From the Mission USA director — June/July


You might amount to something

By Don Morris, Mission USA director

For the past decade, Billy Hornsby, a pastor and church plant initiator who recently died, led one of the most successful church planting networks in the United States. He was known for believing in people and making them feel worthy. He was an encourager.

The story goes that when Billy was in eighth grade a math teacher yelled at him, “Hornsby, you will never amount to anything.” Billy later said that something inside of him died at that moment, and he stopped trying to be anything or anyone. When Billy was 19 and with a wife and daughter to support, he applied for a job at a large corporation in Baton Rouge, La. Part of the application process was taking an aptitude test. When a man from the company’s human resource department called and asked Billy to come in to talk about his score, Billy said, “Look, just tell me I failed it, and I’ll move on. Why waste your time and my time?”

But the man convinced him to come in anyway. When Billy met with him he once again blurted out, “I know I failed the test, so please just let me move on.” The man looked at Billy and said, “Not only did you not fail the test, but you scored higher on the test than any one of the hundreds of people that have ever taken this test.” And then he pointed his finger at Billy and said, “Hornsby, you know, if you apply yourself, you just might turn into something special.”

Billy said that was the moment his whole life changed back around. From that point on, the math teacher’s “curse” left him, and he went on to accomplish great things in life and for the kingdom of God.

I myself remember a coach who told me I was too small to play football, a game I loved. So I stopped playing. I remember another coach who told me I could do great things if I just believed in myself. I loved playing for that coach.

How many of us go through life never believing that God can use us for great things? I wonder if there are some amazing church planters, leaders, pastors, servers and helpers among us who believe they don’t measure up and so God can’t use them. Are there men and women who could lead but feel stifled by their low self-esteem? Maybe someone once said something derogatory. Maybe they feel scared or unworthy.

God uses imperfect people to do amazing things. He believes in us and wants to show us his vision for us! What if we also believe and go out and do it! Maybe, just maybe, the kingdom of God will experience a powerful jolt.


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