Billie Silvey
Three Christian
Bosses
August 2006
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Helen Young--Helen was my first boss
after we returned to Los Angeles from
the Navy in 1971.  Beautiful and kind,
as well as a good writer, she was senior
editor of
20th Century Christian when
I was assistant editor.  Together, we put
out 288 issues of the magazine, or one a
month for 24 years.  We hosted
planning sessions and fixed food and
cleaned out file cabinets and garages.  
We also co-authored a book on
time
management.

But it wasn’t all work.  If it hadnâ
€™t been for Helen, we wouldn’t
have had vacations most of those
years.  We tried to get back to Texas
every couple of years to visit our
families, but aside from that, we couldnâ
€™t afford trips.  So Helen loaned us
houses she had access to--their beach
house or their house on campus as well
as a house on Lake Arrowhead and an
apartment in Palm Springs.  It was great
to have a weekend, sometimes even a
week, outside the city.
I’ve been so fortunate in my working life in that all
of my bosses have been Christians.  I’d like to tell
you about three of them who I think are exemplary,
though in very different ways.
Ron Lau--Ron and the other elders at the Culver Palms
church hired me after I left the magazine in 1995 to work
in involvement and outreach.  After we started the Culver
Palms Life Skills Lab, training mostly single moms to get
jobs, those elders became my board of trustees.  Ron
was the one I worked closest with.

Having grown up in Los Angeles, where his parents sold
produce, Ron understood the problems of poverty.  He
felt, as I did, that the church had a role to play in helping
the poor.  But he was also the product of UCLA and had
a work ethic which led him to success in several fields.  
An engineer, he studied astrophysics, mathematically
determining the relationships of planets and stars.  He
sold commercial real estate and helped us locate the
house near the church building where we live today.

He was a wise money manager, and he spoke to many of
our job training classes about making good use of their
money after they began earning it.
Marvin Cooper--When Life
Skills Lab ran out of money in
the summer of 2003, Marvin
Cooper, coordinator of
Westchester Healthy Start on
the campus of Westchester
High School, hired me to work
as a case manager and grant
writer.  We had known each
other since we worked
together at the Culver Palms
church, and he had assisted the
Life Skills Lab instructor after
we started that program.
I am grateful to God, to my husband Frank who has taken up
the financial slack created by my work in Christian journalism
and helping professions, to family and friends who have
pitched in with help and encouragement, and to these and
other Christian bosses and co-workers who have enabled me
to serve God by serving people.

The greatest work in the world is to do good for others,
working in concert with God.  â€œFor it is God who works
in you to will and to act according to his good purpose�
(Philippians 2:13).
I was frightened.  I had just killed one nonprofit, and I didnâ
€™t want to destroy another.  But so far, we continue to
serve young people with counseling, tutoring, academic
enrichment and other support services to help them succeed in
a public school where over ninety percent of the students are
African American and Hispanic, a demographic with low rates
of college attendance.

Marvin had been a successful salesman of wine and spirits
when he became more completely converted to Christ and
determined to devote himself to helping others.  His major
efforts are in prison ministry, where he serves as a role model,
helping young men turn their lives around.  A very caring
person, he lifts the level of our office.
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