Thirty-five years ago, (April 19, 1987 on Easter Sunday) my wife Linda and I had the privilege of being spiritual mid-wives. We helped God birth one of His churches, Cape Christian. Along with two other couples, we 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 well over three decades now. This past weekend, thousands of people gathered on our campus to worship the Resurrected Christ! I’m never surprised, but always in awe. God is good, so good. I’m blessed, very blessed!

2022 Easter Weekend – One of Seven Worship Services

Some ask, what is the secret? Are there a few keys to the success of Cape Christian? I’ve written about a lot of them in this blog over the last years. But on this 35th anniversary, here are 35 simple axioms I’ve learned and tried to live by over the last 35 years:

  • Enjoy the journey. Live with a sense of awe and gratitude each day of the journey. 
  • God is always up to something new so embrace it instead of resisting it.
  • “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” ~John Maxwell
  • “The most powerful tool a leader has is personal example.” ~John Wooden
  • “Humility is the first chapter in the book of success.” ~Mark Batterson
  • Little things matter.
  • You only get one chance to make a first impression.
  • Every stage of an organization’s growth is unique and every stage is important.
  • Organizations never grow in a straight line. There are many peaks and valleys, zigs and zags.
  • We tend to overestimate what we can do in a short period and underestimate what we can accomplish over a long period of time.
  • Everything we do takes more time than we expect.
  • Commit for the long haul. “Overnight successes,” usually happen through years of persistence by someone.
  • Leadership is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Work hard. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”  ~Thomas Edison
  • Become a lifelong learner. My capacity to lead is determined by my capacity to grow.
  • Explain the why, not just the what, when and how. People lose their way when they lose their why.
  • Make the hard decisions when necessary. “Leadership is an extreme sport…requiring both courage and humility.”  ~Cheryl Bachelder
  • The higher you go in leadership, the higher your character needs to be and the fewer options you will have.
  • The higher you go in leadership, the greater your self-awareness needs to grow.
  • Don’t try to be the hero. Be the guide.
  • Great leaders take adequate time for reflection and rest.
  • Blessing follows obedience and risk.
  • Leadership is more about relationships than it is about results. In the long run, results are in proportion to the quality of your relationships.
  • Giving leadership away is ultimately better than keeping it for yourself.
  • The best leadership decision I ever made in 35 years was to develop a succession plan and execute it 13 years ago.
  • The best leaders are servants. They help others succeed. 
  • If you are not intentionally choosing to grow, you are choosing to decline. 
  • Leaders determine their brand. You will be known for something. Choose wisely. 
  • Great leaders build teams that build great organizations. Great leaders grow leaders.
  • Great leaders realize they stand on the shoulders of others who’ve gone before them. 
  • The best leaders have more questions than they have answers. 
  • If you chase two rabbits, both will escape. Keep the main thing the main thing.
  • “Starting strong is good. Finishing strong is epic.” ~Robin Sharma  
  • Sometimes life takes an unexpected turn in the right direction.  
  • 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-five?  I’m sure I’ve missed many, what would you add?  Share it in the comment section below. Thanks!

4 responses to 35 Things I’ve Learned in 35 Years

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