I’d like to offer a BIG contrast to my last post…
Mike Merold, pictured at the bottom of this page (on the far left of the shot) among members of his family (including his father Ben–preaching minister at Harvester Christian Church), passed away of a heart attack last night. I met Mike once and only once, but his mark on my life was indelible.
He taught one session of my Church Growth class (then led by Doyle Roth). Doyle arranged to have us meet at HCC most weeks, and had a number of the ministers there guest-teach. I enjoyed Doyle, Ben, and David Mehrle’s sessions…but I actually REMEMBER what Mike said (that’s no slight to those three guys–they’re all excellent speakers…you know how college students tend to tune in and out).
Mike was talking about the need for ministers to decompress after stressful times of ministry. He told us not to feel guilty for taking time away when we need it. He said that (at least at that time–I assume it’s still true) HCC’s ministers had personal restoration days built into their contracts (though I’m sure there was a more fancy term for it). He said that sometimes when ministers are feeling beaten up, they just need to TAKE one of those days–just get away and be close to God. He said he tried to limit his to only hours, though, because he didn’t want to abuse the privilege…but that one of the best ways to care for the flock is to care for yourself so you can serve them when they need it. I haven’t forgotten that.
I got an e-mail about Mike’s passing from the SLCC prayer-chain. My heart sunk immediately, and I barely even knew him–and he wouldn’t have remembered me if I offered him a million bucks to do it, I’d bet, since we only met the one time… It says a lot about his character that his death can sadden someone he met once peripherally. Mike struck me as a man who loved his work–probably so much that he didn’t WANT to take some of those restoration hours. I am glad and grateful to know that he now is feeling more restored than ever, and he doesn’t have to worry about “abusing” it. 🙂
My deepest, deepest sympathies to those who knew Mike–especially to his parents and immediate family. If I’M affected by this, I can only imagine what they’re feeling.
Rest in peace, Mike.
(Photo “borrowed” from my friend Nikomas Perez (http://www.nikomas.com/).