Project Legacy:

From Businessman to Pastor: Steve Poe’s Story

Project Legacy:

From Businessman to Pastor: Steve Poe’s Story

Written by David Seibel | 9.24.2019

This post is the third in Project Legacy, a series of interviews that aim to learn from leaders outside of education to influence those inside education. To read the first article in the series, click here.

The following post recounts lessons from Northview Church’s Senior Pastor, Steve Poe. During the decade after college, Steve opened and ran three restaurants, launched a radio station, and opened a financial planning firm and a commodity trading group. Although successful in the world’s eyes as a businessman, Steve did not feel himself a success in God’s eyes. He had sensed a call to ministry since age 16. After Steve transitioned to full-time ministry, God has used him to take Northview Church from one campus in Carmel to nine campuses. So, here are two lessons on education from a Businessman turned Pastor.

“I was running from God. I got tired of doing one thing, thought I needed to diversify, and then I moved onto the next thing.”

“I was running from God. I got tired of doing one thing, thought I needed to diversify, and then I moved onto the next thing.”

#1: You cannot diversify your faith portfolio.

In his twenties, Steve moved from running a restaurant to opening a Christian radio station to launching a financial planning firm. He recounts, “I was running from God. I got tired of doing one thing, thought I needed to diversify, and then I moved onto the next thing.”

Diversifying your portfolio is wise for a businessman because you want to be prepared if one of your streams of revenue ends up running dry. Most thoughtful people would affirm the idea of ‘not putting all of your eggs into one basket.’ To put all that you are as a businessman into one endeavor would not be wise. Thus, Steve had irons in the radio, restaurant and finance fires. But despite his great success, something was missing.

In listening to Steve, I remember what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:17: “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins.” If the resurrection turns out to be false, Paul is pitiful because he had not diversified his faith portfolio. All his faith was in Christ. His faith was not in Christ and some worldly pursuit. In fact, Paul says, “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” We are not called to half-love God and half-love the world. Steve’s love for Jesus is clear, and he sees the urgency of the call of faith.

Parents and teachers constantly encourage students to try new things and figure out what God has gifted them to do. In this sense, diversification is indeed a virtue. However, those engaged in forming the next generation also must form the affections of children to see how worthy and valuable Jesus is, so much so that they can put all their eggs of hope in His basket.

“If I give you a book, will you read it?”

“If I give you a book, will you read it?”

#2: A caring adult makes all the difference in the life of a child.

As a young man in high school, Steve was not necessarily motivated or inspired to do great things. “In high school, I just wanted to work in construction or drive a truck. I was part of a blue-collar town in Missouri, and that’s just what you did.” However, all this changed one day when a man at Steve’s church saw leadership potential in him and asked Steve, “If I give you a book, will you read it?” Despite Steve’s distaste for reading at the time, he was shocked an adult saw something special in him. This moment served to change the trajectory of Steve’s life because he was inspired to think above and beyond his current circumstances.

When I asked Steve who his favorite teacher was, he shared about his high school speech teacher. “She was an older woman that had a little chain around her glasses. She just believed in her students. She would make you feel like you just gave the best speech after you were completely humiliated in front of your peers.” It was at this stage in life that Steve began to feel a call from God to ministry. Things came full circle when his high school teacher came to hear Steve preach a few years ago. “She came to hear me preach,” Steve said, “and afterward she said, ‘I told you had a gift to communicate.’’ She had the greatest influence on my life.” For Steve, an adult with the right words at the right time set him in the right direction.

Parents and teachers need to do an audit of their words and ask, “Are my words a blessing or a curse to children?” Do they educate and form and build up or do they divide and cause fear and shame? For many children, a few well-placed words make all of the difference.

Steve Poe, Lead Pastor of Northview Church in central Indiana, got his start in ministry at Caring First Church in St. Joseph, Missouri, where he pastored for 13 years. After coming to Northview Church in 1999, Steve has led with a passion for the unchurched, especially professionals and white-collar workers.

 

Steve Poe, Lead Pastor of Northview Church in central Indiana, got his start in ministry at Caring First Church in St. Joseph, Missouri, where he pastored for 13 years. After coming to Northview Church in 1999, Steve has led with a passion for the unchurched, especially professionals and white-collar workers.

 

As Head of School at Coram Deo Academy, Dave Seibel aims to cultivate a generation of scholar-disciples who are passionate about learning. He is husband to Brooke and father of four future Coram Deo students. He is a graduate of Wabash College, Marian University and in final Master of Divinity course at Southern Seminary.

As Head of School at Coram Deo Academy, Dave Seibel aims to cultivate a generation of scholar-disciples who are passionate about learning. He is husband to Brooke and father of four future Coram Deo students. He is a graduate of Wabash College, Marian University and in final Master of Divinity course at Southern Seminary.

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