Episode 219: Monte Wilkinson makes interns, transitions and life wisdom simple.

Monte Wilkinson knows a thing or two about leading interns, getting hired at a new church, and navigating major church transitions. If you’re facing any of these things, you aren’t alone. Sit down with Rusty and Monte as they talk through what it was really like having Rusty as an intern, as well as the life wisdom Monte picked up through his years in ministry.

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Rusty George
This episode is brought to you by Serve HQ. Train your ministry, volunteers, leaders and new members online fast and easy with Serve HQ.

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Intro/Outro
Welcome to Leading Simple with Rusty George. Our goal is to make following Jesus and leading others a bit more simple. Here's your host, Rusty George.

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Rusty George
Hey, welcome to Leading Simple. I'm so glad that you're joining us today. And I am so proud to introduce to you one of my closest friends in the world, a mentor of mine, and the first guy that ever gave me a job. His name is Monte Wilkinson. And while you may not know that name, you have certainly been the beneficiary of his influence, because anything that's good in my life is a result of his leadership.

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Rusty George
And I'm so, so grateful for him and for who he is. Monty pastors a church out in Lexington, Kentucky, and he is the first person that ever hired me, hired me as an intern when I was still in college, and then hired me back the next summer to be an intern. And then following graduating, he hired me on full time at this church that I served at in Lexington, Kentucky.

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Rusty George
We worked together for nine years. I moved out to California. He eventually took a church of his own there in Lexington and have stayed close friends ever since. He's just a great guy and he is going to share great life wisdom with us today. You're not going to forget this episode, and you're going to absolutely love hearing from Monty.

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Rusty George
I want to thank our friends over at Serve HQ who are sponsoring the program this month. I'm sure everybody has realized that onboarding new people to volunteer in your church is tough. It's confusing, it's complicated. It can lead to people slipping through the cracks, and you don't want that. So a clear and simple onboarding process will make sure new people are prepared and motivated.

00;01;59;26 - 00;02;31;18
Rusty George
So to do that, you need a good and reliable system. Let me recommend to you serve HK You Serve H.Q. is a simple video training course that helps you equip volunteers and develop leaders. You can create your own training or use their video library. You can even automate next steps to onboard new people. So picture this You want to train someone to work in children's ministry rather than begging them to come out to the church and train them one on one or one on 20 and hope that they show up.

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Rusty George
Now you can model it, record it, and put it up through Survey HQ and they can watch the training videos whenever they want and in the comfort of their own home. Then when they show up on Sunday, they're trained and ready to roll. Serve HQ Dot Church is where you go to find out more about this. Well, today we get to hear from my buddy Monty and I hope you really enjoy this episode as much as I did recording it.

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Rusty George
Here we go. Monty Wilkinson, my brother, my friend, my mentor. The first person to hire me. Thank you. Hey, welcome to Leading Simple for our audience that doesn't know you. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

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Monte Wilkinson
Well, first of all, thanks for having me. It's always good to get to spend time with you and grateful for our friendship.

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Monte Wilkinson
You know, I'm I've been married for 38 years, my high school sweetheart, my wife and. Yeah. And we have two adult daughters, Bailey and Natalie. Both of them married. Great son in law. Love those guys. And Bailey, our oldest daughter, she just six weeks ago today at 1159, she she made us grandparents. And so we're grateful for that.

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Monte Wilkinson
And man, I'll tell you, it's talking about a new season of life and it it is it is exciting. So thrilled as far as vocationally. I've been at two churches. Both of them are in Lexington, 25 years on the south side of town. And then 15 years ago, I came across the other side to the northeast side of town, and I met Northeast Christian in last ten years.

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Monte Wilkinson
I've been the lead minister here. And at the end of this month, Ross, I've finished my 40th year in ministry, which it just seems like yesterday really truthfully. And I don't feel like, you know, the age that I am, but yeah, it's awesome.

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Speaker 4
Hmm.

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Rusty George
You know, one of the things that, you know, I've always had in common with you and valued from you was just how you kind of got into ministry and the job that you got because of weekend internship kind of experiences, summer internships that turned into full time jobs, which you were at Cincinnati Bible College at the time and made your way down to Lexington or for those of us on the West Coast that don't know that.

