Things Learned from G.A. Mangun

The late G.A. Mangun was my pastor for only a few months. He was our presbyter for over 50 years.  I learned from him – by observation, which led to my poor efforts at duplication.

gamangun

I learned:  get on message and stay on message. At every sectional meeting, G.A. Mangun had a message, “Pray, fast & reach the lost.” This was the message at every meeting! I learned, “Repetition is the mother of learning.”  I later apply the principles of prayer-chains and focused prayer that I learned from him.

In the late 70’s, Sis. Mangun heard me preach a youth rally in Colfax, Louisiana. She suggested to Bro. Mangun that I preach a weekend at Alexandria. I didn’t add anything; but how much I learned that weekend. It was shortly after the Jim Jones debacle in Guyana. The weekend I was there a lady had written a letter to the newspaper likening Bro. Mangun to cult leader Jim Jones. If that were not enough, that week a high profile fellow in the church had abandoned his wife and children.

That Sunday you would not have known there was a letter in the newspaper, and you’d have thought every saint in Alexandria was doing well. No doubt both situations were hurtful, but you would have not known there was a thing wrong.  I learned – don’t let other people’s negative stuff affect your worship or leadership.

That same Sunday, after the evening service Bro. Mangun gave Norma and me to the care of someone in the church. He took a sinner couple who had visited to get a bite at Howard Johnson’s. Whoever hosted us took us to Howard Johnson’s as well. There was Bro. Mangun unabashedly spending his time on reaching for the lost. His behavior matched his message. I learned – that reaching to sinners is more important than any visiting preacher.

G.A. Mangun was never boring. From wildly decorated church buses to his radical focus on reaching people – he did things that pushed the envelope. I’m sure, some things didn’t work but G.A. Mangun did not focus on what did not work. He celebrated what had worked and was working. I learned – it is to have a personality, to try different things and to accept that everybody isn’t going to like it.

I learned that he expected people to be converted EVERY week. Bro. Mangun wasn’t waiting on a special event or evangelist to come to Alexandria. The lost would be preached to every week. It worked for him and later it worked for me. I practice that approach to this day. Masterful Preaching is my book that attempts to reclaim the concept of preaching to the lost. If you are interested in owning the book . . . click here.

We pastored a very young church In Vidalia, LA.  It was a church less than two years-old with a handful of people. Bro. and Sis. Mangun came as “pinch-hitters” for our ill district superintendent. There would have been more in the Youth Sunday School Class in Alexandria than were in that special service in Vidalia, but the Manguns rocked the place. That night we baptized Curtis Thornton’s dad in Jesus Name. Curtis had been our first convert in Vidalia. I learned – don’t let the size of a crowd affect how you minister; every soul counts.

I learned from G.A. Mangun that whatever else you are asked to do, the local church is the main thing. In later years, he and Sis. Mangun would say to me and others, “Don’t do this like we did it.” They didn’t miss Sundays in Alexandria to preach for anybody or do anything. Learning from them, for years our family vacation was Monday through Saturday. Sunday was the main thing, and it was time to be home.

Finally, at the memorial service for a man of huge impact, I noticed people from Central Louisiana walk by in everything from an expensive suits bought at Jerry Lee’s Menswear to their best pair of khakis or jeans.  One gentleman had on his best overalls. To G.A. Mangun – a soul, was a soul, was a soul; every soul was important.  He pastored them all. He loved them all.

I wish I’d pay more attention and that I’d had more time  – there is much more I could have learned. Things I did learn:

GA mangun 21. Get on message – stay on message!

2. Don’t let negative things affect worship or leadership.

3. Reaching sinners is more important than most other things.

4. God’s work doesn’t have to be vanilla.

5.  Plan to see people converted EVERY week. Preach in a way where they can!

6.  Don’t let the size of the audience affect how you minister.

7.  The local church you lead is the main thing.

8.  Love the saints . . . love the people.

Some of you will have learned stuff from G.A. Mangun that I did not have the privilege to learn. You spent more time closer to his fire. Please add to my poor array in the comment section below.

Added note from C. Coon.  I don’t have the insight, focus or sacrificial mindset G.A. Mangun possessed.  I do have a book (written tongue in cheek) that addresses Questions Pentecostal Preachers Ask.

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22 Comments

  1. My first visit to Alex as guest in the pulpit of was unforgettable. I remember every detail,
    For dinner we visited in the home new converts. For dessert we visited another home – of new converts. He also gave particular attention to people contemplating moving to Alexandria. I was blessed to hear many of the great stories of the early days- especially from Mary Craft, my mother-in-love.
    She was only twelve but was allowed to vote for him as pastor when he was elected to pastor the great church of which her grandparents were charter members. At her funeral in Jackson(2001) GA Mangun said” Mary was the greatest saint I have pastored. He told the truth, lived it, and loved it.

    • Bro. Grisham, Thank you for your input. Tommy and Mary Craft were a treasure. He still is. Sis. Craft any my mom were childhood friends. My mother’s dad started and pastored the church at Tioga, Louisiana. Mary Craft played the piano at my parent’s wedding. Bro. Craft is such a unique fellow. When we were planting a church in eastern Louisiana, a hospital visit took me to Jackson. Being young and dumb as to the time issues of a pastor of that size church, not to speak of Jackson College of Ministries – I dropped in on Bro. Craft’s office. You’d have thought he had all day to spend with a novice pastor in his late 20s. Such influence and impact.

      Speaking of which – your dad deserves one of these “Five Things I Learned from Charles Grisham.” posts. Would you write it as a guest writer? I can edit, though such is not likely needed. I spent time with your Dad. Though not a lot. He spoke at the 1st Missouri Men’s Conference which I chaired. He got our district men’s ministry up and going with a great event! His insights need to be shared. Let me know if you can do this.

  2. The first time I visited POA was around 2002. The first person to greet me at the door was Bishop GA Mangun. He made me feel as if I was the most important person attending that day. I will never forget that.

    • This was Bro. Mangun’s way. At his funeral, there were people in suits that cost thousands of dollars. Others were in clean overalls or their best denim. At some point, he had made each of these people feel like they were the most important person around. I wish that were more common. Actually, I’d better be concerned just with me. I wish this characteristic was something more apparent in my life. Thanks for your valued input.

  3. I started playing B3 Hammond Organ for Bro. Mangun when I was 13 yrs old-18.. He said I could read his mind in the services: He was unique, one of a kind, Annointed! Wish I could do it one more time: #greatpastor~

    • Sis. Phillips – you were quite a part of the team in those early shaping years at Alexandria. I hope you are doing well and that Bro. Phillips is ok as well.

      I’ve a copy of your Dad’s little book “Magnifying Your Anointing,” I believe it was called. I’d like to see that reprinted, perhaps as part of another book or in some such setting.

  4. Another remark that Bro. G A Mangun said very often was “Don’t let anything distract you–keep your eyes on the Goal–don’t look to the left or the right”–and Sung “Let us Have a little talk with Jesus”–and “Jesus , I’ll never Forget”–He taught the Tabernacle Plan—so much, much more–so thankful/blessed to have grown up under the Manguns’ ministry!!

  5. Fantastic beat ! I wish to apprentice at the same time as you amend
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  6. Thank you brother Coon! Also I wanted to mention that we have started to learn the Tabernacle prayer plan more, because of the Mangrums, and we appreciate it very much. Every day!

  7. Enjoyed reading this! Very Helpful. I have listened to some of Bro. G.A. Manguns’s messages and his vision was Very Clear!

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