Meet the Legacy Team, Part 2

Meet the Legacy Team, Part 2

by Bill High

This is Michael. He’s the sophisticated-looking guy on the far right of the picture.

He’s helping produce our video series, The Power of Your Family Legacy. More on that later.

Michael has had some significant roles in the ministry world: Focus on the Family. Insight for Living. Museum of the Bible.

But not many know the story of how John Mellencamp inspired his passion for legacy.


John “Cougar” Mellencamp is a rock singer-songwriter. And not just any singer-songwriter—he’s a Grammy winner, co-founder of Farm Aid with Willie Nelson and Neil young, and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

It was 1987, and Michael and his wife Cindy were in the middle of hard times. As young marrieds with a two-year old boy, this pregnancy was causing Cindy severe sickness that no doctor could fix, and they were faced with a decision:

Should they abort the child in Cindy’s womb?

They had no faith to guide their decision. They scheduled an abortion. It would make life easier, they reasoned. They couldn’t add one more thing to their plate.

Twelve hours before their abortion, Cindy called the hospital and cancelled. She just couldn’t go through with it.

Enter John Mellencamp.

Four days before their daughter was born, John Mellencamp released his platinum award winning album, The Lonesome Jubliee. Michael picked up a copy the day it released, August 24, 1987. When he got home, he immediately opened the album, placed the vinyl on the record player and started reading the album’s notes.

Bold on the cover was this quote from the book of Ecclesiastes, “Generations come and go, but it makes no difference” (Ecclesiastes 1:4 Living Bible). In particular, the words from the song “Check it Out” spoke to him:

A million young poets screaming out their words
To a world full of people just living to be heard
Future generations, riding on the highways that we built
I hope they have a better understanding

Michael resolved as a young father to honor the miracle of life given to them. They would create a legacy for their family and for the generations yet to come. Their daughter, Natasha, arrived, and a few months later, on Christmas day 1987, he and Cindy gave their lives to Christ.

Michael and Cindy now enjoy six grandchildren, four with Travis and Elizabeth, and two with Eric and Natasha.

Life matters. And our decisions today impact generations not yet born. So says John Mellencamp. So says Michael Clarke and his wife Cindy. So says the Bible.

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Published May 30, 2022

Topics: Family Legacy

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