Thank You Charlie Michael

by Bob Turner on January 20, 2022

Ministers need a blend of gifts to be effective. They must be firm but gentle. They must be content but unsatisfied. They need to be organized but nimble. They need to be aware of economic realities yet faithful to God’s provision. They need to be aware of what’s going on outside the church but devoted to what’s going on in it. This can be a delicate balance. I love working with ministers who have it.

That’s why I love working with Charlie Michael.

Charlie started as White Station’s Administrative Minister in 2013. He came after serving for years as an elder. Charlie blended the pastoral experiences of an elder with the administrative experiences he built during a 33 year career in retail. So after decades of trade shows and plane trips to Chicago and China, he signed up for a second career in ministry. The idea that he would turn down other opportunities (likely more lucrative) for a gig with this church surprised nobody who knew his heart. He’s the closest thing a church can have to a lifer—even though he didn’t join White Station until he was in his 20s. He married into the family, for sure. His wife Beth has been with White Station since birth and her parents Ken and Billie Thomason were here during the church’s infancy. It’s hard to tell the story of White Station and not mention Charlie and Beth. I’m so glad he spent the last 8 years in this role.

Elders and coworkers could spend hours telling stories of Charlie’s administrative victories. They’ll share how we lowered the utility bill, renegotiated unfavorable contracts, strengthened staff benefits, and solidified the financials. They’ll tell you he was obsessed about thermostat temperatures, interest rates, insurance deductibles, depreciating assets, and restricted funds. This is true. But it’s not complete. Charlie is not just an administrator; he is a minister. Charlie has walked with students as they battled depression and addiction. He is probably the best mentor our youth group has had in recent memory. He has gracefully shepherded people through their junk—moral failings, financial ruin, and chronic loneliness. He has guided White Station through polarizing moments, like employee turnover, numeric decline, and theological differences within the body. It’s all been with grace.

On a personal level I’m so thankful to Charlie’s support over the past sixteen years, but especially in this most recent year. He has faithfully worked next to me to discern and process what I was seeing. He has been steadfast in his support. I’m so grateful.

Many churches have shepherds. Most have people in business. Few have people who leverage their business acumen for work in the kingdom. Over the past decade, we’ve had just that. We’ve been really blessed.

Charlie’s passion is the kingdom, Beth, and their sons. Everybody who knows him knows this. You may not know his true hobby, which is gardening. If an avid gardener is a green thumb, then Charlie has a pair of green hands.

So Charlie knows better than anyone that the gardener cannot control the harvest, but they can control what they sow. Charlie has sowed faithfully. He has sowed love, generosity, frugality, and discipline. He has sowed fidelity, fatherhood, and family. He has sowed hospitality, encouragement, and devotion.

Now like every good gardener, he must walk away and pray that it grows.

We’re also praying that God will make it grow.

Thank you, Charlie Michael, for what you’ve planted here.


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