I’m sad today as I reflect on the loss of Pastor Larry Cranston following a losing battle with brain cancer. No worries, he’s victorious now. However, the world and church on earth has lost a great pastor, teacher, and leader. Larry was on the pastoral staff at Westland Free Methodist Church (WFMC) when we started going in the early 90’s. He let me run sound at the wee age of 11 or so, not just setting me loose on the knobs and wires but taking time to really train me. Looking back from where I’m at today, this certainly took incredible patience and a good dose of faith on his part. By age 13, I was pretty sure I was called into pastoral ministry, which I told him over a lunch at Burger King. After that pivotal conversation the lessons expanded beyond just sound and media. He began equipping me for ministry. I was watching, learning, taking on new projects and responsibilities at the church, all under his teaching and care. Many of his basic practices in ministry shaped mine today. He modeled ministry excellence, attention to detail, getting the job done, and thinking forward. Larry helped lead the way for music and the arts to reach the next level of expression in our church in Westland. He was always full of what if’s, always figuring out a way to make something work, always supporting and expecting excellence, no matter the scope of the resources at hand. I regret not seeing him before he passed, but I am thankful for a conversation we had over dinner at a conference last June. This time we were eating salad, not Whoppers, and we were surrounded by a bunch of other pastors as I told them about how Larry played a huge role in my being in full time ministry. I appreciated it then, and I appreciate it now even more. It’s a good reminder for me, and for anyone else in any kind of leadership role, that the Lord may have us playing a role in a young person’s life that will prepare them for a lifetime of ministry. I was that kid, Larry was that pastor. There’s so much more I could say, but it seemed timely to express these initial thoughts now. I’m praying for his family and for my brothers and sisters at Stone Haven FMC. I will miss him greatly, and will always remember him as one of the key mentors in my early awakening to God’s work in my life and calling. Praise God for Pastor Larry Cranston.