By Tito Correa, Pastor, Oslo, Norway

Summary: We talk evangelism and we plan evangelize. We create pamphlets, publish books, run campaigns, and produce programs. Although all this gets the message across, it is the people principle that gets the people to stay with the church. A church that cares, that supports, that is always there for you--is one that’s home, that’s family. The greatest asset of a church is its people!

Scripture Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? (Matt 18:33).

Introduction

The hope of every parent is to rear children to be successful. Financial counselors tell us to begin saving even before our children are born. Money, however, is not a guarantee that they will get an education. The bill may be paid, but if our children don’t want to study, it is to no avail. If our children lack aspiration, money is of no benefit. Therein lies the challenging question: How do we influence our children to aspire and dream, and fulfill their dreams. How do they become children who want to be successful and actually accomplish it?

Successful people

The Bible is full of examples of successful people. They were one of a kind. There was Joseph--Although he was sold as a slave, falsely accused, and thrown in jail, he became governor of Egypt! Look at David--He was young and inexperienced, but to everyone’s surprise, God chose David as the future king of Israel. David had such confidence in himself that when Saul tried to discourage him from fighting Goliath, David insisted I can do it, I will defeat Goliath. What gave him such confidence? There are plenty of stories of people who started out with nothing, yet made it against all odds. Such was the case of Joseph and David. Money is not always the answer.

Wilma Rudolph is another example. She was the 20th of 22 children. She was born prematurely and her chances of survival were slim. When she was 4 years old, she contracted double pneumonia and scarlet fever, which left her with a paralyzed left leg. At age 9, she removed the metal leg brace she had been dependent on and began to walk without it. By 13 she had developed a rhythmic walk which doctors said was a miracle. That same year she decided to become a runner. She entered a race and came in last. For the next few years, in every race she entered, she came in last. Everyone told her to quit, but she kept on running. One day she actually won a race. And then another. From then on she won every race she entered. Eventually this little girl, who was told she would never walk again, went on to win three Olympic gold medals! My mother taught me very early to believe I could achieve any accomplishment I wanted to. The first was to walk without braces, Wilma Rudolph said.

How do I instill in my children the confidence of David, the perseverance of Joseph, the unrelenting spirit of Wilma Rudolph? How do I inspire my children to reach for the stars? There is a principle that is the firm foundation of all three lives. It is a principle that Jesus authored and practiced. Others have practiced it too, producing the noble success parents desire for their children.

What is success?

Many understand success as having a lot of money. Some measure success by the educational degrees. Others view success as a life of servitude--a life that brings happiness to others as well as one self. Basically, this person loves and is loved, is happy and makes others happy. This is Jesus’ principle of success. When applied today--2000 years later--it still works. You do not have to be a business manager to benefit from this principle. Jesus’ example is for us all.

A few years ago, NBC was not doing very well. General Electric bought the company and placed Bob Wright as its president. Not many people were happy with that appointment. General Electric is a company of engineers, and Bob Wright, an engineer himself, prompted people in the television industry to ask, What does Bob Wright know about running a TV network? Most people were convinced Wright was a big mistake. However, today NBC is the number one television network in the U.S.A. And Bob Wright is regarded as one of the most effective and successful managers in the business world. How did he do it? Wright may not know this, but he practiced the Jesus’ principle of successful management.

Don Ohlmeyer, the programming director for NBC, was at home one weekend, not expecting visitors. Early in the morning Bob Wright and three of Don’s adult sons arrived at his house. The visitors delivered two strong messages. They told Ohlmeyer they cared deeply about him, and also told Ohlmeyer that he needed help right away to deal with his drinking problem. Now this was a highly unusual practice in an enterprise the size of NBC. In a big corporation where there is no time to worry about people’s problems. A man whose personal problems are affecting his work performance is quickly fired and replaced. But Bob Wright wanted Ohlmeyer to know that he was of great value to them. Several hours later, Ohlmeyer checked into the Betty Ford Clinic for a 28-day stay.

This was not the first time Bob Wright practiced Jesus’ principle of success. Quoted in a Fortune magazine article, GE employees say that Bob Wright and his wife, Suzzane, treat top NBC performers like family, entertaining them at their home, sending holiday gifts to their kids, and coming to their aid in crises. When Brandon Tartikoff, an employee at GE, and eight-year-old daughter, Calla, were critically injured in an auto accident in Reno, the Wrights interrupted their vacation to fly to the scene. More importantly, Wright dispatched GE planes to bring in top specialists from other parts of the United States to perform surgery on the young girl.

People first

Fortune magazine asked Bob Wright to explain his management philosophy. He explained, Our job at General Electric is to deal with resources, human and financial. The idea of getting great talent, giving them all the support in the world, and letting them run is the whole management philosophy of General Electric. Here is the principle: Put people first.

This is the principle that Jesus taught with His example. When he founded His church, he did not look for a property that he might build his headquarters on and then launch his great crusade for the salvation of the world. He started with people. He gave them all the support they needed, and then He let them run. This is how a humble carpenter from Galilee began the Christian Church--He put people first!

When Microsoft needs new workers, it goes to universities, recruiting the most talented people they can find. They then train them and let them run the show. These great companies realize that the greatest asset they have is people. Not machinery, not buildings, and not cash flow. It is people. There was a time when companies felt good when they had great material assets. The more properties, the more computers, the more money, the better they were doing. Today many understand that all of that erodes, it devalues. But the value of people is a treasure that multiplies with time.

How can we apply the people principle outside the business world? How can we apply it in our home, in our church? How much of our time and planning do we devote to our children, our future? On our agendas are issues--Should we sell or should we buy? Should we have an evangelistic meeting or a cooking school? Should we have one service or two? So little time is spent discussing people. And then we wonder why people leave, discouraged, bitter and broken!

We talk evangelism and we plan evangelize. We create pamphlets, publish books, run campaigns, and produce programs. Although all this gets the message across, it is the people principle that gets the people to stay with the church. A church that cares, that supports, that is always there for you--is one that’s home, that’s family. The greatest asset of a church is its people! When members leave the church, do we ask ourselves why they are leaving? Do we ask ourselves if there was something we could have done for them? We must put people first.

When we value people, when we practice the people principle, we inspire them. Joseph had a special relationship with his father who nurtured him. David’s father believed in him (He trusted him with his sheep). Believe in your children and in all of their dreams, care for them, tell them how much you love them, and show your love by spending time with them. Put them first and they will turn into dreamers and achievers who will change the world for the better. Believe in your church members, care for them, show them your love, and they, too, will be inspired to make a difference and revolutionize the world.

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October–December, 1999

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