I’ve seen the ad below several times in my life and I’m moved by it every time I see it. Â As a leader, it’s sometimes hard to see beyond circumstances, trials, or roadblocks. Â Sometimes culture, money, and people hold back progress. Â It’s natural. Â As I watched this ad again today, I was moved by the people Apple placed in the ad. Â 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. Â Feathered in wereÂ Francis Chan and David Platt. Â There were images of people like Bishop David Roller, Bishop Matt Thomas, and Bishop David Kendall, whom I wholeheartedly serve. Â There are innovators like Steve Fitch &Â Kevin Austin, who make causes their vocation.Â Then there were images of Mrs. Sass who loved an unlovable 3-year old kid in Sunday School. Â Charlie and Linda Cannon who taught a junior high boy how to study the Bible. Â 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. Â Stephen Macaluso who as a church planter taught me that God’s fingerprints on ministry are far more important than mine. Â 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. Â I also thought of my wife Micki, who taught me what unconditional looks like.
Leadership is hard. Â It’s isolating. Â And this ad reminds us that the great leaders had great vision, charisma and drive. Â Great leaders are few because they break through to new territory. Â As believers, I think the greatest Christian leaders are even more. Â I see us as a patched-together quilt made by the Holy Spirit through circumstances, time, life experience, and people. Â We are the sum of our parts, both good and bad. Â Great leaders don’t lead alone either. Â They have a “cloud of witnesses” that goes with them.
I want to be the kind of person who is part of a movement. Â Part of significant change in the world. Â I want to leave the world in better shape than I found it. Â 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. Â Don’t you?
The Importance of the Cloud
Without a cloud of witnesses, I don’t know how leaders survive. Â The most successful pro athletes have a cloud of people who are honest and tell them like it is. Â The best CEOs have VPs who aren’t “yes men”. Â The best pastors have friends, leadership and boards who are able to speak into their lives. Â If you don’t have a cloud, I’d caution you to check yourself. Â As I watch this ad and think of innovation, leadership and change, I know I haven’t arrived yet. Â But I’m in a good place largely in part to the people around me that have made me who I am today. Â Broken but available. Â Energetic but anchored. Â Confident yet flawed. Â Insecure yet hopeful. Realistic….and a little bit crazy. Â 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?