A Life Well Lived: In Memory of Tommy Teague

Tommy Teague

As a young man in ministry, I was challenged to write what I’d want my tombstone to read and then live my life in a way to make those words a reality.  It was a sobering yet energizing exercise! The phrase that I chose was: “He made a difference in others because of the difference that Christ made in him.”

In 1988, Tommy Teague stepped into my life.  He came on board as the Executive Pastor at Bell Shoals Baptist Church, where I was senior pastor. We quickly became more than co-workers. We became close close friends. We went on to serve together as a team at First Baptist Church of Norfolk, VA.   I saw in Tommy a passion to make a difference in others that flowed out of the passion He had for His Lord.  He also had a way of driving toward excellence in all he did while simultaneously making those around him feel cared about and loved, yet energized and encouraged to be all Christ meant for them to be.

Our families grew up together. Our kids played with theirs and we saw “up close and personal” that Tommy lived at home what he espoused at church. He adored Rita, and she truly was the love of his life; Jonathan, Julie, and Joy were the light of his eyes, and he often told Cheryl and me just how proud he was of the adults they had become.   In the midst of all he was accomplishing as a pastor, highly esteemed as a community leader, and in the lives of those around him, Tommy kept his priorities of his relationship with the Lord first, and family a close second.

Tommy’s passion for his church family, North Richland Hills Baptist Church, was always evident.  Tommy believed that seeing people come to know Jesus personally was a direct out-pour of his love relationship with Jesus.  He was also renowned in his love for taking groups to Israel to experience stepping where Jesus had stepped to know and understand Him better. While I wish with all my being that we could have more years together, and that I can’t imagine my dear friend not being a phone call away, it seems almost fitting that Tommy would step from time to eternity in Israel, a place he’d grown to love–next to the Dead Sea that is a picture and analogy of our lives as Believers:  If we only take in but don’t let life flow out through us, we don’t fulfill our purpose.  Tommy lived a life of full on giving–allowing the flow of Christ through him to impact all who knew him.

One of Tommy’s last twitters said, “When we see Christ we will show Him what we have done with what He has trusted to our care.” Great cause for pause and reflection. (6/10/11)

Tommy, my friend, I will miss you!  As I stand in your pulpit on Sunday, I will do my best to point the sheep you have shepherded to remember you were but the under shepherd. Their shepherd, Jesus, is still with them.  Tommy, I salute you as man who finished the work Christ gave you to do, and who lived a life well-lived.  You made a difference in the lives of all who have known you because of the difference Christ made in you.  Well done, brother. Well done.

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18 Responses to A Life Well Lived: In Memory of Tommy Teague

  1. My favorite memory of Tommy was many years ago on a Sunday night at First Baptist Church of Norfolk. It was a business meeting. Dr Reccord was standing at the main pulpit presiding over the meeting. Tommy stepped up to a side microphone to answer a simple question. As he answered, he began to give a motivational and energetic speech pertaining to how the church should love one another. It went on for 10 minutes. It was very inspirational. We were all caught up in it. As Tommy finished, remembering that he had only stepped up there to answer a simple question, became a little embarrassed and grinned up at Dr Reccord. Dr Reccord looked down and smiled and in his deep voice he said to Tommy, “Did you want to come up here with that sermon?” The church erupted in laughter.

    I was a pretty immature young man when I met Tommy. I had a lot of growing to do. He was extremely wise and patient with me. He always seemed to know what I was thinking. I am so, so sad to hear he has passed. I have to believe though, that he’s in Heaven and experiencing a Peace that we, on Earth, do not have the capacity to understand.

    Tommy, it’s too soon. You’ll be missed.

  2. Louise Keeton says:

    Thank you, sir.

  3. Louise Keeton says:

    Thank you, sir. Look forward to your message on Sunday.

  4. Lisa Stephens says:

    Simply beautiful.

