COMMENTARY: Luis Palau was my Boss and Mentor

When Evangelist Luis Palau entered hospice care just days ago, he called for his 12 grandchildren one by one, to make sure they would join him in heaven. 

That last act beautifully wrapped up his life’s calling–bringing people to heaven.  And now that he’s there, Luis can personally thank Holocaust survivor, Corrie Ten Boom, for her poem that he often quoted to encourage evangelism:

“When I enter that beautiful city,
And the saints all around me appear,
I hope that someone will tell me:
it was you who invited me here.”

My thirteen years as a media producer for Luis Palau opened my eyes, strengthened my faith, and shaped my future.  Click here to watch an amazing video tribute produced by the Palau team.

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In 1977 during Palau’s Cardiff, Wales Crusade, we filmed missionary David Morris for the documentary on the famous Welsh revival, “God has no Grandchildren”.  The film’s message: Christianity is never inherited–it’s a personal choice.  

It was in Palau’s London Crusade in 1983 (pictures below) that I felt God calling me to produce news reports of the Church at work.  That calling led me to pursue a Master’s degree in TV Production, start two Christian news TV programs, and create the Global News Alliance.  To watch GNA stories click here

I don’t remember how many TV and radio programs, or films I helped produce during my years with Palau–it’s all a blur!  But I can easily list important lessons Luis taught me about personal faith and ministry:

  • THE BIBLE  Luis always preached with a Bible in his hand.  God’s Word was teacher and text for everything he did. 
  • THE CHURCH  I grew to love the Body of Christ across denominational lines–even with its shortcomings.  
  • FRIENDSHIPS  We never worked alone.  We always worked with local believers.  During my travels with Luis to five continents, I met wonderful people who became life-long friends. 
  • INTEGRITY  As a team we adopted Billy Graham’s rules for honesty in finances and communication and for avoiding inappropriate relationships. Graham’s Modesto Manifesto became our rule of conduct.    
  • VISION I learned to “dream big dreams and pray big prayers”, a favorite Palau challenge
  • POWER OF MEDIA  I witnessed how a multi-media approach to evangelism can generously plant the seeds of God’s Word in a city, a nation, or even a continent, with amazing results.  “…whoever sows generously will also reap generously”.  (II Cor. 9:6)
  • THE PERSONAL TOUCH.  Luis demanded a lot of his team.  He had big goals and tight deadlines.  But he also took a personal interest in each of us. I remember his boyish glee when we came together for a child’s birthday or a team Christmas party. 

From personal observation, I know that evangelists lead high-mileage, high-intensity lives.   But God gifted Luis with energy levels that left younger associates in the dust.  In spite of cancer, he lived to 86 years of age and finished well, faithful to his Master and to his calling.  He will always be a hero to me!  

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”  2 Timothy 4:7-8

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