Points to Ponder On Leadership and You

by Pastor Dennis Whitmore

“If you want to rule. Learn to serve; If you want to lead, Learn to follow; If you want to succeed, Learn to make others succeed.” Dr. Woodrow Knoll

The above quote is taken from the book, From Bethlehem to Baltimore, A Life Journey. It is the autobiography of Clarence W. Hottel Sr., the co-founder of Fidelity Engineering Corporation. He and his late wife Dorothy founded this heating and air conditioning company in the 1940s on biblical principles and with prayerful guidance from the Lord. Mr. Hottel has been a friend and mentor to me since 1988 when he was just a young man, at age 80. He founded the Baltimore Breakfast Group, an organization that hosts a monthly prayer breakfast for local business people. I was a nominal Christian, not a churchgoer, and relatively confused about spiritual things then. But I was moved to go to one of these breakfast meetings. From there I met a pastor, Leslie Metcalf Sr., who befriended me, then discipled me. From there, Marcella and I became involved in church. Then, a call to ministry came to me. After some resistance, I was in seminary. In 1995 I was pastoring three churches in Big Pool. And today, I am pastoring First Church in Laurel.

I skipped over a lot of details and left out many miraculous stories, because I want to focus on Clarence Hottel - and leadership. Clarence is the son of a Mennonite Pastor from Pennsylvania. He has been and still is a lay person. He is humble and full of the joy of the Lord. You would never know that this man has been in the company of Presidents (beginning with Dwight Eisenhower) and Billy Graham, and other notables. You would never know by his warm smile and welcome embrace that he is a wealthy man who has been in the company of the rich and powerful. It never went to his head because Jesus Christ has always commanded his heart. He talks down to no one, nor does he consider himself of greater worth than anyone.

My course from twenty-something businessperson to pastor of a growing urban church was a series of “relays”, if you will. Many lay persons, like Clarence Hottel, loved God deeply and made themselves and their talents available to Him. Through them (and there were many), I grew from faith to faith, getting stronger and more discerning of God’s will for me as I came to see it lived out in the life and work of others.

You do not have to be a pastor to have a ministry. You do not have to hold an office or carry a title to be a leader. I do not know what position Clarence Hottel holds, if any, in his home church. I only know what position he has held in my life and my walk with Christ. He is a leader. I have watched how he lives. In some way, every one of us is a leader. Jesus reminds us that as the Father sent Him, So He sends each one of us, to lead others to God.

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it is shall not be so among you; let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave.” (Matthew 20:25-27 NKJV)

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Dennis

Pastor Whitmore serves God at The First United Methodist Church in Laurel, MD.