The first time Rex Frederick walked into Life Connections there was no way I could have imagined the influence he would have on my life and the church. He had a great smile, was friendly but seemed a little cautious. He asked a few questions, talked to a few people and then left. I wasn’t sure if he would be back but he did come back, this time with Bonnie and his family and from that point on they never stopped coming. I don’t exactly remember when he made the decision to make Life Connections his home for his family, but when he did, he became a part of its very fiber.
There were lots of times he questioned me about things and I wasn’t sure why, but he seemed genuinely interested in both me and the vision I had for the church. I don’t know how many times in the early years I heard him say, “I don’t think I’ve ever met any one like you, you’re different, you look at ministry different than anyone I’ve ever met.” I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not, but over time I began to gain his confidence and he began to gain mine. His personality was both warm and quick-witted; he became someone I felt I could trust and I think he felt the same toward me. He poured himself and his wisdom into my life from his many years of experience in ministry, as a father and the leader of his family. Once Rex told me that he and Bonnie had never had a fight. I thought, you’ve got to be kidding, but over the years both Bonnie and his kids confirmed the fact that they had never fought. I remember asking him, “even when you bought the Corvette on your honeymoon or the Corvette you accidently bought online?” That kind of example intrigued and challenged me to be a better husband. As a dad, Rex would always say about his kids, “they’re not perfect, but they’re good kids,” and a big smile would come across his face. Anytime I would talk to Matt, Melissa, Heather or Katie about their dad, the same kind of smile came on their face…you knew he was a good dad and they loved him. As a young pastor with no ministerial background, Rex became my mentor, my elder and my friend. Rex saw the scripture in a different way than most and though he was an excellent speaker and minister who had preached in many pulpits, he had no desire or agenda to promote himself, it was always how can I help you make Life Connections a better place to worship. He always was asking, “what’s your vision for… or how do you see…” It was never, “this is what we did at… or I have a better idea.”
He never missed a service, bible study, prayer meeting or community event unless he was out of town and then I would always get a text apologizing and explaining why he couldn’t be at the service or event. As the church began to grow and major decisions had to be made, I would tell Mary, “I’ve got to talk to Rex.” Our relationship became one where each of us trusted the other. He trusted my vision and wanted nothing more to see an outpouring of God’s Spirit and I trusted him to run with the vision, never fearing he would loose sight of what I saw.
Over the last two months of his life I spent most of my days with Rex. His zeal for life, faith in God and belief that God was going to heal him never wavered. He may have been in pain and had doubt, but when you walked in the room his face lit up like fireworks in a night sky and the same smile I saw the first time I met him was still on his face. When you went to visit him you knew you were going to hear about one of three things; what he was going to do when he got out, something that God had gave him in prayer or David and the Giants and the new Christian music jeopardy game he had created.
The Bible talks about David’s great army and all the accomplishments that David was able to achieve in his life. There were many men who fought along side with David, but the scripture mentions that there were 37 men who were called “Mighty Men.” These men were rare, they put there plans and ideas aside and invested their talent in David’s vision and goal. Many of these men were highly educated, skilled and talented and they likely could have rallied men around themselves and built their own kingdoms, but instead they chose to be a part of something bigger. Rex Frederick was one of those Mighty Men. He was a great husband and father, he loved God with all his heart, he had great skill in the pulpit and a way of seeing the Bible like few did. He could have easily pastored a church and done a great job of reaching a community, but he chose to invest himself in others. For that I am grateful. He enhanced my life, my family and his investment in the beginning and foundation of Life Connections will forever be remembered.
- Rex Frederick passed from this life on December 21, 2015. He was a minister of the gospel, executive board member at Life, husband, dad, grandfather and a great friend to me and many others.
- * This blog is a part of a series called the Tribute Series, My Influencers.