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Steve Fisher figures he was recruiting for Jesus even when he was being paid to recruit for others.
For years he worked as a headhunter for Columbus’ Management Recruiters, a mainstream firm, as well as his own Fisher Enterprises. Often, they placed high-end engineers in management posts nationwide.
Yet, in all the talk with clients about sometimes six-figures salaries, one figure surfaced regularly — especially with clients personally wounded from being phased out of a firm’s plans.
“If a guy told me he was hurting, then it gave me the chance to say, ‘Hey — here’s some salve. Jesus can heal that.’”
He stopped for a moment.
“My job is simply to pass along the good news,” he said.
Today, several years after the economy dried up much of the headhunting business, the 63-year-old Fisher, once ranked among his firm’s top 10 headhunters nationally, literally is passing along the good news as manager for the local Christian pop-rock and southern gospel radio outlets with Columbus’ Good Shepherd Radio. He worked 20 years as a vice president at Cummins Inc. before beginning to place managers as a recruiter.
Plus, since the mid-1990s, he has served as a prominent and very visible leader of a small, local chapter of the men’s ministry Promise Keepers, which meets at 6:30 a.m. Thursdays at Denny’s Restaurant.
He said he never really worried when he left the recruiting post and its lucrative salary. Besides, he sees the almighty as the ultimate promise keeper.
“God provides,” he said, grinning as he sat in his small office festooned with Scriptures on the wall. “Remember Elijah in the Bible, and how God used even crows to feed him?”
As an example, he mentioned that God provided needed funds recently to cover an expensive surgery for a family member, despite the fact that he had no health insurance.
Though Fisher’s faith always has been front and center, even friend and Christian station chairman Keith Reising reacted with surprise when Fisher recommended himself for the spot at pop-rock The Bridge (90.1 FM) and southern gospel WYGS (91.1 FM) four years ago.
After all, Fisher had no experience or knowledge of radio.
But Columbus’ Mike Percifield, Fisher’s boss with Management Recruiters for 17 years, could understand such a fit, given Fisher’s passion for the Christian faith.
“I used to tell Steve that he had missed his true calling,” Percifield said, “and he should have been an evangelist.”
Truth be told, Fisher has long considered himself in marketplace ministry, anyway.
“I was a full-time minister of the Gospel, carefully disguised as a headhunter,” he often quipped.
In fact, at Management Recruiters, he kept a box of Bibles in his office. Whenever a job candidate expressed an interest in Christianity, Fisher gave him or her a copy of the Scriptures.
Today, he’s giving them away at the radio station.
“They go out a lot faster now than they did back then,” he said with a laugh.
He has remained unchanged in other ways. Though staffers encouraged him to use an iPad while selling advertising for the stations, he employs his own method: an old-fashioned clipboard with handwritten notes that administrative assistant Melissa Burton transcribes into the computerized records.
He mentioned that the young station’s finances have grown considerably since he assumed the helm.
“Granted, we’re a not-for-profit,” he said. “But we’re also not for loss.”
He said he loves his behind-the-scenes work. But he also gets the chance to share on-air with listeners during a 7 a.m. Friday Bible study on the southern gospel station.
The man who is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors also loves to emphasize the importance of marital harmony.
“It’s a huge issue,” said Fisher, married to wife Gretchen for 41 years.
Burton has served as Fisher’s administrative assistant for more than 20 years. She has grown accustomed to his straightforward ways.
“With Steve,” Burton said, “what you see is what you get. You always know exactly where you are with him.”
He swears he makes no effort to change the mind of a nonbeliever when talk turns to the spiritual. He laughs about conversations with people who have told him that, yes, they consider themselves a Christian — “but not one of those born-again ones.”
“Oh, really?” he said to one young person a few years ago. “I didn’t know there was any other kind.”
He makes no apologies for his direct approach, mentioning that he feels no need “to beat around the bush with the gospel.”
“Really, God gets all the glory,” Fisher said. “My job is simply to carry the water of life to people. But I can’t make them drink.”
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