The first time Tim Meyer attempted to earn a Master’s degree he came up empty handed.
With his wife Lori Meyer having just given birth to their third child, the Asbury University alumnus’ first appointment from The Salvation Army proved to be too involved to complete a graduate degree to better serve the organization, congregation, and community.
“I just couldn’t keep up, I couldn’t do the classes and coursework and at the same time do what the ministry needed and expected of me,” said the Air Force veteran, noting his pursuit lasted only 12 credits.
Fast forward through several appointments and reaching an empty nest, and Tim once again found himself looking to earn a graduate degree – this time, a little more conveniently. Having completed the Salvation Army’s six-week International College Experience, he was challenged to be prepared for whatever his next appointment would be.
“I knew I needed to earn a degree that would prepare me for anything, because I knew my next appointment could entail anything – administrative work, social services-related work, a role related to HR or property management,” said the 60-year-old. “So I really was looking for a program that would prepare me for whatever the Lord put in front of me.”
Initially approaching the school he began his graduate journey with, he was told he’d have to completely start over. Back to the drawing board, Tim heard about Marian’s 100% online Master’s programs – what they all covered, the scholarships available to him, and the flexible coursework. He was sold, and began pursuing his Master of Science in Organizational Leadership.
“The online format ended up being just perfect for me, and it was a great combination of challenging, informative courses, and a flexible schedule – I set aside one evening each week to focus on a class, used Saturdays to study and did other coursework as I could throughout the week,” he said. “And I appreciated how helpful the faculty was – I even managed to fit in an extended vacation because a professor worked with me to accommodate that schedule.”
The program was the right fit at the time, as it’s proven to be a valuable asset since he’s become The Salvation Army’s Eastern Michigan General Secretary and Metro Detroit Area Commander – its version of a COO.
“The knowledge I gained from earning my Organizational Leadership degree translates incredibly well to what I am doing,” he said. “It really taught me to view things long-term, how decisions we make can affect organizations in different ways than what we immediately see, and it really prepared me to see how my role fits into the overall structure of The Salvation Army.”
Meyer, who has begun teaching financial responsibility courses at a Detroit drug treatment facility and is helping organize a marathon raising awareness for human trafficking, also sees how he took away many of Marian’s Core Values from the program and puts them to daily use.
“The lesson and topics were never presented in a ‘What’s in it for me’ sort of way, it was always about ‘How can I take this knowledge and improve the world and bring His love to others,” he said. “Because of the program, I am undoubtedly better equipped to help others.”