ESPN produces a series of documentary films titled “30 for 30.” They highlight important people and events in sports history. Each of these is powerful and highly engaging.
Today, I want to share with you my own 30 for 30. I want to call it 30 LESSONS I HAVE LEARNED IN LEADERSHIP THROUGH LEADING THE SAME ORGANIZATION FOR 30 YEARS. Many people have led organizations for 30 years. Yet, only a few have led the same organization for the past 30 years.
905 For and 12 Against
As a kid preacher, I came to be the pastor of our church on Sunday, Oct. 26, 1986. Before we began our third of the five campuses we now have at Cross Church, our church was called First Baptist Church of Springdale, Arkansas.
In September of 1986, I came to preach in a view of being called as pastor. After an extended weekend, the church voted to call me as pastor. The vote was 905 for and 12 against. One month later, our very young family left our home state of Texas and arrived in Arkansas driving an old orange suburban. On the last week of October of this year, I will have served as Senior Pastor of Cross Church for 30 years.
I have learned much about leadership by serving and growing with this region called Northwest Arkansas. This region has been filled with a strong innovative leadership culture, producing powerful corporations with global headquarters here. Walmart, J.B. Hunt, Tyson Foods, and the University of Arkansas have anchored this Northwest Arkansas region. Surprising to most, somewhere between 1,200–1,400 national and international companies have a presence here to service their Walmart account. This presence may be from a few employees to hundreds. Additionally, private business, law, education, and politics are thriving here. In reality, the world comes here to do business. That is one way this region has taught me so much about leadership.
Simultaneously, I began serving in all kinds of roles and with many responsibilities in the Southern Baptist Convention. In the most recent two years of my life, I served as the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in America. Additionally, the Lord has graciously given me all sorts of opportunity to minister to many evangelicals outside of our Southern Baptist Convention.
Through all of these things and life experience, I have learned plentiful lessons on leadership. I want to share just 30 of these lessons on leadership.
I will only list these lessons in this article today. Perhaps in the future, I will write something on each of them. They are not listed in any order. I will stay with only 30 lessons to represent my 30 years here, but in writing, I initially listed at least 60 lessons on leadership I have learned these past 30 years.