I do not know how many people are preaching today because of the influence of Jack Zorn, but I am one of them. Although I did not know Jack Zorn personally (we did meet, but I couldn’t claim to know him), the organization he originated gave me early confidence that I could be a preacher. Lads to Leaders engaged young men in the basics of making speeches, being mentored, and pursuing the practices that would help them grow in ability. At some point Lads to Leaderettes also attempted to instill leadership strength into the lives of young women.
Jack Zorn died at the age of 86 last week, as reported by The Christian Chronicle.
My memories of Lads to Leaders includes going to the church in Belle Chase to learn about the program, and I believe brother Jack was at that meeting. I remember men from the Luling Church of Christ taking an interest in helping me develop essential skills to make a speech. Men like Woody Wood, Dennis Dufrene, and Richard Travis (among others, I’m sure) kept encouraging me along. We had Sunday night services when we would all take a part in song leading, preaching, praying, etc. Richard took me to the Lions Club where I remember making a speech about why I was glad to be an American. In true LTL form, it was an acrostic. Those notes may still be in a file somewhere. And the LTL Convention was held in the Superdome one year and I made a speech. It was not on the 50 yard line, it was in a meeting room. But I can claim to have preached in the Superdome!
In more modern times LTL has taken some hits for the continued separation of boys and girls and the competitive nature of the program. Other leadership programs have developed as well. But all I can really say is that for decades now there have been young men being encouraged to preach and taught the basics. Whatever criticisms one might want to throw their way, LTL has been consistent, passionate, and effective in creating an interest in church leadership. That seems to be especially important these days as it seems to me that few young people are interested in committing to ministry, and few parents are encouraging it. Maybe I’m wrong about that. I hope so.
So, thanks brother Jack. How many voices in how many churches have proclaimed the name of Jesus because you encouraged them to preach? I am one.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”Romans 10:13-15