“We have this amazing women’s Bible study teacher named Beth Moore,” said Faith Whatley, then LifeWay’s women’s ministry event coordinator. “We’re going to try doing a couple of women’s events with her, and we want you to come lead worship at those events.”
“Me? For a women’s event? That’s weird,” I replied. I didn’t know whether to be grateful, flattered, or insulted. I think I felt a little of each. “Why me?”
“We think you’d be a good ministry match with this teacher,” she said emphatically.
What I said next still makes me laugh to this day.
“Um, I’m busy that first date. But I can make the next one.”
Yep. I missed the first Living Proof Live event because I was busy.
I thank the Lord for Faith Whatley for many reasons, not the least of which is that she didn’t give up on me and allowed me to join the team for the second event. What I couldn’t have known then is that my yes to her request 15 years ago would be a yes that would change my life forever… in every good way.
Those first Living Proof Live events in 1998 began a ministry road for my wife, Angela, and me that would prove to be the central focus of our ministry life for the last 15 years (and counting). Before that providential phone call, we never dreamed that God would allow us the chance to be a part of such a big discipleship movement in this generation. And the icing on the cake? We’ve had the time of our lives while doing it.
Feels Like Home
Our road family has become just that — family. Our LifeWay friends, our praise team friends, and our production friends have all shared more God stories, fun meals, bumpy plane rides, airport smoothies, and hotel front desk lines than we could ever count. We’ve celebrated births, mourned losses, and counted birthday candles. We’ve prayed kids through tests, first dates, and heartbreaks. I’ve learned what community is about through this Living Proof family. And this community has breathed life into my family and me.
I’m hopelessly optimistic, and so is Beth Moore. We’re both more obnoxious than we care to be most of the time. But I don’t think even we could have known, 15 years ago, the fun and joy that we would have. I’d like to think that we have good sense most of the time, but I fear that’s more debatable than I’d like to admit. We don’t need a lot to make us laugh. Give us a slight misstep, a word bobble, a fun passage of Scripture … you name it, and we’ll laugh for a few minutes — or a few years.
It’s hard to describe how “at-home” our ministry with Beth instantly felt.
From the first event, it was clear we’d been — as my mom would’ve put it — cut from the same cloth. Angela and I sensed a like-mindedness with Beth. It just felt like home and still does. Our call to serve together has produced a kinship for which we’re extremely grateful.
I’ll never be able to adequately articulate the spiritual influence Living Proof Live has had on me these past 15 years. Not only has Beth’s surrender eternally impacted millions of people all over the globe, she’s also had the same effect on Angela and me. I’m not who I once was, thanks to the power of God, His work on the cross, His gift of the Holy Spirit, and His voice in my life through His Word. And I’ve grown to love that Word more because of Beth’s influence. We could never thank her enough for the deposit of truth in our lives.
“For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.”
But in Beth, I not only heard its truth; I saw its truth.
Beth would take issue with my stating this publicly, but she’s just going to have to sit and take it this time! It’s time for someone to shout: Beth Moore is the real deal. Beth believes what she teaches, lives it, acts on it, displays it, and shares it. Those of us who have had the honor of sharing this journey with her will all tell you the same thing.
She — and we – do this because we know it to be true: God changes lives with His Word.
I’m grateful to be a part of a generation where the life-giving Word of God is being studied, memorized, and applied. And I’m thankful to have had a front row seat to see God pour His Spirit out on more than a million women (and a few brave men) who were willing, with the encouragement of a brave teacher, to say Yes, Lord! Show me Your ways.
A few more pounds. A few more kids. A few more gray hairs. And 15 years later, I’m still slack-jawed that God would call me to take this ride. The joy of it is sometimes more than I can bear.
Article courtesy of HomeLife Magazine.
Travis Cottrell has served as worship leader for Beth Moore’s Living Proof Live conferences for 15 years. He’s also the worship pastor at Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, Tenn., as well as a solo artist and songwriter. He and his wife, Angela, have three children: Jack, Lily Kate, and Levi.