Malcolm Tyree

A collection of thoughts on things that matter

Archive for the category “Student Ministry”

Pastor Appreciation Month: Gene Lanham

I grew up in a typical American family. My parents divorced when I was five. My dad remarried when I was 10. I have two younger siblings, a brother nearly 3 years younger and a sister just over 14 years younger. My Dad served in the Army, was a part of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. My moms worked. My parents had grown up with a bit of church in their lives, but as a family we didn’t go to church, pray, or even really talk much about God and faith. We went about our business of work, school, and living life.

As a high schooler in the early 90’s I was introduced to the theology of Garth Brooks. His music had a way of capturing my imagination and my thoughts of the time. I won’t forget how true I believed the song “Unanswered Prayers” to be. Probably more than any other thing I had heard up to to that point, Garth Brooks was shaping my theology.In my Junior year, my best friend got a bug to try out a church in town. I tagged along, because that’s what friends do. I was probably a bit too pious in my Brooks theology and nearly created a fight in Sunday School when I asserted the wisdom of “Unanswered Prayers” to a class of seasoned church goers. Needless to say, we didn’t go back.

Nearly a year later, I went with the same friend to a different church. He had been attending there for a few months without me. The church’s building was located close to a mile from my house. One day my friend invited me to join him for a Friday night movie at the church. I went; mostly because I didn’t have anything else going on. 

After that night, I found myself returning to the church Wednesdays and Sundays. The 200 or so member church was led by Bro. Lanham. He was a distinguished looking guy with his finely trimmed mustache and silver hair. He would wear short sleeve button up shirts with a tie and a jacket on Sundays. I can’t recall ever seeing him wear a pair of blue jeans. He would preach every Sunday and often sing. He liked a country and western styled Gospel music. His wife, Sister Lanham, was the church secretary and leader of the women’s ministry. She was often found wearing a dress and a big welcoming smile.

On Easter Sunday, 1993, I went forward in the church and prayed. It is that day that I accepted Jesus’ work on my behalf and asked him to change my life.

In June of ’93, Bro. Lanham baptized me, my best friend, and our classmate who had led my best friend to attending that church.


picture of the Lanhams

Bro. and Sis. Lanham

Bro. Lanham was my first pastor. 

I can’t recall anything special about what he preached. Nor is there anything special about the way he preached. He made it all seem pretty simple. He would remind us to love and serve God and be holy. Looking back, I think he extended a simple plea for us to be saved and sanctified, week after week. Bro. Lanham was never overly stern. He was gracious and humble. 

Bro. Lanham was brave enough to let me cut my teeth in ministry. It started with mowing the church lawn. I’m sure it was really hard for him to give up that responsibility. Then I asked if I could change the marquee sign. When our youth leader left, I volunteered to teach the lessons on Wednesday. All the time, Bro. Lanham said “yes.” I am sure there is more to these simple memories on his side, but for me that is how it seemed. He even let me “sing” solos and gave me my first opportunity to preach. 

Bro. Lanham had a first name. It was a long time before I knew it. Turns out, he didn’t even go by his first name. My guess is I learned his first name, not long after I learned the name he went by. But for me, his first name was “Brother.”

I am honored to have had Leslie Eugene “Gene” Lanham as my first pastor. His ministry at the First Church of God in Clarksville, Tennessee, shaped me in my earliest days. Like a baby learning to roll over, crawl, walk, talk, and run, Bro. Lanham was like a parent in my faith.

Today, as I sit here typing this out, I am still impacted by his life. You see, what I didn’t mention is that Bro. Lanham began praying for me before we even met.

One Christmas season, Bro. Lanham was working at the mall as Santa Claus. One of the ladies working as Santa’s Helper was a mom to two teen aged boys and a toddler girl. He prayed for that family and the oldest son wandered into the Church of God and moved out of the Brooks school of theology because God answers prayer.


It’s Official…I’m Now on Staff With NLBF

Sunday, Aug 17, marks the beginning of another chapter for me, my family, and New Life Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas. After being presented by the Elders to serve as an associate pastor for the congregation in July, the official vote was held and the congregation overwhelmingly affirmed the Elders recommendation.

I’m excited about this chapter. New Life is an amazing congregation with a global reach and tremendous passion to make a difference for the kingdom of God. I will be working to enhance the ministry and outreach for teens as well as helping mobilize congregation members into “missional communities.”

Ministry and Outreach for teenagers is not new to me. I’ve been involved in this type of ministry for nearly 20 years. What is new is working with students from so many different schools and school districts. New Life, like many Dallas churches, has several families who commute in for worship gatherings. Learning the rhythms and practices of the schools and districts will be a unique growing opportunity. One of the elements I am particularly looking forward to establishing is a level of cross-generational connecting. I hope to be able to establish partnerships and friendships across the age-gaps so that the young can learn from the old and the old can be inspired by the young.

