In our last Five Minutes from the Field, we talked about the legacy we leave.  So we asked Pastor Tom McCoy of Thompson Station Church to share his thoughts on legacy.  An avid supporter of African Leadership, having traveled to the Congo to work alongside the team, Pastor Tom spent his own time thinking about the legacy of a pastor closer to home this year.

Three Ways My Father Left a Legacy
Pastor Tom McCoy, Thompson Station Church, Thompson’s Station, Tenn.

Let’s cut to the chase: I’ve thought a lot about legacy this year.  I lost my father one Sunday night in October this past year. But while we lost Dr. Don B. McCoy, we didn’t lose the legacy he left.  And that can be summed up in three ways…

My Father: A Great Educator

A very educated man, “Dr. Don” earned two bachelor’s, two master’s, one specialist and two doctorates in his lifetime. If you lost count, that’s seven – seven – degrees to his name. He turned this learning right around, teaching and training others, especially those called into ministry.  In the 1950s, dad served as president of a Baptist College in northern Brazil.  In the late ‘60s, he became academic dean of the Baptist College in Bagio City, Philippines.  He finished his career as academic dean and professor at American Baptist College in Nashville. 

Dad carried a passion for training young pastors and ministers, helping them to prepare for the gospel ministry.  Scores of pastors, ministers, and missionaries are serving today because of Dr. Don’s influence.  I’m one of them.

My Father: A Great Pastor.

Dr. McCoy was not known as an overly fiery preacher, but he could surely teach the stars down.  He could handle the biblical languages like few pastors I have ever known.  A gifted scholar, he loved to craft messages with great depth of theological content. 

And as he taught, Dad loved people well.  He didn’t only care about their spiritual needs; he cared about their physical needs, also. Only heaven knows the hundreds, if not thousands of people that dad helped over his 60+ years of ministry.  I well remember as a boy coming home from school and finding out that dad gave away our washer and dryer to a family who needed it.  That was typical of dad. 

My Father: A Great Father.

Dad pastored a traditional church with many weekly meetings. Even with his demanding schedule, I don’t recall him missing a single baseball, basketball, football, or tennis event from age seven through my senior year.  Fast forward decades to just a few months before he died.  While suffering the cognitive effects of a stroke, he asked to hear me preach again.  And so, even though his illness had prevented him from attending services for more than two years, my brother made sure that my dad could come cheer me on from the pew, one last time. 

The stories are just a few examples of what I know to be true for my whole life: I know my dad loved me, and I know my dad believed in me.  I know my dad was for me!

From Tennessee to California to Brazil, to the Philippines, and back to Tennessee, many times, in many places, dad loved and served others. He spent – no, invested – his life serving others all over the world.  It’s a legacy that won’t soon be forgotten. 


The opinions expressed  in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of African Leadership.


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