What Dr. Vest asked me in D.C. ?
THE BIGGEST MISTAKE OF LEADERSHIP
Years ago, I was recruited to work on behalf of the government in Washington, D.C. After three Church Trials and my 25-year Ordination was revoked for writing about what happened to General Overseer Robert White, the Washington offer was an incredible miracle.
I did not violate Scripture nor the COG Assembly “Minutes.” In fact, I completely OBEYED the “Minutes” where it commands Ordained ministers to “Publish.” At least at that time, the command to “Publish” was in the “Minutes.” Is it still there or has it been quietly deleted? I don’t know.
Those who were attempting to destroy the General Overseer that thousands of COG ministers and members had elected, were desperate that no other source but what they mailed to ministers, would be seen or heard.
I did not start writing in the COG just to cover that tragic story. For years I had been publishing news and views about the many GOOD things going on in the COG. Literally, hundreds of articles – even published magazines sponsored by various COG Departments.
So, when my many years of loyal service as an Exhorter, Licensed and then Ordained COG minister was threatened, a choice had to be made. Since Overseer White and I were not friends, I could have ignored writing about what was happening to him.
Instead, I knew COG ministers would want to know about it. So, I wrote the story, published several issues in newspaper format. After the Church Trials and my credentials being revoked, I needed a job. It was a deeply emotional time. I wept off and on for days and days. The COG and ministry in it was treasured. Losing that was like being grief-stricken. I still feel it at times.
SOME INCREDIBLE young men in Washington, D,C., the finest I have ever met other than my own sons, opened the door for me to work there. It was an honor to serve on a GSA team with State Department, White House and the Executive Office of the President, EOP, portfolio.
The D.C. assignment provided an amazing opportunity to observe what leaders get right, and the BIGGEST mistake leaders make at all levels. It is also the same at all denominational headquarters including the COG in Cleveland, TN where it was an honor to serve faithfully for years.
This is not a finger-pointing situation about others. Until learning better, I also made this same leadership mistake. It will negatively impact marriage, family relationships, business and church leadership. If taken to heart, it will ENHANCE all the above and elevate effectiveness.
IT DOES NOT come naturally. It must be learned. We who are blessed with a hard-head, sometimes end up learning things the hard way.
Not long after Linda and I moved to D.C., the COG General Assembly was approaching. Lamar Vest and his beloved wife Iris (she has been with Jesus a long time now), were ministering near the D.C. area. He called to ask if Linda and I would meet with them. Sister Iris Vest was a COG Jewel. We have heard that Dr. Vest’s present wife of years now, is a wonderful person too.
We met for supper together on the Upper Level of Union Station. It is the massive train station and now elegant Visitors Center from which President Lincoln’s body was sent on an East Coast tour after his assassination. If you are ever in D.C., Union Station, a block from the U.S Capitol, is a must-see.
As Brother and Sister Vest, Linda and I ate supper together, we could see the Capitol Dome through the window. It glowed brilliant white in the dark night. It was an honor to be with the Vests, two amazing people in my opinion.
Though he and I disagreed on several issues, my feeling still is that the Church of God was blessed to have them. They both served with honor and distinction.
Brother Vest was going to seek another term as General Overseer and asked my advice on Public Relations and several other matters. One of his questions was, “What do you think is the biggest mistake I make, we leaders make?”
ASSUME ENDS WITH “ME”
“The biggest mistake we all make,” I replied, “Is that we ASSUME those we lead, know what we are doing, and why we are doing it.” How could they know if we have not bothered to tell them? HOW and what we tell them is a different topic, but if we are seeking a response from them, we are wise to tell them what is EXPECTED and why.
Once we decide the direction we want to go and WHO we want to go with us,
we MUST tell them THE GOAL and THEIR ROLE in it. They cannot know what the Leader wants unless the Leader tells them… over and over and over until he or she is sure they have grasped it or that we have communicated it correctly.
In the Marines, they do not say, “OK ya’ll, we are going to do stuff together, so ya’ll get going. They have an objective. They have maps and timetables. They break it down into segments and who has which responsibilities.
There are easy, simple instructions. “Left face!” (Go left). “Right face!” (Take your face and all it is attached to in that direction). Nobody has to guess which direction. “Forward March!” (A command for people who are somewhat backward). “About Face!” (It is not about people who are two-faced. It means turn and go in the opposite direction).
Some have said that in the Roman Army when Jesus was on Earth in physical form, the command to turn and go in the opposite direction was “REPENT!” If so, Jesus may have heard that command and used it to illustrate how following Him could turn your life around.
I have no way of knowing if the part about the Roman Army command is true or not, but we definitely do know that following Jesus will turn your life around. “Gimmie 50!” (Marine and Army command for pushups, not dollars).