Lou Priolo, My Mentor and FriendDec 11, 2023
I will begin with a regret. After a few funerals of my own family members, my mother leaned over and said, “Why do people say the most encouraging things about the person after they have died and not to them when they are living?” This statement has weighed heavy on my heart since she said it. I am working at doing better at thanking people and trying to encourage them while they are living and not just after they have died.
That’s my regret. I know I thanked Lou often (wherever our paths would cross). But I wish I had gone out of my way to say more to him about how much the Lord used him to impact my life and ministry.
I first met Lou back in 1988. I was pastoring a Bible church in Columbia, South Carolina. I was discouraged in ministry due to my lack of training in biblical counseling and the extreme disappointment of finding out what the various members of my church were getting as I referred them out to Christian Counselors.
I was invited to attend a one-week of biblical counseling training at Faith Baptist Church in Lafayette, Indiana. It was after that week, that I saw what I had been missing in my life and my ministry training. I had a thirst for so much more of the practical outworking of Scripture in my life, as well as those around me.
Soon after the Lafayette training, I found out about Lou and his counseling training classes on Thursday nights in Fayetteville, Georgia. I think Martha Peace had told me about this.
I remember wanting to learn as much as possible. So, for a year, I made the drive down to Atlanta on Thursday afternoons, sat in Lou’s classes, stayed with Martha and Sanky Peace at night and then Friday mornings sat in to observe Lou counsel. What a blessing!
There were times that Lou and Kim would also have me over for dinner – an extra treat for sure. But with Lou, I had to work hard to listen well because he talked so fast as a New Yorker. In time, I was able to keep up.
My wife, Zondra, was at the same time battling depression due to severe past events in her life growing up. So, I asked Martha and Lou if they would counsel her. What a wonderful change took place in her life and in her family’s lives due to the Lord working through Martha and Lou’s ministry to her.
A little later, I became one of Lou’s supervisees as a candidate to become National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC) certified (ACBC now). So, Dr. Howard Eyrich supervised Lou to supervise me, to enable Lou to become a fellow with NANC at that time. Lou was such a help to me as I ran my questions by him concerning those I was counseling at my church.
Even later, Lou asked me to help part-time as a counselor at the Atlanta Biblical Counseling Center, which I did.
One year, I remember asking Lou to come to Columbia to do a conference for our church. While he was in my office one day, he asked me what were all the notebooks that were on my shelves? I told him they were courses I had taken in various schools. He then asked me if I had a 1 Peter 3:7 notebook on Zondra. I had no idea what he was talking about. He introduced me to the subject of studying my wife to learn all about her, to live with her in an understanding way even more – I still have that notebook in my office and have encouraged other men to do the same.
Eventually, I was asked to serve on Lou’s ordination committee. It was a delight to serve in that way and to see Lou set apart for the Gospel ministry.
Lou’s knowledge and grasp of God’s Word was what I imagine Charles Spurgeon meant when he referred to John Bunyan, “Why, this man is a living Bible! Prick him anywhere—his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of God. I commend his example to you, beloved.”
All who knew Lou realized he could dialogue with you on various topics at 30,000 feet, but it wasn’t long till he would be asking or telling you how that topic could apply in your life at sea level. This is what I so appreciated about his writings as well, they were relevant topics in life but always “truth applied.”
Lou was also a vision caster —for himself and in helping motivate others to think about ways God could work through them to the glory of God.
Lou remained a dear friend over the years. Although we didn’t keep in touch as much as we both probably wanted to, we would catch up a little when at conferences or we talked about a specific issue related to ACBC.
Lou modeled love and care to me, Zondra, my father-in-law, and to many, many others.
Like the words of the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:10, “I am sorrowful yet always rejoicing.” We weep with those who are weeping, and we rejoice with Lou who is certainly rejoicing in the presence of the Lord Jesus.
by: Stuart Scott. See original post here.