I first properly came across Colin Baron once I'd moved to Manchester - which was through God saying Russia, via Manchester to me in a vision at Stoneleigh 1999.
Colin was 'Mr Manchester' back then - he lived and oozed the vision of 20 churches in England's 3rd city.
Back then, all the churches shared a common office, and being on the year team, I too had a desk there. So it was here that I got to see the man behind the curtain, so to speak. And what I saw was very impressive.
This was a man who had international responsibilities. This was a platform speaker, and yet this was a man that got on with things, getting his hands dirty.
Two particular things stand out for me. Once, there was something that needed to be done under the floor at the office building. The floor was a raised floor so it was possible to get down and go under the floor. I think that a cable needed to be put under the floor for some reason. Somehow it was me and Colin that were there to do this. Here was Colin - International Speaker and Apostle - here was me, young year-teamer. But it was Colin who went ahead and got down there, doing what needed to be done. I remember him saying next time it could be me, but (thankfully) there wasn't a next time! But I remember that. I respect that! And I think that has rubbed off on me as well a little.
A second story I remember was a car journey from Manchester to Swindon, where I was driving Colin down for a meeting with some leaders there. It gave me time with Colin, and he also needed to get down there. It was on this journey, in the February of that year team (it ran from Sept-July) that Colin started asking if there was a lady in my life - and I shared about Rachel, another girl on the year team (and now my wife of nearly ten years!) but stated that we couldn't get together on the year because of the rule - to which he replied "What rule?".
Long story short, and having understood that in our situation it was a godly relationship, we were able to get engaged a month later, while still on the year project, and then were married just 6 months after this conversation in the car.
So that too was quite a conversation!
We have got to know Colin a lot more since, able to call him one of our good friends in Manchester. I chatted with Colin a bit ahead of coming to Russia - he has also visited probably at least three times since we were here within his role with New Frontiers. Back then, Colin said he'd be the hardest person to talk to me - as it proved....one particular lunchtime when we seemed to hit loggerheads and he said he wasn't able to help me because of the way I was talking. He helped me change - though I can say everything I said actually happened as well, so we were both right! I needed to allow people to speak into my vision (which is what Colin was training me - and I've certainly had conversations with others since, like Colin did with me then!), but also remember that the vision God has given me I am not to compromise, because what God promises, He will do.
So Colin - you have been influential and will continue to be. You are one of those guys that it's good to be around. You ask the things others don't, and see things the way others don't. And for that, I honour you!
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