I recently sat down with Ron Demolar. Ron has held a number of roles throughout his years of service at Mount Hermon. From inaugural Director of Ponderosa Lodge and Mount Hermon’s Program Director to bus driver and even master flipper at Pancake Ridge, he’s done a lot! However, few folks know that he chairs Mount Hermon’s Trustees.
I’m glad you asked. For over a century, Mount Hermon thrived in part because of the guidance of Trustees. Trustees are appointed for life. For that reason, they are carefully and prayerfully selected. Every one of Mount Hermon’s current Trustees has lived through a variety of ministry experiences and shares a tender heart for service to God and to His people.
Over time, the role has adapted to fit the need. Where Mount Hermon’s Board of Directors advise on ministry policy and other areas, the Trustees focus solely on ministry health and spiritual oversight. When Mount Hermon considers an update to its Statement of Beliefs or brings on a new keynote speaker for the first time, the Trustees prayerfully consider the integrity of the change and its impact on the ministry and guests.
One key benefit of the Trustees is that they possess a vast amount of ministry experience and leadership. They are always ready to encourage or share counsel as needed. When times are good, they prepare for the next challenge and work to help create a healthy ministry environment. When challenges come, their encouraging response is “We’ve seen things like this before, and we’re here to come alongside you [staff and leadership] and trust God to get us through it.” Either way, Trustees are protecting and encouraging, largely behind the scenes.
Trustees aren’t just a benefit to Mount Hermon’s staff and leadership, but also to its partner churches and guests. Mount Hermon’s founders were intentional about the creation of a retreat center where churches and guests from different denominations could draw close to God and to each other. It seems simple enough, but as times change from generation to generation, much is needed to maintain a ministry that’s available to all. And yet this model, as it has been preserved, has yielded remarkable results.
If you’re wondering why Mount Hermon hasn’t succumbed to “mission drift” like so many other longstanding ministries, it’s partly because of the Trustees’ vigilance for keeping Mount Hermon centered on its original focus: to be an interdenominational ministry centered on Jesus and the teaching of God’s Word.