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For twenty five years I have helped people come together to accomplish a shared purpose.
Early in my career I became the executive director of a Christian community called Bethany Acres. At Bethany Acres we cared for troubled people who were addicted to drugs and alcohol and/or suffering from mental illness.
For most of my career I served at the state level in Maine as the Executive Director of the Christian Civic League of Maine. During those years my wife and I raised three sons in China, Maine. I am proud of all three boys. Our oldest, Dustin, is now married and ministering in western Pennsylvania. Sean is married and has given us our first grandson, Alexander. Jared is an infantry Sergeant in the United States Marine Corp.
Today I lead Helping Hands Ministry. My wife Paulie is my lifelong partner, and is herself a committed Christian.
What I love to do more than anything else is to preach and be with Christians who want to be pure and holy. My wife's wonderful song, Make Me Pure, speaks for me.
During my years leading the Christian Civic League of Maine I was honored to have the opportunity to very publicly defend common sense ideas about marriage and human sexuality. These ideas are rooted in the Bible and Christian tradition/history. I did this in the political arena in Maine so my witness was, of course, fraught with public controversy -- to say the least.
When I resigned my post at the League in 2009 the most common adjective I heard used about me was "radioactive." The particular subject with which I am proud to say the League was then willing to grapple was so-called "gay" rights.
Little, however, did my critics know (perhaps they have weak imaginations) about how truly radioactive I am. The radioactivity in worldly elements in nature gets weaker over time. My radioactivity is eternal.
By way of giving you a little better sense of my background here is a list of some of my accomplishments:
I'm humbled by the testimony below that was written by my good friend Rev. Dallas Henry. He was President of the Christian Civic League during my tenure as Executive Director. In September of 2009 he published the following column about my two decades of ministry there:
WELL DONE, GOOD FRIEND
Here’s a fact if you are a leader: you are going to encounter obstacles. You will encounter various trials and difficulties. Just ask Michael Heath.
A few years ago James Dobson and Focus on the Family were blamed for the death of a young homosexual man out west. It was absurd, but it made national headlines and was on all the news shows. This was unfair.
If you try to lead in moral values, you will be opposed. It may come from the government or the press or even from someone in the church who thinks you are wrong. Just like Moses though, when we are faced with opposition, we must press on toward the goal. Moses told the Israelites when the Egyptians came, to stand firm. Don’t run away. Don’t go back. Stand firm.
Michael Heath and Rev. Dallas Henry in 2005
It is human nature to be intimidated by a powerful opponent and react according to their threats. Nobody wants to be sued. Nobody wants bad publicity. Nobody wants to be gossiped about or talked about. Nobody wants their reputation flawed in any way. Nobody wants hard feelings.
We can’t, however, allow the opposition to set the agenda. What would have happened if Moses told the Israelites, "uh oh here comes the Egyptian Army; everybody run!"? Sometimes it means to stand firm, the way he told the Israelites to stand firm, sometimes it means finding another way to accomplish the same thing. Sometimes it means to wait on God’s timing. But it always means to not allow the opponent to kill the message that you know is right. That is the way Michael Heath led The Christian Civic League of Maine. Many have said that they didn’t know how Mike could stand up under all that persecution.
For these past 20 years, my time with Michael Heath has made me and everyone else who has been close to him, a better leader, a better man, a better husband and father. Here are just a few of the reasons:
• He leads his family first. He has a talented wife and three successful adult sons, two of whom are Marines.
• He knows his strengths, and hires great people to support his weaknesses. The League has a small but great and effective staff that is very dedicated.
• He doesn't give up. He's had plenty of good reasons to leave the League long before this. Anyone who has followed his career knows that there isn’t anyone in Maine who has received more ridicule and character assassination than Mike Heath. At times, it nearly killed him! But he refused to give up.
• He is a masterful communicator. Some of the best leadership I've ever seen has come from Michael Heath. I've told him many times that the League is the success it is today because of his skills!
• He does life with his friends. I've met other leaders who refuse to have friendships. Mike is the opposite. He is a friend to many and, in turn, has many good friends in Maine and around the world.
• He sees a crisis before it happens and takes decisive action. Disaster can be averted when the captain of the ship sees the rocky shore ahead.
• He gives away leadership. He doesn't hoard it. He freely lets people lead. Some have taken advantage of Mike trusting them, trying to assert themselves inappropriately. Even though he has been hurt by power hungry people who he trusted, he remains a man who still gives away leadership.
• He is one of my biggest cheerleaders. Not just mine, but the League Board of Directors and the League staff as well. He loves it when his team succeeds.
There are only a few people you'll ever meet who are such great influences that your life is irreversibly altered because of their impact. For me, Michael Heath is one of those people.
Christians like to imagine they float above the “filth” of political posturing and decision-making based on personal benefits. The reality is far more gruesome than we like to see in vivid color. Michael Heath has experienced the cost of truth telling for the past 20 years. (As G. K. Chesterton observed: “People cannot tolerate very much truth.”)
The basic definition of transition is a “passage from one state or stage to another.” The Christian Civic League is now experiencing transition. Michael Heath is no longer the Executive Director and the Board of Directors is in “search mode” to find a new Executive Director. It is a historic time in the life of the League. God is faithful and will show Himself strong on the League’s behalf because we put our trust in Him.
Many are asking what Mike will do next. He has already begun a new business called Mike Heath Consulting, specializing in political, marketing, technology training, fund raising and board development.
To Mike I say; God bless you, my wonderful friend. You will be missed by your friends and even your enemies.
Because you have served the League with distinction I believe God is saying, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”
Email me if I can be of assistance to you at email@example.com