A Mentor in the Ministry –
There is a small but significant group of persons I count as mentors in the ministry: my father, Nicholas Hood Sr.; Andrew Young; K. Knighton Stanley; Harold Long; Randy Evans; Roger Miller; Odell Jones; Joe Jordan; Shelby Rooks; Jeremiah Wright; Gardner Taylor; James Forbes; C.L. Franklin; and Otha Gilyard. I am sure that there are others who I have looked up to in the ministry, but this is the short list.
Otha Gilyard is special to me because somewhere during the first 12 months of my ministry, Rev. Gilyard invited me to preach at his church in Kalamazoo as a “Youth Day” speaker. The year was 1977. He had invited my mother to speak at his church in 1976. She was a noted educator, college professor, teacher, counselor, principal in the Detroit Public School System, and columnist for the Michigan Chronicle Newspaper.
As a 24-year-old assistant minister to my father, I was newly married and was paid only $10,000 a year and that was before taxes! When I preached for Rev. Gilyard, I was presented with an offering that was twice as much as my paycheck! His church provided me and Denise with a hotel room in downtown Kalamazoo. It was not until that weekend that I realized how tight our personal finances were!
I have always looked to Rev. Gilyard as a role model in ministry. In 1999, he and his wife, Freda, accompanied me and a small delegation from my church as part of a missionary trip to Liberian refugees of war who had crossed the River Cavally into Cote D’ Ivorie. My 16 and 12 year old sons accompanied me on that trip. It was a hard trip, but the purpose was worthwhile and fulfilling. Each of us who made that trip developed a certain bond.
Since 1977 I have viewed Otha and Freda Gilyard as friends. He is currently the senior minister at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio. Rev. Gilyard was the opening preacher for our Revival this week. As I listened to him preach I kept thinking to myself how important it is to have mentors and others you can look to as benchmarks and role models of faith and excellence. I do not see or speak much with Rev. Gilyard. However, when we reconnect it is like never miss a beat. For me, Rev. Gilyard is one of those mentors of the faith.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/