The first time I saw George Forbes was at a 5th Sunday Sing in Central Georgia (all the sister churches in nearby towns would come together on a Sunday night and sing hymns and share the Gospel in song). I had heard that a sister church in a nearby town had hired a new preacher. I had also heard that this preacher had five college degrees: two bachelor degrees in psychology and preaching, two master's degrees in counseling and ministry, and a Ph.D. in ministry! Needless to say, I was intimidated by George before I ever met him. As people from the nearby towns and sister churches gathered that evening to participate in the 5th Sunday sing, I noticed a man I didn’t recognize going around with the biggest smile on his face and talking to everyone. It didn’t take him long before he made his way over to where I was standing and he introduced himself, “You must be David Fincher. I’m George Forbes.” He grabbed my hand and shook it like we were the very best of friends… and that’s what happened. We became the very best of friends. It wasn’t long before I met his wonderful wife, Phyllis and it wasn’t long after that day, I was over their house frequently having dinner with them.
As our friendship grew, I realized that George was one of the most down to earth preachers I knew. Those five degrees he had acquired over years of study did not inflate his ego or bolster a persona of superiority… on the contrary, George was a humble servant of the Lord. I would often mention his Ph.D. and he would jest, “Yeah, that and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee,” (obviously, George had never been to Starbucks).
Preachers are unique birds… they usually don’t have many close friends. Some do, but many do not. Ministry can be difficult like that. If you get too close to some members, other members may, and often do, resent it and it’s sometimes difficult to talk to a slightly apathetic eldership about apathy. Preachers sort of need each other to discuss ideas, theologies, doctrines, how to motivate a membership, effective outreaches, missions, and a thousand more unique preacher issues. It wasn’t long before George, Bill Moody, and I became birds of a feather… and we would stick together. The three of us became good and close friends and I knew that I could confide and talk with them about anything with total and complete confidence.
Of this small flock of three, George was the wisest. Even after he retired and moved to Kentucky, Bill moved from Georgia to Ohio, and I left for the mission field in Marsh Harbour, we would still talk via Google Hangouts and Facebook. George’s advice was always sound and based on what was right. When I formed CrossWay Missions, George and Bill were two of the first people I asked to be on my Board of Directors. It is no accident that CrossWay Mission’s board consists of five preachers and one elder.
Today, my close friend and brother George Forbes, unexpectedly flew home. He has finished his race… He kept the faith… My brother in arms is now in the arms of the one he adored. My friend is home.
I love you George… I will miss you.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life.
Please for Phyllis... she is godly woman who has lost her "best friend" today.