So, for those of you who don’t know us—Jared is the young looking one; Jeff is the cool looking one; which means I’m (Pat) the old looking one. The friendship / discipleship / comrades-in-arms thing we have going for us started years ago. Here’s the story … as best as I remember it.
I started following Jared’s blog, sojournkids.com, long before I met him face to face. Our lead pastors went to seminary together and have stayed connected. In 2007, Jared posted he would be attending the Children Desiring God national conference. I left a comment that I was attending too and it would be good to connect and meet. We exchanged email and cell phone numbers, and we planned to contact each other once we got there. I promptly forgot all about this until I was there, waiting for the first session to start when this guy sits down next me and introduces himself. It took me a minute that remember the conversation and understand it was Jared. While there, we grabbed coffee and found out really quickly that we had a lot in common--a love for the Lord and His gospel, a passion for children’s and family ministry, and a desire to partner with other like minded individuals.
Over the next couple years, Jared and I tried to keep in contact with each other. Although to say it was inconsistent would be an understatement. Most of our contact was me reaching out to him with a question (or complaint) and him talking me off the ledge.
By the time the next Children Desiring God (2009) conference came around we were excited to be in the same place at the same time again. As the time approached to make final plans for this conference I got an email asking if I wanted to split the cost of a hotel room and share. I also noticed that the email was addressed to me and a “Jeff Hutchings” (obviously Jeff and Jared knew each other). As we emailed back and forth I soon discovered that not only would I be sharing a room with these guys, but Jeff also needed a ride to the conference. Since I was driving anyway - by myself - I thought it would this would be a good opportunity to get to know this guy. We hit it off immediately, for all the same reasons Jared and I had.
Since then? We call, email, text (semi) regularly. We get together when we can (which isn’t as often as any of us would like). Our friendship continues to grow as we seek ways to love and serve one another.
We are friends. We are brothers (in more ways than one). We encourage and challenge one another to be better husbands, fathers and pastors. For my part, I’m thankful to have these guys in my life. They have blessed me in more ways than I can count; and they claim I’ve done the same for them.
What brought us together and keeps us coming back for more? Just some guy named Jesus. If you are in ministry, comment below and tell us how you share life together with other church leaders.