January 19, 2021

Mike's Blog: A Tribute to a True Leader

I have said for years, “I would fight hell with a water pistol for Jerry Day.” That is as true today after serving alongside of him for 30 years as it was in those early years. Let me give you a peak behind the curtains and tell you why I feel that way.

One of the compelling reasons I left Cummins Engine Company over 30 years ago was so I would be in a position to be challenged and strengthened to be a better husband, father, friend, leader, and follower of Jesus. Jerry has been that kind of example to me. 

We say all the time around the church that the lack of integrity or character will be the first thing to destroy you in ministry. Jerry is such an incredible example of character and integrity. In 30 years, I have never once questioned anything about his character. Not one time in 30 years! His actions and his words match. I have witnessed on numerous occasions Jerry going the extra mile to ensure no one would have reason to question his character. He has lived a life above reproach. He has been such an example to me in demonstrating the importance of character. 

I read just recently a quote from another pastor. He said, “My practice for many years has been to ask God to give me more character than my gifts, and humility that is greater than my influence.” That describes the Jerry I know. Thank you, Jerry.

Jerry would be the first to say he has not been the perfect father or husband. I am sure that is true. On the other hand, I have witnessed up close how he has balanced the incredible demands of being the lead pastor of a church of this size and influence with the responsibilities of being a father and husband. Jerry loves his wife and children so well. I have seen Jerry prioritize and sacrifice for his family in spite of the incredible demands of his role. Thank you, Jerry.

Jerry was never a Boy Scout that I know of, but he is more of an example of “always being prepared” than anyone I know. I have been in thousands of meetings with Jerry, I have listened to him teach thousands of times, I have witnessed him leading in thousands of situations...did I say thousands? I have never seen a time when Jerry was not prepared. Not. One. Time! Incredible! Thank you, Jerry.

It has been fun to work alongside Jerry for all these years. Ministry can be tough. It has been an incredible blessing working alongside of Jerry. We have a church value that says, “We will laugh hard, loud, and often.” We have a great staff that has a lot of fun serving together because Jerry has set that example. Thank you Jerry.

I could say so many other things. I will close with this:

Jerry has been the perfect example of “Whatever It Takes.” I have seen Jerry weather storms that would have taken most men out. I have seen stretches where Jerry was knocked to the mat only to get up and be punched again, and again. Most people would have “tapped out” years ago. Jerry got back up… Every. Single. Time! Jerry weathered the storm to fight for us to be the kind of church we are today. Jerry has sacrificed a lot to lead us to be a church for people that are far from God. Most people have no idea how hard that has been. Jerry did that for us, and more importantly for “the one.”

Thank you Jerry! It has truly been an honor and pleasure to serve alongside of you my friend! Love you brother!

PS: I now carry two water pistols. One for Jerry as he transitions out of his role and one for Adam. God has given The Ridge another incredible leader and I am so excited for the future of The Ridge under Adam’s leadership!

Whatever It Takes!