January 2, 2022 @ 8:00 PM

When I graduated from seminary with a Masters of Divinity degree I pretty much thought I knew about as much about Christianity and the Bible as there was to be known. After all, I had spent three years studying at the feet of world class scholars, how could I not be ready to lead the church of the Living God? In case I need to tell you, that is called arrogance and even delusion. Shortly after graduation, Elsie and I received a phone call from my pastor in Yuba City, California. He called asking if I had finished seminary and would I consider returning to Grace Baptist Church in Yuba City to serve as his associate pastor. With much prayer and some discussion on finances, both Elsie and I felt God was leading in this and agreed to move to Yuba City.

We arrived in the summer of 1976 and I immediately began my duties as an associate pastor. Elsie was in charge of the three children. Sometime in late 1976, the chairman of the deacon board, Don Christiansen, asked if I would meet him for breakfast at the local greasy spoon diner. I agreed and that meeting changed my life. Don was a retired elementary school principal who, along with his beloved wife, Inie (Inabelle) had two adult daughters. We called Don the Silver Fox because of his snow white hair mixed with tinges of silver. Don was one of the founders of the church and was instrumental in calling their first pastor. I had high regard for Don because I could see the consistency with which he, his wife, and his daughters all lived for Christ.

At that breakfast meeting Don asked if I would like him to disciple me. Wait a minute! I should be discipling him! I had the seminary degree, didn’t I? What I had was head knowledge. What Don had was practical know-how. Don knew how to apply Christian truth to everyday living. I had no idea how to do that. I asked him what being discipled entailed. He outlined the topics he and I would cover together. I asked him if there was a charge for being discipled. Don said, “No,” but if I bought his breakfast when we met that would be payment enough. Don ate the same breakfast at the diner every week: two eggs over easy, hash browns, toast, and black coffee. Back then it cost $1.25.

Don and I met weekly for approximately six months. During that time we covered how to be a faithful man, how to share your faith, how to make Jesus Lord of your life, how to be a godly man toward men, women, on the job, in the church, with finances and possessions, how to be a godly husband, how to be a godly father, how to discover your spiritual gifts and ministry, how to disciple another man, a basic bible survey and a basic doctrine survey. In addition, Don held me accountable for assigned memory verses and actions I had agreed to do. It was revolutionary for me. Don invested his time and wisdom in me. No other man had ever done that. I grew like a weed! When we met I took notes voraciously knowing that I would someday be using this same material to disciple other men.

Beloved, where are the Silver Foxes today? There is a dearth in the church of older, wise, godly men discipling young men. It simply is not being done and the church, the family, and the man himself are paying the price. As the man goes, so goes the family. As the family goes, so goes the church. As the local church goes, so goes the church universal, the Bride of Christ. We desperately need Silver Foxes to step up and pour their lives into young men!

Indebted to Jesus for giving me the Silver Fox,