Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kenn Kington--One of my favorite people

I met Kenn Kington at a ministry conference in Phoenix ten years ago. Something big happened right before the conference, and I didn't really want to go. But I had registered for the conference and purchased a plane ticket, so I felt I should go. I said goodbye to my wife and daughter and got on a plane to Phoenix.

I was hurting, grieving, but wanted to get the most out of the conference, and figured it would be good to get away and get my mind off things.

Kenn was serving as a host for the conference, as well as leading workshops and doing comedy at night.

I was drawn to him right away—he was very genuine and approachable. On the first day of the conference I went to one of the workshops that Kenn was leading. There was confusion over which workshop was scheduled at that time. Most of the people were there for a workshop on reaching single adults, and four of us were there for a workshop on communication.

Kenn suggested we go with the topic that the majority was there to talk about, and offered to go to dinner with the four of us who were there for the communication workshop.

We went to dinner at Outback that evening, and Kenn shared fantastic wisdom about communication. I felt like I learned more useful information in that hour than my preaching class in seminary.

Kenn shared great stories, and invited us to share some of ours. We laughed and had a great time. At the end of the meal, we tried to pay for Kenn’s dinner, but he refused, and bought dinner for all four of us!

Over the next few days I went to several of Kenn’s workshops and learned a lot about communication, evangelism, and relationships. Kenn and I shared a few meals together, and had some great conversations.

In the evenings, Kenn did stand-up comedy. The laughter and joy he gave me was incredibly healing. In just three days, I felt like Kenn had become a good friend.

We kept in touch after that conference. Over the years I brought Kenn to the ministry where I worked for speaking engagements, retreats, training and comedy events. He was always gracious and giving and a blessing to be with.

One event that stands out—I picked Kenn up from the airport on a Saturday; he wasn’t doing anything until that evening. I was trying to work out the logistics of the day—to make it easier on me, he offered to come with me to my daughter’s soccer game.

Ashley loved Kenn, and was thrilled to have a celebrity cheering at her soccer game! That night at the comedy show, Kenn invited Ashley to come backstage. He made her weekend wonderful.

I was grieving on that weekend when I first met Kenn, because my father had just died, days before the conference. I was hurting, and Kenn was there for me when I really needed a friend. I will always be grateful for that, and for how he has blessed my family and me many times.

When I saw that Kenn’s father died yesterday, my heart went out to him, and my mind went back to our friendship over the last ten years. I pray for healthy grieving and healing, and tears and laughter for Kenn and his family.

I love you, Brother!