by Brad Dupray
Every organization has those people who stand out. We think of them as the shoulders upon which we stand – and we do. At CDF Capital, those are names like Ralph Dornette, Jim Campbell, Al Mills, Jackie Charnell, and others. But every organization also has the people behind the scenes who receive little of the glory but are crucial to its success. When I think back through my own ministry history, both at CDF and elsewhere, one of those unsung names is Harold Purdom.
When I was a young minister, Harold was the Chairman of the Board of the church where I served, Lawndale Christian Church (Lawndale, CA; now Restoration Life Christian Church). Harold was also on the Board of Directors of CDF at the time, thus dedicating his life to two ministries in his off hours. Harold took me under his wing and mentored me in the ways of life and ministry. He was really like a second father to me.
Harold had worked his way up through the ranks to the executive level at Continental Airlines and after a thirty-plus year career, he retired, thinking his working days were over. But no, they were just getting started. Soon after he cashed it in with Continental, he had a moment that Bob Buford would later define in his book, Halftime, as moving from success to significance. Ralph Dornette asked Harold to cast retirement aside and come to work at CDF, and that’s when Harold found his real calling. Rebecca Lyons defines calling as “where your talents and your burdens collide.” Harold had a magnificent collision.
For over a decade Harold worked alongside Ralph to build CDF into the dynamic ministry that it would become. Harold worked tireless hours, meeting with churches, raising investments, and most importantly, providing paternal leadership to a staff that was growing and experiencing a changing of the guard from those who built the structure to those who would reform it, shape it, and mold it for the future.
When I was that young minister, Harold would often take me to lunch to talk about life, ministry, and family; he poured his life into a young man who was trying to make his way, trying to find his own calling. I can remember the restaurant table I was sitting at when Harold asked if I would be interested in working at CDF. It was one of the most transformational days of my life.
I have friends who remember Harold, but most of them are in their twilight years. And there are a few of my co-workers who can hearken back to things like Harold’s “change game” where he would shake the change in his pocket and if you guessed correctly within a certain range he would hand it over to you; it was the game of a loving father figure.
The real change game for Harold, however, occurred when he came out of retirement and blessed a ministry with his leadership and helped lay the foundation to help churches grow long after he passed from this life to join his heavenly Father. He told me how he looked forward to that day.
Like the unsung heroes of the New Testament who helped lay the foundation for the future of the church (think Priscilla, Aquila, Epaphroditus, Onesimus, Nicodemus, etc.) people like Harold Purdom didn’t seek the spotlight. He was one of the many quiet heroes who gave his only life for the benefit of countless others. God bless you, Harold Purdom, and the unsung heroes all around us. You are the real shoulders upon which we stand.