I called him Big John, somewhat because his son is Big Tom, but mostly because he was a big man.
John joined us before we were officially a church. He drove over an hour to our equip services, to our launch, and, eventually, our regular Sunday services. He showed up, and he showed up big.
If we needed help moving equipment or setting up signs, John jumped in. He greeted the team and our guests with warm smiles and a genuine interest in each person. He listened, he talked, and he cared. He held babies, he planted flowers, he gave money, and he prayed.
On more than one occasion he pulled Jon or me aside to tell us how much he appreciated us and prayed for us. I never doubted for a second that he was there to support us and the church.
No matter how much he had already given, he seemed to find a way to give more of himself. He was our giant.
Even in his passing, he taught us all to pray really big prayers and to hold on with really big faith. He believed for the miraculous until he left us to live a life of complete healing.
So, today, we celebrate his life, and we lay him to rest. Today we say, “Goodbye.”
In some tomorrow, we will say, “Good to see you again,” because I’m pretty sure Redemption Church’s biggest greeter will be on the Welcome Team.