Ralph Dudek “The Nicest Man In the World”
May 3, 1935 – September 17, 2009
These are the words that were shared by Chuck Whitmore at Ralph Dudek’s Celebration Service at Grace Fellowship Church on September 24, 2009.
Ralph was a dear friend, faithful supporter and ministry leader in CBMC, and a fisher of men.
This is a celebration of Ralph’s life tonight, and I would like to share with you the impact that Ralph had on me. Ralph and I had plenty of time to share the joys and struggles of ministry, and life while we commuted on the Light Rail to and from the Downtown Baltimore Leadership Team meetings, including some of the special challenges that we both had with a blended family.
I was always impressed with Ralph’s ability to love his neighbor, whether that would be a fellow businessman or a homeless person on a park bench. He was always willing to stop to talk and brighten a person’s day. He was always ready to share the Gospel, sometimes he would even use words! Ralph had a gift of looking at the heart of a person without judging the exterior. Ralph always shared stories of lives that he would touch as he would go bowling, or with people he would meet while in one of his favorite eating establishments like Chick-Fil-A.
We all leave something behind when we leave this earth, Ralph left behind an eternal impact on the lives of people he met as he worked and lived. That is my goal too, to make an impact on people for the Kingdom of God, and not leave without a trace, and not leave a trail of destruction. Looking at the impact that Ralph had on the lives of people that he touched I can say that I would like to be like Ralph when I grow up!
I would like to say just a few words about the CBMC vision that Ralph and I shared. Ralph was a follower of Christ long before I put my trust in Him. I asked Paul Lantz how long Ralph was involved in CBMC, and Paul advised that it was long before he became the first staff man in Maryland in 1984. Ralph was involved with CBMC because he shared the Mission of reaching the business man with the Good News of Jesus Christ, and the Mission of developing the business man to carry out the Great Commission.
Ralph was committed to relational evangelism, building relationship with people, sharing his life with them, pouring his life into another man, sharing Christ as he worked and lived. That is CBMC and that is Ralph Dudek. I know that there are men and women in Heaven, or experiencing Eternal Life right now, life abundantly, life with a personal relationship with Christ because Ralph was willing to be used by God to share Christ with another man or woman.
Ralph did not stop a relationship when a person committed to follow Christ! That was just the beginning! Ralph discipled, encouraged, followed up, continued to love that person and encouraged them to come to His Church. Ralph rarely spoke of Grace Fellowship by name, he loved this community of believers so much, he always spoke if His Church!
Ralph was challenged by CBMC as we all are who are involved in this Movement. He was challenged to step out of his comfort zone, and invite a friend to an outreach opportunity. An opportunity to bring a friend who would not be inclined to enter a church to a non threatening business venue to hear a fellow business man be open, transparent and share the joys and struggles of his life and how that man found life in a relationship with Christ.
Ralph would be stretched again as he made follow up calls on men who attended these events in order to continue building a relationship to move that person one step closer to a relationship with Christ. I mentioned that Ralph was a leader in CBMC, he would continually be involved in equipping the CBMC Team members in getting into the Word, learning how to share the Gospel, and encouraging people to seek out discipling relationships. Ralph used the Operation Timothy to pour his life into another to build that person up as a discipler themselves, he was used to multiply the Kingdom of God.
Everyone who knew Ralph could see that he was not afraid of death, because with Christ, death has no sting. As the Apostle Paul had said, to live is Christ and to die is gain! What a peace it is to know for sure that you have Eternal Life! You can know that too!
Ralph knew where he was going. Anita knows where Ralph is. We will all miss Ralph here on earth, but rejoice that he is home in paradise with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Ralph you finished the race and ran it well. I know the Lord has said of Ralph: Well done my good and faithful servant!