FOLLOWING A BELOVED PREDECESSOR

A strong leader can leave shoes that are though to fill.

When John Perkins, the founder and president of Voice of Calvary, called my wife and me over to his home one afternoon in 1981, I had some idea of what he was going to say, but I wasn't completely sure. In the last few years, John had made two or three overtures about resigning, but hadn't carried through. I'm not sure anyone really expected him to.

This time, however, it was different.

"Lem," he said, "I'm going to resign and I want you to think about becoming president of Voice of Calvary."

Eleanor and I were poles apart in our reactions. She was scared, and I was excited. I was sure this was a chance to take a significant, nationally recognized community development ministry into the Promised Land. I was ready to fly; I had no intention of putting on the brakes. It took me only half a day to decide.

Eleanor, however, saw nothing but loose ends, problems, and entanglements. She figured I was buying a $100 ticket on the Titanic for $5 and boasting about the great deal I'd gotten.

As Eleanor ...

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