Who Has Influenced Your Life? Whose Life Are You influencing?

popeye4I have had many people support and believe in me over the years that have greatly influenced who I am. My dad was a huge influence in my desire to read and learn as well as the developing the gumption to not always take the easy way (Sometimes I think he wished he had not taught that last lesson so well). My mom greatly influenced me in my demeanor. I am not easily ruffled and much of that comes from my mom.

Jack Bunch was my minister when I was a little kid. I created havoc Sunday mornings after church because I would come down the aisle of the church to shake Jack Bunch’s hand.  Then I would circle back around through the crowd and come back out and shake his hand again. I would repeat this to an annoying degree every Sunday.

funny crowd

One day Jack Bunch gently grabbed me by the shoulders and said, “Why don’t you simply stand beside me and shake everybody else’s hand as they walk out of the church building?” If he had given me a million dollars, it would not have meant more to me than that act! For several Sundays, I would stand right beside Jack Bunch and shake people’s hands as they walked out of the church building. Maybe that is where the seed was planted that I would one day become a minister.

EddieA few years later, Eddie Hammond was our minister and he was always supportive of my singing and songwriting. When most adults thought it was funny that a kid was writing songs, Eddie Hammond actually encouraged me. Influences like that have a huge impact. Even today, music is still a big part of my life.

Monty Cooper

A few years later, Monty Cooper was our minister and he helped me write my first sermon when I was fifteen years old. He sat down with me and walked me through some simple steps to developing a sermon. I wrote a 20-minute sermon and it took me all of 5 minutes to preach it. But it would my first of many sermons I would write and deliver.

Don ThieA few years later, Don Thie was our minister and Don took a special interest in me, especially after he found out I was planning on going to Bible college to prepare for ministry. He included me in ministry opportunities in the church. We would practice music together and lead worship together from time to time. He allowed me to preach often on Sunday nights. He even took me on a road trip to visit some Bible colleges so I could make a more educated decision about where I wanted to go.

Dave MaltzanWhile I was in college, Dave Maltzan became the minister of my home church. Dave always helped me along in ministry. I had a weekend ministry in the same town at this time and Dave was a mentor to me. The first time I watched someone die in the hospital, Dave Maltzan was there and helped me through it.

These are just some of the influences in my life. I hope I am an influence in other people’s lives the way they have been in mine. Much of who I am is because of their influence and I am thankful. Thank you, Mom, Dad, Jack Bunch, Eddie Hammond, Monty Cooper, Don Thie, Dave Maltzan, and many others who have been a significant, godly influence in my life. Who knows where I would be without you.

Who has influenced your life? Whose life are you influencing?


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_MG_6842cropTommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to reach their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.

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