Landrum P. Leavell III was born "a Tallahatchie redneck" in Charleston, Mississippi, the county seat of Tallahatchie county, in 1954.
Born into a preacher’s home as the oldest of four children, that home became a seminary president’s home during his college years.
Growing up in Wichita Falls, Texas, he got to experience what Leonard Sweet calls the " G.O.O.D. Gene" (Get Out Of Doors ). He grew up quail hunting, working on a ranch and in the oil field, and playing Texas high school football (a religion in itself).
After high school graduation, he felt the Lord leading him to Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi, where he was a four year varsity letterman in football and All Gulf South Conference offensive tackle in 1975 (He’s always been offensive).
Having answered God’s call to preach in junior high, he majored in Bible at Mississippi College and went on to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, earning a Master of Divinity degree in 1979 and the Doctor of Theology degree in 1987, with a major in Preaching and a double minor in Pastoral Ministry and Evangelism.He has done additional study at the University of New Orleans, Regent’s Park College, Oxford University, England and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Licensed to the Gospel ministry in 1977 by the First Baptist Church of Wichita Falls, Texas, he was ordained in the First Baptist Church of New Orleans, Louisiana in 1977 and called to his first church down in the Cajun country, the Delcambre Baptist Church.While serving at the First Baptist Church of Avondale, Louisiana from 1984-1990, Dr. Leavell was involved in a variety of community activities which put him in touch with the people of the area.A member of the Rotary Club of Westwego, Louisiana, he also served as a volunteer fire fighter and fire chaplain for the Avondale Volunteer Fire Department.
In this capacity, he was able to minister to both fire fighters and people in crisis while also attending national conventions, given instruction on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, suicide prevention and other real life issues facing people every day.
First Baptist Church of Avondale was also involved in a food ministry which received damaged goods from grocery stores and fed up to 50 families a month through volunteer efforts.
Dr. Leavell was called as the pastor of the Royal Palms Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona in 1990.
After serving two churches in south Louisiana for just over 13 years, moving from the swamp to the desert was all God’s idea.
Coming to the " high-tech mission field" of Phoenix, Arizona proved to set Dr. Leavell on a totally new learning curve during the first few years of ministry in this mega city.
Believing that the church would be out of business in ten years to continue on its same path of decline and autopilot programming, Dr. Leavell combined his strong academic and denominational background with new influences from Leadership Network, Willow Creek Community Church, Global Impact and new associations and friendships with Leonard Sweet, Tom Wolf and others and is seeking to engage himself and his church in preparation for the 21 st Century, though it is already here in real life.
Dr. Leavell joins with the voices of many others today who believe the Church has a window of opportunity to impact and engage our culture for Christ.
When and if that window closes, the decline of the Church into irrelevance and marginalization will continue.
Ours is a " both/and" situation.
From one side of the coin, nothing has changed (human depravity).
From the other side of the coin, everything has changed (culture, customs, depth of depravity, expressions of sin).
Leavell has a deep discontent of autopilot church where picket fence mindsets can be so heavenly-minded that they’re no earthly good.
At the same time he believes that with a culture searching and crying out for answers, St. Augustine hit the nail on the head when he wrote centuries ago, " Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee."
Those with a spiritual heritage as rich as Dr. Leavell’s are responsible to God for it.
Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1996, p. 44) Taking the Bible and Forbes, Utne Reader or Fast Company, Dr. Leavell’s heart’s desire is to be on God’s track and attuned to both the Spirit of God and those seeking answers on a spiritual quest in our day, this day, the only day God has given us.
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