appreciation for godly parents
Have you met the four top executives
of the Assemblies of God? They travel to churches, dedications, district councils,
prayer conferences, camp meetings and the like, so it is possible that you
have met them or at least heard them speak.
When I think of the four executive
officers, I am reminded of their diverse backgrounds, their geographical roots
and their godly parents.
General Superintendent Thomas Trask
grew up in a Minnesota pastor’s home; Assistant General Superintendent
Charles Crabtree was reared in a Bangor, Maine, parsonage; General Treasurer
James Bridges traces his roots to a faithful deacon’s home (later a
pastor) in South Texas; and General Secretary George Wood is the son of missionary
parents to China.
And 11 years ago this month —
at the 1993 General Council in Minneapolis — the Assemblies of God called
them together as a team to guide the Fellowship through the rest of the Decade
of Harvest and into the 21st century.
Each of them will tell you of the
important role their fathers and mothers played in their ministry.
After Waldo Trask was saved and
delivered from alcohol during the Great Depression, his old friends saw that
he became even more sold out for God than he had been for the devil. He and
his wife, Bea, offered themselves as pastors. Their sons, Tom and Ray, and
their daughter, Patricia, saw a dedication in their parents they wanted to
“Early in the morning,”
Superintendent Trask says, “I could go into the living room …
and find Dad reading the Word of God, studying the Word of God and praying.”
It was a complete turnaround for
the man who had tended bar at the Dutch Room Bar in Brainerd, Minn.
People who knew Clifford and Helen
Crabtree couldn’t imagine their union. Clifford was the son of a Maine
farmer, and Helen was a New Brunswick socialite. Helen’s family practically
disowned her when she married this poor Pentecostal preacher. Despite the
family rejection, Clifford and Helen became successful pastors in Bangor,
Maine, and reared four children: David, Hazel, Charles and Charlotte.
The Crabtrees were strict, but
the children filled their lives with church activities and their music and
never missed events other kids regarded as essential. “My father was
one of the most consistent men that I ever knew,” Assistant General
Superintendant Crabtree adds. “He lived what he preached.”
General Treasurer Bridges likes
to talk about his godly upbringing. One event that stands out is when he was
deathly sick as a teenager. He saw his father and mother, Forrest and Estelline
Bridges, and their church pray for his recovery. He would not forget the touch
of the Lord and adds, “You can’t forget parents that will hold
onto God for you and see you through.”
George and Elizabeth Wood were
veteran missionaries to China when that field closed. Later they pastored
some poor churches in this country. But General Secretary Wood admires their
faithfulness. “I remember one Sunday night [in church] I looked up at
my mother and said, ‘I know what I’m going to be when I grow up.
I’m going to be a preacher.’ And I could have said a preacher
Do Christian parents make a difference?
Ask the executive officers of the Assemblies of God.