Loving the Journey with…
Pastor John Hampton
Well Done, Best Buddy
Back in October of 2001, David Vaughan and I were driving somewhere on the outskirts of Dayton, OH. We had just finished playing one of our countless rounds of golf together. While we were playing, a man named Dave Myers had called and left a voicemail for me. He informed me that the Westwood Cheviot Church of Christ in Cincinnati, OH was looking for a new Senior Minister and he wanted to know if there was anyone I could recommend. I listened to the voicemail, then I handed the phone to Dave and said, “listen to this and tell me if it’s anything you’d be interested in.”
Dave listened, handed the phone back to me and said, “Call him back. I’ll talk to him.” I called Dave Myers back a little later and said, “Mr. Myers, I have your next pastor for you,” and then I proceeded to tell him all about my best buddy, David Vaughan.
Twenty years later, David Vaughan has completed a remarkable pastoral run where he led a 100-year-old church that had been in decline for decades back to health, hope, and help for thousands of people on the westside of Cincinnati. This past Sunday, my buddy Dave stepped down as the Lead Pastor of what is now Whitewater Crossing Christian Church (Westwood Cheviot Church of Christ relocated in 2010 and was renamed).
Melinda and I were honored to be there with Dave and his lovely wife Donna. I was asked to speak, and it was one of the great privileges of my life to help send my best buddy off from a church that he led so well for so long. (You can watch the message portion of the service by clicking here.)
It’s hard to believe that 20 years has gone by as quickly as it has for Dave at Whitewater and that he is no longer its Lead Pastor. He has prepared for this day for a long time and even though there is a sadness because of the loss of something that has been so much a part of his life, there is a joy and sense of being released into a new season of life that Dave and Donna have been waiting to live for some time.
It’s even harder to imagine that Dave and I met 42 years ago in the fall of 1980 at Cincinnati Bible College. We both liked playing basketball and golf, eating chocolate chip cookies and preaching. Neither of us had any idea at the time how our lives would become so bonded together and literally bound up with one another. There was a biblical friendship between two men also named David and John (Jonathan), who the Scripture writer says, “became one in spirit” and “they loved each other as they loved themselves.” I can think of no better description for this unique, life-altering, life-giving, ministry-supporting friendship that he and I have come to cherish.
Dave and I plan to do some work together when I step away from the Lead Pastor role of Journey at the end of this year. We’ve always talked about working together in some capacity, but truthfully, we’ve shared so many sermon resources and ministry ideas that I feel like we have been working together over the past 40 years, just in separate churches.
Dave finished well on his terms, at his time. Very few leaders in any industry can say that and especially pastors. I closed my brief message this past Sunday by saying this: Dave, you were the best man at my wedding, and you continue to be the best man in my life. I love you like a brother and even more. I can’t think of any other place on the planet Melinda, and I would rather be today than right here beside you and Donna as you receive the ultimate recognition that any preacher could ever hope for, to leave behind a Jesus-following, outreach-oriented, grace-giving, disciple-making church family that is SO much better off than when you found it.
Well done, my best buddy! Well done!
Loving the best buddy Journey,