Each week, #SpanningtheNeed will present an “Inspirational Person of the Week’ and have a “Q & A” with one of its many gifted individuals and/or groups who are willing to go out of their own way to help others. This week’s featured is John Muckridge from Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley.
Name: John M Muckridge III
Organization: Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley
John Muckridge III currently serves as the President and CEO of Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley. He came to the Rescue Mission as a volunteer in 2011 teaching and tutoring clients in the Mission’s Learning Center. During this time as a volunteer, he grew to love the ministry and accepted a staff position as Learning Center Instructor. From there his roles with the Mission progressively increased as he became the Director of Education in 2013, the Director of Client Services in 2014 and then was promoted to Deputy Director in 2015.
John is a graduate of Youngstown State University where he earned his B.S in Business Administration in 2005. In August of 2010, he was awarded an M. A. in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University. Previously he has held positions as a Senior Credit Manager with Wells Fargo Financial, Sales & Service Development Manager with First National Bank of Pennsylvania in Hermitage, Pa. and Online Adjunct Faculty with San Diego Christian College.
John believes that the Lord has clearly communicated His vision for a ministry like the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley in Matthew 25:31-46, where we learn that we serve Jesus by serving the “least of these” and we love Jesus by loving the “least of these.” We are a Gospel-centered ministry who believes in the inerrancy, sufficiency and authority of Scripture which teaches us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and by Grace alone, through Faith alone, for God’s glory alone we receive forgiveness of our sins through Christ alone. The Lord has allowed us to share this good news with the people He sends through our doors and we will continue doing so.”
What made you want to go into this field?
I was in between jobs and saw a commercial on TV for the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley. I had some extra time and thought I could help others by volunteering in the Mission‘s Learning Center. It was never my intent to become an employee of the Mission, the Lord just opened doors and here I am.
What’s the biggest factor that has helped you be successful?
Simple answer: The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is the biggest professional mistake you made along the way?
I laugh at this question because as I’m sure my family and staff would tell you; I often refer to myself a “knucklehead.” With that comes the fact that I’m learning to lead my team better each day while at the same time learning to follow Christ even closer. The Lord has graciously allowed me the opportunity to steward an amazing ministry in the Valley. I’ve made mistakes and undoubtably will make more in the future. But the Lord will continue to provide what is needed. I’m sure of that.
What is the hardest decision you ever had to make in this field?
Decisions are a challenge for everyone. For me in my role at the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley, I would say that my hardest decision was not singular but came in dozens of daily decisions during the construction of our new 50,000 square foot building. Making decisions in the design and construction process happened in so many areas that I had not personally experienced before and lasted for nearly two years. Thankfully, the Lord answered my prayers by placing around me a team and volunteers who could educate me and help us find solutions that would stand the test of time and serve our guests facing homelessness in the Mahoning Valley. The end result is a beautiful building that is serving our homeless and hungry guests while testifying to the goodness of God.
If you could start all over again, what would you do differently regarding your profession?
I would have served the Lord earlier in my life. Now that I work in ministry, I know that this is my calling and I’m humbled that I can serve in this capacity in my hometown.
What inspires you to do good in our community?
The book of Proverbs there is a verse that says, “iron sharpens iron.” When I look around and see how our donors support the Rescue Mission – and have for 130 years – it inspires me to want to serve Christ and be the best possible steward of the position he has given me here at the Mission. The Mission’s donors give sacrificially to maintain this ministry, providing meals and safe overnight shelter for those who would otherwise be on the streets. Seeing this generosity daily, causes me to want to serve.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering in our community?
In my roles as the Board President at Heartland Christian School, serving as a Youth Leader at Old North Church, and the opportunities I have to coach basketball teams for my sons, what I enjoy the most is the time I have to talk about Jesus with other parents and families. God has been good to me and placed in my life so many meaningful relationships. He’s given me the opportunity to mentor several young men and develop friendships in the community that I could have never imagined.
What song best describes you or is the soundtrack to your life?
What is your best accomplishment/experience in life?
Being a dad and husband.
Who is your role model and Why?
Of course I try to pattern my life after Jesus. But what I’ve come to learn is that God places people in your path who help you in specific areas of your life, just when you need the help. I have a mentor in West Virginia who is a business professional and has successfully established and runs a non-profit foundation. His wise guidance has helped me to be a better leader, to put practices and procedures in place and to position this ministry for the future. I thank the Lord for this friend and mentor!
If there was one person that you would like to meet, past or present, and why?
In Christianity, a martyr is a person considered to have died because of their testimony for Jesus or faith in Jesus. People who died martyrs simply amaze me. I’ve read several stories with my boys over the years of men who gave their lives because of their unwavering faith in Christ. If I were able to meet a martyr like Stephen, who was killed by the religious establishment of the day for calling out those who put Jesus on the cross, that would be incredible.
A favorite quote that you live by?
Only one life, ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last. – C.T. Studd