You may have already heard by now, but a brother in Christ has gone to be with the Lord today. His name is Dr. Phillip Keith McMinn, and he is the pastor of South Main Street Baptist Church here in Greenwood, SC. Details are still coming in, but I do know that he was involved in a single-car accident commuting to ministry retreat at White Oak for some leaders for South Main. Phil has been the pastor at South Main for approximately a year, and he is leaving behind a wife, four children, and a great church family.

The news was real heavy to me today. I was at a friend’s wedding reception when I got the news. I had never gotten the privilege to meet Phil, but I know his son Micah who is a senior at GCS. Micah has so much potential in the Lord. He is so mature and gifted and such an early age, I have prayed for him since I met him that he do incredible things for the Lord.

So this is what I know about Phil:

1) He raised some great children. Amidst what’s transpiring in my life, I think a lot about raising children. Phil is a hero and a mentor to me for having raised a senior guy in this culture that is passionate for Jesus.

2) I have prayed for him a bunch. I love the people at South Main so much. I remember praying for him the day he did his trial sermon. I prayed that God would bring South Main the man that could lead that church with passion and conviction. I prayed for his ministry there often. Moving to a new town with a family and trying to lead a church that you are just getting to know is very difficult. So when I drove by there, I would often pray for him that South Main under his leadership would do incredible things for the Kingdom here in Greenwood. I’ve heard in some communities where churches and ministers are cold to one another and ministry becomes competition. I am so grateful to be a part of a fellowship of ministers who see each other on the same team (there is no competition among family). We, by the blood of Christ, are all on the same mission striving together for the faith of the gospel (Phil. 1:27).

3) He lived the gospel. I remember Jeff telling me that he had heard an outstanding message from him. Phil understood the urgency of proclaiming the gospel. Phil understood the need for unity in the church. Phil understood a surrendered life.

4) God will be able to use Phil even in this tragic time. I stopped asking questions like “why” a long time ago. Not because I just take things blindly. I just realized that it’s smarter just to be patient. Because when I stress with why something happened without allowing time for God to come in and do something miraculous through tragedy, I am limiting him. He will make beauty out of this tragedy (Rom. 8:28).

Jesus, nearing his death, once stated this: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” The physics behind a grain of wheat is that for it to produce anything good – it must die. When it dies, more fruit will be produced. If it remains as a single seed, it can accomplish something somewhat significant, but God is the only one able to use something as tragic as death and do more through one’s death than even through their lives.

That is what I am praying for a legacy for Dr. McMinn. That’s my heart for my brothers and sisters that gather together over at South Main. I want Phil’s legacy to inspire, motivate, and mobilize South Main Street Baptist Church to do more for the Kingdom than ever before. I pray that even through this terrible, tragic time when it is hard for this church to even know what is next to do, that they will live for Jesus. Live for him like Phil did. I pray that Greenwood will be impacted through his ministry more than ever before due to his flock rising up during this tragedy and keep on keeping on.

Dear Jesus,
I don’t know why. All I know is that there are many people hurting right now. Family, friends, a church, and his spiritual family are hurting right now. We selfishly miss him. We wish he was still here. We have confidence that he is in a better place and so we are happy for him yet still sad for ourselves.

But Jesus, you are our light. You are our salvation. You don’t give us help, you are our help. And we need you right now. We need your wisdom and strength cause we don’t have any left. Please come in a way that changes us.

I pray that tomorrow morning at South Main, my loved brothers and sisters will still be able to worship you in spirit in truth through the tears. I pray that while they live in a world that is unstable, they can praise a God who never changes. I pray for whomever leads the service that they will find hope in the resurrection. I pray that tomorrow is an amazing experience as they call on you.

I pray for the staff. I pray that Richard, David, Russ, Joyce, Denise, Lynda, and Lisa will grow together and grow closer to you during this time. They are going to need you to lead this church.

I pray for that precious family. May they draw closer to you. More than they ever have before. They need you. Send your children to love on them the way that helps them to healing.

But above all else, advance your Kingdom. Allow this tragedy, the coming funeral, and the witness of your church advance the Kingdom which would be the greatest tribute to a man who followed you faithfully and ran the race and was blessed to finish strong. Do more now through Phil than ever before. Only you can, Jesus.

We love you and we need you.

Amen.

Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.