Memories have a way of not only shaping you but molding you into the person you are going to become. I remember memories with my grandfather growing up spending time feeding the fish in his pond at the apartment complex my grandfather and grandmother were the managers of. Some memories are so powerful that you can remember the exact place, time, who you were with, what happened, and what words were said. For me and many others, these memories are very powerful.
I write today not about my grandfather, although he was a great man, I loved dearly who died in 2001 of esophagus cancer. Today, I write about a man who the Lord used very powerfully in my life and the life of many, Mike Beaudin. I first met Mike after we had left a church in Idaho. A lot was going on in the middle of 2012 when I first met Mike at Ustick Baptist Church. My father had come back into my life. I graduated from seminary and more.
The first time Mike said, “let’s talk,” I remember the talk like it happened yesterday. I had continually interrupted him on a Sunday after Sunday while he was talking to people. He said, “Dave let’s make time to go play golf.” And as we rode over in his car to the golf course in Boise, Idaho, he said to me, “Dave, you don’t have a knowledge problem; you have an application and relational maturity problem.” Mike had a way of speaking to you like he was your dad. Over my time at Ustick Baptist Church, I saw Mike model what relational maturity looked like and real biblical manhood. Mike lived his life with a great gospel intentionality for God’s glory.
Mike’s life was one where his theology grounded in God’s Word was on display for all to see. Mike not only cared about me, but he invested in me. He not only said hard words to me, but he allowed me to serve. As I started getting involved in the church, I saw areas where I might be able to help and shared with Mike my thoughts and approach. He agreed with both and gave me the opportunities both to teach and to fail. He believed in me and encouraged me in both my successes and failures.
Mike became more than my pastor; he became my big brother. While I have two older brothers, I’m not close with either of them for various reasons. One has left the Christian faith entirely, and another has Asperger’s and bipolar. Mike was the big brother I never had. Mike even called me his little brother he never had.
Mike tragically died on October 13th. I’m so very thankful that he isn’t in pain. He was on the mend from COVID and turning the corner, and then he had a stroke. I hadn’t seen Mike in two years face-to-face, primarily because of COVID, my wife and I lived in a different state, and my busy schedule, but we often texted and shared about life and ministry. When there was a particularly pressing need, we would jump on the phone, and he encourage me. I always knew that I could text Mike when I had a really bad day, whether with my parents’ memory issues or dealing with a particularly challenging situation in my ministry. I always knew he would be there for me.
There were many difficult days when I lived in Idaho, and Mike was there for me and available for me to either text or meet with him in person either that day or within a few days. From going golfing to getting food, talking about the men’s ministry, and more, Mike and I always had a good time together. Mike would often catch himself preaching at me. When he was done sharing, I would sit and listen and say, “Well, the choir needs preaching to also!” He would then laugh, and then I would laugh.
Mike was an amazing discipleship pastor. He would sit there and listen and pray for you while you shared. Then he would put his hand on yours and pray for you right there. After he was done, he would come around and give you a big hug. You knew Mike loved you. The saying, “The real deal,” applies to Mike. Mike was the real deal.
I remember sharing with Mike many times, and he would ask me, “What does your wife think?” and I would have to admit I hadn’t asked my wife, and he would encourage me to do so. I assured him I would. Over time, I knew his answer, and he knew I knew his answer and his expectations for conducting myself in various situations.
Mike started sending me to the hospital to visit hurting people. I loved this very much, and it became one of my favorite things to do. I would walk in and listen to people and then pray for them and then leave. I would leave, though more encouraged by what the Lord was doing in the person’s life than I think they were. I loved it. Mike gave me that opportunity, and I’m so thankful he did; it was and continues to be some of my favorite ministry experiences.
Mike asked me one time if I would do a funeral. A person not at our church in Idaho called our church asking if a pastor would do a funeral. Unfortunately, neither the Senior Pastor nor Mike, who was the assistant pastor, could do it due to various reasons. But he knew I could do the funeral. I agreed to meet with the family and do the funeral. I preached the funeral, and the message was so well-received that the lady who had called the church showed up to thank the pastor and glowingly gave me a recommendation to the pastor.
