Norman Humber remembers the first time he was asked to volunteer at his local rescue mission. A friend prompted the question, and he was quick to respond, “I’ll be there.”
“I like to picture God sitting up in Heaven, shaking his head at me, and saying, “Son, you have no idea,” says Humber, the new CEO of LifePath Christian Ministries.
That first encounter with the Nashville Rescue Mission would later turn into a career in the ministry.
He’s spent the past 22 years — eight of those on the Board of Directors — at the Nashville organization, which feeds, clothes, and shelters about 7,000 people a year. He most recently served as its Chief of Staff. In that role, he led up to 150 personnel, managed the emergency shelter and life recovery programs, and administered an annual budget of $12 million.
While Humber gained the valuable experience of understanding the operation, businesses, and management side of running a large organization, he also drew on his personal experiences to lead with compassion and understanding.
Humber was raised by a single mother of four children. While the family was never homeless, they were evicted half a dozen times. His mother worked hard as a nurse to support her family, but their struggle to flourish sometimes relied on the help of others. “My heart for ministry became an expression of my faith and gratitude for those who helped my own family,” he says.
Building a more impactful future
It was after his mother’s death this past year that he felt God nudging him again. This time, it was to push himself further and consider the impact he could make elsewhere when a friend shared with him an opening as CEO at LifePath Christian Ministries.
As he steps into his role, effective July 6, he brings with him his wife of 14 years, Mary. Together, they’ve spent time getting to know York and the community they now call home. She brings her own heart for seeing lives transformed through Christ.
After a lengthy search, Humber’s addition to LifePath will ensure a consistency in the board’s vision for the organization and a push toward building a more impactful future.
“Norman comes from the experience that can lead LifePath to where we’d like to go as an organization,” says Jeff Kreuer, chair of the board. “He brings an understanding of the systems and business knowledge that can guide LifePath forward, while embodying a sense of humility and Christian leadership.”
Dr. Larry Walthour, the lead pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, who has served on LifePath’s board for three years, was part of the CEO search committee. The committee received 52 applications and narrowed those down to 12 qualified candidates before presenting to the board their recommendation for Humber’s hire.
“Norman’s experience in Nashville, of knowing the operations, the management, and the details that run a successful mission, made him the best candidate for the position,” Walthour says. “He also brings a personal demeanor that is very welcoming, and one that I think will continue the legacy of LifePath and its mission to transform lives.”
Following Christ’s lead
As Humber steps into his new role, he wants to assure the community of his experience and knowledge in operating a successful mission, while learning how the organization can make a bigger impact in the future.
“I look forward to honoring the culture and the foundation that the board has worked so hard to establish at LifePath,” Humber says. “They have entrusted me to take that vision and move it forward, to continue a mission of transforming lives and developing partnerships within the community that build upon the good work that has been done.”
In many ways, as he embarks on this chapter of his career, he still pictures God looking down on him, with the same smile and shake of his head. “Son, you have no idea.”
“The ‘no idea’ is pretty cool,” Humber says. “I love the ‘no idea’ because I trust that He’s going to lead us there.”