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Rusty George
That's about an hour drive from Cincinnati down to Lexington. So you would come down and work there. And so you knew the benefit of internships, and then you hired me as your intern coming out of Ozark College. So you had a lot of things you had to work through in order to bring me on as well. But tell me about just you know, you had a you had a lot of interns and you were an intern.

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Rusty George
We do a lot of work with residents and interns and all of that. Just tell me the value of that, what you learned during that time and what you learned by leading interns as well.

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Monte Wilkinson
Well, first thing about interns is when they're, you know, wherever they come from, if if they're if they're somebody who's truly interested in, you know, in our in our lane, you know, ministry and they they're passionate about, you know, learning and and gaining some, you know, kind of behind the curtain insights and things like that. I mean, they're those types of interns are sponges, right?

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Monte Wilkinson
You know, the other thing is that we always joked, you know, the internal mo your grass and pick up your dry cleaning, those kinds of things. But just the thing about it is they get to do life with you. And I think they, you know, they appreciate, you know, this like, hey, I'm I'm important enough that they ask me to go along to do this, whatever this is, you know, I'm going to speak over here or we're going to the hospital or we're going to just go to lunch.

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Monte Wilkinson
You know, and with with another colleague and what have you come along with. And, you know, those kinds of environments, I think more are more value happened. You know, the conversations that, you know, you and I had in the front seat of the car while we were driving somewhere, then actually happened in, you know, telling you how to do a certain ministry, you know, task or something like that.

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Monte Wilkinson
And I just, you know, I'm I'm people oriented. I'm an extrovert. I know I hear you talk about your your your curse of being an introvert. I call it a curse. Do you think it's a great way to hide from life? But I.

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Speaker 4
I, I find.

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Monte Wilkinson
You know, people are energizing for me. And so interns, especially the older I got, the, you know, the more you know, the more energy I get for it. We just we have an intern here in student ministry. It's a young lady, and she just got a job, a full time job. And I saw her today and I was teasing or just about, hey, I saw the guy is one of the guys who she's going to be working with.

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Monte Wilkinson
And I, I said, hey, she is great. You know, she makes a great gumbo and you guys should get her, you know, if she was like, you did not say that. I but you know, there's a lot of fun in that, you know, that interaction. And I say fun, you know, life is too short, not to enjoy the ride.

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Monte Wilkinson
Right. And the interaction in those moments, I think all the interns that I worked with, certainly you're you were the best. I mean, you were the creme de la creme, you know.

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Speaker 4
Thank you.

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Monte Wilkinson
I don't really know what that means, but I've heard people.

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Speaker 4
So all that.

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Monte Wilkinson
To be said or I young people, you get a chance to influence them, not that you leave a stamp on them or anything like that, but if it matters to you, then it could matter to them. And you passed that legacy long ago and forth.

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Speaker 4
Make it.

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Rusty George
Well. You make a great point there about just learning along the way. I think about many car rides or we would just talk about life or we debrief about the hospital call. We just went on or the, you know, the funeral visitation. I you know, one of the first things I remember, you know, I just moved to Lexington for the summer and you said, well, we got to we got to run a couple of errands.

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Rusty George
Okay. So we stopped at Kentucky Chocolates, which is some candy company. Yeah. Oh, Kentucky candy.

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Monte Wilkinson
Yeah. You sponsor this program, you play?

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Rusty George
Exactly, exactly. Yeah. So you said I got to go to pick up some candy for somebody. I said, oh, was that for your wife? No, it's for somebody I offended. And I thought, oh, now that.

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Speaker 4
Is really smart, man.

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Rusty George
When you walk in your money.

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Speaker 4
Make a frequent line.

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Rusty George
They had yeah, they had a lot of a lot of candies for you, but it just taught me the value of listen, we laugh a lot. We tease a lot. Every now and then you overstep those bounds. Just make it right.

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Monte Wilkinson
Yeah.

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Rusty George
And. And you were so good at that. You taught me the value of writing thank you cards, handwritten thank you notes and encouragement notes. And I have so many of those from you. So. So here you are, as an associate pastor. You know, you worked in everything from kids ministry to students ministry to young adult ministry to adult discipleship singles ministry, all kinds of great stuff you did.

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Rusty George
And I remember many times I even after I left to come out here to California, I would say, Hey, man, you need to go be a lead guy. And I even hooked you up with a couple of interviews that where people were asking, Hey, you know somebody? I do. I know this guy named Marty Wilkinson. He would be amazing.

