It was 1982, and I was sitting in the youth section of Trinity Baptist Church in Cayce, SC. It was the first night of revival. I had been invited by a good friend, and I had no idea what was to come. Sitting at an upright piano in the middle of the platform was a man who looked just like someone out of my Mom's high school yearbook. He began to play and sing. He had such an amazing presence on the stage, I thought. For a moment, I could have sworn that the upright piano had started dancing! I didn't fully understand what this guy's deal was. He was happy and radiated a joy unlike anything I had ever seen. I had to know who he was.
In the printed program, the name of this captivating man read, Rev. Lloyd F. Brewer, Jr. I had no idea that I had just been introduced to the man who would literally shape most of my own ministry in the years to come.
For eleven years to follow, Lloyd Brewer was my Minister of Music. It was he and his equally amazing wife Joan who coaxed me out of my shell and convinced me to sing in front of the church. He played and sang at my wedding and reception. In the thirty years I knew him, he never changed. He was the same person in 2012 as he was in 1982. He was steadfast, and everyone who knew him became better.
He was a true keyboardist. I never heard anyone who could make the piano sing like Lloyd could. When he sat down and began to play and sing, it was a glimpse of heaven. I am sure of this. One time when Lloyd was singing in church, the sun shone right through the church's sunlight and right onto Lloyd as if God Himself were smiling down on what he heard. I sang in youth choir, adult choir, and anything else Lloyd directed. He was amazing to watch and had such a nurturing ministry presence. He was a musician extraordinaire with the heart of a pastor. You just had to love him. You couldn't help it.
In 1990, I accepted my first position in ministry as Minister of Music/Youth at a local church. Everything I did for these folks had been learned by watching Lloyd all those years. I was nowhere near the caliber of Pastor Lloyd, but he inspired me all the same.
In 2002, I had the privilege of serving with Pastor Lloyd at a local church. It was there that the dynamic of our friendship sadly changed. I will always regret how we ended things. I saw him now and again over the next 10 years, but it was never the same. Despite this unfortunate turn of events, Pastor Lloyd still inspired me as a Christian, as a minister, and as a man.
Today, Pastor Lloyd went to heaven. He had been in the hospital for a couple of weeks in the ICU. While I mourn the loss of this wonderful man, I am grateful to have known him. No man on this earth had as big of an influence on my ministry. I loved him very deeply and admired him right to the end. I always will.
Pastor Lloyd once said something that has never left me. He said, "Todd, I don't know about you, but the Lord means everything to me." That statement challenged me then, at 16 years old, and does so to this day. If you had the privilege of knowing him, you would know that what he said was true. Jesus was his life. Then his family. Then the music he devoted his life to sharing with us all.
He sang because he was happy, he sang because he was free. I would like to believe that upon arriving in heaven, Lloyd was greeted by the Lord he loved, who then showed him to the podium where he lead the host of heaven in a rousing chorus of, "Come, Praise the Lord with Me."
Pastor Lloyd, I'm sorry our friendship was tainted, and I know you have forgiven me. If I may ask a favor of you, sir, it is that you would play, "No One Cared For Me Like Jesus" when I get there.
Goodbye, my dear friend and mentor. I love you and I will miss you.