  5. Vicki McIntosh says:

    Tommy’s passing tribute you wrote is so touching. We have precious memories of the “dream team” God put together during our time in Norfolk. Our memories are what we hold on to, especially during moments of reflection. Those reflections pop up frequently in light of Tommy’s passing. God performed incredible revelations of Himself in our lives through your ministry in Norfolk. For that we hold eternal gratitude to the Lord. We will be in the congregation Sunday when you preach. You will be lifted in prayer throughout the service as I can’t imagine the wealth of emotions that you may experience as your minister to the congregation of NRHBC. Blessings to you, Cheryl, your children and grandchildren.

  6. Jerry Carver says:

    Dr. Reccord,
    Thank you for your tribute to my best friend. Tommy had wisdom beyond his years that this individual will miss. He did not forsake a christian brother when he was down and out. He was there for me. He was so much fun and yet had such a strong purpose in his life. I have too many stories to tell from the days when we got out”kingdom kit” at SWBTS to our kids weddings and grandchildren. Our prayers are for Rita and the “kids” and his beloved church.
    Blessings on you.

  7. Great word. I’ll be praying for you.

  8. Beth and Doug McCrary says:

    Thank you for your beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. Tommy Teague will always have a special place in our hearts. His was part of God’s plan that brought my husband, Doug, to Bell Shoals Baptist twenty-something years ago. They had been friends at the church in Louisiana where Tommy had served before coming to Florida. Doug heard that he and Rita were at Bell Shoals so Doug began driving each Sunday from Lakeland to Brandon to attend services and fellowship with Tommy too. It was at Bell Shoals that Doug and I met in the new members class. Tommy was the one who counseled us and performed our wedding in the chapel at Bell Shoals. We loved this man and his family too. Heaven is a bit richer today and we will all join him there soon. Praise to God for letting Tommy be a part of our lives here. Love to you and Cheryl.

  9. Andrea (Osborn) Baldwin says:

    I had the priviledge of having Tommy as a youth pastor at Edmundson Road Baptist Church, St. Louis MO… he truly shaped my life as a young person, and I continued to carry what he taught and demonstrated with me thru into my adult life. I thought of him often, and referred to things that he taught me as a youth to my own children. I still have the bible where Tommy showed me how to share the ‘roman road’ with unbelievers. Tommy, I will truly miss you…I wish you would have known here on earth how much your ministry and friendship meant to me thru my life…however, I will have the utmost joy to share that with you someday when we meet again in Heaven.

  10. Grady Stone says:

    Thank you Dr. Reccord for your tribute to my Pastor, my friend and my brother-in-Christ. Tommy will be sorely missed by me and the membership of NRHBC. We covet your prayers for Rita and the family and for the church he loved so much. God will make us stronger as He leads us through this time of pain and heartache. Looking forward to seeing you again this Sunday. May God give you wisdom as you deliver the message the Holy Spirit has prepared for you to share with us.

  11. Phillip Mann says:

    Thank you Dr. Reccord for your words of a true friend. He will be greatly missed, but I know he is in a much better place and happy for that. Such a MAN that walked the talk and took it a step further. The heart hurts for such a gentleman of God. Thank you.

  12. Betty Moody says:

    Our church body is so blessed by your coming to be with us.
    Hearts are lifted by your encouraging words.
    I came to North Richland Hills Baptist Church after hearing
    Tommy preach for a funeral. His words reflected the
    Love, mercy, and compassion of his heart.
    Only Christ have anointed him to speak such
    words of comfort and grace, to this grieving
    family. Those words linger today, as we prepare
    to press on to our high calling, in Christ Jesus.
    Our beloved pastor’s presence with us will truly
    be missed. Thank you for challenging us to
    continue the good work, Christ has begun in
    us and continue to fulfill the work our Pastor
    would want us to do. We thank God for the
    his life. His servant’s heart will always
    be remembered.

  13. Durwood Foote says:

    Thank you Dr. Reccord for the kind words for our mutual friend and dear Pastor Tommy Teague. Thank you also, for the clarity and new sense of direction that you presented to us here at North Richland Hills Baptist Church this morning, Pastor Tommy would have agreed completely with your message of faith, hope, and love.

