We found out late last night that Lindsay Cobb, an active leader with the Southern Baptist Church and locally at Uptown Baptist Church, died suddenly this week. I met Lindsay several years ago when the church we were attending was in transition and brought in an interim pastor.
He and spent many hours e-mailing and talking about leadership, worship, conflict and crisis. His commitment to helping congregations through difficult situations was deep-rooted in his belief that God could change people and systems, no matter how broken or messed up they were. Grace Community Church was just one of many he had helped with his baseball illustrations and stories from the front lines.
He encouraged discouraged leaders to take just one more risk, to hold a Good Friday service, to change the order of Sunday service a bit, to assess the damage and pray about what God might do in our midst. He’d often talk about his mistakes – walking unknowingly into relational land mines, offending people he was trying to help, frustrating people as he dealt with his own frustrations, his off-balance life of ministry. Sometimes he didn’t make any sense, and I had a hard time understanding some of his baseball stories. He was human, and that made his leadership all the more appealing.
It’s been at least four years since I’ve been in touch with Pastor Lindsay. GCC had hired a new senior pastor by then, but when I had some questions about leadership and navigating cross-cultural conflict he seemed like a natural person to contact. I suppose even then he was pastoring me and Peter in what we would soon realize was our personal time of transition out of leadership roles and then out of the church.
Pastor Lindsay understood his role to be more than filling in a preaching slot. He understood how to pastor a congregation and mentor leaders into a season of discernment, waiting and anticipation. It seems appropriate then that Pastor Lindsay would leave this world to meet Jesus during Advent.
Thank you, Lindsay, for your example of leadership and sacrifice.