Local News

July 12, 2013

‘What the Lord wants you to do’

Porter hopes to foster ‘callings’ at Christian Heritage

It was a letter given to him by an elderly friend on her deathbed that, in part, motivated Gerald Porter to become the new headmaster of Christian Heritage School, he said.

Porter has replaced Renny Scott as headmaster of the private Christian school at 1600 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Dalton. Scott said he retired after 18 years because he believed it was time “to pass the baton on to the next generation.”

More than a decade ago, Porter was asked to lead a Sunday school class at his church in Kansas City, Mo., to help his pastor free up some time. Initially Porter refused, he said, because the class was for churchgoers over the age of 50.

Porter, who began his tenure as the new headmaster on July 1, said finally agreeing to teach the class led him to a message he continues to share with students.

“I had gotten to know this woman and she became ill,” he said. “As I was leaving the hospital one day, where I was visiting her for the last time, she handed me this letter. She said, ‘Don’t read this till you leave.’ A few hours later she passed into eternity.

“I got into the car and read the letter. It was the story of her life. And the very last paragraph said, I will never forget it, ‘Gerald. I just hope, before the Lord takes me, I will be able to figure out what he wants me to do with my life.’”

Reading those words served as a “turning point” for Porter.

“That was the point where I committed to make sure I had a conversation with kids to help them find their calling,” he said. “Not just kids. Adults, too. Make sure you find out what the Lord wants you to do.”

Porter said he’s come a long way from being “terrified” of teaching a Sunday school class, even likening his first meetings at Christian Heritage to a Winston Churchill war room. Which is funny, he said, because being an education leader wasn’t his priority growing up. He said when he graduated high school he envisioned being a moneymaking business leader and retiring by age 35.

That wasn’t his “calling,” Porter said, adding that even his high school gym coach could see he was headed for education long before he saw it himself.

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