Linda Osborne resigned Monday as Southern Baptist's leader of Collegiate Ministry. She did it simply because that was what was best for her kids.
I first met Linda in the Little Rock airport when she came to interivew for the position as Associate BSU Director at Arkansas State. I was immediately struck by two things...her wonderful enthusiastic personality that made you feel like best friends immediately....and the fact that she walked just a little funny. I later learned she walked just a little funny because she had bought a new dress to come interview and the shoes that matched it were several sizes too big and stuffed with paper to make them fit. I still laugh at the advice she was given about taking the ASU Associate position..."If you take that job, you will never be heard from again.". Obviously, that person was not a prophet!
Very quickly, while she served as Associate at ASU, I learned that she would shun tasks to talk to students as long as they needed and wanted to talk. THEN, she would go home and stay up till all hours to get whatever tasks and paperwork done that needed to be done. She ran our Freshmen Ministry and simply put, it was the largest we ever had.
From ASU she went to Florida State as BCM Director and on to Louisiana, Monroe and then Louisiana Tech as Director. Everywhere she went the program was large and many students came out of it who serve in ministry today.
Serving as the head of Collegiate Ministry for Southern Baptists is hard. We are the largest collegiate ministry in America...but lots of people in Baptist leadership roles don't seem to know it. So, it is always about trying to get doors and opportunities and funding opened to us. Linda's charm, enthusiasm and best friend personality opened a ton of new doors and gently rattled some others. We are way ahead of where we were because of her.
I was with her in a meeting of crusty Collegiate Ministry leaders where Linda had to deliver some tough news to folks who did not have to do what she was asking. She laid it out straight and did it with such charm and grace that everyone there, whether they agreed or not, thought it was a reasonable request. I told her after the meeting that she had a gift.
Everyone that knows her is her best friend...really! The Winona Mississippi schools just got a gift from the Lord and a new "Best Friend!" ...."all my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character." Ruth 3:11b