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Monday
Nov252013

Retiring into God's Work

David Hardesty, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of Andrew Wommack Ministries.
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On a crisp April morning in 2003, David Hardesty pulled into the parking lot of Andrew Wommack Ministries’ (AWM) new facility in Colorado Springs for his first day at work. Only two months prior, Andrew had interviewed his longtime friend and ministry board member about taking over at the helm of ministry operations. David remembers Andrew asking him with hopeful expectation after the interview, “Is there any way you can give me ten years?”

Coming from a corporate retail background, David never had anyone guarantee him a job before—especially for ten years! Andrew’s question took him by surprise, but he was honored and thrilled that Andrew would ask that of him. And now, ten years later, as David reflects on his past decade at AWM, he’s still honored and thrilled to be a part of all that God is doing through the ministry.

In 1993, David was on top of the world. Since 1966, he had diligently and successfully climbed the corporate ladder at Sears, Roebuck & Company. After being transferred to Chicago as National Operations Manager, he was on the fast track to the position he had long had his eye on: “I had always wanted to become the National Merchandise Manager,” recalls David. “For me, it was a dream job.”

David with his wife, Gayle. (Click to enlarge)After a short stint as National Operations Manager, David’s boss offered him the promotion he had wanted for so long. He couldn’t wait to get home to tell his wife, Gayle, the good news. “I told Gayle, ‘Well, this is it. I finally got my dream job.’ But, instead of being excited, she broke down and cried.”

David was shocked, but he understood. His corporate life had taken its toll on her, and since they’d become empty nesters, she had envisioned a more relaxed pace and increased time spent together, not an increase in travel time that pulled David away from home. He prayed about his unexpected dilemma, and God told him to honor his wife. For years, she had followed him around the country, supporting him; it was time to give back to her.

After David declined his promotion, Sears agreed to his wishes to leave Chicago and return to the West where he and Gayle had lived their entire lives. He was transferred to Medford, Oregon, to resurrect one of their failing stores. “It took a series of miracles for David and Andrew in Uganda.
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everything to work out,” says David, “but God did work it out. We fell in love with Medford and decided that was where we wanted to retire.”

By the time the Hardestys moved to Medford, David had already given Sears twenty-seven years of his life. After he made it to thirty-five, he and Gayle began planning for retirement, talking about what they’d buy and what they’d do. David had it in his heart to work until his fortieth year at Sears.

They had built their dream home in the foothills of Medford and were counting the years until David’s forty-year milestone. “We had everything,” says David. “We were living our dream life, in our dream home, in a dream city. Everything was perfect.”

Then God Spoke

“It was November 2001, and I was in my home office spending time with the Lord,” recalls David. “God told me very clearly that He wanted me to take early retirement and go to Colorado to help Andrew. I had no idea what ‘help Andrew’ meant, but I knew I had heard from God.”

After a time of pondering the Lord’s instructions, David shared them with Gayle, knowing the two would have to be in perfect agreement if they were to change the course of their lives. David remembers, “When I told Gayle what God had said, I wasn’t sure what her reaction would be. But without hesitation, she said to me, David speaking at the celebration of Andrew's 40th anniversary in ministry.
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‘I think that’s God.’ I was stunned! I looked at her and asked, ‘Really?’”

God instructed David not to say anything to Andrew until AWM’s board meeting, which was in four months. It was difficult for him not to share the news with Andrew, but he knew he had to keep quiet. “I had been on Andrew’s board since 1987,” says David. “I knew what was happening with the ministry from a balance-sheet perspective, but I had no idea what was happening from a spiritual standpoint.”

The spiritual dynamics at AWM at that precise time were the reason God told David to keep silent. Little did he know that it was at this time that God was dealing with Andrew about not limiting Him through his small thinking. In January 2002, one month before the board meeting, Andrew met with his staff and told them that God rebuked him for thinking too small and that if he wanted to see his ministry grow, he needed to take the limits off Him.David with Andrew at a youth event in England. (Click to enlarge)

Just as David had grown content with waiting until the board meeting to share his news, Andrew called him one Sunday morning in January to tell him he needed to cancel the meeting. “While I was on the phone with Andrew,” says David, “God spoke to me, saying, ‘Tell him now.’ I hesitated a minute, so God spoke again: ‘Tell him!’ So, I told him, ‘Andrew, the Lord told me to take early retirement and come out and help you.’

“There was dead silence on the other end. I thought, ‘Uh-oh. Maybe he doesn’t think that’s such a good idea.’ But, all of a sudden, he said, ‘David! You won’t believe what’s going on here. This is God. I’ve got to talk to you. I’ll call you as soon as I get back in town.’”