The opportunities to minister and encourage continued during my time in Idaho at Ustick. Then my wife got a promotion at her job at NASA. We moved after discussing the opportunity with Mike and elders blessing to California so my wife could take a job in a mid-level management position with NASA. Keep in mind for five years, I had been in near-daily communication with Mike. I would often work at the church while writing and editing or working on some Bible study or lesson I would be given that week, especially in the last two years of living in Idaho. So, I saw Mike all the time, several times a week. Moving to California was hard for me because I had made Mike a crutch.
But I also grew so much in California. The Lord addressed major areas in my life where idols had grown, where I was discontent, and the Lord used the three years in California to have me once again step out and start writing for various publications. I got my first three book contracts in California and loved this opportunity (and still do!).
I remember the first time leading a men’s Bible study at Ustick and how I lacked confidence. Mike showed up for the first year at the Wednesday evening men’s Bible study. He would tell me, “Good job teaching” when the evening ended. Over time I would get comfortable leading and teaching the group. I would always report over text every Wednesday after each men’s Bible study with any issues or observations and share any significant prayer requests, so he knew about them.
Over the last two weeks, I’ve been thinking about what Mike meant to me, and there’s so much I could say. But if I have to boil it down to several, I would say Mike was more than my pastor. Mike was more than one of my best friends. He was a mentor, he was my big brother, and he was a spiritual father to me. He taught me to deal with difficult people and situations with grace and truth. He modeled in his life what that looked like. And I can say that what he has taught me continues to bear fruit in my life and ministry.
I still have room to grow in the area of gentleness. Even though Mike was an amazing man of God, he would be the first to tell you he would often blow it. He called an apology eating humble pie. And he would tell me he often had to eat humble pie, even though I never saw him once have to do it in my time at Ustick. Mike had a way of making you feel comfortable sharing your heart without judgment. To know Mike, you felt loved by him and by God.
I remember many times going to his office feeling extremely discouraged and down in the dumps. But I remember vividly walking out of his office feeling immensely encouraged and like a load had been lifted off my shoulders. Mike had a special gift for treating people like they were the most important person in the world.
More than anything, though, Mike showed me what it means to get into the mess with people in ministry, love, care, and speak the truth in love to people. He showed me how to do that with his doctrine and with his life.
I’ll never forget Mike and the lessons he taught me. It’s not goodbye forever to Mike; it’s goodbye for now. See, that’s the power of the resurrection of Christ. Mike loved the Lord, and he loved and served people faithfully. Mike made a big impact on his family. He made a big impact on my wife and me and the lives of many people.
Memories are powerful. I’ll always cherish my time with Mike. I’m thankful for his gospel investment into my life and for the many lessons he taught me. Like Mike did, I want to finish well. I want to love the Lord, my wife, my family and faithfully and humbly serve the Lord as Mike did. Mike also trusted the Lord and the Spirit to do His work in people’s lives.
No matter who you are, if you are a child of God, the Lord can use you. The Lord powerfully used Mike. If you are willing to be faithful, humble, and available, the Lord can use you. Mike always said that ministry is a privilege, not a right, and he was right. It is a privilege to minister to anyone. So, whoever you are and whatever you have going on, and whatever your past has looked like, the Lord can use you. Will you be faithful to the gospel? Will you be faithful to Christ? Will you love your wife and your family and others? Then the Lord can and will use you.
I’m so thankful for the lessons and ministry of my dear friend and mentor, Mike Beaudin. I’ll never forget the lessons he taught me. I’m also so thankful that Mike has received his reward and is now with His Lord. I long for the day to be with the Lord and spend time again with my dear friend and brother Mike Beaudin. For now, though, I have work to do for the remaining days of my life. And it’s those remaining days I want to dedicate afresh with every ounce and fiber of my being to being faithful to the Lord, to His Word, to loving my wife and family, to loving and serving the Church, and to run my race and finish well like my dear mentor Mike did so well.
I love you, Big Brother. Thank you for modeling Christ and loving me so well. I miss you and love you, and I am so thankful for your investment in my life and ministry.
One last thing: I am so thankful that the day before Mike died, I shared so meaningfully with him over text as I often did about what he has meant to me over the years. I was so encouraged by his response, always pointing to Christ, and giving the Lord glory. May we all do the same as Mike did, for the remaining days of our lives. Memories are powerful, and men like Mike have made a mark on my life and the lives of many. I am thankful for him and the many lessons he taught me and how he has impacted my life and walk with the Lord.
One lats note, on Monday, I’ll be sharing more lessons on the Equipping You in Grace podcast I’ve learned from Mike.