My Tribute. My Inspiration.

by DanWolgemuth on November 18, 2022

It seemed to be a fitting finale to a wonderful six-month adventure. I had been on assignment with General Electric in Folkestone, Kent in the U.K., and now, this global IT project had provided the perfect launching pad for a July trip to Western Scotland.

It was 1996, Mary and our three kids had adjusted beautifully to life in a small row house. The adventure provided an open invitation to explore new communities and cultures

What awaited us now was the rough and quiet Scottish terrain.

During one of our excursions into the rolling Scottish countryside, on a single lane road, we noticed a small sign that announced a “Sheepdog Contest”. We were intrigued and quickly hooked.

I navigated our rental car to a group of parked pickup trucks and we ventured to the edge of a vast Scottish field. The day was blustery and unfriendly, even in July. Once adequately bundled, we watched… first with curiosity and then with amazement.

A small cluster of sheep were positioned at the far end of the field, barely visible. Then, a shepherd, located in close proximity to us, with a dog at his side, would signal for his companion to move. And move they did. Racing to the far side of the field with purpose, energy and focus.

We watched through a howling wind as the dog worked the flock to the shepherd. The clock was running, but the precision was more important. Would the flock stay together? Could the dog manage a rebel lamb? Would the dog be able to maneuver the small herd around an obstacle? Would the entire flock arrive at the feet of the shepherd?

We watched. We marveled. Each dog living into its calling.  A sheepdog delighting in serving its master. A sheepdog committed to drawing every lamb to the shepherd. And then, once the mission had been accomplished, the delight in the dog having pleased the shepherd was contagious. The exhausted animal would bark and leap and beg for more.

On October 29th, 2022, the Christian community lost one of its finest leaders. A sheepdog.

Steve Douglass had served with Cru for decades, including 19 years as President. But Steve was so much more than a brilliant, humble and visionary leader. His highest and best calling was as a sheepdog. One of the most committed and focused I have ever met.

Steve Douglass loved his Shepherd, the Good Shepherd. And because of that love, he loved lost sheep. He loved pursuing them. He loved wooing them. He loved directing them, and he loved celebrating with them… because that’s what his Shepherd wanted. It’s what his Shepherd commanded. It’s what brought his Shepherd glory and delight.

Everywhere. Anywhere. A sheepdog. Never for his own fame or glory, but for the satisfaction of bringing his Shepherd honor and joy.

Yes, on October 29th, we lost one of the best.

Picture of our friends from various ministries, ironically at the funeral of Denny Rydberg, the past President of Young Life… another faithful friend. Steve and Judy Douglas are on the far left of this picture. Beside the Douglass’ are Chris and Les Steckel  (FCA), and beside Mary and me are Alec and Mary Hill (InterVarsity).

And I imagine magnanimous joy as the sheepdog met the Good Shepherd face to face. Celestial barking. A Shepherd well pleased. A sheepdog that followed the Shepherd’s command.

“Bring them to me.” Yes, to me. To Jesus. To the Good Shepherd.

Well done, Steve Douglass. Sheep to the Shepherd. Well done.

May your inspiration invite action for all the sheepdogs that remain. You will be missed.

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