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Signposts: What I Learned From Congressman Gene Taylor

Russell Moore - Signposts

Published on 11/04/2016

On this episode of Signposts I reflect on life lessons I learned from serving Congressman Gene Taylor, and how a politician modeled integrity and conscience for me that made a lasting impact.Listen below, and subscribe to Signposts to receive new episodes automatically._______________Below is an edited transcript of the audio.This week I was thinking about the fact that it was the anniversary of the day that my old boss was elected to the United States Congress. On that date every year I tend to reflect on him and what I learned from him and I can tell you that I learned a lot about life and leadership from a politician, in a way that I think might be surprising to some people who tend to think of politicians in a really cynical and negative way. But when I think of this man, I have this sense of great gratitude that I was able to learn from him.Our fifth son, Taylor, is named after him. He is Taylor Eugene Moore, precisely because of the sense of gratitude that I have for him. I started out working for this guy at a really, really young age and he invested in me at a time when, as I look at it now, I think he took a risk on me in a way that I’ve never seen another politician do and if I were advising someone, I would say this is crazy. I started out as a high school student, sstuffing envelopes for him in a congressional race that he was running that he lost, but he lost that election by a narrower margin than what many people were predicting and so he kind of came out of that with a little bit of momentum, even though he lost the race. The U.S. Congressman who did win the race, who was a very good Congressman and a very good man, was tragically killed in an airplane accident eight months later in August of the next year. By that point I was starting college and so I because active and involved in the campaign too on a volunteer basis and working at handing out bumper stickers and doing phone banks and all of that because I believed in this guy. He invested in me, he hired me as an intern first in his Washington office and then put me in charge of his internship program and then put me in charge of communications for his 1992 re-election campaign when I was 19 years old.I was working for him in one of our offices, Washington and all of our district offices in Mississippi offices, driving all over South Mississippi with him in various places and learning from him. I think one of the things I learned from him is about taking risks on investing in younger people who are able to do what it is that you are asking them to do or who can learn to do what is that you are asking them to do. And so I’ve kind of thought about that, there have been times when in ministry as I’ve been putting people into ministry positions or hiring people for positions, I though to myself, “That person is really, really young,” and then I remember a guy who took a chance on me when I was young and gave me an opportunity to make some stupid mistakes and to learn and to have those skills sharpened.He taught me to be able to take those changes and to take those risks and to cultivate people, not just to expect people to come into your orbit already an expert in whatever it is that they are doing, but take that raw ability and to let it develop and to teach and to watch—I learned that from him. I think if it hadn’t been for that experience, I probably would not do that. Now, in every case does that work out? No. Sometimes it doesn’t, but in many cases it does and it’s been a great blessing to me in ministry over the years.The second thing I learned from him is a commitment to the unborn. This was a man who was a Democratic United States Congressman, at that time in the state of Mississippi, there wasn’t really a difference between Democratic and Republican parties on the social issues--most of the Democrats were pro-life and pro-family--but as he was dealing with the national party,

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