Herb Weaver might just have been the most influential man that you have never heard about. His influence has been felt by many thousands of people all throughout the world although he rarely left Texas. Herb's influence was due to his passionate, if not fanatical, investment in the character of boys and young men. He invested the entirety of who he was into the practical training training of leaders who would themselves influence large numbers of people.
Herb was not easy to listen to. His speaking style was slow and halting and it always seemed to me like it would take him forever to make his point. But he understood how important it was to equip leaders with the essential skills and knowledge that they would need in order to mold the hearts and minds of people. He taught me that what a person knows is meaningless unless they make the information meaningful and applicable to their audience. When I was in high school and a part of his RA Staff, he taught me to always incorporate "spiritual applications" into whatever I was teaching. He forced me to think about how building a proper campfire equated to building a proper life. This really became second nature to me and there are things that I say and do after all these years that I can trace directly back to his teaching.
His primary ministry was through a program called Royal Ambassadors which is a missions centric ministry to boys in many Southern Baptist churches. RA's, as it is known, has a motto which I can still quote by memory. To me, it sums up the life and character of Herb.
"As a Royal Ambassador, I will do my best to be come a well informed, responsible follower of Jesus Christ. To have a Christ-like concern for all people. To learn how the message of Christ is carried around the world. To work with others in sharing Christ. And to keep myself clean and healthy in mind and body."
Herb was as selfless and humble a man as I have ever known. He lived his faith out in the open and in a way that was challenging. I am thankful to God for allowing me to have him as a mentor and a friend. I had the huge gift from God a few months ago when I ran into Herb at the UBA offices after I finished teaching a class. We sat and talked for quite a while and I had the chance to tell him how grateful I was for all of his support and teaching as a young man. He brushed it off as was his way, but it was a huge blessing to me to tell him how important his work had been all these years.