Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

June 30, 2013


Relax, have fun, enjoy life, live in the grace of God


          Kennon L. Callahan has been traveling the planet most of his life. He is on a mission – to help pastors and church leaders learn to “do church” effectively. I am one of thousands of pastors who have been blessed by Ken’s wisdom.

          I was no novice when I met Ken. I was already 57 and serving a rather large church. And I was pretty confident that I knew how to do my job. Nonetheless my good friend Earl Ballard and I decided to attend one of Ken’s five-day seminars. After all, if Ken was boring, Callaway Gardens would be a great place to find a cure for boredom.

          We were not bored but for the first three days we struggled to understand where Ken was going in his teaching. Then suddenly the light came on and we “got it.” We were making every mistake in the book as pastors. We began laughing – not at Ken but at ourselves. We were pushing “commitment” and overlooking the basic key to church success – compassion.

          We learned from Ken how to strengthen the church and refocus its mission on the one thing that characterized the life of Jesus – gracious compassion for people. Our ministry has never been the same because of Ken’s gentle influence.

          Ken gave us a marvelous phrase that he said came to him one night, “gently and invitingly, quietly and peacefully.” This is the phrase: “Relax, have fun, enjoy life, live in the grace of God.” Ken actually personifies that phrase. In Ken’s presence you become quickly aware that he is relaxed, that he is a fun person who enjoys life, and that he is inviting you to live in the grace of God.

          This comment by Ken is symbolic of the core values that dominate his teaching: “Be at peace. Relax. Discover new ways you can have fun. For each worry worth really worrying about, that you can do something about, discover one new way you can have fun in this life. For each significant worry, find some significant way of having fun. Your life will have a sense of balance, health and wholeness.”

          Ken taught me that in the midst of tough times we must learn to relax and have fun. It helps to remember that Jesus laughs. The picture of the laughing Jesus helps remind us of this truth. Despite his critics and others who scorned him, Jesus went about sharing wonder and joy, new life and hope. And that is what we who are pastors and church leaders need to do.

          When the dark clouds of trouble surround me I try to remember Ken’s words: “Relax, have fun, enjoy life, live in the grace of God.” It is indeed a phrase worth remembering.

          Thanks Ken. I wish I had met you when I was 27. + + +

          (The quote is from Ken’s 19th book, Living in Grace, available from