Remembering where we have been, seeing a need and taking action is what it takes for God to use our unique talents for His Kingdom. Houston’s First member Dan Barrett turned 50 last year and decided it was time to give back. A video message by well-known Christian pastor John Piper motivated him to sign up for a preparatory class sponsored by Generation to Generation, a mentoring ministry for men at Houston’s First. Piper spoke a sentence that moved Dan to act: “Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Dan had grown up a Catholic and was committed to the Lord early in life, but over time had stopped walking with Him. In 2001, a series of events left Dan reeling and reconsidering his relationship with God. “My dad had a heart attack, my uncle passed away, the house flooded, my wife Shawn had a bad wreck, and her father died,” said Dan. “I felt I had to get right with God — to give up my anger and begin listening again.”
Dan and Shawn, who had been a member of Houston’s First when she and Dan were dating, found their way back in 2006, now with their girls, Grace and Lauren, who attended First Baptist Academy. In addition to mentoring, the Barretts are members of Followers of the Way Life Bible Study and they volunteer for student ministry events.
Dan’s involvement in Generation to Generation began last fall with a three week training session preparing Dan and other men to be mentors. In February this year, Dan began meeting David Adame, 24, for breakfast each week. “David is a remarkable young man,” said Dan. “Our time together was casual. I wasn’t teaching or counseling — it was conversation. I was listening and sharing experiences from my own life that I thought might benefit him.”
David and Dan are both associated with commercial real estate and often talked about practical issues over breakfast. “God used Dan to pour wisdom and insight into my life,” said David. “One of the most important areas of discipleship going into the program was to learn how to live out the Gospel in the workplace.”
Work wasn’t the only topic of discussion. Dan prayed and encouraged David in his calling as a missionary, something he had been praying about for some time. David left last month for a long-term mission trip.
“David’s generation is stepping up,” said Dan. “It’s refreshing to see what’s going on with young men his age.” Dan hopes to find others he can encourage through mentoring.
“Lots of young men didn’t have fathers while growing up,” he said. “For them there was no modeling of things that a man should know, even something as simple as jump-starting a car. Christian men are needed to fill those roles.”