Bookends of a Life Well-Lived


Remembering Paul D. Stanley
November 29, 1941 – November 26, 2020 

Paul D. Stanley, West Point Football 1963

My first picture of Paul Stanley was just that: a picture … of an Army running back in the 1963 West Point yearbook. Across the page was pictured another man I knew something about: Navy quarterback Roger Staubach, one of my heroes. For a 14-year-old boy who loved football, it was the beginning of something special. After all, if this stranger in whose house my family was living was in the same league as Roger Staubach, I knew good things had to lay ahead.

It wasn’t long before the Stanley’s home became more than just a place to live during my own family’s first month in Germany. It became a home away from home, and the Stanley’s became a second family. And so to Phyllis, Deb, Paul, Scott, Kim … thank you.

But Paul was not just a second dad during my high school years; he has been, for the past four decades, a mentor, encourager, and champion.

The last time I sat with Paul three years ago, I was preparing for an as yet unknown ministry as a lead pastor. Paul’s charge to me then was different—profoundly different—than any counsel I’d been given about that daunting task.

He didn’t tell me to love the people, though he knew that was vital. He didn’t tell me to preach well or to guard the important doctrines of our faith; again, that was a given.

Paul’s charge was simply this: 

Find two men and disciple them. Then do it again.

As I look back on Paul’s life … as I look out over the faces here and imagine those of you watching online from around the world … I realize that’s all Paul ever did: He found two men and discipled them. Then he did it again. And again. And again….

Paul simply charged me with the same mission that he had lived. And when a man like that influences your life the way Paul Stanley did mine, you don’t take that charge lightly. 

We honor Paul today. And I can think of no better way to honor him than by continuing his mission. I pray Paul’s legacy will live on through me. I pray I am up to the task.

This was my tribute to Paul at his memorial service, December 1, 2020.

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