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Rusty George
And it never seemed like the right fit for you. Right. And then you go to work at this other church in town as an associate for them, and you kind of didn't put your hat in the ring there. And then you finally did tell me when you knew it was right. Because we've got people out there that, you know, they're they're vice president.

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Rusty George
They're a number two in charge when it's time to get your own program, so to speak, and do your own thing.

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Monte Wilkinson
Yeah. So we came here to Northeast and really and, and I prayed hard about that because what a lot of people may not know is that, you know, we we were at South and Christian for 25 years. And when we that that's a very contemporary, very forward leaning church and and Northeast at the time was was very traditional in style and model and even their strategies were, you know, they had just built up this massive 2000 seat auditorium and it was that old field of dreams kind of church building mentality.

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Monte Wilkinson
If you build it, they will come kind of thing. And and so we did not see ourselves as a fit there. But the more we prayed, the more we felt like God was saying, you need to go there. And so I came here and everything I had done before was nothing I was doing when I got here. And I was a discipleship guy, right?

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Monte Wilkinson
And they wanted me to do pastoral care stuff and I was like, you know, God called me here, I'm going to do whatever. And I felt like that was the thing. And then three years into our our time here, the guy who brought me in, they they didn't fire him, but they basically showed him where the door was and they said he was too progressive.

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Monte Wilkinson
And I'm like, I'm the only guy. I mean, I if he was progressive, I'm I don't even I didn't. So I just started getting my resume together, you know. And it wasn't long after that's when you you sent me a call me about church and said, Hey, you need to check these out. And Russ, we went all the way.

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Monte Wilkinson
I mean, if this is a marathon, we ran the 26 miles of these people and then quit at the, you know, with 2/10 to go. But it wasn't I knew it wasn't right. I knew I wasn't the guy for that. But that set me up, you know, and I'll tell you, I know this isn't help a lot of people in the sense of, you know, do these these six things and then you're ready, right.

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Monte Wilkinson
You you asked me, how did I know I was ready or how do I know that this was for me? I was I just said no to Wichita. And I was at home praying in, you know, in my in my study at home. And it was a couple days after the Wichita thing was ended. And I was praying and I remember distinctly, you know, God pressing in my heart, you might be the solution to this problem, because I was praying about the church at the time and we didn't we had an interim guy, a local retired minister.

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Monte Wilkinson
Everybody in central Kentucky loves. But I mean, I, I didn't see myself being that guy. But then when that happened, all of a sudden I started to see myself that way. And so I had an elder in the church, you know, I just kept praying. Right. And this elder, he stopped me one day and he says, Hey, do they have a preacher yet?

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Monte Wilkinson
And I said, No, no, as far as I know, we don't have anybody yet. And he said, Well, what about you? And I said, Well, you know, it's interesting. I said, I was praying about this a couple of months ago, and I told him the whole scenario. And then he he looks at me and he says, have have they asked you yet?

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Monte Wilkinson
And I said, No. And he said, Well, then they're not interested in you. You know, like, yeah, but Russ and I, we don't have time. There were so many markers along the way that as we, we kept going forward, you know, I had conversations here, conversations there, and they couldn't find anybody because you know, they had in four years, they had let two senior guys go.

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Monte Wilkinson
And it was a lot of drama, you know, messy deals and, and they had 10 million in debt.

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Speaker 4
Mm.

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Monte Wilkinson
And so, you know, I, I remember thinking if you're somebody who has, you know, any, any upside at all, why would you take this? You know, it's, you know, there's trouble, there's debt. It's all the things that you you would probably turn and go, I'm not going to do that because of those reasons. But then they one day one of the guys heard me preach who was on the search committee.

00;16;07;05 - 00;16;36;11
Monte Wilkinson
Now, I had not preached in a year because this the interim guy would always bring people in to preach. And so finally he asked me to preach on July 31st of 2011, and he said, you know, if you want to, you can do it. And I was desperate because I thought I need to get a good sermon on tape because I'm I need, you know.

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Speaker 4
And.

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Monte Wilkinson
So I, I worked on the talk and and did it. And then one of the search committee guys came up to me and said, he goes, Have you ever thought about doing that, you know, on a regular basis? And I said, What are you talking about, Bob? And he said, You know, like around here, you could could you do this every Sunday?

