It was one of those events where we laughed and cried – happy and sad at the same time. Relationships and transitions will do that to the best of us.

It was a farewell lunch for Sam Hawkins, who has faithfully served as Every Nation‘s missions director for the past seven years. The Hawkins family is moving from Nashville back to the New Orleans area.

As we ate lunch, pictures of Sam in Sierra Leone, Peru, Afghanistan, Mongolia and other exotic places flashed on the screen. In one pix Sam is surrounded by tribesmen in the Amazon jungle, in the next he is hugging African orphans at a medical clinic and in the next he is with armed Mujahideen in Afghanistan.

Sam’s heart beats and bleeds world missions. And, the more difficult the mission, the more Sam likes it. While Sam is no longer officially Every Nation’s international missions director, he will always be involved with missions in every nation.

During Sam’s going-away lunch, one by one people stood and talked about how Sam impacted them. I hope one day people will say nice stuff like that about me – while I am still alive.

Here’s what I said about Sam: “What I love about Sam Hawkins is that he is just as passionate about his son’s baseball games as he is about world missions, and we all know how passionate Sam is about missions.”

I went on to explain that being passionate about your son’s baseball game or tennis tournament is just as spiritual as being passionate about reaching the unreached or planting a new church.

May God help pastors and missionaries be just as excited about their kids as they are about their ministry!


(For more on this topic, click HERE to read my “Succeeding at Church, Failing at Home” article that was originally written for Evangelicals Today magazine.)