I really haven’t written for my blog in a while, but felt that it would be appropriate for me to express my thoughts on the passing of a magnificent servant of the Lord. I was stunned and speechless reading about the passing of Dr. Styles this past Sunday. As we get closer and closer to saying goodbye, for now, to this mighty man of God, my mind has been in reflection-mode a lot this week thinking about the legacy of this man.
First, what I loved tremendously about Dr. Styles was how friendly he was towards everyone he met. While I did not have a chance to have significant conversations with him, he was very friendly every time I had a chance to greet him and shake his hand. Finding people of Dr. Styles’ caliber as friendly as he is is rare. So many people at his level of influence have stuck-up attitudes and act like they are too good to speak to people. Dr. Styles was friendly with me every time I had a chance to speak to him. That left an indelible mark on me.
Second, Dr. Styles had a community mindset in his ministry. According to his obituary, Dr. Styles was involved in many community initiatives over the years including starting head start, providing housing, education, and many other components. Dr. Styles saw his role as a pastor and shepherd beyond getting in the pulpit and preaching a sermon or two on Sunday. Dr. Styles’ vision was about reaching out and making a difference in the lives of others. Our community will forever be evidence of his strong passion for the community.
Finally, even until the end, Dr. Styles was passionate about his calling. Even until his dying day, he was still preaching, serving, and helping out wherever he could. I believe he was the type of servant that you did not have to beg to do ministry work. To serve as an interim pastor of 3 churches after being in the pastorate for over 40 years speaks to the continued passion he had for ministry and helping others. It is relieving to be around people that you do not have to beg to do ministry.
In conclusion, as I’ve shared with others, I feel like our community losing Dr. Styles is like losing an entire model and generation of servanthood in ministry. I didn’t realize until doing further reflections that his passing would have such an impact on me. If there’s any regret that I have it is that I wish I had had the opportunity to sit with him and get wisdom on what it takes to make it in ministry. As a young person in ministry, I believe that whatever wisdom he had in ministry would have been a blessing for me to have. However, the Lord has carried him from labor to reward.
Thank you Rev. Dr. Richard W. Styles for your work and labor for the kingdom of God. Thank you for being a great example to young ministers, like myself, on what it means to be a servant of the Lord. Thank you for not allowing your influence to get to your head. Finally, thank you for letting God use you to make an eternal impact on many souls and our community. To the Styles family, my thoughts and prayers go to you. While this is a tough time, please be encouraged by the impact that Dr. Styles had on so many. He will be missed by so many. Thanks for sharing the gift of Dr. Styles to the world.