Bob Yawberg turned 84 Wednesday, but he's still sharing life's lessons.
A former long-time pastor of Broadway Christian Church in Fort Wayne, Yawberg spent most of his life journaling. That's different than keeping a diary, Yawberg said during a phone interview on his birthday.
A diary is simply a record of what you've done, where you've been. A journal requires transparency.
“Your thinking, your challenges, your high times, your low times," Yawberg said. "It's a real treasure of the past.”
My first connection with Yawberg was in late February. He emailed me after I wrote about what a couple of speakers shared at Habitat for Humanity's local "Build on Faith" leadership conference. One of the speaker's comments stirred some memories about a decision Yawberg made 20 years ago.
Yawberg, who grew up in Ohio, was Broadway Christian's pastor 23 years before beginning a ministry to help encourage other pastors in leadership. He kept a journal most of his life. Retired and living in the Bradenton/Sarasota, Florida area, he emails about 1,000 people weekly - some outside the U.S. - one of his journal entries from years ago and contrasts it with a more current reflection.
His wife, Marilyn, is his editor. She's tough, he said. She tells him to keep his emails to about 300 words - roughly a page. "You're not preaching, anymore," she reminds him.
He's gotten some positive feedback from readers.
"They tell me it's like a spiritual speedbump in the middle of the week," Yawberg said. "It makes them stop and think."
Facebook and some other popular online sites didn't exist when Yawberg, who still has family in Fort Wayne, was first getting into leadership and ministry. But he has learned to use social media - along with weekly emails - to keep passing along wisdom in his retirement.