Richard Snyder
My Journey

Week 20: From AC to JC

What do Radioshack, IT, and a Baptist church have in common? And no, the answer is not that they all have an “i” in their name. Well, for anyone who can’t guess, the common thread is the man I met with today– Richard Snyder, a former Radio Shack salesman and current pastor and IT manager.

Richard SnyderAfter greeting dad, Richard started the day by telling me his story. Richard’s father left when he was a young child, and his mother remarried when he was ten. This was not as nice as it first seemed, for his step-father treated the situation like he was having to take care of a child that was not his, and didn’t show Richard the love he needed. On top of that, he soon gained a step-brother who, when he got older, chose a homosexual lifestyle. Richard got through it, though, and his relationship with the Lord became even stronger. It was also about this time that he started working at Radio Shack.

Awards Aplenty for RichardWhen Richard started working here in Cleveland, he and the rest of his employees called it “Cleveville”, because it was so small. There seemed absolutely no way it could compete with, say, NYC, or San Francisco. But because God had blessed him so much, Richard at one point rose to #4 overall in sales! Now you may think that Radio Shack is one dinky little store in your neighborhood, but the truth is that there are Radio Shacks around the country, with over 35,000 employees. So when I say that Richard rose to fourth overall in sales out of all the employees, and in Cleveland no less, it is clearly obvious that the hand of the Lord was on him.

Richard Definitely has a Sense of HumorWell, Richard kept on being blessed, and he kept on climbing the company’s ladder. Pretty soon, he was near the top, and making a good deal of money. Then the management got greedy and said, “We’re going to cut everyone’s pay by 50%!” Needless to say, that rattled a few cages, and God used it to start Richard thinking about leaving. He began to look around for a job, and that was when he remembered the calling God had given him years earlier. He had thought about being an evangelist (you can leave after you preach; the pastor has to stay and face the music), but God wanted him to become a pastor. There was a church nearby that was very much in need of a pastor. It was the perfect spot. Also, Richard found an IT job with a local company.  He made the switch from Radio Shack to the new company the day before the new pay came into effect. You talk about good timing by God; it was perfect. When Richard first came to the church, there were things that had to be done, such as changing things, bringing in new people, and even though the Bible says not to give up on anyone, there were people who needed to be put out. And even though it isn’t perfect, Richard says that the church is definitely thriving, and he praises the Lord for bringing him there. To prove that point, the average Baptist pastor stays in one place for two years. He’s been at his church for 17.

When Richard had completed his incredible tale, he asked if I wanted to ask him any questions. How could I refuse? First, I asked him what his wisest decisions ever were. He responded by saying that his wisest was leaving Radio Shack when he did, marrying his wife Lisa, and buying his piece of property when he did. See, he bought it just as raw pasture, with no city water, and he got it at $3700 per acre. Then right after they bought it, the utility installed city water, which tripled the value. When I asked him what a few of his most unwise choices were, he said that the first was being a workaholic, because his body is more worn down than it should be from all the stress and job issues. Another foolish decision was when he was in the home development business and when he asked God about buying some more properties. Even though God didn’t say “no”, Richard did sense some hesitancy on God’s part, but he bought anyway. Almost immediately, the bottom went out of the housing market. Then I asked Richard why he decided to take the job at IT. He replied that he has always adored technology and computers– the job at Radio Shack proved that– and IT was just another job with technology included.

The last question I posed was how Richard made it through his teen-age years, what with his step-dad, half-brother, and such. He shook his head and said that it was partly through the prayers of his grandparents, and partly because of the fact that at that time, most of Richard’s friends were older, as in 30-50. Because of that, he matured a lot faster.

When my questions were exhausted, we went to a nursing home to visit one of the people in Richard’s congregation, and then went out to eat at Gondoliers (it’s hard to end a day any way better than eating a gyro), and that was how my day ended. When dad came to get me, I was full, happy, and reluctant to come home. Also, I knew way more about pastoring and working at Radio Shack than I did before. America needs people in both those kinds of roles.


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