Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My Old Youth Pastor...

...hits the big time!

Tom Mercer and High Desert Church Rocks!

When I was in Jr. High, our little Conservative Baptist church, Foothill Baptist on 15th Street in Upland, got a new Youth Pastor. Tom Mercer had longish hair, a mustache, drove a white Camaro with orange stripes and played Larry Norman tunes on his guitar in Sunday School. He took the High School group and grew it into the largest in the area. He developed "Power Unlimited" (PU to us!), a youth choir of about 100 teens that also did drama, and then took them on the road. We "toured" every summer and spring.

Tom taught the Bible. Pretty in depth on Wednesday nights. He was cool, hip, a bit radical but not too far over the edge. Was always on the cutting edge with ideas...or at least very near the edge. Looking back, I'm surprised at some of the stuff that he got approval for. We had a very straight-laced congregation and Deacon board. The Pastor at the time was open to Tom's way of doing things and as far as I know, really didn't call Tom on the carpet too much although I wasn't privy to staff meetings.

(I became a avid Wittenburg Door reader because of Tom and even stole a subscription form from a copy of the magazine he had laying around the office.)

Tom eventually left Foothill and accepted the Senior Pastorate at High Desert Baptist church in Victorville. Several of his old youth leaders followed him and the church has grown immensely. HDC is what church is in the 21st. Century. Much different than what I grew up with. Much different. I would like to visit one day...



Jeff G said...

I'm an '84 grad from Upland High, went to Foothill Baptist (close friend of John Rogers (JR). I've been going to Tom's church in Victorville since '94.

Jeff Goodwin

Eric said...

Haha! JR! Haven't heard that name in years! I graduated 83. Nice to hear from someone from the "old" days!


Anonymous said...

Eric- couldn't you have said, "My Youth Pastor from the Old Days"? "My Old Youth Pastor" sounds way too accurate! Great memories, I'll tell you that. Thanks for reminding us. We'd love to have you visit- just give us a heads up to make sure Sheryl and I will be in town when you get here. Tom

Christina Miller said...

I was in Power Unlimited in 1982 when Pastor Tom challenged the choir to examine themselves. We were singing the songs and presenting the message, but how many of us knew Jesus as our personal Savior. I gave my life to the Lord at that time as well as several other teens. We were baptized in our church Foothill Baptist several weeks later. This is what set the foundation of my life.

Christin Miller