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Ask Fred

Mentor and sage Fred Smith receives lots of questions from leaders, and sometimes his greatest gift back is to reframe them.
Leadership's very first issue featured an interview with businessman Fred Smith, who has mentored many Christian leaders. In that interview Fred urged pastors to make their first concern "the spiritual vitality of the leadership, not the political vitality." His strength, which he demonstrated repeatedly: identifying the key issue and reframing the questions.
A year ago, Fred was hospitalized, in a semi-conscious condition, and not expected to live. Family members heard him repeat, "I want to go home … I want to go home." After an emotional family conference, they concluded that they should respect his wishes and allow him to die. They agreed to remove him from dialysis, knowing that his death would come within 3-5 days.
For the next 36 hours, they sang, read Scripture, prayed, and said their goodbyes. Unexpectedly, the promised peaceful decline turned into pulmonary failure and choking aspiration. His daughter Brenda sat there alone at midnight begging for answers. The coughing, however, ...
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