July 15

On Wednesday of this week I drove our Ukraine mission team to the airport in Charlotte. Sue Ann and Emilee Mills, Leslie Dunbar, and Audrey Vance joined with others from Texas with our wonderful Ukrainian translators to form Team Imagine 2012 in Donetsk before heading to Camp Dzerzhinets for two full weeks. During that time they will teach lessons on Christian character traits using Bible stories as their guide. They will also pass out Bibles and Biblical literature—provided by Eastern European Mission—to campers, counselors, and camp staff. They will be 24/7 living models and examples of Jesus Christ and what it means to be His follower. Please pray daily for them, for the team, and for all in Ukraine they will be able to impact for the Lord. And pray also for their family members who remain here in this country and while excited and proud for their opportunity and work will not rest well until their return.

I received word today that Dr. Charles Siburt, faculty member and administrator at Abilene Christian University, died after almost three years of battling cancer. Charlie was the director of the Doctor of Ministry program at ACU when I went through there in the late 1980s-early 1990s. Charlie and Judy Siburt were ministers to ministers and their families, and when I think of the people that influenced me in ministry, and of the ones who had the most impact in my life and work as a Christian and as a preacher, Charlie Siburt will always be near or at the top of that list. It is a great blessing that Joyce and I can say that he had been our friend for over 25 years, and that his leadership, example, and teaching are behind any good that has ever been accomplished in our lives during that time.
Here are some comments from the ACU web site announcing Charlie’s passing. You can read the whole article online:

Siburt was a respected churchman who committed his personal and professional life to understanding the complex needs of congregations struggling with communication, conflict resolution, administration, and leadership training. He was a beloved mentor and father figure to countless numbers of students, providing encouragement and counsel long after they transitioned into ministry.

ACU chancellor Dr. Royce Money said Siburt was unique in every sense of the word. “I have rarely known any person who was more attuned to God’s calling for him than Charlie. His God-given ministry skills, blended with a personality that could be tender or tough as the occasion demanded, made him one of the greatest servant leaders I have ever known,” Money said. “ACU was the perfect place for him to establish his base for ministry outreach to countless people and churches. That distinctive, booming voice, that sweet and caring spirit, and a heart brimming full of the fruit of the Spirit, will be dearly missed. But Charles Siburt’s influence will live on for generations in those servants of God who were touched by his life.”

I will simply say this. My life is better because of Charlie’s life. My ministry is more effective because of his ministry. My faith is stronger because of his faith.

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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