00;16;56;27 - 00;16;57;13
Monte Wilkinson
And I said.

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Speaker 4
People, you know.

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Monte Wilkinson
They the committee had had had my resume and they said they weren't interested. And I said, you know, yeah. And so long story short, they invited me and we did it. We did the interviews. And, you know, really the stuff I went through with Wichita was great for me, but it all started with that moment where I felt like God was saying, you could be the solution to this.

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Monte Wilkinson
For people who know me, they would know $10 million in debt doesn't scare me because I at the time I didn't understand a million, let alone 10 million. Right now, I'm not saying that I'm I just don't I just didn't I just never was in enamored by that. Right. And so to say, you know, that I would be scared by it.

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Monte Wilkinson
Yeah. No.

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Rusty George
You know, you touched on something there, I think a lot of us kind of wonder about, and that is what's the delicate balance of pursuing a job and letting them pursue you. You know, there's a school of thought that says, if I pursue it heavily, well, then I'm not trusting God.

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Monte Wilkinson
Right.

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Rusty George
But then the other school of thought says, if I don't pursue it, maybe I'm not showing myself to be up to the challenge or interested whatsoever. Or how do you how do you do that dance?

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Speaker 4
Yeah.

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Monte Wilkinson
Well, first of all, I believe that if you know God has a plan for your life, I believe that with every fiber in me, he has a purpose that you were designed for. You know, you're part of the body of Christ. And so what is the function that he said, hey, I want I want Rusty Leonard George to do that.

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Monte Wilkinson
Right.

00;18;44;07 - 00;18;47;27
Rusty George
One hour. Thank you for dropping that, brother.

00;18;48;10 - 00;18;54;24
Monte Wilkinson
Yeah. How do how do we. I got it. I got to mention Fred in Eugene Peterson.

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Speaker 4
Before that, too.

00;18;56;11 - 00;18;57;18
Rusty George
That's right. Everyone does.

00;18;58;03 - 00;19;23;00
Monte Wilkinson
That. The point being is that if God has a purpose for your life, right, then what you should do is you should say you should seek that from him. And it's not like an Indiana Jones movie where it's hidden in the desert out there somewhere. Right. He's going to want you to know what that is. Now, do I think it's do I think it's lacks faith to pursue something if that's the case?

00;19;23;00 - 00;19;52;18
Monte Wilkinson
I had no faith in, you know, dating my wife because I chased her relentlessly. You know, I met her in the seventh grade. Russ She didn't know who I was until the eighth grade. You know, that's how that's how out of my league I was. But when you talk about God's purpose for your life and we talk about it a vocational ministry position, if that's what God has for you, then I think you should pursue it.

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Monte Wilkinson
And I think you should put your best foot forward. I think, you know, you should you know, it's not manipulation or those kinds of things. I don't think any of that value in the kingdom. But I do think that, you know, if you have skills, they should know what those are. If you have abilities and gifts, they should know what those are.

00;20;10;04 - 00;20;31;02
Monte Wilkinson
And if they do their due diligence and they pray as well, and that's the position for you. You know, you might you might do everything correct, but they may not have a sensitivity to what God is saying and they may miss you. You know, and you know, I. I think you could be discouraged by that. Yeah.

00;20;31;12 - 00;20;53;03
Rusty George
Wow, that's good. Now, one of the things I've always admired about you is your relentless discipline when it comes to your time with God, be it quiet time, devotional time, Bible reading, whatever you call it, to be right. And I think a lot of pastors kind of chalk that up to, Oh yeah, that's my sermon prep time. But for you, it's always been something different.

00;20;53;03 - 00;21;12;26
Rusty George
It's very personal. It's you in a in a room and you're in your home study. What are the disciplines you have in place and are they the same that they've been for the last 50 years, or do you mix it up a little bit? What's what's that time look like for you?

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Speaker 4
Yeah.

00;21;16;03 - 00;21;56;07
Monte Wilkinson
So, you know, when I first got in ministry, I didn't do that. I, you know, I was just like hit and and the one driving element for my time with God was guilt. Right? I would read about these fathers of the faith who spent 3 hours right in the in the word and prayer. We had a guy when I when I first went to South on Christian years ago, he he would his son wrote an article or a paper for school about it said and it was titled something like The weirdest person I know my dad and the whole the whole paper was about how my dad gets up at 430 every morning to read

00;21;56;07 - 00;22;04;27
Monte Wilkinson
the Bible and pray and his dad would spend like 2 hours in the word and then our in the word and 2 hours in prayer and I was just like.

