By: Deborah Melahouris
I grew up with a single mother, so if there's one thing I know, it's the valuable impact of servant leadership in the home. A lot can be and has been said of servant leadership, but there is nothing like the wisdom that can be gained from experiencing such servanthood first-hand, especially from our elders.
Good leaders are hard to find. Even harder to find are those leaders who serve behind the scenes, supporting those around them with a grace and patience that effortlessly seems to improve those around them. Leaders like this live each day focused on the goal of making room for the next generation, and, when the time comes, they hand over the reins.
I have no doubt that, as part of God's redemptive plan for my own life, I've been blessed to get to know such a leader in Dr. Sterling Brackett (’74), whom I had the awesome opportunity of serving alongside for the past 12 years. Sterling has entered into a new, exciting season of retirement, but, even as I write this, I can testify to the fact that his impact of service continues to enrich me as a leader.
Dr. Sterling Brackett began his connection with LIFE Bible College (now LPC) before he was born. Sterling's grandfather accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior in 1939 when he attended evangelistic services held by a 22-year-old graduate of LIFE Bible College. As a child, Sterling attended his local Foursquare church in Kingston, Tenn. As a youth attending Foursquare's Camp Courtney, Sterling accepted the call to ministry. In order to fulfill the calling on his life, Sterling attended Mount Vernon Bible College in Ohio, and graduated in 1974. In the early years after his graduation, Sterling stepped into some associate pastoral roles and then became a senior pastor in 1980. Then, in 1989, the Lord called him to serve LIFE Bible College East in Christiansburg, Va. (now LPC-Ignite) as the school’s president.
During Sterling's time as president of LIFE East, the campus, students, and families witnessed tremendous blessings and growth. Sterling was also able to see other physical changes in and around the college campus. A church was planted, a library was built, and other facilities established. In 2000 Sterling, his wife, Wanda, and their daughter, Lynn, moved to Los Angeles to serve at Foursquare’s central offices.
"You may be in a new position, but you are still a soldier in the battle.”
Sterling's time in Los Angeles continued to prove fruitful as he and Wanda found many ways to serve the body of Foursquare pastors and God's people. In 2004, Sterling became the corporate secretary of the denomination, but his heart was particularly drawn toward caring for those that had gone before him. Sterling was able to care for Foursquare’s retired missionaries, as well as retired ministers, known as ForeRunners. After 17 years of serving the church in the central offices, Sterling stepped into a new role.
On May 31, 2017, Sterling retired. That May morning the Lord spoke to Sterling and said, "You may be in a new position, but you are still a soldier in the battle.” As you find that the Lord has placed you in your current position, know that where you are now is a place that the Lord will continue to use you to accomplish the mission of reaching the lost.
As Sterling looks ahead at all that God has prepared for him next, we can all continue to glean from his years of sterling service. I, for one, believe celebrating a legacy of outstanding leadership is a lifelong process, a process of intent appreciation and application, a celebration that I too hope to perpetuate for generations to come.