David later discovered that on that very same morning, Jamie, who had been overseeing the operations of the ministry at the time, had just said to Andrew, “This ministry’s getting too David duplicating CDs and DVDs at a conference. (Click to enlarge)big for me to handle. We’ve got to get someone in here to take it to the next level.” Andrew, in turn, replied, “Who in the world can we get to come out here to run this ministry, who thinks like we do, shares our heart, and won’t object to giving our materials away?”

David had no idea that any of this was going on. “For all I knew,” he says, “I was coming out to duplicate tapes. I didn’t even know there was a next level to go to!”

Two Sides of the House

Since David’s first day at AWM, he has watched in awe as God has indeed taken the ministry to new level after new level. As General Manager/Chief Operating Officer, David oversees all aspects of the business side of AWM, including World Outreach, Charis Bible College (CBC), and all departments of Andrew Wommack Ministries, while Andrew is in charge of all of the spiritual aspects, receiving vision from God for the ministry and following God’s lead in developing that vision.

David with Jamie and Andrew (left) at the 2011 Summer Family Bible Conference in Colorado Springs. (Click to enlarge)David views his business relationship with Andrew as a perfect balance for operating a ministry that is the magnitude of AWM. He explains, “Andrew took the limits off God, and he’s moving wherever God leads him. He isn’t burdened with the financial aspect. I, on the other hand, am fully responsible for the ministry’s finances. I have to know that we have the finances to do what we need to do.

“Andrew is the spiritual side of the house; I’m the reality side. You have to have both. I daily deal with facts, but I work for a man of faith and vision. It’s not that I don’t have faith, but I don’t operate the ministry by faith but, rather, by facts. Financially, what we have is what we have. But that being said, I can share countless stories of absolute miracles of what God has done for us financially. I call them ‘just-in-time’ miracles!”

Over the past ten years, David has formulated a team of people capable of implementing Andrew’s vision with Andrew’s heart. When asked about this team, David responds, “In the corporate David, enjoying the first ministry picnic held at The Sanctuary in Woodland Park.
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world, they wouldn’t necessarily kill to have the group of people we have here, but they’d surely maim! God has brought the most phenomenal people into this ministry.”

David’s team has helped him bring a corporate structure to all areas of the ministry, which had not existed at AWM prior to him coming onboard. Having such a structure in place has allowed the ministry to expand as God continues to increase Andrew’s vision. David has streamlined and organized AWM’s transition into television, CBC’s expansion of extension schools, and the launching of World Outreach. “God told me that He would tell Andrew what to do, and my job was just to help him get it done,” says David.

Right now, that means focusing on CBC. “We know that one day, CBC will be Andrew’s living legacy,” explains David. “That’s what will outlive him. Our job now is to create disciples through CBC who will continue Andrew’s work around the world.”

When asked what he is proudest of concerning his role at AWM, David replies, “Just knowing that we are a ministry of financial integrity and that we are in a position to do what God has called us to do. We are extremely efficient stewards, and we don’t waste money. I never want to lose sight of the fact that we are spending someone’s gift.”

One thing’s for certain: With David Hardesty at the helm of AWM’s operations, those who support the ministry can rest assured that their gifts are in very capable hands and are continually being stretched as far as possible for God’s purposes. God didn’t bring David all the way from Oregon and into His idea of retirement for anything less.

Reader Comments (6)

WoW!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!! So exciting to be part of such a great group of people!!!keep up the good work and thank you for the wonderful article!

November 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynne Wolf

Phenomenal organization with the two sides of the house fitting in so perfectly. Glory to God

November 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChemo Mutani

I love the fact David and Gayle are from Medford, Oregon , being from Oregon myself. Also Sears is one of my favorite stores that came back from the dead to be a great store in our area. I hope you will come to Oregon more often because our area NEEDS YOUR MINISTRY! Anyway, I enjoyed hearing all about David's story. God Bless and I know He is!!!
Cherylanne Loop

November 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCherylanne Loop

just inspiring testimony. I love it so much. I have been blessed by your testimony.

December 2, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoshua tumwine

David, this is an exciting story of God’s divine guidance and direction to achieve His purpose in the earth. It appears you were open to God’s direction; listening, believing and trusting for an uncertain outcome, but knowing the inner peace of it all. That is breath-taking, encouraging and full of peace. Then, both you and Andrew trusted God for a blending of talent to achieve a higher level of ministry growth and development focused on the incremental goals of “Changing Lives and Changing the World” for the Glory of God.

I am a recent follower of the ministry and blessed by each new aspect. I will be attending the Men’s Advance and look forward to learning more and somehow, being more involved.

December 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Counter

Amazing !! How true it is that " His ways are higher --- His ways are higher --as the heavens are higher than the earth -- sooooo high !! Thank you Lord for Andrew & for David !! How I wish that I could be useful likewise ? Having worked for almost 40 years as an engineer in secular world, I wish to do MY FATHER"S BUSINESS in a big way !!!!

December 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTimothy Satyam Chennai

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