00;22;05;24 - 00;22;08;11
Speaker 4
I got to get 15 minutes in.

00;22;08;11 - 00;22;08;21
Monte Wilkinson
Right?

00;22;09;19 - 00;22;10;01
Speaker 4
I'm not.

00;22;10;01 - 00;22;12;11
Monte Wilkinson
Nearly as mature as this guy was.

00;22;12;12 - 00;22;12;20
Speaker 4
But.

00;22;13;06 - 00;22;28;20
Monte Wilkinson
I, I certainly, you know, struggle. And so I always feel guilty about and then I had a guy tell me one time he said, if you do something 37 times in a row, it'll become a habit. Honestly, I've research that I, I think he just made it up. I honestly.

00;22;28;29 - 00;22;29;11
Speaker 4
I know.

00;22;29;18 - 00;22;31;16
Rusty George
The number seems to always change when I hear.

00;22;31;16 - 00;22;31;21
Speaker 4
That.

00;22;31;22 - 00;22;53;19
Monte Wilkinson
So for me I said, okay, you know what? I'm, I'm doing it. It was and it was the summer of 88. And I said, I'm doing it. And I have it's been almost like a Cal Ripken thing for me. I don't want to miss you know, I don't want to miss night. I've been sick and I've had, you know, moments where I've dropped out.

00;22;53;19 - 00;23;17;03
Monte Wilkinson
But I did that 37 days in a row. And I had a guy you remember Bruce Osborne. He was a young adult leader for us when we were working together. And he came up to me after a Bible study one night and he said, Hey, I just wanted to tell you something. He said, There's a group of us who've been praying for you to be a better teacher.

00;23;17;03 - 00;23;18;20
Monte Wilkinson
Let that sink in for a moment.

00;23;20;15 - 00;23;20;26
Speaker 4
One of my.

00;23;20;26 - 00;23;33;21
Monte Wilkinson
Best betas had got a prayer group outside of the Bible study to pray that I will be a better teacher. Right. And has it been that bad? He goes, No, no, we want you to be, you know.

00;23;34;01 - 00;23;34;27
Speaker 4
To be better.

00;23;34;29 - 00;24;09;19
Monte Wilkinson
And he said, This is about this is about three weeks into this this 37 day run. He says to me, he goes, We were meeting the other night to pray and we are all in agreement. There's something different about your teaching. And I remember in my mind's I kind of just looking to the heavens go on message recei, you know, and you know, when you want this to be what you're, you know, this isn't to me it's so much a vocation as it is this calling.

00;24;09;24 - 00;24;31;20
Monte Wilkinson
I don't want to get all, you know, emotional and, you know, of big high in the sky kind of stuff, you know, like we're better than other people whose jobs are our, you know, just like a guy said to me one time, he said, I used to be a minister and now I sell mortgages. You know, I'm like, well, that's that's a kingdom position.

00;24;31;20 - 00;24;58;13
Monte Wilkinson
He goes, Not in his mind. It wasn't, you know, but when I think about what we get to do right, and we we get to represent the king of kings and the Lord of Lords and the Kingdom component of and we're we're ambassadors of this thing. And God says, hey, this is what I this is what I want you to do, you know, go out and represent me first.

00;24;58;13 - 00;25;21;24
Monte Wilkinson
John two six You walk as Jesus did, you know. Well, it's simple, except it's not, you know, it's challenging. So people watch you and they listen to you and you go at one point you realize, I don't have anything to tell these people if if God doesn't say something to me. And so we spend time in His Word just going, Lord, what do you want me to tell these people?

00;25;22;11 - 00;25;22;21
Speaker 4
You know?

00;25;23;13 - 00;25;44;12
Monte Wilkinson
And that became I wouldn't say it was I was desperate in that sense. But, you know, the older I get, the more it kind of feels that way. Like Lord, help me know what you want us to say. And then when you do know, like it's like that last piece of the puzzle snapping and you're like, Yeah, that's it, right?

00;25;44;12 - 00;26;16;17
Monte Wilkinson
And no matter, no matter, you know, when that moment is, it's, it's the first by the steak, you know, it's I mean, it's that first time you hold that grand baby, you know, it's, it's and so the only way that I can consider certainly get that is by spending time with the Lord and yeah I used to I spend a lot of time now with you know, with digital tools and all that.

