SALINAS, CA, June 17, 2019 — Marquis Who's Who, the word's premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Dr. Michael Ladra with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Ladra has many years of experience in his professional work, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes he has accrued in his field. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals are selected on the basis of position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in his field.
Bachelor of Arts, Stanford University, Palo Alto
• Double Major: Honors Philosophy and Honors Humanities
• Dissertation: The Existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre and His Cultural Influence
Masters of Divinity, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton
• Major in Theology and Pastoral Counseling
Doctor's Degree, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena
• Major in Church Growth
Multiple Sabbaticals, Merton College, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
• Seminars: Shakespeare, Dickens, C.S. Lewis, Winston Churchill,
The Decline of the British Empire, Science and Culture,
19th Century British Literature, etc
Sabbaticals at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
• Biblical Archeology
• 1st Temple Period History
• 2nd Temple Period History
• Jew and Gentile in the 1st Century
Sabbatical, Edinburgh University, Edinburgh
• Dante: The Inferno
Sabbatical at Ecce Homo Monastery, Jerusalem, Israel
• With Catholic scholars: In depth on the Gospel of Mark
• Outstanding Young Americans
• C.S. Lewis Society
• The Outreach Foundation
• Associate Pastor, Park Blvd Presbyterian Church, 1971-4
• National Director of Singles' and Men's Ministry, Bible Study Fellowship 1975-1977
Training of leaders, speaking nationally, leading a capacity
class of 450 men
• Senior Pastor, Corona Presbyterian Church, Denver Colorado (1977-1987)
• Senior Pastor, 1st Presbyterian Church, Salinas, Calif (1978 to present)
It had severely declined, averaging less than 300 in worship. A Fuller Seminary Church Growth study was arranged by the Elder Board to determine the reason for the decline. The cause was determined to be a membership without vision and without desire to reach new people.
The church was ingrown and dying.
The Board contacted Dr. Ladra and issued a call. He accepted. Within 2 years both worship services had grown to capacity. A building committee was established, but their efforts to buy the entire block failed because a few home owners would not sell.
To find more space a contemporary service was begun in their gym while keeping the traditional service in the sanctuary. Within a year it was at capacityof 800. A building committee was established. It found a location nearby and a 1500 seat contemporary worship center with large screens and state-of-the-art sound was built. It filled to capacity the first week it was opened. So a second service was launched.
The children's Sunday School rooms were overflowing, so the building next door was purchased, and with volunteer labor, converted it into a huge creative learning center.
Because denominations are no longer a factor in our country, and in fact can be negative, the church changed its name to COMPASS CHURCH for a broader appeal. It has been productive. COMPASS is now one of truly integrated churches racially in the country, both racially but also economically. Unlike many churches with a Senior Citizen congregation, COMPASS ranges from the teens through ninety year olds.
In the late '90's the church began a twice daily radio broadcast of sermons on KKMC and televised the Sunday sermon. The radio audience exceeds 120,000 and extends to 3 counties.
The TV audience exceeds 90,000. This has given the church wide name recognition. COMPASS is now a brand.
Capitalizing on its name recognition, COMPASS launched a new church in nearby Marina. Sermons are broadcast simultaneously from the 'mother church' on S. Main in Salinas Marina is a full service church with children's Sunday School, women's and men's mid-week groups, and a college ministry to a nearby UC campus.
Six different worship services (music style from traditional to contemporary) are now offered at 3 locations, including a Sunday evening service which is rare today.
Our ministries vary widely: Celebrate Recovery, New Hope Counseling service, Seniors, Women's and Men's groups, grief recovery and divorce care, etc.
Life is what happens when you had other plans. In our case, Jon, our only son, developed Paranoia Schizophrenia.
There is no mental illness in his family tree, so this was unexpected. He was a 2nd Lieutenant in the army when the disease was diagnosed. It is a horrible disease that develops slowly until his son was suspicious of everyone spying on him for the government.
He broke off relationships with everyone, including his beloved mother, and moved to Missouri where living costs were cheaper.
For the next 10 years Dr. Ladra and Susie agonized as he descended deeper into darkness. He heard hostile voices 24/7 in his head threatening him, demeaning him, urging him to kill himself. Eventually the weekend calls stopped. His landlord contacted Dr. Ladra and said Jon had disappeared. No one had seen him for a month.
Eventually the police phoned to say his body had been found in the woods completely decayed. He was only a skeleton with a wallet. He had hung himself. The noose was still around his neck.
Losing him nearly broke us. It was like an amputation without anesthesia. But as I candidly spoke about grief on Sundays, a new ministry came – a ministry to scores of people who called for help with mental illness in their family. Dr. Ladra's candid speaking about it moved a normally taboo subject into the open.
In the meantime their beloved daughter Jenny was married and has given them 2 wonderful granddaughters – Teagan and Juliette. Every day they celebrate life. There is no guarantee of tomorrow. Carpe Diem. In recognition of outstanding contributions to his profession and the Marquis Who's Who community, Dr. Ladra has been featured on the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement website. Please visit www.ltachievers.com for more information about this honor.
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