As I write this I am sitting in the Denver airport, en route home from speaking in Tulsa OK with Blackaby Ministries International. The Spiritual Leadership conference was far more than a “speaking event” for me since God used it to do some much needed housework in my heart too.
But God also had a lovely surprise for me. As soon as I arrived at the conference Robert Cannon, pictured here with his wife Corene, gave me a great big bear hug. I hadn’t seen Robert for more than 20 years.
In the early 1970s, Robert Cannon was at the top of his game. He was the Director of Baptist Student Ministries at Texas Tech, a university that boasted 8000 Baptist students. To be in a position of such influence while still a young husband and father was quite an achievement.
Spending the summer of 1974 in Saskatoon Saskatchewan working alongside Henry Blackaby changed everything. Robert went back to his successful ministry and Henry began to pray. Within a year, Robert and Corene and their sons had relocated to Saskatoon. There were 10 Baptist students. There was no salary nor any promise of one. For four years! But when God gives us a dream, He always makes a way.
I was one of those “lucky” kids who happened to be a student at the University of Saskatchewan during Robert’s four-year tenure there. His guidance, his vision, his drive, his understanding and compassion left a deep impression on me and so many others. Our little church began to grow as college kids found new life in Jesus through the campus ministry and then joined the family of believers at Faith Baptist Church. Many of those “kids” are still my friends today. Many of us are also in ministry.
Robert and Corene spent a fifth year in Canada helping establish student ministries on the five major campuses. “But I really believed it had to be Canadians that carried on the work,” Robert told me during our visit in Tulsa. “I was a starter,” he said. Boy was he ever!
If God plants a dream in your heart that makes it look like you are “downwardly” mobile instead of “on the rise” remember Robert. He has no regrets, only relationships with hundreds of young people whose lives his influence changed forever.