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Wounded Heroes merger with LeaderCare highlighted

ATLANTA (BP)–Wounded Heroes, a ministry to ministers founded by evangelist Freddie Gage, officially became part of LifeWay Christian Resources’ LeaderCare June 14 in a luncheon at the Georgia World Conference Center, preceding the June 15-16 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Atlanta.
Gage, 66, founded Wounded Heroes in 1997 to provide help and encouragement to hurting and depressed ministers and their families. The merger with LifeWay’s LeaderCare was announced May 1.
LeaderCare, housed in LifeWay’s pastor-staff leadership department, sponsors conferences for emotionally distressed ministers and their families. It also operates a 24-hour-a-day emergency hotline, 1-888-789-1911.
Gage said the merger “will take the stress off of me and set me free to continue raising awareness for ministry burnout and related emotional problems.”
He also said the merger will improve Wounded Heroes’ effectiveness. “As a result of LifeWay’s involvement, the vision and the dream I have will become a reality. Where we [Wounded Heroes] could reach 100 persons, LifeWay can reach 10,000.”
During the luncheon, Gage received the James T. Draper Jr. LeaderLife Award. Named after the president of LifeWay Christian Resources, the award recognizes significant accomplishments of ministers and has only been presented twice before.
In his response, Gage encouraged Southern Baptists to continue supporting Wounded Heroes and LeaderCare. He testified to his own confidence in Draper’s leadership.
In his keynote message, James Merritt, pastor of First Baptist Church, Snellville, Ga., focused on the consequences of bitterness and the benefits of forgiveness.
“Bitterness is hurt hidden in the heart,” Merritt said. “It saturates the mind … and saddens the spirit.” He said that everyone — pastors and ministers included — feel bitterness at some point. “As a root of bitterness grows,” Merritt continued, “it will take up more and more room in your heart.”
Merritt went on to say that bitterness can only be countered with forgiveness. That forgiveness, he said, must be free, full and final.
“Forgiveness frees you to be all that you can be for God and to do all that he can do through you.”

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  • Tony Imms