Minister Helps People 'Do Life'
Rich Erdman has his hand in many spiritual aspects of Paulding County.
He gives the invocation at the school board meetings.
He's the Hiram Police Department's chaplain.
And he holds "Tuesday Church" for those who can't make a traditional service.
Pastor Rich Erdman has his hand in many spiritual aspects of Paulding County.
The man who acts as a "life coach" for the Paulding County School District, runs Rich Erdman Ministries (REM) from home or a small office on top of a large hill beside the Paulding/Northwest Atlanta Airport. There's no running water for the office and "that presents a challenge," he said laughing.
But there sure is a beautiful view from the top, and Erdman says he feels close to God way up there.
He was not always a minister, but perhaps his mother had a vision of the future. They were Catholic growing up, "and my mother used to say I was going to be her priest."
For many years, Erdman ran his own business. His calling sent him to further his religious education.
A Brooklyn, N.Y., native, Erdman and his wife, Louanne, moved to Paulding County about six years ago. They had lived in North Carolina, but moved to Virginia where Erdman took seminary classes at Liberty University.
The couple has four grown sons and considers themselves "empty nesters."
Erdman had a friend that was getting a congregation going at West Ridge Church in Dallas. Erdman became a staff member there before going out on his own.
Erdman says God wanted him to help people and tell them how much God loves them.
"I'm humbled and honored to be a part of that," he said on a recent windy afternoon outside his office.
He'd been heavily involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and had made many contacts in the school district. He became the school system's Community Life Coach, an unpaid position, not too long ago.
“What is a life coach?” you ask.
Simply put, it's a little bit of everything. Erdman says he helps people "do life."
Any time a student or teacher has lost a loved one or has had tragedy strike, Erdman is "there to love on them and help them in their time of need."
He also helps out when people are in need of anything—severe incidents or accidents like a house fire.
If a child's house has burned down, the family is going to need clothes and a place to stay. Erdman says he'll send out an email to his contacts in the community for help.
It's always amazing how everyone comes together, Erdman said. People generally like other people, he said. "They want to see each other's needs met."
There are so many things going on in people's families these days. Erdman said he wants them to know, "It's still worth it."
The needs of the school district may also include Erdman's time. He recently substituted for a teacher who had an ill family member.
"He's a guy who will basically pick up the slack on anything," said Board of Education member Kim Curl.
Erdman gives back to the community daily, Curl said.
He also mentors kids at the various schools, even doing so after they go to college.
Erdman has a great "listening ear," said Paulding County High School Principal Eddie Fincher. He really hears the kids.
Erdman is the police chaplain for the city of Hiram and holds a gathering for devotion, sharing and prayer in the upstairs training room for all the police and city employees twice a month. Anyone is invited to come.
He also holds Tuesday Church for folks in the community who can't make it on the weekend, perhaps because of what they do for a living. Those meetings are in peoples’ homes and involve prayer, education, dinner and socializing.
"It's a horrible thing to do life alone."