gospel music with a real message. He believed in giving his very best in everything he did, even if it meant extra effort and practice every now and then.

He came from humble beginnings and endured hardship from an early age. As a result, he learned to love everyone and didn’t treat anyone differently because of title, position, power, or possessions. He modeled compassion in both his personal and business dealings.

Bill was a successful businessman, even though he never considered himself “successful.” He was disciplined and worked hard. He believed whatever possessions he enjoyed were simply “loaned” to him by the Good Lord, and God expected him to do the right thing with those possessions. He supported his local church with his time, money, and talents. His generosity to benevolent causes, education, and Christian ministries is well documented and speaks for itself. He viewed himself as a temporary custodian of God’s blessings. It is obvious he understood the meaning of “whole-life” stewardship.

Down through the years, Bill Barber and many others like him have been the bedrock upon which our denomination rests. I’m praying God will raise up others to carry on his legacy.

In loving memory of Bill J. Barber, Poteau, Oklahoma (pictured above)



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.


©2014 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists