At first glance, today appears to be no different than any other day. But deep in my heart I feel it and my children feel it too. Today, November 23rd, would have been Don Pittman’s 54th birthday. It’s hard to know exactly what you should do on a day like today. He’s been gone so long but yet his presence is still so near. As I watched him take his last breath eight years ago, I decided two things that would define my life moving forward.

  1. I will honor God by the way I live my life, and walk through this journey.
  2. I will honor Don for the man of integrity, passion, and purpose he was.

It was a pretty simple but life-changing decision. So for me today is not about visiting a grave, or being sad for what I have lost. It’s about celebrating a man whose influence was so strong that its still changing lives today.

Don was the founding and senior pastor of Higher Calling Church. Thousands of people will be in heaven because of that incredible ministry. One of them was baptized today at Heartland Church where I now am on staff. This young man’s mom attended Higher Calling years ago and made the decision to be baptized on this very day in 2008 by my son, Zac Pittman. He now attends a small group that my daughter leads and conversations held in that group were instrumental in his decision today. There’s a thread of influence that is weaving through hearts and hands of people affected by it.

A couple of months ago I received a call from a former member of Higher Calling that I hadn’t talked to in a couple of years. She, along with her daughter, were struggling with some situations in their life so she called to talk with me about it. After I listened, I asked what I could do for her? She said as she was crying, Mindy help me not to settle. I will never forget that conversation or her words. I encouraged her to check out Heartland Church and several weeks later she did. Out of the 2,000 people that were there that weekend, I was the first person she saw when she walked in the door. That day was a special baptism service and nearly a hundred people were baptized throughout that morning. I looked up and my friend and her daughter were standing in line with big tears running down their face and I had the privilege of watching her daughter be baptized. Several years ago I witnessed my son, Zac, baptize the mom at Higher Calling. That same thread of influence was at work again even though none of us could have predicted what happened that day.

How do you have that kind of influence eight years after you are gone? The answer is simple. Don never settled. He didn’t settle for the status quo, he didn’t settle for being mediocre and he didn’t use his cancer diagnosis as an excuse to not make a difference. He used his influence to speak up for those that had no influence and he challenged us all to do the same.

You are just one decision away from leaving your own thread of influence after you are gone. But it never happens by standing still. You have to do something. You have to get out of your comfort zone, out of your box and speak up for those who have no voice. The decision is yours and the opportunity is available. You can start today by registering for World Change 2014.

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