Member Spotlight: Michael Eastham, Samaritan Ministries Board member
by Michael Miller · Feb 20, 2023
Michael Eastham is joining the Samaritan Ministries Board of Directors with 30 years of financial planning and business experience.
In the 2022 Board election, Samaritan members elected the Orlando, Florida-area resident to a three-year term, and re-elected incumbent Jim Taggart to his second term.
Starting a business
A few years after Michael and his wife, Vickie, and their young family moved to Florida in 2002 from the Washington, D.C., area, he decided to get his own business going. After graduating from James Madison University, Michael had already worked at public accounting firms.
“I had an interest in all things financial,” he says.
So, Fellowship Financial Group was born in 2006.
“I knew it was a gifting that I had and that there were a lot of people who needed those kinds of services,” Michael says.
Calm financial waters
Michael says he tries to steer Fellowship Financial customers in such a way as to avoid stock market turbulence like the U.S. has been seeing.
“We help people focus on income investments, like interest and dividends,” he says. “That way, economic changes don’t heavily impact what we do for existing clients.”
One way he has tried to share his wisdom is through a book he first published in 2017 and then updated in 2021, Common-Sense Income Strategies: Simple Step-by-Step Ways to Maximize Your Retirement.
“My book is designed to shed light on the fact that Wall Street only teaches one way to invest, whether you’re in your accumulation years, or your distribution years are approaching, or you’re in retirement needing less risk and more income,” he says. “The book is one way I can get our message out to people who otherwise wouldn’t know about investing for income.”
Using his gifts
Michael’s financial acumen has enabled him to serve on the boards of nonprofits and the finance committee of his church, Metro Life, in Casselberry, Florida.
“It has helped me to be able to give back in areas where the nonprofit or the church needs help and also to be a resource for people who need questions answered,” Michael says. “I always make myself available for those types of situations.”
It’s also a way he can use his abilities for the purposes of the Kingdom of God.
“What it really comes down to is using the gifts that God has given you to sow back into the Kingdom and serve others,” he says. “For me, that’s been an entryway. It has created an opportunity for me to share, number one, the giftings that I have in a way that serves people and, number two, to be a light in the community.
“My business is a for-profit company, not a ministry in the theological sense of the word, but I certainly work hard to live my life in a way that brings God glory and also shows that I’m a good steward of the resources that He has given to my family and to me.
“We need to be good stewards of the gifts that we have been given, the skills that we have, and the financial resources that we have as well.”
Advice for the young
Michael encourages young people leaning toward creating their own business path to take that step.
“Your most secure job opportunity is the one you create for yourself,” he says.
“The world we live in today is entirely different than it was for my parents’ and their parents’ generations. There was a lot more employer loyalty. People would go to a job and start a career path. Unfortunately, too many larger businesses just look at people as resources. The human relationship is discarded if it can be replaced with something more efficient.
“My biggest encouragement to young people is that they need to be the difference makers. The way that you do that is by taking control of the resources and the giftings that God has given you. Invest those in a business where you can provide for your family and where you can learn and develop a skill. You can also serve the community in some way, shape, or form.”
Don’t fear failure
Failure, Michael says, is one way that young entrepreneurs learn and get better.
“Everybody’s going to fail at something,” he says. “It’s not so much about whether you’re going to fail. It’s what happens when you do fail. For me, it creates maturity and a responsibility to plow forward, continue to work hard and be diligent no matter what happens.
“God is the creator, and He has made me in His image, but He didn’t promise me a perfect life this side of Heaven.”
The road back to Christ
As a teenager, Michael wandered away from the Christian faith he had been raised in.
“Not unlike many teenagers that think that they know everything, I just decided to go out on my own,” he says. “It’s pride that makes us feel like ‘I know better than my parents do.’ I just did my own thing for several years and rebelled in the same way that most people rebel. Then you get to a point where you feel like, ‘All right, well, I’ve got to start looking at life differently.’ I guess you call that maturity. You start to reflect on the things that you were taught when you were young, those foundational things. For me, it was the Gospel.”
At the age of about 20, Michael says, he realized that his need for Jesus was deep.
“I just recognized that that’s how I wanted to live my life,” he says. “I wanted to be honorable, I wanted to be a man of integrity, and I wanted to work hard, so those things brought me straight back to Scripture.”
The Eastham family
Michael and Vickie have four children: Joshua, 22, Nicole, 28, now married; Jonathan, 26; and Hope, 14.
He and Vickie met at a CPA firm where they both worked. Vickie was the office manager there and now manages the Eastham household.
“She does a phenomenal job,” Michael says.
The Easthams adopted Hope after deciding they “weren’t quite ready to not have a baby in the household.”
After realizing how long international adoption would take, they switched to a local Christian adoption agency. In a short time, they were able to bring Hope home.
“It was really a miracle in God’s timing: the way the paperwork flowed, when the birth mom came in to notify the agency that she wanted to give her child up for adoption. Every single one of those little data points clearly pointed to the miraculous hand of God in the whole process.”
The future is now
Michael is looking forward to serving on the Samaritan Board.
“I hope to be able to apply some of the strategic insights that I’ve been able to acquire over the years of developing my own business and skill set in the financial area,” he says. “Also, I have a passion to try and figure out the ways that we can contribute to the health care community and get our voice heard.”
Michael also is looking forward to contributing to the growth of the organization, “at least from a strategic standpoint, to help leadership think critically about opportunities to pursue.”
“I am honored to represent Samaritan members on the Board of Directors for the upcoming term,” he says. “I look forward to experiencing all that God intends as I bring my ideas and perspectives to the ministry.”
Read one reason that Michael Eastham loves Samaritan Ministries health care sharing.
Michael Miller is editor of the Samaritan Ministries newsletter.
Photos by Naomi Lynn Photography.