Last night, our small group got together for its final meeting. We had a great time eating and talking. One of the members of our small group this year has been Dr. Hal MacBain. Dr. MacBain is now in his late eighties. He was a church planter, innovator, and the first president of the Fellowship.
Dr. MacBain has every right to criticize those of us who are younger. I’m sure I will never do a fraction of the things he was able to do. I’m sure those of my generation baffle him a little, yet he has chosen to be gracious. He is supportive, honest, and frequently has a twinkle in his eye. He zinged me a few times last night and had us all laughing.
Somehow we got talking about a controversial Baptist pastor of Toronto from years ago, T.T. Shields. I was talking about how he dismissed deacons who didn’t agree with him and expelled 300 members of his church and picked fights with the prime minister of the day. I can talk the history, but to Dr. MacBain it is not history. It was his life.
He spoke last night of his own relationship with T.T., and his own leadership in the early days of the Fellowship. When Dr. MacBain was president of the Fellowship over fifty years ago, he was 37 like I am now. In his own way he was dealing with an emerging culture and moving courageously into new areas of ministry without knowing how it would all turn out.
I don’t mean to write a hagiography here. Dr. MacBain is human like all of us. But once in a while you get a glimpse of the type of person you’d like to become if God ever gave you the grace. It’s humbling to see someone in his late eighties model the type of faithfulness and integrity and courage that I can only aspire to at this point.