I’m not sure I know the difference between bragging and celebrating when it comes to members of your family. Whatever you choose to call it, this past weekend spent with my son Greg was amazing. It all started about 2 months ago when Greg called me to invite me to accompany him to Wichita, Kansas on Father’s Day weekend. He had been invited to speak to the Assemblies of God pastors in the state of Kansas. Due to the grace and favor of God, the church plant Greg founded in 2010 in Columbus, called One Church, has experienced phenomenal growth. Easter weekend over 2,900 people attended 7 services, and 73 people accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. As a result of One Church’s growth, Greg is invited to share his story with leaders around the nation and to tell the principles and processes that undergird its “success.” This trip to Kansas was one of those opportunities for Greg to communicate the transferable principles and practices that One Church uses to advance Christ’s kingdom work.
I attended the Saturday sessions observing bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh communicating with humility things I wish I would have known 40 years ago. I was on the receiving end of a reverse mentoring experience. I learned more about leadership that day than I have in a very long time. I watched men older than me sitting there writing down insights that resonated with them and which they can implement in their own congregations. I left the conference with a renewed sense of excitement that some of the things Greg shared can be uniquely applied to a local congregation but also to the role I serve as a community leader. Here are a few of the principles that One Church weaves into the fabric of their church culture.
First, to be effective and expand your influence you must move beyond leading groups to leading leaders. Second, for there to be a healthy environment for which to grow as a church and as a leader you must be “unoffendable” and welcome feedback. Third, feedback may on occasion disappoint people because they are not hearing what they want to hear, but it must not be taken as intending to hurt the one who receives it. I could share many more sound bites, but this is a great start. There’s much more to come this Monday, June 25th at 9:00 a.m. at Emerge Counseling Services. Greg will be our guest presenter in this half-day growth experience for leaders. If you’re interested in knowing more about the event or you want to attend, go to www.loveakron.org and register by no later than Friday, June 22.
The whole purpose of this week’s blog wasn’t to make a pitch for our Super Monday event. The purpose was to say sometimes as a parent or a leader of teams and organizations you can wonder if your investment is currently or will one day pay off. I had no idea when Greg was a little guy that I would one day be sitting as one of many leaders drinking from his fountain of wisdom.
I encourage you, as leaders in your homes or churches or workplaces, to take the time and exert the energy necessary to invest in other leaders. The Bible is chock-full of incredible leaders, but Moses stands out to me when it comes to mentoring the next generation and preparing Joshua to take over in his stead once God called him home. Joshua himself was a strong, wise leader, which was in part, due to what was poured into him by Moses. Be that type of leader, pouring into others and imparting help and wisdom to the next generation. On the flip side, show a posture of humility as well and be willing to learn from the next generation.
So we returned to Columbus from Kansas late Saturday night, and since the next day was Father’s Day, I decided to stay and worship on Sunday at One Church. I attended one of five services that day, which were held on two campuses. Once again, as I sat next to my wife Janna, who also happens to be Greg’s Mother, in the 11:00 a.m. worship celebration, a wave of, I pray, godly pride swept over me. I left that service and that weekend saying to myself, “Thank you God for your grace and favor that has been handed down to another generation. Also, thank you that I married Greg’s Mother.” What I witnessed over the weekend had some to do with me and Janna but a lot to do with the One who gave him life.
Thank you, Greg, for investing in me and other leaders. I am proud to be called your father who art on Earth, and you bring honor to my name.