This man is larger than life. His expectations of those around him supersedes any lofty expectations we could ever have for ourselves and for our life. He is a father, a fisherman, a husband, a prophet, a teacher, a preacher, a friend, a workaholic, a mentor, a businessman, a builder, a bishop and a leader of leaders. I know I am missing some of the other things that describe him. To me, he is my spiritual father. I have attempted to make him my mentor, but that thought has been left behind and I embrace the father that he is to me.
Our paths intersected back in June of 2004, though I have been around since, January of that same year. Our paths, our first meeting was in June of 2004. I met with him and I knew I could learn from him after that first meeting. He is tough and has huge vision and expectations and I knew then I needed to be around him. I still need to be around him. Through a series of nudges from the Lord, in 2006 to be precise, I accepted that he was the father I needed in my life. I didn’t think I needed a father. My earthly father, the man that raised me was amazing in his own right and when he died in 1995, I was devastated. I have recovered and lived on with wonderful memories but I wasn’t looking for a replacement. So when God suggested this new father, a spiritual father, I was not readily open to the idea.
Back to him, this man embodies the qualities of a strong leader. Something we seem to have misplaced as a nation – strong leaders. We require very little from those we choose as leaders today. This man, this leader, my father, requires much from himself and those he leads. That’s the strength of this man. His accomplishments over the years are vast and include building a great church, maintaining his marriage of more than 40 years, building a women’s shelter, a men’s shelter, a food ministry that feeds thousands upon thousands of people. Building multiple buildings, rebuilding cars, 3 children that are successful in their own right, and multitudes of spiritual children that look to this man for guidance, and leadership – some on a daily basis.
One lesson of leadership I have learned from him over the years is that we should be a reflection of those that we are connected to. In other words, if he as my spiritual father is successful, then I should be successful too. One of my favorite sayings says, “successful people, model themselves after successful people.” I know that my spiritual father had great men around him and he was willing to submit himself and learn from those men. He is wise, he is a learner, a reader, a tinkerer, a teacher, a listener, a lover of God, a man of prayer, a man of worship, a man of God, and my spiritual father. These are the things – the strength of this man!
I am forever grateful that our life journey, in the economy of God, intersected now 10 years ago. I still have much to learn, but I know this, I can’t help but to be successful. By continuing to observe his life, learn the lessons he so freely teaches, and apply myself by working hard every day, I will be a builder too. Maybe not buildings or cars, but I will build the things, that God allows me to build – people. That is the strength of this man, this leader. He builds people. He calls himself a people mechanic. What a great moniker! He is still tinkering in my life. Yea!