As for the mobilizing members into “missional communities,” this is an area of ambiguity. I say that because the whole concept of “missional communities” is still evolving within the greater church across North America. This part of my responsibilities will grow over time. To begin with, I’ll be doing some detective work among the members. I’ll be busy listening to their passions, interests, and burdens. I will work to help find points of connections between members. Then after a period of listening, I will begin helping form communities of 20-50 people working together to reach a particular neighborhood or network of people with the life transforming message and hope of Jesus. These endeavors will be very experimental.

I am hoping to capture the stories and endeavors in ways that inspire others. In the meantime, thank you for your prayers and partnerships. This new chapter will be fun to explore as the “author and finisher” works this story for His glory.

Jesus of Nazareth Christian Stock Images

Change the World | Jesus is the Subject

Have you heard? Church of God Ministries wants to help you live out your dream of changing the world! Through the contributions of an anonymous donor, General Director Jim Lyon has formed the Innovation Trustees to award grants (up to $20,000) to new and engaging projects across the North America that help change the world.

The Innovation Trustees are looking to empower individuals and small groups to try the bold ideas God has given them. For many of us, all we need is to know someone else believes in us. The Innovation Trustees believe in you. This belief is grounded in the words of Jesus, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the works I have done and even greater….” (John 14:12).

Watch this video by Geremy Dixon announcing what is going on.
Why would I promote this? First and foremost, I believe in finding new ways of equipping everyday people to make a difference in our world, particularly in the name of Jesus. Second, I’m one of the Innovation Trustees.
This second video is from McDowell Mountain Church as an example of a video application submission.
To apply for the grant, go to Submit your grant application today! You can even do it via video. The deadline for submissions is September 15. Don’t miss this opportunity to change the world you live in! Share this news with your family, church, and community. This grant is not restricted to pastors, ministers, or clergy. The grant is open to all.

Don’t delay, apply today!

Change the World | Jesus is the Subject.

a New role in Life’s journey, teaching Bible with a new Fellowship

Many of you have been curious as to what’s next for me and the family and our role in ministry. Here it is: IMG_0978 Earlier in July, we moved from Odessa, Texas, to Midlothian, Texas. This suburb located about 30 minutes south of the metroplex is centrally located between Dallas and Fort Worth. For our Odessa friends, you’ll be happy to know we can get to Rosa’s in about 15 minutes. Christy’s parents moved here in May and we opted to join them.

Though we’ve not had a lot of time to settle in, we are enjoying this small town and are excited about the upcoming school year and getting to know our new neighbors. I haven’t made plans for Halloween, but I’m sure we will find a way to have a fun time.

Since moving Christy’s parents to Midlothian, we’ve been visiting the Church of God congregation in Dallas with them. Pastor Ken Merrifield and I have known each other for nearly 10 years. I was fortunate enough to be on a team of ministers welcomeing Ken to Texas when he first began pastoring in Dallas.

On Sunday, July 20, the elders of the New Life Bible Fellowship in Dallas, announced they have identified me as a candidate to hire to be a member of their pastoral staff. The congregation will officially decide on August 17.

Should NLBF elect to hire me for the pastoral team, my focus points will be working with teens and emerging adults as well as developing ways for the congregants to engage in the mission of God in their daily lives within the greater metroplex area. I would appreciate your prayers as we navigate through the relational introductions and assimilate to the patterns and systems of the congregation. I would also appreciate your prayers because should this come to pass, these relationships and systems will be challenged with change. The next few weeks will be filled with expectations, questions, and uncertainties.

I’m excited about the possibilities that are ahead. NLBF has a solid history of kingdom interest. I’ve had the privilege of observing the fruits of their youth ministry for some 15 years. I am honored at the possibility to partner with this group at this time in this way. Ultimately, I am further committed to make myself available to our gracious God who has equipped me to equip others.

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Christy and the kids are excited about the possibilities ahead. NLBF members have welcomed us into their homes and Caitlyn and Andrew are quickly finding friends in the Sunday School classes. Breanna has quickly won the hearts of people. Her quick smile and blue eyes make it easy for people to join in her “goos!”

Christy and I are grateful that we already know several members of the congregation through our time at Mid-America Christian University, working with the Texas State Youth Convention, and summer youth camps and Camp Powers. This has certainly made it feel like we’ve been here longer than we actually have.

In the meantime, if you are in the greater DFW area, come out Sunday, August 3, to New Life Bible Fellowship, 3727 W Kiest BLVD, 11am. I’ll be teaching for the worship gathering that day. I’d love to see you there.

Be sure to click “follow blog via email” on your right so you can stay up to date with our adventures. My posts will go automatically to your email and you won’t miss an update. Occasionally, I post a meaningful or random thought too!

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