How to Make Someone a Better Pastor

Don QuiggAs you read this today, know that a special man is being remembered this morning as a blessing to this earth for the past 98 years.

DQ (I just realized he has the same initials as one of our favorite soft serve treats) was a patriot, a public servant, a philanthropist, and a parishioner of the congregation I served for many years in Virginia.  Most importantly, he was a child of God who spent his life trying to follow Jesus.

I intentionally put his photo on the right side of this post.

DQ and I didn’t always agree on everything but he unequivocally made me a better pastor because of who he was and how he lived.  He considered Republican politics the most patriotic choice – and yet he counted many Democrats and Independents alike among his friends.  He was a conservative Presbyterian – and yet he was known to welcome the occasional Sufi worshipper in the pews as warmly as he would welcome the Moderator of the General Assembly.  Like the majority owner of DQ, he was a Midwesterner – and yet he built a home and a community in Our Nation’s Capital, serving in the Reagan administration as a bit of a rock star with people from all over the world.  He loved classical music – and yet he stayed through worship services replete with the occasional drum and tambourine.

Perhaps among his greatest teachings to me:

  • He was regularly generous to his church without needing to control how his contributions were spent – except for once, in memory of his beloved L.
  • He spoke up when he disagreed with me – directly to me and not to others in the church parking lot behind my back – and he still loved and respected me in spite of seeing things differently.
  • He stepped aside as a leader (although asked many times to serve as an elder past his 70s) so that others could have a chance to serve.
  • He spoke openly about his faith, able to articulate his calling and willing to be directed by God even if his own will clashed with God’s.
  • He had fun.  DQ traveled on more oceanic cruises than I’ve traveled to Lake Michigan.  (It’s good to have fun.)
  • He trusted that God had a plan for him, personally and corporately, never forgetting the times his own life had been saved during World War II and since.

Many of us forget the fortunes and escapes of our younger lives:  that time we could have died and did not, that time we were crushed by sorrow and found peace, that time we hit a major road block and found a way out.  DQ seemed to remember all those times and they became sign posts for the future.

He made me a better pastor and I am forever grateful.

Image of my good friend and brother DQ with love to his family today.

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