ChurchTechArts readers, I need your help. It’s not very often I come to you with a request; for the most part, I simply share my thoughts with you. But today, I need you to pitch in and help a dear friend.
But before I get to the details of the request, I want to give you a little background on me. This is some of the “never before seen, behind the scenes footage” of the journey that brought me here.
I had an encounter with Jesus in the summer of 1988 and it changed my life. Not long after that, I got connected with a small church plant on the southeast side of the greater Cleveland, OH area.
This church met in a middle school cafeteria, and when I walked in the first time, there were about 70 adults there. I soon got to know all of them and still count many as friends to this day. Little did I know that my encounter with this church, and particularly the pastor and his family, would change the course of my life.
Pastor Ron Boehm had planted the church a few years earlier. We quikly became friends and about a year later when God called me to start a student ministry in the church (there were about 8 middle and high school students at the time), he encouraged and trusted me with pretty much the whole thing–despite the fact that I had virtually no experience.
As I lived 45 minutes from the city where the church met, and we had youth group on Sunday evenings, I began spending Sunday afternoons with the Boehm family. They truly welcomed me into their home and family and I learned a ton from all of them. Ron and I would often sit on the back porch after lunch and discuss ministry, theology, technology and occasionally Greek. I truly received my theological training from him.
After I moved closer, we began meeting every Wednesday for breakfast. We studied books, read the Bible and talked about life, ministry, theology and more. We met almost every week for 5 years. It was a blessed time for me. While I’ve learned a lot about ministry in the past 10 years of being on staff, the foundation was all laid by Pastor Ron.
In fact, the reason you are reading this website right now is in large part due to the fact that he was honest with me in the spring of 1993. We just had our first daughter, and I was feeling anxious to get off the road (I was doing corporate production at the time). Our little student ministry had grown to about 30 students, and I had about 4 other people working with me on the ministry. I felt a clear call to ministry and figured that the standard career path was to become a youth pastor.
But I also began to realize that I was really good at this tech thing. I noticed that I could build systems in my head, connect the dots and visualize how things would work almost effortlessly. I also realized not everyone could do that. I felt I was at a crossroads. So, at one of our Wednesday meetings, I laid it out for him. I asked him straight up, should I quit my job, go to seminary and become a youth pastor or find a way to serve God somehow using my technology skills.
I’ll never forget his answer. First he asked, “Do you want the truth?” I said, “Of course, that’s why I asked.” He responded with, “I think you’re really good at the tech thing, and you should continue doing that.” The die was cast.
Now, I didn’t know it at the time, but I’m now pretty sure he knew that his answer was going to cost him his youth guy. But he loved me enough to be honest with me.
About nine months later, I found myself starting the in-house video production group of our denomination’s Christian Ed department. And pretty much from that time forward, I’ve been somehow involved with a career that serves the Kingdom using my technology skills.
I was going to try to share with you some of the key things Ron taught me about leadership in this post, but this is going long, so I’ll save that for next time.
But here’s where you come in. Ron has been busy helping churches get planted all over Ohio for the last few years. He raises his own support and does an amazing job serving young church planters. He recently had a pretty scary medical emergency.
He suffered an abdominal aneurysm, which apparently, is a big deal. A very small percentage of people who have something like that even make it through surgery. He made it through two, and after 10 days in ICU, is home recovering. It’s truly a miracle, especially when you consider as the situation was developing, he passed out and hit his head on a sink also fracturing his skull (hence the nice shiner in the picture above).
As you can imagine, the LifeFlight, surgeries and 10 days in ICU did not come cheap. His kids have started a fund to help offset some of the medical expenses. I’ve made a sizeable donation as he had such a significant impact in my life. But there is a long way to goal to reach the goal.
So here’s the deal: About 14,000 people read this website monthly. If everyone gave a dollar, it would meet their goal; exceed it actually. If everyone gave up a Starbucks or a Caribou this week, we could really bless them.
Now, he doesn’t know I’m asking you guys to pitch in. And as I said, I almost never come to you for anything. But I’m not exaggerating when I say you would not be reading ChurchTechArts if it were not for the influence of Ron in my life. So if you’ve ever learned anything, been encouraged or found a better way to do something by reading this blog, it’s time to pay it forward.
Here’s the link to the GiveForward page they’ve set up. It takes under 3 minutes to donate, and I think this would be a great way for the Church to be the Church. I really want him to be able to focus on his recovery and not how they’re going to pay for it. What do you say, can you spare a fiver or a ten-spot? Go do it now so you don’t forget. And next time, I’ll share with you some of the leadership wisdom that shaped the last 10 years of my ministry. Thanks for reading this far, and thanks for helping my friend and Pastor, Ron Boehm. Give now.