Sam Newman: A Disciple-Making Story of Two Bens, Part 2

Sam Newman and Ben B

How about We Get Together for a Sandwich? A few years ago I joined EKU Baptist Campus Ministry as van driver for a New York hurricane Disaster Relief project. On this trip I immediately was drawn to Ben B in friendship.  He was a small, kind, and quiet young man who was often by himself.

This past Spring, I drove through the Taco Bell drive through and the guy taking my order recognized my voice. He said, “Sam, is that you?” I was surprised and said “Yes, is this Ben?” He said, “Yes,” I immediately pulled up to the window. We had the opportunity to reconnect with no cars behind me.

I had not seen him since the Disaster Relief project a few years earlier. I had assumed he had graduated and moved away. When I asked him how he was doing, he looked down a bit. So, I said, “How about we get together for a sandwich?” He said, sure!

We met early the next morning at Dunkin Donuts. I learned that he had been living alone in an apartment since graduation. He had not been able to find work in his chosen field. I also learned that he was raised by a single mom along with his younger sister under very modest circumstances. Plus he was struggling with low self esteem.  During our time together it became clear that he had grown up going to church and already had a genuine relationship with Christ. But he had gotten away from his consistent walk with the Lord.

At the end of our time I asked, “How about another sandwich next week?” We have been meeting together once a week doing life together ever since. Early in our time together, I learned he faced a big challenge shared by many men battle via the internet. Slowly I earned the right to hold him accountable. At the same time he was developing his daily quiet time and other spiritual disciplines.

Ben B and Ben A

We progressed to the point where he was also meeting as part of the disciple-making training group I hold every Thursday night at the Tates Creek Association along with Ben A and others from various churches.  During the class, he moved back to help his mother with her bills and has transferred to another Taco Bell in his hometown until he is able to take the next steps toward his profession. That next step most likely will involve getting his Master’s degree.

He completed the disciple-making training by meeting with us via the speaker on my cell phone with the rest of the group involving him in the group interaction and supporting him through the transition.  Since the disciple-making group ended, he is now preparing to begin disciple-making with his own Timothy while he and I continue meeting weekly to further establish his growth.  We meet via our cell phones weekly and I have committed to drive to be with him face to face once per month.  His walk with the Lord has been reestablished along with a new found confidence.  He is coming to stay with my family at our home later this month over a weekend while he spends time with a Christian young lady with whom he has built a friendship.

The Joy of Being a Spiritual Grandpa

In December of this year, my oldest daughter, Emily, will have her first child and my first grandchild. The other day I found myself drawn to a toy John Deere tractor and just couldn’t help myself and had to buy it. Needless to say…I’m a little excited! In all honesty, when Ben A and others I am working with begin disciple-making with their own Timothy, I am just as joy-filled! I now know a bit how Jesus felt when his twelve turned into seventy-two as we see in the book of Acts and He  was filled with joy!  Making disciples that make disciples is the biblical model.  It’s the Jesus way of doing things. So…let me encourage you to GO FIND YOUR TIMOTHY!

Don’t worry;  you only need to be a few steps ahead of whoever you are leading. God will be with you and show you the way. Where do you find your Timothy? Well…all I know is that once you are willing and make yourself available, He may lay them in your lap in the next Taco Bell drive through!  Henry Blackaby reminds us that “God always provides where He leads.”  Remember, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).


Sam Newman serves as Minister of Education & Discipleship at First Baptist Church, Richmond, Kentucky.

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