“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” George MacDonald
The person who had the earliest impact on my life as an artist and graphic designer is Davy Henderson. He was my youth pastor at University Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas. Davy had a great sense of humor and a servant’s heart (captured in the photo above while dishing out food at a church fellowship). He made me feel like I could do anything, and anything I attempted would succeed. Davy entered my life during my junior year in high school. Having never sung in a choir, he convinced me I could sing, even though I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. With his encouragement, I would eventually sing solo in a youth musical, start a Christian rock band and begin writing songs. Right before moving to a church in Memphis in 1975, he had UBC’s youth choir perform a musical I composed. And at the same time he was supporting my musical development, he provided outlets for my interests in writing, acting, teaching and art.
My aptitude for graphic design became apparent in 1971 when, as a senior in high school, I sketched a crude rendering of an ICHTHUS (a popular Christian symbol thanks to the Jesus People) combined with a cross and the church’s initials. Davy liked it so much, he had car window decals printed to raise funds for our summer youth mission trip. It soon appeared on church stationery and promotional pieces. Thereafter, I became his “go-to guy” for posters and printed materials.
Davy’s greatest act of trust was when he went to bat for me to work in the church’s youth ministry the week after I graduated from high school. Many church leaders thought I was too young to handle the responsibility. He also let me form a band that brought electric guitars and drums into our church for the first time. Our band, The Jubilation Celebration Corporation, also played at various youth events in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.
Examples of creative endeavors under Davy’s leadership included writing dramas for youth camps and skits for youth fellowships, designing Bible study materials for the youth group and much more.
A few years after Davy moved to Memphis, he started a new church, and I had the privilege of designing its logo. Over the years, we kept up with each other, which included several visits to Memphis. After a short battle with leukemia, Davy entered heaven in 2005, but his investment in my life continues to reap spiritual and material dividends.