In celebration of our 100th Bottom Line Faith episode, we’re taking you on a journey, looking back at where we’ve been and sharing what is yet to come. We sincerely appreciate you joining us on this journey, and cannot wait to share the next chapter with you.
Ray: Hello everyone. This is Ray Hilbert. I am your host here at Bottom Line Faith. And this is the program where we love to bridge the gap between faith and business and celebrate Christian leadership in the marketplace. You know, we have the opportunity here at Bottom Line Faith to travel the country North to South East to West and interview the most amazing Christ followers who are business owners, entrepreneurs, CEOs, athletes, coaches, high profile fought leaders, and we learned from them how their faith shapes and forms their leadership in the marketplace. We hear their stories, their successes, their failures, but most importantly, how their love for Jesus helps them in their leadership on a daily basis. If you’re a first time listener, welcome to the program. If you’re a long time regular listener, welcome back. And today’s episode, and I know I say this on every one of our episodes because every one of our guests are amazing, incredible leaders.
But this one’s really special and here’s why. Today marks our 100th episode here at Bottom Line Faith. So we have been at this for two years now and we are still going strong. And so how I’m going to kind of carry the program today. So if you’re a regular listener, you know it’s usually a banter, a dialog going back and forth. But today we’re going to have an all star lineup of yours truly Ray Hilbert host. But most importantly we’re going to hear from some of our guests over the last two years. You know, in preparation and kind of thinking about doing the recording for the hundredth episode here at Bottom Line Faith. It really kind of took me down memory lane. I wanted to kind of do some reflection and thinking about a few things, kind of like where this idea for Bottom Line Faith came from, what were we trying to accomplish and why did we begin to do this in the first place?
And I got to thinking about some of the places that I’ve got to go visit and some of the leaders that I’ve got to talk to and you’re going to hear from some of those great leaders today and you’re going to hear some of my thoughts and reflections, but I think one thing it’d be kind of fun to share with you, recently I was a out of state, I was traveling, actually I was getting ready to do a Bottom Line Faith interview, but I was at a pretty large gathering and a chance to meet with some people. And a couple of the folks had been listening to the program and they are excited about it and they knew of me personally and so forth.
And so they said, Ray, what is that like for you hosting a program? And I said, well, here’s the really cool part. I said, I don’t really know much in life. And we’re kind of like Forrest Gump. You know, I’m not a smart man, but the awesome part is that when you get to travel around the country and you get to interview really smart people, very godly leaders, all you really have to do to appear smart is just repeat the things that you hear from great leaders. And so we were talking to this conversation and I was just saying, you know, I don’t really have to do much, but just ask a lot of questions, take good notes. And then I go other places and repeat what I hear from these great leaders. And everybody thinks I’m smart. And so I’m not a smart guy, but I’m getting an opportunity here at Bottom Line Faith to learn from some of the most amazing guests. So in reflection, let me, I’ve just kind of had written down just a few of the cities, let alone leaders, but a few of the cities that I’ve visited over the past two years conducting these interviews, and this is just a partial list, but even as I wrote it out, I was like, I can’t believe we’ve been to that many places.
We’ve been to Memphis Tennessee, and San Diego California, and Houston Texas, Atlanta Georgia, Dallas Texas, Nashville Tennessee, Birmingham Alabama, Louisville Kentucky, Phoenix Arizona, San Francisco, Detroit, Baltimore, Maryland, Denver, Los Angeles, and Hollywood. Of course, Kansas City Missouri, Orlando Florida, Charlotte North Carolina, Waco Texas, Milwaukee Wisconsin. The list goes on and on. That’s just some of the larger cities. And then we’ve also been to some amazing nooks and crannies all over the country. Those are just the cities we visited. But then we also, as you know, if you’re a longterm listener, we also do a lot of call in guests and we’ve had guests from Canada and all over the country and soon to be some additional international episodes coming up here at Bottom Line Faith. So it was just kind of really cool for me personally just to map out and plot out some of the places where we’ve interviewed leaders for Bottom Line Faith.
And this has been a really fun time in my life to receive listener support, to get feedback from you, our audience emails and social media postings and so forth. And I’m really encouraged when we get those pieces of communication, the feedback of people saying, you know, I was having this really big challenge in my business and I listened to such and such conversation and what they said about this really helped me shaped my thinking or really helped me make a decision where I had been stuck or I’ve listened to this program with my kids and that it’s really given them a chance to understand what godly leadership in the marketplace looks like. You know, when they’re inundated with social media and everything else that’s not necessarily positive messaging. You know, hearing from parents here, hearing from business leaders, hearing from individuals who say, this has really impacted me.
How can I support the program? How is it funded? You know, so can I help support the ministry at Bottom Line Faith? And so it’s really, really encouraging when we get that feedback. It’s really inspiring to know that when we go do these interviews and when we have production time in the studio and so forth, that it’s not for not, it really as the word says in Isaiah, God says my Word will accomplish that which I sent it forth to accomplish. And so we’re hearing time and again that the work that we’re doing here at Bottom Line Faith is accomplishing what we set out to accomplish. And so the feedback has just been amazing and encouraging. And that’s probably a great segue to just share with you in the very first episode, the very first episode of Bottom Line Faith. I kind of shared the story of why we were doing this and where the idea came from and so forth.
But I think this would be a good chance to just briefly revisit that for just a moment. 20 years ago. Well, this, we’re recording this in April of 2019 but it was a little over 20 years ago. Myself and a fellow named Matt Pailin founded Truth At Work, our ministry. We’re headquartered in Indianapolis, and we came together with the idea of putting together formats and offerings and programs to help Christ followers who own businesses, lead companies, lead organizations to help equip them, to help resource them, help encourage them in living out their faith in the marketplace. Because leadership, as you well know, as a leader, is one of the most lonely places to be. And so when we came together in 1998 we incorporate Truth At Work as a nonprofit organization. We said, what could we do to equip Christian leaders in business to live out their faith?
That’s why we founded Truth At Work. And so for 20 years we’ve facilitated monthly round table groups where Christian business leaders come together in a peer format, you know, 10 12 leaders every month, come together in a round table group. We’ve developed curriculum and content. We discuss those best practices in business leadership from a biblical perspective. These groups become very tight in community. They become a great source of encouragement to one another. So that’s what we’ve been doing for over 20 years. Well, the idea behind the Bottom Line Faith podcast was really birthed out of, okay, there’s some great best practices that we’ve learned from some of the best leaders, godly leaders in business across the country. What if we began to record some of those conversations? What if we went and sought out some of the best thought leaders in Christian business leadership and faith integration and and what if we began to hear their stories and began to capture those and then make those tools and resources available to the larger audience out in the marketplace?
And so that really was the idea, the birthing of Bottom Line Faith and where it’s gone from there, it’s just been incredible. Thousands and thousands of listens every month. The growth of this has been crazy. It’s been fun. It’s been exciting. While it’s exciting what has happened and has already blown away our own expectations and what’s coming around the corner is incredible, is absolutely incredible. You’re going to hear some updates and some announcements in the coming weeks and months about the growth of Bottom Line Faith, new platforms, places where the program is going to be appearing, but it all birthed out of just the dream. Just the idea, just the hope. What could we do to bring a good, encouraging, positive, uplifting message to you, the Christ follower who is in business and if you’re a regular listener, you know this, you know that we regularly say if even one person in every conversation is encouraged, if they can take that conversation and help with a breakthrough or a point of frustration or disappointment or discouragement. If we could just help one person in every interview to become who and what God’s calling them to be in leadership, then that program is a success. Before every conversation we pray over that conversation. We pray that God would inspire and speak through that guest. That’s where the vision of Bottom Line Faith really birthed out of and we hope and pray that that has been your experience as a listener here on the program.
So with that in mind, I thought what we might do is take a few moments and let’s go back and revisit some of the great guests that we’ve had here at Bottom Line Faith. And it was really challenging. My producer Russell asked me to kind of think through some of the my favorites and how do you do that? It’s kind of like, you know, if you have five kids, who do you love the most? You have a favorite? No, you really don’t. But there were just have been some moments that have just stood out that really, really were very impactful. They were powerful. And we’re going to play a few of those for you today. And I’m also just going to give you some personal reflections on some other guests that we’ve had where we may not necessarily hear their quotes. But let’s start off. I got to start with this when I’m a baseball guy, you guys, if you’re listeners, you know this. I love baseball and I had the opportunity to interview Dayton Moore, and Dayton Moore is the general manager of the Kansas City Royals. If you’ve not heard the interview, that’s actually one we captured on video. If you’ve not seen or heard the conversation with Dayton Moore, you’ve got to check that one out. It’s one of my all time favorites here on the program and he, a few years ago led the Kansas City Royals with one of the smallest payrolls in baseball to the world championship and he did so by developing talent from within.
And so we had a conversation with Dayton about leadership, about creating winning culture and so forth. And this is a man who is living out his Christian faith at the highest and most visible place, a general manager of a major league baseball franchise, an incredible franchise at that. And one of the comments that he made was about the importance of what it means to react versus respond. Let’s listen in on this brief comment from Kansas City Royals General manager, Dayton Moore.
Dayton: When that occurred, I reacted instead of responding. In fact, I used language that I wouldn’t permit anybody to use. I mean, it was embarrassing to me. Okay. So the next day I got the entire group together and I apologized. I told them that I need to do a better job of learning to respond instead of react. It’s one of the things that I need to be held accountable with, you know? So those are the, you’ve got to be transparent, you got to be vulnerable. And I think without that, I think your leadership is not going to be as authentic as it needs to be if you’re not going to develop those trusting relationships.
Ray: So there in that clip from Dayton Moore, you heard him talk about the difference between reacting versus responding and how he was disappointed in himself. That he came back in a situation, a way that he was not proud of. And he demonstrated his humility as a leader to go in front of his entire organization and offer that apology and say, look, I really did not respond in this situation the way I should have as a leader trying to shape this culture. And other things that really stood out to me in the conversation with Dayton is he really is concerned about developing the entire person of his players, that these are young men who in some cases are married, or certainly will be married who are fathers or will be fathers, but he’s really helping to shape these young men for all of life because as he said, their baseball careers will come to an end sooner or later and so they are much more concerned in the long run about developing the whole person, that man that’s a player in their organization.
I just love that because he had such the right perspective, an eternal perspective for leadership and among many of the things that I appreciated about Dayton, that’s one of the things that stood out for me in that conversation and further reflection on that conversation from Dayton Moore. He talked about the internal investment in people that he believed God had placed him as a leader in that organization to make an eternal investment in these young men as leaders. And that’s been an overarching theme and a lot of our conversations here with our guests at Bottom Line Faith, and two individuals come to mind that really honed in on that theme. One gentleman, his name was Gary Archer and we had a chance to interview Gary. He’s out of Austin, Texas, and he’s the CEO of a company called Let’s Play Sports.
And they just an amazing company, and they do indoor soccer and indoor sports, and just a real thriving business. But I was so impressed by Gary’s commitment to the eternal perspective of business. In fact, he used this term that relationships are the currency of heaven. Relationships are the currency of heaven. And I just loved that in my conversation with Gary because he reminded me that what God is most concerned with in our leadership, in business and in the marketplace are the people that he’s entrusted us to lead. And that at the end of the day, whether someone is performing the way we need them to, whether they’re meeting the objectives that we’re hoping they will and so forth, at the end of the day, it is about people and relationships. And Gary reminded us that Jesus didn’t come to die for our profitability and our bottom line, but he came to die for the souls of men and women.
And so I just love that Gary reminded us of that in our conversation with him. And another guest on the program that just blew me away was Chris Allen. And Chris talked to us about creating a culture of purpose. And Chris was the Vice President of training development at a truly incredible company called Movement Mortgage out of Charlotte, North Carolina. And in fact, I remember my conversation with Chris. Normally, you know, the program is 30, 40 minutes somewhere in there. But I was 40 minutes into my conversation with Chris and we were just beginning to scratch the surface around leadership. And I said, Chris, we’ve got to do two parts to this conversation. So Chris was the first guest here at Bottom Line Faith that we ever ended up airing two episodes for. It was powerful, but he made a statement about loving people that stuck with me so clearly.
And I want you to listen to this, cause I wrote it down. It says that the definition of love is to continually act in the best longterm interest of another. The definition of love is to continually act in the best longterm interest of another. Powerful statement. And Chris really helped to build that company from start up to over 4,000 employees of a Christ honoring loving culture. No company is perfect but Movement Mortgage is truly modeling what it looks like to live out Christ and Christ’s love in the marketplace.
Another great consistent overarching theme that we’ve heard across these conversations here at Bottom Line Faith is that commitment to excellence as leaders, that as followers of Christ, we are to model excellence in the marketplace. And that’s going to give us a platform to share our faith and not to do it the other way around. Not to lambast people with your faith and then try to earn their respect on the back end, but to earn their respect with excellence and leadership on the front end. That will in turn give you the right to share the gospel with them.
And one of the guests very early on in the program, I have probably in the first six to eight months here at Bottom Line Faith. One of my favorite conversations was with Peter Greer and if you’re not familiar with Peter, he is an incredible leader. He’s the CEO of Hope International. You should check out their website, Hope International. And he’s also the author of two simply amazing books. His first book was called mission drift and that is about how organizations set out with a very clear purpose and mission and how they, as it says in the title, drift away. And he sites things such as Ivy League schools like Harvard and Yale and Princeton that actually started out as seminaries and institutions for Christian higher ed. And you look at them today and they resemble nothing like they did when they started out. So Peter walked us through the importance of what it looks like to pursue excellence while at the same time fulfilling your mission and staying on mission. So I love that conversation with Peter Greer, another guest.
Oh my gosh, this man is a legend. This man is a legend. Pat Williams. Pat is the Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of the Orlando Magic. I had a chance to go down to Orlando, Florida, and spend an afternoon with Pat. Now listen to this. He has a written, folks, written over 100 books on leadership and he has profiled leaders across sports, across politics, across entertainment, across business. Let’s listen to this brief soundbite from my conversation with Pat Williams of the Orlando Magic.
Pat: Every great leader that I can find from Jesus, to George Washington, to Thomas Jefferson, to Abraham Lincoln, to the Roosevelt’s, all three of them, including Eleanor, to Ronald Reagan, to Jack Welch to Bear Bryant, to Pat Summit to Bill Belichick, I mean on and on it goes. And I’ve studied all of them. I’ve written about some of them and I’ve examined all of their lives, continued to, and it’s quite amazing to me that every single one of these leaders, when you get down to it, have seven core principles that have allowed them to be outstanding leaders. The good news is that all of us who are in leadership position, and that includes everybody who’s listening or watching can emulate these and can apply these seven principles to their life and they can improve as leaders very quickly, like today.
Ray: And just in reflection on my conversation with Pat is I thought to myself, not many of us have read a hundred books on leadership, let alone written over a hundred books on the topic. And so it was just an incredible blessing. And I walked away. I’m just feeling richer as a person and as a leader by having time with such a legendary leader as Pat Williams.
And along those lines of excellence, I was really blown away by a New York Times bestselling author, Dr. Dan Miller. He’s out of Nashville, Tennessee. He’s written several books. I think three or four of them have been best sellers on the New York Times bestselling list. And what I loved about my conversation with Dan was when he talked a lot about excellence and he talked about dreams and he talked about ideas that God gives us. And he said, you know, we can’t just, in the desire for being excellent in launching new businesses and new opportunities, we can’t abandon reality.
We have to put a plan in place and we have to have protocol and vet things out. And so Dan really walked us through the importance of understanding that unique combination of the dreams and the passions that God has given us, but also understanding what our talents are and what the things are that we can practically, intangibly, do to bring about leadership in the marketplace. So I love my conversation with Dr. Dan Miller out of Nashville, Tennessee.
And I got to tell you, one of my personal all time favorites here at Bottom Line Faith was when I had a chance to sit down and talk with Cheryl Bachelder. Now, if you’re not familiar with Cheryl, she was at one time the CEO of Popeye’s Chicken, and she took Popeye’s at a time when they were really struggling. They were really not performing well. I think maybe a stock price around $4 or $5 a share and helped lead that company in an incredible, one of the most successful turnarounds on Wall Street frankly, and took them to well over $75 a share. And she did so by leading the company on what she called their servant leadership model.
In fact, she wrote a book called Dare to Serve and Cheryl walked us through so many truths and principles of being a servant leader around knowing your people. So let’s listen to this soundbite of my conversation with Cheryl Bachelder, when she talks about what it looks like to be daring to serve.
Cheryl: I think we’re reticent to invest that much in others. We think somehow our needs might get short shrift if we did that. The truth of the matter is our needs, if we’re truly driving performance and business, are only accomplished through these other people and our investment in them. So I think the thing I had to keep saying to people is it does take time. It’s not efficient. You can only grow people that you know, there’s not a chance you can grow them if you don’t know them. And just pounding that home week after week after week. And by the way, I may know the whole person. I am not afraid to have whole people conversations and teach other leaders to have them because I think that’s how we want to live our lives. We want to be an integrated person. So I want to know about your family. I want to know about your values and beliefs. I want to know about your life experiences, good and bad. And I only get that privilege by investing time and listening to you and asking you questions over time so that I can pour into your life in a meaningful way.
Ray: So that quote that we just heard from Cheryl, I just love this. She says, you cannot grow who you don’t know. And Cheryl talked in that conversation about tangibly and practically that we need to invest 30% of our time in growing the people that we’re leading, having weekly conversations with them with a plan, with intentionality, really getting to know them, their dreams, their hopes, their hurts, what’s really driving them as a human being. And so Cheryl really reminded us of the importance of investing in our people, learning what’s important to them.
That reminded me of a really, really strong conversation I had with Chris Patton and Chris. He didn’t really know his people in his business the way that he thought he did, and he cited a specific example where he and his team, they were out doing a service project in the inner city where he lived. They were working on homes, his employees were working on homes, repairing them, reno roofs, painting, carpeting, those sorts of things, getting them into more livable conditions. And it was brought to his attention that some of his employees actually lived in homes that were in worse condition than the homes they were working on in this service project. And he just felt the conviction of God say that you need to know your people better and before we go serve others, we need to make sure that we’re serving our people in our company. And I just love that, that Chris reminded us of the importance of serving Jerusalem before we look into Judea, Samaria, and all the ends of the earth, that we need to take care of the people that God has entrusted to us as leaders. And he talked about that and keeping an eternal perspective in business. And that was that conversation with Chris Patton.
A very similar conversation was with a guy that I just grew to love. His name’s Dougal Cameron. Dougal owns a company out of Houston, Texas. And what really impressed me about Dougal among many things, was this man on his own dime, got in an airplane and flew from Houston, Texas, to Indianapolis to our studios to do a live conversation with us at Bottom Line Faith. And it just so impressed me the way he loves people, the way he serves people and his investment. And two big takeaways that I had in my conversation with Dougal, he referred to himself as the Chief I Am Sorry Officer. If you go back and listen to that conversation with Dougal, that just like really impressed me. But he says, my job is to protect my team members. My job is to work with them, with our clients and our customers and to make my team members the heroes. And if I need to go in front of my clients in front of my vendors to apologize for mistakes, for failures and so forth. If that means I need to say I am sorry a whole lot of times on an everyday basis, I’m going to do that.
And another comment that I just vividly recall in my conversation with Dougal, he looked at me and he says, Ray, he said, do you know why people lie? And I said, well, I can think of a lot of reasons. But he said the real reason why people lie is because for whatever reason, they don’t feel that it’s safe to tell the truth. And he says, our job as Christ followers in the marketplaces is to create an environment where people feel it’s safe to tell the truth and they won’t have big penalty or consequences for speaking the truth. That really blessed and encouraged me in my conversation with Dougal.
One of the other prevailing themes that we’ve noticed here over the last hundred episodes of Bottom Line Faith is that great results don’t necessarily come from huge changes. Great things don’t necessarily happen because there were some monumental all of a sudden breakthrough, right? Sometimes the best successes occur through ongoing small, sometimes unnoticeable, incremental changes and process improvements. Let me give you just a couple of examples. I got to fly to San Diego, California, to have this and it was a beautiful day in San Diego, but I got the chance to go speak with Ed Rush. Ed Rush is a retired fighter pilot out of the U S Marine Corps and at the height of his career he was the number one rated instructor in the entire Marine Corps training our pilots and one on one dog fighting techniques. And he tells the story in the conversation that at one time he was on the verge of getting kicked out because his performance was so poor.
And so in my conversation with Ed, he walked us through, this was really kind of like one of those, I was on the edge of my seat as we’re having this conversation, he walked through what it was like to be in a dog fight, what it was like to know that at any moment you literally, your life was on the line and he says, you know, it wasn’t one big decision that determines whether or not you live or die in that dog fight. But it was a series of micro decisions, incremental decisions, one right after another that lead you to success or failure. And so he said that obviously correlates over into business that by making a series of small incremental wise decisions is where success comes from. You don’t necessarily have to have that breakthrough idea or that revolutionary concept that makes all the difference.
Another example of just how the subtle differences, the subtle decisions can make a huge difference. Over a long period of time came through in my conversation with Henry Kaestner. And Henry is the CEO of a company called Sovereign’s Capital. They help invest in kingdom minded businesses around the globe, businesses that are making a difference, not only from a profitability standpoint but a kingdom impact standpoint. And Henry talked to us about this terminology and I really love this, and I wrote this down on my notes. He talked to us about the difference between being willful versus faithful and how we as business leaders so often are willful. We’re going to make it happen. We’re going to have good principles, we have good decision making capabilities, we have good experience. And so we can be willful and make good things happen. But he said that he’s grown to learn as a follower of Christ, our responsibility is to be faithful. And sometimes by being faithful, it may go against our experience. It may go against the world standards or the way, you know, business school would teach us to do things. But by getting up each day and praying and asking God for his direction and for us to just be faithful in following the prompting of the Holy Spirit in our lives as a Christian business leader, that may not seem like a big thing, but it’s a huge thing when you think about the difference between being willful and faithful.
And then the last example that I would just kind of bring to the forefront here in one of the subtle differences. Oh my gosh, it was when I got a chance to go to the Chick-fil-A headquarters down in Atlanta, Georgia. I got to talk with Dee Ann Turner at Chick-fil-A, and I want you to listen to this comment that she makes about the difference between being nice and being kind.
Dee Ann: When I evaluate those decisions on there that I need to be sure I’m not being nice, I’m being kind. You know, nice is when we’re polite and we say what people want to hear. Kindness is what we tell them, what they need to hear, whether it’s to improve their performance or even I’ve been in situations not many times, but sometimes where there was somebody who wanted a job here and I had to say, you know, this just isn’t right for you. There are going to be better opportunities for you. It’s a great organization to work for, but sometimes people will have a better opportunity somewhere else. And so I had a former leader at Chick-fil-A, our former president and he taught me something very, very early in my career and I love this quote. It’s kindness to refuse immediately what you have eventually intend to deny. Now that’s very effective when you think about leadership, is if I’ve got to tell somebody they’re not going to get a job or a promotion or something, they’re expecting, that faster I tell them that, the kinder it is. Because the longer I wait, the longer they get strung along, they start creating expectations and believing that something’s going to go a certain way.
Ray: Wow. Well, don’t you just love that comment from Dee Ann about the difference between being nice and kind? And I know sometimes we as Christians, people think we’re supposed to just be nice people. Well, Dee Ann reminded us in the conversation of what’s really godly is to be a kind person and that is to speak truth to them that they need to hear. And I love this. And she said that it is kindness to refuse immediately what you eventually intend to deny. And how about that? As parents and as leaders, often someone comes to us, our kids an employee or whatever, and we already have in our mind we know what our answer is going to be, but we’re trying to be nice. And so we kind of put off the inevitable and Dee Ann is just reminding us that the kind thing to do is that when you know the answer, go ahead and give it so that they can move on accordingly with their lives.
Another really kind of fun and interesting theme that comes up time and time again in our conversations here at Bottom Line Faith is this whole concept around generational leadership. What does it look like for older to build into younger and what does it look like for younger to teach and inspire the older, and we’ve had many conversations that have centered around this topic around generational leadership. One of my favorites is the conversation that I have with Dr. Tim Elmore. If you’re not familiar with Dr. Elmore, he is literally one of the nation’s leading experts on teaching millennials and developing next gen leaders. He’s out of Atlanta, Georgia. He founded a company called Growing Leaders and listen to this brief soundbite of what got him started down the pathway of developing generational leadership.
Tim: When I began to work with students, I still was a college student. I realized at that point, this is where I want to give my life. I knew that students were multiple and shapeable and even though my circle of influence would expand as I got older, I just thought this is a key place to give myself. 1983 I go on staff with Dr. John Maxwell, so I started right out of college and I was one of three or four that he personally mentored and because of his leadership bias, if I can say it that way. I not only knew I wanted to focus on the next generation, but I wanted to take leadership to them. What John was doing for corporate America, I wanted to do for the emerging generation, that 22 year old employee who hasn’t made all the mistakes yet, and I thought, what could it be like? I’ll tell you a phrase I like to use. What would it look like if we build a sense of the top of the cliff rather than a hospital at the bottom?
Ray: In addition to the conversation that you just heard, an excerpt from, from Dr. Elmore around this topic of generational leadership, three other amazing leaders come to mind. One is Tom Morales. Tom Morales, a very successful businessman from Indianapolis, Indiana. And I was so inspired when I learned from Tom how generational leadership inspired him to start his company. And he started his business to honor his father and to celebrate their Hispanic heritage. And I was just so incredibly moved and encouraged by the powerful story and conversation with Tom Morales who talked about living out your mission, but how important it is to honor our parents and honor our family heritage.
Another conversation around this whole concept of generational leadership was with Jeremiah Castille. Now Jeremiah is the chaplain for the Alabama Crimson Tide football program. He played for Paul Bear Bryant and Jeremiah really spoke to us around generational spiritual heritage, around passing godly leadership and principles onto our kids and onto those that we are brought about and lead.
And he has a foundation where through the game of football, he’s teaching spiritual principles to inner city youth all in the South, in Alabama and so forth. And I just loved Jeremiah’s passion around this concept of generational leadership. And then of course I would be remiss if I didn’t just celebrate and acknowledge Connie Haydock also out of Birmingham, Alabama, who in the later stages of his life in his late seventies founded a company called Providence Proton and they believe they’re on the verge of finding a true cure and treatment for all sorts of cancer. And so here Connie is in the latter stages of his life, truly finding his vision, truly finding his purpose and his passion and this youthful vigor. And he’s just got such a calling now to pass along this intelligence and this dream to next generation of leaders. But I’ve got to say that perhaps as much as any other topic, what I have been most encouraged about in my conversations is the incredible ability of Christ followers to overcome adversity, to overcome those difficult challenges and obstacles that come along in life and in leadership and business.
One of the conversations that come to mind around this whole topic of adversity was when I talked with Rick Goosen and he talked a lot in our conversation about what it looks like to overcome betrayal in business. We all have someone who’s done us wrong, who’s hurt us, but he talked about the biblical mandate and the freedom in forgiveness and grace and moving on that every one of us in leadership are going to get hurt by someone and we can’t dwell in that. We have to overcome that adversity and we have to move on so that we can become who and what God has called us to be as a leader in the marketplace.
