I’ve seen the ad below several times in my life and I’m moved by it every time I see it. As a leader, it’s sometimes hard to see beyond circumstances, trials, or roadblocks. Sometimes culture, money, and people hold back progress. It’s natural. As I watched this ad again today, I was moved by the people Apple placed in the ad. However, as I listened to the narration and moving music, I was creating my own commercial in my heart’s eye.
Apple: “The Crazies”
I saw images of Brennan Manning, Henri Nouwen and Richard Foster in slow-motion. Feathered in were Francis Chan and David Platt. There were images of people like Bishop David Roller, Bishop Matt Thomas, and Bishop David Kendall, whom I wholeheartedly serve. There are innovators like Steve Fitch & Kevin Austin, who make causes their vocation. Then there were images of Mrs. Sass who loved an unlovable 3-year old kid in Sunday School. Charlie and Linda Cannon who taught a junior high boy how to study the Bible. Chris Spink who as a high school student invested in an awkward middle schooler and showed me that I could be myself and still belong to Jesus – comfortable in my own skin. Stephen Macaluso who as a church planter taught me that God’s fingerprints on ministry are far more important than mine. I thought of Henry Wingfield who as a young man taught me what Jesus looks and sounds like on planet earth and Dave & Debbie Simpson who taught me how to be generous. I also thought of my wife Micki, who taught me what unconditional looks like.
Leadership is hard. It’s isolating. And this ad reminds us that the great leaders had great vision, charisma and drive. Great leaders are few because they break through to new territory. As believers, I think the greatest Christian leaders are even more. I see us as a patched-together quilt made by the Holy Spirit through circumstances, time, life experience, and people. We are the sum of our parts, both good and bad. Great leaders don’t lead alone either. They have a “cloud of witnesses” that goes with them.
I want to be the kind of person who is part of a movement. Part of significant change in the world. I want to leave the world in better shape than I found it. I want someone forty years from now to write a blog post and reference my name in it as someone who pointed them to the Father. Don’t you?
The Importance of the Cloud
Without a cloud of witnesses, I don’t know how leaders survive. The most successful pro athletes have a cloud of people who are honest and tell them like it is. The best CEOs have VPs who aren’t “yes men”. The best pastors have friends, leadership and boards who are able to speak into their lives. If you don’t have a cloud, I’d caution you to check yourself. As I watch this ad and think of innovation, leadership and change, I know I haven’t arrived yet. But I’m in a good place largely in part to the people around me that have made me who I am today. Broken but available. Energetic but anchored. Confident yet flawed. Insecure yet hopeful. Realistic….and a little bit crazy. Thanks, Holy Spirit for the uniqueness of my quilt and for my cloud.
Who’s In Your Cloud?
If you were to re-make this commercial in your heart’s eye, who would be the people in your ad and why?