The news is that Terry Rush is retiring after 40 years as Senior Minister at the Memorial Drive Church of Christ in Tulsa, Oklahoma today. Like thousands of others, I mostly knew Terry via the International Soul Winning Workshop as I attended over the past three decades. Terry came to town to tell us about Jesus and he did so with such passion and energy!
How many years did we go dragging to Tulsa Workshop wondering if we should continue in ministry and return home with the flame reignited! Terry Rush is one of those who continued to keep us aflame with the love for Christ and his mission to love and save humanity.
I’ve always admired Terry for his easy way of talking to strangers, reaching out to celebrities, and being a sports icon at St. Louis Cardinals. Surely you are already reading his blog regularly (LINK). His books and film series have been a gift to the brotherhood of Christians who follow him.
Surely this is a bittersweet day for our brother, but I know he will receive many well-deserved accolades. His heart for ministry is so vivid in something he wrote on his Facebook page a few days ago:
Great days are ahead. Provision from God will be over the top. But today…and a few days ahead I will continue to cry. It’s within these tears of loving NOW that I will use them as telescopes to see the future wonder. I’m not thinking the fun stuff is over. I never have. So if you wouldn’t mind, I will cry just a bit….no….quite a bit. I’m the luckiest man I ever met…really.
This is the last Sunday of his ministry on staff at Memorial, but certainly not the last day of his influence for Christ. I’ve been blessed with many mentors and influencers in ministry and Terry shines brightly on that list. I just want to say to Terry, I love and appreciate you. You can’t know how much your outreach to me has meant … after Katrina… after the death of our son… after all.
I asked a few friends if they might want to join in with the RushFest today. Here’s what they had to say to Terry:
I have learned much from Terry, most of all that God can work in special ways with those who open themselves for His use. – Carl Ferril, St. John, Kansas
Thank you for the blessing you have been to the brotherhood! – Danny Dodd, North Little Rock, Arkansas
When I was putting my book, A Common Bond, together, Terry was one of the preachers I reached out to. I knew his wisdom and encouragement would be a blessing for others desiring to proclaim the Good News. I’ll never forget how he told me that for years he preached for the Church of Christ but then one day he decided to preach for the Christ of the Church. I love that and think of it often when writing or counseling. Thank you Terry for the influence you’ve had on me and countless others. – Paula Harrington, Calvert City, Kentucky
Terry was instrumental in helping me discover and understand “grace” theologically and practically. – Douglas Young, Teague, Texas
Terry encouraged me when I wanted to give up, he gave me wisdom when I needed it most. – Trent Tanaro, Spearman, Texas
I grew up in Tulsa, but didn’t worship at Memorial, however I heard Terry every year at the Workshop. I’ll never forget when he spoke to a couple hundred soon to be 5th graders about being leaders at our schools. I got his baseball card there, and thought he must be the coolest preacher ever. Terry loves all people and especially ministers. He has been and continues to be an encouragement to my family. He will visit and listen to any young minister seeking advice. He is a preachers preacher. – Chris Rampey, Stuart, Oklahoma
Though we had never met, Terry reached out to me at the very lowest point in my years of ministry. He offered me simple but sincere encouragement. He told me he was praying for me…and I knew he meant it. I have seen him to be a man of grace, even showing kindness to those who treat him spitefully. – Tim Parish, Lebanon, Tennessee
Terry’s smile was always infectious; his preaching style and antics endearing. More than anything, Terry has always been a breath of fresh air and extraordinary encouraging. I have been blessed by him and his ministry. – Les Ferguson, Jr., Ridgeland, Mississippi
Terry is Love. Kindness. Gentle. And, Faithful. He is above all, God’s man who listens to his Father continuously through the rough waters and the calm seasons. Terry is a preachers pastor. He offers help to the weary, beaten down, on the end of the rope preacher. Terry may be retiring from the weekly preacher duties, but I can assure you, he will continue to inspire countless thousands every day, whether it is his blog or simply seeing someone in the community where he lives. Terry is the face of Jesus! – Brian McCutchen, Sparta, Tennesee
When I think of Terry, the word “generous” comes to mind. He is always giving…always pouring himself out to people that many of us would never have noticed. The fruit of his ministry will last for generations as Terry has invested in so many people in such a selfless way. We owe our brother Terry a debt of gratitude. – Matt Dabbs, Auburn, Alabama
Terry brings to mind, for me, the verse that goes, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11) He seems to know what to say, and how to say it, and when. – Keith Brenton, Eureka Springs, Arkansas
When I think of Terry I think of the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy patience, gentleness are embodied in this servant of the Lord. I am so grateful to have been blessed by him from the time I was a student in the late 1980s to the present. We are all better because the Lord sent us this gift. His life has been an offering to the glory of the Father and we have reaped the rewards. Thank you Terry. – Bobby Valentine, Gunnison, Colorado
I’m sure this doesn’t do more than scratch the surface of heartfelt thanks and warm regards for a brother we all hold in high esteem. I love you and your family, Terry. New adventures ahead!
Thanks for reading, JD.