As I walked to the beach with my granddaughter last Saturday, I answered my phone because it was a close friend and board member.  She asked a couple of logistical questions and then shared the Jim Maher had been killed in a motorcycle accident.  Shocked, we discussed the family and what the memorial service plans would be.  Jim, his wife and family have been a significant part of our lives for more than 30 years.

When we met Jim Maher, he was a gifted, young man returning from Bible school in Virginia.  He and his wife, Betsy (now known as Elizabeth), attended our home meetings.  Later, he became an elder at the Tabernacle Church in Melbourne and then associate pastor at New Covenant Church.   After the senior pastor was injured, he became the solo pastor there.

There are so many memories that flood my heart and mind.  For several years, he led the praise and worship for the meeting that were at our house.  He and Betsy were young and surfers.  Their magnetic personalities drew many younger couples  to our home to enjoy the genuine worship that poured from him and his guitar.  The Bible speaks of musical instruments prophesying.  I first experienced that reality during Jim’s skillful worship.  Our son, a teenager at the time, remarked, “Yeah, his worship is good but kinda hard to follow.  I don’t think Jim’s voice ever changed.”

Never a robust, overpowering personality, Jim enjoyed working behind the scenes.  He allowed the Lord to change hearts and lives slowly seeing the precepts of God work miracles of deliverance and salvation.

Jim was a faithful servant who loved folks with special needs.  He and five other pastors welcomed me as the sole woman to an intense weekly prayer meeting held at New Covenant for many years.  Special Gathering of Melbourne knew that we would always be welcomed in their worship services.  Therefore, whenever our schedule meant that we needed to vacate the facility where we were meeting on a Sunday, we attended New Covenant.

His leadership shows that given education about the need and the opportunity, local congregations will desire to help minister to people who are developmentally disabled.   Leadership comes from men and women of God who are willing to methodically wait and faithfully minister.  What are some of the spiritual assets that you respect regarding the allies of your ministry efforts?

For more about Maher’s more recent effect on people’s lives, see Jesse Kroepke’s blog.