bob engelI first met Bob Engel in January 1994 while taking a class on urban ministry. Bob was on staff with the urban ministry that we served with for a few weeks. The four of us who worked with Bob left that experience with a new hero, or at least a great role model.

A few years later I worked for Bob. He was the city director of the same urban ministry, and I was there discerning my vocational calling. Those experiences, and following his updates over the past decade, increased my respect and admiration for Bob. Here are a few of the reasons why I am giving him a shout out this Sunday.

Bob is the Life of the Party: Bob has the ability to light up any room. He has the gifts of contagious laughter, a welcoming smile, and dancing yet attentive eyes. Those gifts break down walls and put people to ease quickly. People feel both safe and joyful around Bob.This is true for all kinds of people. I have seen him with White politicians, Black pastors, Asian widows, and Hispanic orphans. Bob can connect with anyone.

Bob has a Courageous Obedience: A guy with Bob’s personality, training and experience could have gone a number of prestigious places after college. Bob sensed a calling to serve in America’s impoverished urban centers. Bob joined World Impact, and has given his life to serve in some very challenging environments. Bob rightly signs his letters with the quote “Not of those who Shrink Back.” Bob is certainly in the company of those willing to press into difficulty for the sake of others.

Bob lives a Consistent Grace: It is easy for those who have taken risks and suffered hardship to look down on others. Bob has not fallen into that trap. He extends grace evenly. When I worked with Bob, I determined that full time urban ministry was not my vocational calling. It was a difficult conclusion for me. It was also frightening to share with Bob, a hero in the field and my boss! Bob was nothing but gracious to me. He never gave a glimpse of disappointment or frustration – both would have been understandable. He never put me on a guilt trip. He prayed with me, talked with me, and supported me in the process. When I left World Impact he treated me like a friend and partner in a broader ministry.

Thank you Bob.

Please follow Bob’s monthly updates with World Impact: