I couldn't launch LeadingSmart.com without saying something about the leader who has invested more in me than just about anyone else outside my family. Without the influence of Mark Beeson, I would not be blogging, teaching workshops, writing books, or leading at Granger.
When we first met, I was 26-years old and he was 39. I was coming straight out of a fairly legalistic environment, and he was leading a church of a few hundred doing some pretty innovative things. For these past 13 years, my time with Mark Beeson has made me a better leader, a better man, a better husband and father. Here are just a few of the things that makes Mark a smart leader:
- He leads his family first. I have never seen him pick the church over his wife or kids. Not once. If you want to see this first-hand, read his daughter's tribute to him on Father's Day.
- He knows his strengths, and hires great people to support his weaknesses. No, this isn't a twisted way to say, "look how smart he is--he hired me!" If you've ever met Rob Wegner, you'll know the wisdom of that hiring decision--made by Mark Beeson back in 1992.
- He doesn't give up. He's had plenty of good reasons to leave Granger. In fact, one time his entire staff and most of the lay board quit. It killed him! But he refuses to give up.
- He is a masterful communicator. Some of the best leading I've ever seen has been when Mark has been talking to a group, answering questions or leading through a crisis, and helping people process change. I've told him many times--I couldn't have done that if I'd prepared for weeks!
- He does life with his friends. I've met other leaders who refuse to have friendships with their staff. Mark is the opposite. He lives and breathes through relationships. He opens up his heart, lays his soul bare with those who he's closest to, and we all get to lead together, as a team, because of his authentic leadership.
- He sees a crisis before it is here. I've many times been amazed when he has seen alignment or loyalty issues before they are even evident. Disaster can be averted when the captain of the ship sees the rock wall ahead.
- He gives away leadership. He doesn't hoard it. He freely lets people lead. I think a church that makes a successful transition from a founding pastor does so because that leader was secure enough to let others share the spotlight, lead the people, sometimes get the glory.
- He is my biggest cheerleader. Not just mine, but the rest of the staff as well. He was the one cheering when Rob was invited by Rick Warren to speak at the PDC conference a couple years ago. He was the one cheering when Tony and I were asked to write a series of books. He was the one cheering when he heard that Kem would be speaking at MinistryCom again this year. He loves it when his team succeeds.
I could go on, but Tony has encouraged me to keep my posts brief.
In summary, there are only a few people you'll ever meet who are such great influences that your life is irreversibly altered because of their impact. For me, Mark Beeson is one of those people.