00;26;16;17 - 00;26;48;17
Monte Wilkinson
And, you know, they make it so convenient, right? And still like the, you know, occasionally to read from one of those old Bibles that I have in my study at home. And but for me, it's just I want it. I the first thing I do when I wake up, spend time with the Lord, we're doing a a Bible reading plan here, you know, to try to emphasize emphasize Bible engagement this year.

00;26;48;22 - 00;27;07;14
Monte Wilkinson
And so constantly, you know, we got a couple different plans and and so I'm doing that with the church and whatnot. But the other thing, Russ and I'm trying to do this is a new thing for me is I used to, you know, read fast and now I'm trying to read slow.

00;27;07;22 - 00;27;09;10
Speaker 4
Mm.

00;27;09;10 - 00;27;25;22
Monte Wilkinson
And somebody asked me the other day what do you think about, you know, where it, it, the, you know, like the you version will read that the chapter two you write and I said I think it's fine but I, but I found that for me it reads it too fast.

00;27;26;05 - 00;27;26;14
Speaker 4
Yeah.

00;27;26;28 - 00;27;50;01
Monte Wilkinson
I need, I need to stop and I need to highlight stuff. I need to underline it. A lot of times those underlined passages is where a sermon will come from later. But those things when I stop and I, I even think about just a word or two and that then, then things start to really come alive and don't speed through it, you know?

00;27;50;08 - 00;27;56;19
Rusty George
Yeah. There's something about when you do your Bible reading on your version and you listen to it at two and a half times.

00;27;56;19 - 00;27;58;29
Speaker 4
Speed.

00;27;58;29 - 00;28;23;00
Rusty George
You're like, I think I'm just trying to get this done, you know? Yeah, I've noticed. And I love how you brought that up about, you know, you you have something to say worth saying after you've had that, that time with God. And I feel like there's moments I'm reading and I think this has no application for where I am in my life, for what I'm teaching this weekend, for whatever.

00;28;23;13 - 00;28;46;17
Rusty George
But it's like I'm stockpiling the pantry. Yeah, you know, and there's going to come that moment and I don't know when it is in, it's usually not in a sermon, it's usually over lunch. It's usually in a drive with my daughter or whatever. And something will be said and that will be triggered. And I, I got something in the pantry for that I can pull out and share with them.

00;28;46;17 - 00;28;47;26
Rusty George
That was beyond me.

00;28;48;10 - 00;29;09;25
Monte Wilkinson
Yeah. And you do a great job with that. I notice just how you'll, you can weave real life into the, into the text and the text and speaks into that. Right. And you can, you can help people. See, this isn't just a theoretical thing. This is something you actually apply to your life. You do a great job with that.

00;29;09;26 - 00;29;10;25
Rusty George
Well, thank you for.

00;29;11;07 - 00;29;12;21
Monte Wilkinson
That over your internship hour.

00;29;13;07 - 00;29;41;17
Rusty George
Well, I actually did so much Bible College dust all over me as I got out of that, you shook that off. Okay, so you and I have laughed about this before, but, you know, we served together for nine years while I was at South I'm with you, and we were both in associate roles and, you know, just to be honest, there were many times we would armchair quarterback whatever the senior pastor said or did.

00;29;41;23 - 00;30;01;09
Rusty George
Right. And we and we worked for two of them. Now that I'm a senior pastor, now that you were a senior pastor, I think there are things we go, Oh, I had no idea exactly what were some of the surprises you had? And becoming a lead guy besides $10 million in debt?

00;30;01;13 - 00;30;01;27
Speaker 4
Yeah.

00;30;02;11 - 00;30;26;00
Monte Wilkinson
Well, initially they didn't tell me about the money. They didn't tell me it. I had I had asked I was it I was an associate here for like a year and a half before I, before I crack the code. Mm. So that, that was a little bit shocked but yeah I would tell you the first thing that I learned about this whole thing was just how humbling the job can be.

00;30;26;13 - 00;30;49;13
Monte Wilkinson
You know, and you kind of, you kind of trip the wire there a little bit with the idea that you don't know. I mean, yeah, it's easy to sit back and go, you know why? And Ben Roethlisberger throw to the back in the flat. Well, maybe it's because there were three defensive linemen hanging off of his shoulders. You know, he can't.