Another conversation that just stands out in my mind about overcoming challenges and adversity is with my good friend Russ Crosson and Russ talked a lot about through adversity, through brokenness, through failure, how humility is a great teacher to help us through those difficult times and I just loved my conversation with Russ and I’d really encourage you to check it out.
One of the most high profile conversations that we had around overcoming adversity and finding our calling and purpose in life was when I had a conversation with Mark Whittaker. Now, you may or may not be familiar with Mark by name, but a few years ago there was a movie starring Matt Damon. It was called The Informant. And that movie, The Informant was on the life of Mark Whittaker and he talked about what it meant to go from the penthouse to the jail house. And he talks about in his story of adversity, overcoming all of those difficult challenges, going to prison, losing everything. But in the midst of quote, losing everything, he found everything because it was in prison where he came into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Very engaging conversation. And a powerful and compelling story of Christ redemption and overcoming adversity.
And one of my favorites, and this man is a legend, John Beckett. And John was one of the pioneers in the whole marketplace ministry movement and senior businesses, ministry and mission and was interviewed way back in the early 1980s by Ted Koppel about how John was using his company as a ministry in the marketplace. And John has gone through incredible adversity over the years. And in our conversation with him, we learned about a particular tragedy that he overcame and what God taught him. Let’s listen to just a sound soundbite from our conversation with John Beckett.
John: So that year, the combination of the death of my dad and then this horrific fire, which really only by God’s grace, we were able to extinguish it without it burning down the entire facility. These were incredible tests and yet in a way, those tests I think helped produce a kind of stamina in us that equipped us for future challenges that we would go through. And I realized what a proud person I was, these experiences. I think they brought me to the end of myself and I realized that I was not going to be successful functioning just on my own and I turned to the Lord in a way that I’d never had before. I knew about him, but this was different. This was getting to know him personally, what comes out of the ashes. In my case, it was the most precious discovery I’ve ever made. It was to become a follower of Jesus Christ.
Ray: So there, as you just heard in a brief soundbite from our conversation with John Beckett, you heard how a tragedy such as a fire and the destruction of the building of his business and then also the loss of his dad, that these were great adversities that needed to be overcome, but how his faith shaped him and helped him grow to the next level of leadership in life and in business. And so just that overarching theme around overcoming adversity has been one of my favorite aspects of the program here at Bottom Line Faith. If you’re a regular listener to the program here, you know what my last question is and it’s what I call my 4:23 question. It’s based out of Proverbs 4:23 where Solomon writes above all else, guard your heart for from it flows all of life.
So I was thinking about how would I close this hundredth episode of Bottom Line Faith. And so I’m going to attempt now to answer my own question that I’ve been posing. What would be my above all else, encouragement and advice for you as a listener here at Bottom Line Faith. And I think that for me it’s the number one takeaway lesson that I’ve gotten by hosting this program over the last two years. And that is this. So here’s my answer.
Above all else, ask lots of questions. Be a ferocious listener and learner in life. Ask people their stories, learn where they’ve come from, learn what they’ve been through. Ask them stories about their journey, ask them about their faith, ask them what they’ve learned is the importance of leadership. Just continuously ask questions. So as we sign off, thank you for being a part of these first 100 episodes at Bottom Line Faith. It would not be possible, it would not be frankly any fun if we didn’t know that this program was making difference and it wouldn’t be possible for us to continue to host and to reach out to new guests and to learn new things. It simply would not be possible without our support and encouragement from you, our listener. So really from the bottom of my heart. Let me say thank you for participating with us in this journey here at Bottom Line Faith. You are why we do what we do. So until next time, I am your host here at Bottom Line Faith, Ray Hilbert, and I want to encourage you to live out your faith every day in the marketplace. God bless and we’ll see you on the next episode.