I'm sitting in the airport waiting for a flight. I'm on my way to New York to attend the funeral of my youth pastor, Bud Hall.  He died unexpectedly in his sleep on Saturday, April 14. He was only 51.  He leaves behind a wife, three married children (two sons and a daughter), a daughter in college and a son in high school.  But he leaves behind much more than that… Over the past few days there has been a steady flood of people on facebook posting comments, uploading pictures, and giving tribute to the impact that he had in their lives. His ministry as a youth pastor spanned more than 20 years, and as a solo pastor in Long Island more than 5. The impact of his ministry was so far-reaching I've stopped being surprised by what and who I see posted. It’s time to board the plane …

…I'm home now from my time in NY. There were a few things that surprised me while I was out there, too.  The first was just how hard it was on me.  I've experienced death before–I've attended my fair share of funerals, but this one was different. It is difficult to put into words why I was/am so sad. Bud and I were close, but we didn't talk more than once every two or three months. Our relationship was, of course, over distance as he was in NY and I am in MI. I looked up to him. He was my go-to-guy when I had a major ministry question. He was the one I looked forward to sharing exciting news with. It hit me hard how much I’ll miss him.

Another surprise was the impact that he had in the brief 5 years that he was on Long Island.  This is a testimony to the kind of man and pastor he was.  Over 720 people packed into the little church auditorium, along the aisles, in the foyer, down the outside steps, and down the street and around the corner, all to give honor to a man who gave so much to them. I think I may have learned more about being a pastor from his funeral service than in all the years of my experience and my college and seminary classes.

As I watched all five of his children (who are all walking with the Lord), conduct the funeral for their father through singing, playing instruments, reading God's Word and sharing memories, I was overwhelmed with the realization of what a great man he was.  What he believed by faith, "I know my Redeemer lives…though my flesh be destroyed, with my eyes I will see God (Job 19:25-26)," he now experiences as reality.  I’m sad, but not for him. It was quite possibly the hardest things I’ve gone through, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Bud Hall
November 8, 1959 – April 14, 2012


–Pastor Don