Richard Beach Shares

%name Richard Beach SharesRichard Beach wrote this article for a Shelterwood Newsletter back in the 80’s but it remains relevant today.

There was a man in scripture by the name of Barnabas.   It is interesting that a name in scripture often reflected something of the character of that person. Barnabas means “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36). Barnabas was one of the first who came to the great apostle Paul after his conversion and encouraged him or “urged him forward” (Acts 9:27). Wouldn’t it be great to be known as a Barnabas?

I recently asked a group, “What is encouragement?” Answers ranged from a boost, a lift, motivation, strengthening. Have you ever noticed how much encouragement energized you?

The opposite of encouragement is discouragement. The world’s system is not to encourage others, lest they get ahead of you. The world system is to discourage, to be sarcastic, to point out faults or to use false flattery to meet selfish objectives.

The Christian should be living a different lifestyle. After looking into God’s word and being encouraged, we should be encouraging others. Have you ever seen someone who encourages become the encouraged?

How then do we encourage?

  1. Point out good qualities in others
  2. Smile
  3. Pat someone on the back
  4. Share an encouraging scripture
  5. Pray for someone
  6. Listen
  7. Recognize a person’s gift and let him or her know
  8. Tell someone how his or her life has impacted your own life
  9. Maximize a person’s strong points

We miss you Richard and are proud to name our new student lodge after you.

Memories of Richard Beach

rich picture 228x300 Memories of Richard BeachLooking back over old flyers and newsletters from the formative years of our program in the early 80’s, I ran across many articles written by our founder, Richard Beach. But I think some of the most encouraging notes were those from students, some of which are now nearing fifty years old. Reading the students’ stories of change, I am reminded that while staff and programming may have changed, the Author of change remains the same and faithful.

A female student shares in 1984, “Shelterwood is not a place for ‘problem kids.’ Everyone has problems, but at times we just don’t know how to do deal with them. Before I came here in the fall of 1983, I had difficulties in the areas of family life and other relationships, bad grades, trouble at school, and involvement with drugs. I thought nothing could go right with my life. That’s why I ‘m glad there was a place where I could come and sort out my feelings. It’s comforting to know that someone cares enough to help you through the hard times and also be there to share joys and triumphs with. I’ve learned so much in this past year, and it’s amazing. But the most important thing in my life is my relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s exciting to see how He fits into all of this. He is the reason I’ve come so far.”

In Memory of Richard Beach

“Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us” -1Thess. 2:8

There is a profound difference between being around someone and being with someone. The “I see you” connection from Avatar is vastly different from the surface connection of a Facebook friend. Kids today are no different than kids of yesterday. They long for connection with others, especially their parents. Take the time to truly connect with your kids.

We are packing up to make that long, flat drive across Kansas to say goodbye to our dear friend, mentor, example and boss, Richard Beach. He passed away a few days ago after a truly courageous 16-year battle with cancer. I know Rich is at peace, healed and loving being in the presence of the Lord. He impacted so many people for Christ during his 65 years on this earth. I’m sure the memorial service will be huge.

I‘ve been reflecting on what made Rich so unique. He had an amazing ability to make everyone feel comfortable in his presence. He didn’t have a graduate degree in anything and he never wrote a book (though we tried to get him to write one many, many times)!

So, how was Rich able to touch so many people’s lives, from the stewardess to the bank president? I think the secret lied in his ability and willingness to connect. Sure, he was an extrovert, but the “connection ingredient” isn’t about temperament, but about love.

Rich simply made the choice to love. His willingness to love the unlovely sometimes got him into trouble too. Much like Jesus sharing with the adulteress woman, Rich sometimes embarrassed those closest to him. But his heart of love simply had no choice.

Kids are asking, no, they are begging, for us as parents to provide that kind of connection and love. Not the cheap “I love you because you’re my child” love, but the thick kind of love that jumps in all the way. Rich invested into every life he encountered, whether that person was lovable are not.

Rich was simply a reflection of the love of Jesus who loved unconditionally. Many claim that kind of love, but Rich lived it out with every person he encountered along the way. There’s not one of us who had the privilege of working closely with him who wasn’t embarrassed by one of his encounters at some point. Sitting at a restaurant, Rich would joke with the grouchy waiter and minutes later be sharing Christ with her. No matter the result of their conversation, they would part with a hug and a smile.

The legacy Rich leaves behind for his family and for thousands of teenagers and mentors is that love is an action verb not a passive noun. If God is on my heart, I have no choice other than to impart my life to everyone I encounter.

Parents, squeeze every drop out of every encounter with your teenager. Impart your life. Love. Give. Sacrifice.

Rich, have a blast as you encounter Christ Himself. Enjoy the time together. You deserve it!