Which leaders are you watching? Are any of them worth following? Is there a leader in your life that is so exemplary that you want to imitate them?

At The Center - Memphis, we recently had the privilege of learning from two men who are worth watching, following, and imitating.

Thousands of people have been impacted by these two incredible leaders, and thousands more have benefited from the organizations they've led, steered, and have inspired others to start.

C. Kemmons “Kem” Wilson, Jr. and Roy “Soup” Campbell were both born in Tennessee, but their backgrounds are very different. Yet, in the most important way, they are strikingly similar; they both worship the same God. Both men know Jesus died for their sins and that they will live with Him forever (1 Thessalonians 5:10). They also know that Jesus is their greatest asset. They understand that Christ in them is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). For that reason, they've dedicated their lives to mentoring, discipling, and leading others to Jesus.

The wisdom and life examples they shared during separate sessions showed us how to be leaders worth watching, following, and imitating. 

Here is a summary of the common points shared by both Kem and Soup during their incredibly impactful sessions on living and leading: 

1. Stay Plugged Into The Source 

Kem and Soup both spend intimate time with God. They read their Bibles regularly. Kem told us, “You cannot do anything great publicly for God without doing great things privately with God.” He reminded us that Jesus cleared His calendar to spend time w/ the Father so we should do the same. He said, “The first things that should hit the floor every morning are your knees.”

Soup demonstrated how important regular Bible study and scripture memory is by having one of his proteges say from memory Psalm 119:11 in every session. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

2. See The Best In Others 

Soup taught us the Greek word emblepo means "to behold who someone really is and to see them as God sees them." He reminded us of how Jesus first called Peter; He looked at Simon and saw his future as then renamed him Peter (John 1:42). Soup often emphasized the important truth that God sees infinite value in us so we need to see others the same way.

Kem told us “true friends care more about someone’s spiritual condition than the relationship.” "True friends," he said,"are willing to risk an entire relationship to point their friend to God.” Kem also reminded us of the importance of not judging others. “There is always at least one more fact that we know nothing about in everyone’s situation, so don’t judge...A friend is someone who loves you for what you are and has no immediate plans for your improvement. This is called 'unconditional love.'"

3. Make Yourself Available To Others 

Kem and Soup know Jesus is 100% available to them so they make themselves available to others. Kem told us, “Time is everything to a relationship. Hurry is the death of a relationship.” He also reminded us that it is not our abilities, but our availability that allows us to help others.

Soup described how Herb Hodges spent thousands of hours with him. This taught Soup to do the same for others. He regularly offers his home, his dinner table, his front porch, and even drive time to Walmart in order to have a life-on-life impact on the people he disciples. But, no matter the location or length of time Soup spends with someone, he knows their time together must be quality time. “Fifteen minutes of presence is better than eight hours in the same room.”

4. Confidently Set The Example

Neither men waste time on false humility as they share wisdom and life-on-life examples with others. Soup said, “Why would you say ‘Don’t follow me, follow Jesus’ if God’s word commands us to set the example (1 Timothy 4:12).” He reminded us that Paul confidently said, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Soup spoke about how too often Christians focus on not sinning instead of on how to live a life of obedience. When we focus on living as God intended we will be worthy of imitating. “When we do mess up, we need to show those that witness it, how to apologize with humility.”

Kem said, “Don’t ever mess up a good apology with an excuse.” The most important thing is to be real in front of others and let them see your heart for God and your character. “A good example has twice the value of good advice...It is not what you say, it is not what you know, it is what you do — it is what you practice — that is the acid test.”

5. Teach Others To Do The Same

Kem and Soup spend their lives investing in other people. Kem reminded us, “Don’t ever underestimate the importance of who you choose to be with. At any given time, we are becoming the average of the five people with whom we are most closely associated with.” 

Soup mentioned one of the most important scriptures on leadership development as he quoted 2 Timothy 2:2, “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Soup went on to remind us that this was God’s design from the beginning — to use the example of one human leader to teach another leader about Jesus. He explained that in just three years of ministry, Jesus must have spent over 12,000 hours doing life-on-life discipleship with his followers. He then commanded His followers to do the same. In his last words Jesus told his followers not to worry about political and military oppression but instead to go out as witnesses of His love. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Praise God that the followers of Jesus were obedient during His time, and that those they taught multiplied other leaders. Now, because of their obedience, we know 2,000 years later what Jesus has done for us. The life and death of Jesus defines all of history. As leaders who know God’s truth, we are called to be worthy of being watched, followed, and imitated as we imitate Jesus. Obedience to this call is what defines leaders. 

Thank you, Kem and Soup, for your faithful example!

Which leaders are you watching? Are any of them worth following? Is there a leader in your life that is so exemplary that you want to imitate them?
REad Full Article
Listen To Full Podcast

Join us as we discuss how to live this out in everyday life and work.

Weekly Group Meetings

Bible study with group discussions covering: life purpose and meaning of work, leadership, blessing others, redemptive entrepreneurship, and cultural impact.

Sign Up

Individual Meetings

In-person or virtual one-on-one meetings to discuss big decisions, career or job changes, big idea feedback, strategic planning, investigative faith study, and more.