Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction is a top five all time book for me. I must have read it ten times over the past number of years. While I love to read it or refer to it when I need a little encouragement, the book truly became alive to me as I was blessed with the chance to be with someone who embodied the principles of that great book.
In 1970 Connie met with his first group of men for Bible study and fellowship. It wasn’t his first small group, as he had been part of a group like this since his Young Life leader invited him to Campaigners Bible study. Something resonated in Connie around the idea of small group study. While serving full-time with Young Life in Seattle, he was asked by a group of men who were supporting the ministry to meet with them on a weekly basis in the same way he was meeting with high school students. That group is still meeting today.
In the late 70’s Connie led so many groups of men, hungry for fellowship, that he decided to start a formal ministry that would help men encounter Jesus in a powerful way through building bonds of friendship with one another. He named the non-profit Teleios. (see previous post for full meaning) One month before Connie passed, he shared the devotional at our monthly board meeting. He was teaching out of Colossians 1, and when he got to verse 28 and 29 he said, “These are our marching orders… We proclaim Jesus, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom (scripture), in order that we may present every man teleios in Christ. It is for this purpose that I (Paul) labor, striving according to His power which mightily works in me.”
Connie took those words from Paul to heart and made them his own. He leaves behind many legacies – his legacy as a follower of Jesus, his legacy as a loving husband, father and grandfather, his legacy as a faithful friend, and finally, his legacy to “present every man teleios” (fully grown, mature in Christ). Connie labored to that end, and countless men like me have been changed forever because of his obedience.