Todd Lollar discovered his biggest weakness is his biggest strength.
Jase Robertson sat backstage in the green room during this year’s Men’s Summit and had one question: Where’s Todd Lollar? Nobody in the green room knew who the Duck Dynasty star was talking about, and in fact, Jase had never met him before—he had only heard about him. That’s because Todd’s story has traveled quickly despite his disability. Todd has cerebral palsy, which means he uses a wheelchair and has a speech impediment that significantly slows his communication. However, he views these setbacks as blessings.
When you meet Todd, you’ll notice two things:
- He has impeccable style. With black-rimmed Buddy Holly glasses, a pearl-snap button-down shirt, and sandy blonde hair that sweeps down into his eyes—he looks like the lead singer of a very hip band.
- Todd speaks as quickly as his speech impediment allows, but once you get on his pace and truly hear him, you discover a great communicator.
These two things play a key role in Todd’s life because they allow him to effectively disciple and mentor young professionals and people in their 20s. That’s been his full-time work for more than 15 years, and he has mentored hundreds and seen thousands come to Christ.
One college student he led to Christ and mentored—a guy oddly obsessed with duck calls—told everyone he knew back home in Louisiana about a guy in a wheelchair who changed his life. Jase Robertson was among those people, and when he came to Gateway’s Men’s Summit, he had to meet Todd.
So in the green room that night, after several phone calls, Todd rolled in along with his 8-months pregnant wife, Marissa. (They now have a healthy 3-month old son, Oliver.) “It was like being surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, full of people I look up to,” says Todd. “Jase and I spoke for a while, and Pastor Robert prayed for Oliver and our family.”
Growing up, Todd distinctly remembers having conversations with God even at an early age. “God and I have been close since I was young,” he says. “I remember talking to God when I was four or five years old.”
His deep spiritual roots might have something to do with his mother. Todd almost died at birth. In fact, it’s a miracle he’s alive. “My mother prayed and told God if He would let me live, she would prepare me for a life of ministry,” he says. However, she didn’t tell him about the prayer until much later. So, all through his formative years, Todd never knew about the deal she had made with God, even though there were hidden clues all around him.
Shrouded in the mistreatment he received from other kids and the insecurity and loneliness he experienced, were glimpses of Todd’s natural gifts. At a young age, he connected with people and drew them together. Even as early as sixth grade, his classmates voted him “most inspirational,” and in college, at the University of Oklahoma, he was one of the most influential people in his fraternity. It was during college that Todd had an encounter with God and gave his life to the Lord, and shortly after he graduated, he felt called to full-time ministry. When he told his mother, she broke down and told him about the prayer she prayed the day he was born.
Suddenly, Todd’s past began to make sense, but what was about to happen on a mission trip to St. Louis, Missouri, would set the course for his life’s calling.
He traveled with a group to minister to several families in inner city St. Louis. The family he ministered to was so poverty-stricken, there were 18 people living in a ramshackle, two-bedroom house with standing water in several rooms. It certainly wasn’t designed for someone who needed wheelchair access to get around. Todd was totally out of his comfort zone. “I was in a humbling position without the accessibility I was used to,” he says. “I found myself very open to change, revelation, and transformation, because my weaknesses were more apparent than at any other time in my life.”
He visited a McDonald’s one morning for devotional time, and when he read 2 Corinthians 12:9, he says it was like God dropped a bomb on him:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is displayed in your weaknesses.” Until that moment, he considered his cerebral palsy an obstacle, but he realized it was a way for God to display His strength.
“My prayer for so much of my life was for God to heal me, and He answered my prayer that day, but His answer was far better than what I asked for,” says Todd. “For the first time in my life, I realized that I’m strong instead of weak.”
Since that time, Todd has earned his masters in biblical and related studies from Abilene Christian University and has immersed himself in using his story to reach people with the gospel. Now he’s writing a book (Weak Is the New Strong) about his life’s calling and continues to disciple and mentor young professionals through his ministry organization, the Navigators.
One of his primary goals is to allow people to change the way they think about their weaknesses. He wants people to see them as opportunities for God to use them. “Don’t let your weakness keep you from achieving all God created you to be,” he says. “Allow God to take your greatest weakness and transform it into your greatest strength.”
For more information about Todd, his family, and his ministry, visit toddlollar.com.