A few weeks ago I was able to spend the day with Warren and Betty Wiersbe. Since we are hundreds of miles apart and they rarely travel these days, it was a special joy to see them. Jim McBride and I were in Nebraska for a Fireproof screening and spent most of the day with them.
Warren and Betty are some of the most gracious and kind people I’ve ever known. They are, as many would agree, the “real deal.” I cherish every time I’ve been able to be in their home. Although now retired from speaking, Warren continues to write, and Betty maintains an immaculate yard with flowers that would make a florist green with envy.
To walk in Warren’s library and scan the shelves is a treat for a bookworm like myself. Our libraries are similar in size, but he has books that are almost impossible to find. His collection of the Northfield Echoes is a priceless set, containing gems from preachers past.
Standing around in the library and just sharing is a treat to me. The wisdom and insight that flows out of this man is incredible. Warren has one of the sharpest minds of anyone I’ve ever met in my life. Wisdom oozes out of him in a matter-of-fact way.
Warren has known giants. He was saved under Billy Graham’s ministry. He was in on the ground floor of Youth for Christ. He pastored the great Moody Church and was the Bible teacher for Back to the Bible. He has shared the platform with some of the giants of the twentieth-century pulpit. He’s written or edited nearly 200 books. His “Be” series has probably been used by more teachers and preachers than anyone can imagine. To sum it up, he’s a giant.
To me, Warren is a hero of the faith, a preacher’s preacher and a pastor’s pastor. As I think back on my life in ministry, I remember buying my first Wiersbe book in the early 1970s. To think I would have the opportunity to know him was beyond my wildest imagination. To think that God would allow me to work with him on 2ProphetU is more than I could have ever hoped for. To have his book Life Sentences dedicated to Terri and I, as well as to Jim and Carol Cymbala, is one of the most humbling things that has ever happened to me.
Here are just a few thoughts on what this giant means to me.
1) He reminds me that writing is work. It’s not easy. His writing flows out of his life and study of the Scriptures.
2) He reminds me that a preacher must have a sense of humor. Warren has one of the sharpest wits of anyone I’ve ever known. I have found that many of the godliest men I’ve known had a keen sense of humor. Men like Warren, Vance Havner, Ron Dunn and Lehman Strauss come to mind.
3) He reminds me that reading is essential to growing. Leaders are readers. Pastors need to read to expand their understanding and stretch their minds. Most men don’t read. Readers are interesting people to talk to. They have something to say because they’ve filled their minds with great thoughts. I believe Warren could tell you the location and the content of any book on his shelves.
4) He reminds me that having a pastor’s heart is essential to effective ministry. In a day of CEOs and leaders who care nothing about ministering to people, Warren reminds me that God calls us to be shepherds.
5) He reminds me that he prays for me everyday. That alone humbles me beyond measure.
6) He reminds me of great truths and gives me godly wisdom when I call him. He doesn’t waste words.
There’s much more I could mention, but I’ll stop here. Needless to say, I am a blessed man. I am a mere mortal when I stand by this giant of the faith. While he has written several books on great men (Listening to the Giants, Walking with the Giants and Victorious Christians You Should Know), Warren takes a back seat to no one in the giant field. I can’t imagine any giant he writes about leaving a bigger footprint than Warren. He is one of the great encouragers in Christianity for the pastor and the man in the pew.
© Michael Catt, 2008
Michael served as the President of the Large Church Roundtable, the Southern Baptist Convention as an IMB Trustee, President of the Georgia Baptist Convention’s Preaching Conference, Vice President of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and President of the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference. He has spoken at conferences, colleges, seminaries, rallies, camps, NBA and college chapel services, well as The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. Michael is the recipient of The Martin Luther King Award, The MLK Unity Award, and a Georgia Senate Resolution in recognition of his work in the community and in racial reconciliation.
Michael and his wife, Terri, have two grown daughters, Erin and Hayley.