Happy 100th Birthday, Herb Anderson!

This photo was snapped at the BBI Christmas luncheon a couple of months ago and shows three pastors of First Baptist Church of Corvallis, OR, myself, Herb Anderson and Bill Knopp.

Happy Birthday to one of the Fathers of my Life.

By Charles Kelley

RIGA, Latvia – Today, an amazing person celebrates his 100th birthday. The world was considerably different than the day Herb Anderson was born on March 1, 1916.

The population of the planet then was 1.6 billion. Woodrow Wilson was the president and World War I was in full swing.  Charlie Chaplain was Hollywood’s highest paid actor. Einstein proposed the Theory of Relativity for the first time.  Boeing flew its first aircraft and a brand new Ford Model T could be purchased for $340.

I call Herb one of the “Fathers of my Life”.  He served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Corvallis in the 70’s and I served in the 80’s and 90’s. He has been a wonderful example and mentor for me.  I could list a hundred highlights, but here are a few things that set Herb’s life apart:

He loves to pray and his public prayers are thoughtful, poetic and deep.

He loves to paint…and any pastor who paints is my kindred buddy.

He loves student. When he was President of Judson Baptist College, he was extremely popular among the students. He was relational, humorous and incredibly interesting.

He loves bicycles.  I’m not sure when he quit riding bikes, but it wasn’t very long ago.  His bicycle trips up and down the West Coast, across the state of Oregon and even coast to coast finishing in Washington DC are legendary.

He loves to sing. Before there was George Beverly Shea singing with Billy Graham, Herb was in the quartet that sang when Billy preached. This is when they were students together at Wheaton College.

He loves to preach. For him it is an art form. I love it when preachers don’t put people to sleep. Impossible to sleep when Herb preaches. So interesting and dynamic and dramatic and poetic…and from the heart.

He loves international ministry and served as General Director of the CB Mission Board for a couple of years. When I started Bridge Builders International he was so encouraging that I invited him to serve on my board. And he did for more than 10 years. We thoroughly benefited from his depth of experience. I will never forget the message he delivered the night the BBI was formally and publicly launched…May 1995 at FBC Corvallis, “For such a time as this.”

He loves looking at life…and death…right in the eye.  A few months after his first wife passed away many years ago I asked Herb to come back to FBC Corvallis and give a special message. I gave him the title, “What I learned about living and dying in 1989 (maybe the year before or after). My o my, what a message it was!

Many have heard me say for more than 20 years: When I grow up I want to be like Herb Anderson.

Happy birthday old friend!

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