    Pastor Tommy was uniquely anointed, uniquely blessed and to serve his Heavenly Father was his great passion. As you said, he did love Israel. And all who were privileged to have gone there with him, enjoyed his “psalms” of praise and of peace for Israel; he shared God’s delight and love for the Holy Land of God. I remember, as he finished a very moving message on the Mount of Olives, I remarked, “now it’s more clear to me why the angels had to tell the men of Galilee to “get moving;” (Tommy’s message) made me want to stand there and gaze into the sky too.” He had that gift, when he spoke it was as if God himself were speaking; indeed, he had a special anointing to do that very thing, God’s voice to a lost and dying world.

    Thank you also Dr. Record, for being a part of Pastor Tommy’s formative years. You understand how God puts “special” people in our path to help mold us according to His perfect Will and in my opinion, Pastor Tommy was near perfect (he would be embarrassed, but it’s true).

    God bless you Sir, and we continue to covet your prayers for Rita and the Family and for NRHBC as we move forward without our dear Pastor Tommy; he will be missed so very much.

  14. Sue Fleming says:

    Your words yesterday at NRH Baptist church blessed and comforted our hearts, as well as giving us words to live by and hold close in any storm in our lives. Your statement “If you are not prepared to die, you cannot really live your life” made a real impression on me. We were so greatly blessed to have you, as someone who knew Tommy well and loved him too, come to speak to us. Joe and I admired Tommy tremendously, loved him, and knew him to be “the real deal.” We admired his determination to preach the Word of God without fear and continue to stand strong from the pulpit on Biblical principles in the face of our culture today. We thank God for putting Tommy in our life, beginning with First Baptist Dallas and then here in North Richland Hills. God Bless you, Dr. Reccord and your family. We are praying for you and know you will miss him too.

  15. Denise Hollis says:

    I had the joy and priviledge of growing up in ERBC with Tommy as my youth pastor. Not only do I have fond memories of mission trips, lock-ins, etc but the beauty that Tommy lead me to the Lord. He and Pastor Hay baptised me. I have carried with me all that he taught me through my life there and have often hoped I would see him again. I know now I will just have to wait until I am Home. To Rita and family….I love you dearly! My husband went to be with the Lord a year ago and you will daily be in my prayers.

  16. Edward Erne says:

    I am thankful for God allowing me to know Tommy Teague even for the short time that he was my pastor at North Richland Hills Baptist Church when we returned to Fort Worth, Texas this past December (10′). He has influenced my life in numerous ways directly and indirectly even before now. My wife grew up in Bell Shoals Baptist Church under Bob Reccord as pastor and Tommy Teague along with several other great ministers which God used to bring her to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where we meet in 1998. At that time, I was blessed to live with my two seminary roommates in the Community Center that Cornerstone Assistance Network (facilitated by NRHBC) had off East Peach Street in downtown Fort Worth. I remember attending a service at NRHBC shortly after brother Tommy came as pastor back then and was glad when we returned to the area that he was still pastor at the church. I am sure that anyone who has met him could see the transparency of his life to God’s call through him in his life and ministry to those around him. He will be missed greatly by all though we should rejoice that he is in the presence of the Lord and remember that we are not here for ourselves but for Christ who calls us heavenward. Thank you Lord for Jesus Christ your Son and for Tommy Teague. My prayers are with his family in this time.

  17. Rev. George Dixon says:

    Thanks for again participating in the celebration of Tommy’s life. Your message the Sunday before and the one today, will live on in my memory a long time. I thank God for being a part of Tommy’s team for a few years as Minister to the Senior Adults. He was so supportive and so helpful, and always challenging us to go for the vision. He brought miracles into my life that are going to live on for quite a while. I know his family loves you a lot for your kindnesses and help to them. God sustain you. Isaiah 46:4

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