Remembering Dad - Richard D. Leineweber Jr. (1953-2022)

It has been over a year since I lost my dad, at least for a season, we will be reunited one day. 

It is Father's Day, an appropriate time to remember and honor the man who influenced me more than any other. You might not know my dad, so here are a few things that come to my mind when I think of him. 

He Loved Jesus

Having given his life to Christ in college, Dad never lost his love and excitement for Jesus. His life had been changed! Dad served God faithfully as a pastor for decades and finished well! Too many stories are out there of pastors lacking integrity, compromising morally, etc. Not my dad. He was, what he preached, imperfect, of course, but tirelessly dedicated to following Jesus and also overwhelmed with thankfulness for the grace of God in his life. 

He loved God's Word and studied it ALL THE TIME. He knew the Bible better than the vast majority of professors I have had in seminary. I am not exaggerating. He believed God's Word was the Christian's authority for faith and practice. Whenever I had a question, and wanted the easy answer, Dad did one better and gave me chapter and verse. 

And he loved and pastored his family first and foremost...

He was a Great Dad and Husband

After Jesus, Dad prioritized his marriage and children. All three of us kids, Joel, Kim, and myself (Phil), were shown individualized attention. Dad (and Mom too of course!) helped us develop our own gifts and encouraged our unique talents and abilities. We did not have a lot materially, but our parents sacrificed to give us amazing opportunities. 

Dad sacrificed so much to be part of my life. He drove close to an hour from the church, that he was pastoring at, to help coach my soccer team and to make almost every single track meet! The reality of this sacrifice hit me when I was in college and heard one of Billy Graham's daughter's share in convocation at Liberty University. Later that day I wrote dad this email, (Note: This is not meant to be a slam on Billy Graham, God's calling on everyone is different and I am in no place to rule or judge regarding his faithfulness to his calling to be a father. I just remember seeing her story to be in utter contrast with my experience with my dad who was also a pastor my whole life)

Hey Dad!
Today in convocation Anne Graham Lotz (Billy Graham's 2nd daughter) spoke in convocation. She spoke a pretty neat message about getting off "main street" and entering the "tent" or a personal relationship with Christ. I am e-mailing you though because of something she said regarding her father. She admitted, as she said her dad also does, that Billy Graham was a poor father. She said that she can't remember a time when he tucked her in, played with her, spent time with her, etc... She said that he was an "absentee-Dad." I found this to be quite sad for obvious reasons, but further, it made me thankful for you.
I wouldn't trade you for Billy Graham. 
I am so thankful for you, Dad. I love you so much and you are so special to me. You have invested so much of your personal time and energy to make me happy, support me, and teach me to walk with the Lord. I remember you driving up to York and Lancaster all the way from Timonium to see every track meet and soccer game. It was the RARE exception for you not to be there! You were always on the side-line YELLING "GO PHIL" or "COME ON PHIL!" 
I knew that voice. It was my Dad. 
More than this, you cared deeply for my personal and individual growth. Whether it be through ardently monitoring the intake of my soul via TV, the internet, and even the newspaper or through those special times where it was just me and my dad at Father-Son Retreats and personal breakfasts and other times together. If there was one at fault for us not spending even more time together it was me for being unwilling. I was NEVER afraid to walk into your office or to approach you in a conversation. From your side, the line of communication was always open. 
I love you, Dad. You have been a phenomenal Father. I wouldn't trade you for Billy Graham or any other dad out there. Thank you for your personal sacrifice, all for me. (December 2009)

Dad called me crying after he read this email and we had a wonderful conversation. Every word was true. I am so thankful for the dad that he was. My dad left me the gift of never having to doubt that he loves me and is proud of me. 

He Left a Legacy

Don't take my word for it. Here are some of the words others shared. 

Rick was one of the finest Christian leaders I have ever known. He followed the commands of Christ. -Dr. Daniel Peters, Mount Tabor Baptist Church (Limerick Chapel)


Your dad lived out 2 Timothy 2:15 on a daily basis and I count myself among so many he has discipled over the years as 1 Corinthians 4:15 would say, a spiritual father. His lifelong dedication to the Great Commission and the Commands of Christ will continue to bear fruit for generations to come. -Patrick Marsh


Your dad made such a huge impact in my life. I wouldn’t be the person I am today with your dad’s influence and investment. And I still don’t think I’ve met anyone who reminds me of Jesus more than him. -Adam Workman, Sandals Church

Rick saved my life. He met me as a young man doing door to door on Gilmore street. Your family showed me what Christianity looked like seven days a week not just on Sundays. -Dave Johnson


Your dad was one of the greatest Kingdom leader-developers I’ve ever know.  Incredible mind and even bigger heart for people.  He will be missed - but it will be a great reunion one day when we are all with the Lord. JP Kahnert, Grace Fellowship Church


Our lives were definitely radically altered through what we learned from your Dad. His legacy will continue all around the world as more and better disciples continue to be made. To God be the glory! Dave & Avril Fries, Missionaries to South Africa and Scotland

There are many, many more but I will stop there. Suffice to say, Dad pursued Jesus like nothing else and loved others well. 68 years is not a long time but by God's grace they were full years for him and he left a lasting impact on those who knew him.

Happy Father's Day Dad. 

If you would like to hear some of Dad's sermons or learn more about Dad's commands of Christ study material that will be published hopefully within a year or so, you can check out this website dedicated to making his resources available to disciple-makers for generations to come.


Here is the sermon I preached on Revelation 21 the Sunday after Dad's funeral. If you have lost someone I pray it encourages you. Jesus will make "All Things New" one day! 


Here is the memorial service where you can hear more about my dad! 


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