Bill Billingsley was the lead pastor at Sheridan Hills Baptist Church in Hollywood, Fl. I served on his staff and he impacted my life in huge ways. In fact, whenever I get together with Dan Southerland or David Hughes we often will comment about the difference making impact Pastor Billingsley had on our lives. I went on staff at Sheridan Hills when I was 33 years old. I immediately learned the value of modeling. No it was not on a stint on the runway- but in life’s pathways.
I remember walking the campus early in my tenure and he bent over and picked up a gum wrapper- I tried to make light of his behavior. I asked him, “Do you all have a maintenance staff here”? At which he began a classic teaching moment. He explained, “Hal it’s the job of every staff person and member to pick up trash. As a leader we set the tone for what gets done by what we do. The fact of the matter is if you are on the second floor and the toilet begins to overflow you need to stick your hand in and fix it. Don’t merely report the problem – step in and lead.” His view of leadership and the role modeling played permeated everything he did. He gave me insights into leading, parenting and marriage.
Another story, it was Valentine’s Day and the staff guys went to lunch together. We were laughing and talking about what we would buy our wives. He was laughing right along. The one of the young guys (his name shall not be mentioned, because it is mine) said, “How little can we spend our wife’s Valentine’s gift and still get credit”. This is a discussion all guys have or at least think about every year. We all began to discuss how we didn’t want to appear cheap and “what the safe amount to spend might be”. In classic Billingsley fashion he explained his plan, “Gentlemen I am going to see how much I can spend on my wife instead of how little. You see I love her and I will find ways to cut expenses in other areas before I spend less on her. Love is generous and you guys need to do your best”. Point, set and match! We all bought better gifts that year.
Who is it in your life that models following Christ? Got a story you can share?