|Pastor R. B. and Dolly Acheson|
I was called to be pastor of the Westside Church in August of 1996, I was about to turn forty. He had been retired for about 14 years. When I moved to town he was working at a local cleaners. Pastor Acheson was sharp both in body and spirit. I devised a plan. I would ask Pastor Acheson to come back on staff and serve the church as 'assoicate' Pastor. I asked him to meet me for breakfast at Bob Evans (this would be the first of many meetings at our favorite dining establishment). Somewhere during the breakfast, I stated that I felt I owed him an apology on behalf of all of us younger pastors who were enjoying the fruits of their ministry labors. I apologized that we would allow a person of his stature to be in a place where he had to spend his retirement years working in a dry cleaners. He raised his hand and said "Pastor, I was able to lead two or three people to the Lord, because I worked in that place." "Don't feel sorry for me." Even recalling it now, I have a lump in my throat. I would come to know, that this was truly how he operated his life. My plan that morning was to offer him a part-time position. He was so enthused and somehow before I had left the restaurant, he had decided with my agreement that he would be our full-time associate pastor. What a journey it was! There are so many stories. I told him that he could marry anyone who asked, he should feel free if asked by any family to conduct their loved ones funeral services.
I never asked Pastor Acheson to be my mentor. I did not know much about it, but he was and is my mentor to this very day. I wanted to tell you a few things I learned by observing Pastor Acheson:
1 If you love people, they will by and large love you back. To watch him move among people, was to watch a real shepherd at work. He taught me by his example, that at the end of the day, we are still called to care and love the sheep.