By Matt Messner
Jerry Cook’s contribution to my life is profound and indelible.
He gave me a working ecclesiology of the Church as a Force. He gave me a working pneumotology based around the Radical Relocation of God. He gave me a theology or “view of God” which is focused on the One who is predictably good, always on my side and never behind evil or suffering. These are things that shape who I am as a pastor and leader and I truly own them now where I am no longer merely plagiarizing Jerry.
But his real impact came through our fishing trips on the Elwah, the Yakima, the Klamath, the Trinity River, on Blue Lake and Lone Lake, on the spit and the beach, and even our float plane trip to Canada. I always felt like a klutz when fly casting and landing a fish with Jerry around. He was poetry in motion. I’m surprised he put up with me.
We also went to Mariner’s Games and enjoyed watching sports together. Once we skipped Jack Hayford at Convention and watched the Canucks defeat the Colorado Avalanche. And we caught the end of Jack’s message, after the game.
We had fun. And while having fun, I tried to learn everything I could from him.
Jerry did not lead from a position of power. He led from a position of friendship.
A friend is the most powerful leader of all.
Jesus said to His disciples, “I no longer call you servants…I call you my friends, for everything I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
Jesus said that, and Jerry lived it. He modeled friendship the way Jesus did.
I will miss him, but I pray that in a profound way, his ministry will be multiplied and carried on through people like me, and through people like you. Thank you.