Thirty years ago, (April 19, 1987 on Easter Sunday) I had the privilege of being a spiritual mid-wife. I helped God birth one of His churches, Cape Christian. My wife Linda and two other couples, locked our arms in a common vision to reach young unchurched families.  Starting the first church in Cape Coral, Florida that was entirely focused on using contemporary worship music, down-to-earth messages and relevant ministry to inspire and transform families, we have been Loving God and Loving People for a full three decades now. This past weekend, over 6,500 people gathered on our campus to worship the Resurrected Christ!  I’m never surprised, but always in awe. God is good, so good!

Many have asked, what is the secret? Are there one or two keys to the success of Cape Christian?  I’ve written about a lot of them in this blog over the last few years. But on this 30th anniversary, here are 30 simple things I’ve learned over the last 30 years:

 

  1. Enjoy the journey. Live with a sense of awe and gratitude each day of the journey.

 

  1. God is always up to something new so embrace it instead of resisting it.

 

  1. “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” ~John Maxwell

 

  1. “The most powerful tool a leader has is personal example.” ~John Wooden

 

  1. “Humility is the first chapter in the book of success.” ~Mark Batterson

 

  1. Little things matter.

 

  1. Every stage of an organization’s growth is unique and every stage is important.

 

  1. Organizations never grow in a straight line. There are many peaks and valleys, zigs and zags.

 

  1. We tend to overestimate what we can do in a short period and underestimate what we can accomplish over a long period of time.

 

10. Everything we do takes more time than we expect.

 

  1. Commit for the long haul. “Overnight successes,” usually happen through years of persistence by someone.

 

  1. Leadership is a marathon, not a sprint.

 

  1. Work hard. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” ~Thomas Edison

 

  1. Become a lifelong learner. My capacity to lead is determined by my capacity to grow.

 

  1. Explain the why, not just the what, when and how. People lose their way when they lose their why.

 

  1. Make the hard decisions when necessary. “Leadership is an extreme sport…requiring both courage and humility.” ~Cheryl Bachelder

 

  1. The higher you go in leadership, the higher your self-awareness needs to be and the fewer options you have.

 

  1. Great leaders take adequate time for reflection.

 

  1. Blessing follows obedience and risk.

 

  1. Leadership is more about relationships than it is about results. In the long run, results are in proportion to the quality of your relationships.

 

  1. Giving leadership away is ultimately better than keeping it for yourself.

 

  1. The best leaders are servants. They help others succeed.

 

  1. Leaders determine their brand. You will be known for something. Choose wisely.

 

  1. Great leaders build teams that build great organizations. Great leaders grow leaders.

 

  1. Great leaders realize they stand on the shoulders of others who’ve gone before them.

 

  1. The best leaders have more questions than they have answers.

 

  1. If you chase two rabbits, both will escape. Keep the main thing the main thing.

 

  1. “Beginning well is a momentary thing; finishing well is a lifelong thing.” ~Ravi Zacharias

 

  1. Sometimes life takes an unexpected turn in the right direction.

 

  1. My marriage and my family are my most important calling and my ultimate measure of success.

 

QUESTION:  Which would be your top three axioms out of these thirty?  I’m sure I’ve missed many, what you add?  Share it in the comment section below. Thanks!

 

 

14 responses to 30 Things I’ve Learned in 30 Years

  1. Cindy on April 30, 2017 at 11:19 PM Reply

    Every moment, including this one, is a place you have never been before. Enjoy this very moment, be grateful, loving, let go of unpeacefulness, and let God in. Then, looking back, remembering each wonderful moment, including this one, you can call your happy, amazing, blessed life.

    Cindy G

  2. Al C on April 22, 2017 at 8:49 AM Reply

    really like your list. #11, #20, #6 are near the top of my list. Couple of others: “Avoid borrowing, but owe everyone (love, service, encourage, etc)” “A shovel full each day moves mountains” “Owning is the devil’s deception. Giving is God’s heart.” “Opportunities are gone quickly, but regrets last a long time”

    After over 40 years in large corporations, I rarely saw #22 practiced. Also haven’t seen it practiced in churches as much as I hoped. Sad.

    thanks for your encouragement.

  3. Julia Gingerich Wasson on April 21, 2017 at 7:05 PM Reply

    great blog, big brother.. I’m not a pastor but I can certainly relate to many of the guidelines in my life as a lay person. Just want you to know I am very proud of you and your obedience to the Lord.

  4. jjparker on April 19, 2017 at 10:50 AM Reply

    “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” Henry Ford

    Happy Anniversary, CCF! Congratulations and thanks to leaders, staff and volunteers – a successful team!

  5. Joe Padgett on April 19, 2017 at 10:38 AM Reply

    Dennis, your 30 things are all spot on; my top three items for leaders are humility, positive passion and belief in your mission/vision.

    a couple of additional quotes:
    “There are plenty of obstacles in your path.
    Don’t allow yourself to become one of them.”
    Ralph Marston

    “Every man and woman
    is born into the world to do something unique
    and something distinctive
    and if he or she does not do it,
    it will never be done.”
    Benjamin Mays

    “We can choose courage or
    we can choose comfort,
    but we can’t have both.
    Not at the same time.”
    Brene Brown

    Thanks for sharing!!

    • Dennis Gingerich on April 19, 2017 at 11:01 AM Reply

      Thank you Joe! Good stuff. Great quotes that could be included in a future blog post!

  6. John Hawkins on April 19, 2017 at 8:43 AM Reply

    I like #’s 1,29 and 30.
    I like this quote, “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” – Samuel Johnson
    and
    “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” – Ronald Reagan

    John Hawkins

  7. Cyd Notter on April 19, 2017 at 8:31 AM Reply

    Great observations Dennis, and congratulations on 30 years! In response to your question:
    #13 – Opportunity does indeed often come disguised as hard work!
    #27 – I’m currently chasing two rabbits, so this one struck home.
    Additional: I recently saw this quote by Mark Twain (was it on your blog?): “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Explore. Dream.

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