00;30;49;16 - 00;31;22;17
Monte Wilkinson
Yeah, he can do it. And I, I the one thing I recognize is it's easy to, to miss all the things going on below the waterline in somebody's life. Right? And then they miss fastball right down the middle of the plate. Right. And fortunately for me, got God's provision here for me was I had a couple of people around me who, you know, they were that offensive guard that when I just got leveled, they would pick me up.

00;31;22;29 - 00;31;39;14
Monte Wilkinson
Right. He was the guy that were always the tight end that would always run over and make sure he was the guy giving the quarterback the hand up, you know, to pull him off the ground. And you got to have that. You got to have that. You got to have a guy who who's going to, you know, have your back in the settings.

00;31;39;26 - 00;31;50;04
Monte Wilkinson
But for me, it was really humbling because one of the big things was how many people come to you for solutions, right?

00;31;50;13 - 00;31;50;18
Speaker 4
Hm.

00;31;51;29 - 00;31;56;23
Monte Wilkinson
Staff people. What should we do about this? And you're like, Hey, we hired you to figure that out.

00;31;56;29 - 00;31;58;28
Speaker 4
What? We don't have a clue.

00;31;59;14 - 00;32;18;24
Monte Wilkinson
And we go, Well, then maybe we should find someone else. No, no, we'll figure it out. And then. And then church people, you know, who come in and go, Hey, could I talk to you? And I go, Sure, what's it about? And they said, Well, it's confidential. So they come in and they go, You know, my marriage is almost over.

00;32;19;09 - 00;32;38;11
Monte Wilkinson
And you go, When did what's been going on? I said, Well, about 15 years ago. You know, I got thrown out for 15 years. Exactly. You're thinking that we can fix it right now. Now God can, you know, with man, this is impossible. God, all things were possible. So, you know, let's, you know, tighten our belts, assume you have one now, right.

00;32;38;15 - 00;32;45;28
Speaker 4
And a little inside joke. But yeah, you know.

00;32;46;07 - 00;33;26;09
Monte Wilkinson
We got to it was extremely humbling. I would say the other thing that was probably and this was in that category, a humbling too. But I learned only when I was, you know, really, truly learned the value of this was just how little faith that it took to work in ministry. Sometimes. And I'm I'm ashamed to say that, Russ, you know, there were times like, you know, working in a large church and this is not a knock on the large church by any stretch, but because I, you know, some of my best life ministry moments were were there.

00;33;26;24 - 00;33;44;28
Monte Wilkinson
But but I found that later in life, you know, I asked the question one time, where's them? What line do we get this money for this this project out of? And the executive guy said to me, he goes, We don't have a line for that. I go, okay, so where do we get the money for me? We don't have money for that.

00;33;45;09 - 00;33;48;05
Monte Wilkinson
And, you know, I was like, Well, how do you guys do church here? I mean I.

00;33;48;13 - 00;33;50;12
Speaker 4
Mean, how do you do that?

00;33;50;21 - 00;34;13;13
Monte Wilkinson
And he laughed. He did just what you did. He left that. The point was we're we're we have to trust God, you know, to figure these things out. And sometimes when you have, you know, you're down to your last $200 and you got three needs, what are you going to do? And I'd never faced that before because we never were at a point where we had three needs and only capacity to pay one.

00;34;13;20 - 00;34;37;15
Monte Wilkinson
Right. And and it was true with volunteers, too, you know. And now you're sitting there going, we don't have the same the same volunteers. So all of a sudden now I'm finding myself going, Lord, we need your help. Yeah. You know, we can't do this if you don't show up. We can't do this. I had a worship guy that said to me one time, and I just it just resonated in my soul.

00;34;37;15 - 00;34;57;00
Monte Wilkinson
He said, You know what? Money, if God's not in it, I don't want to do it. And I said, Yeah, yeah, me too. You know, I wish I could, right. But his exactly right. So but if God's in it, then you know he's going to pay for it, right? He's going to provide the resources you need, the volunteers that whatever.

00;34;57;09 - 00;34;57;18
Monte Wilkinson
Right?

00;34;57;18 - 00;35;05;10
Rusty George
So that's good. Okay. So our audience is wondering, what is the inside joke about the belt? Go ahead and tell them.

00;35;06;01 - 00;35;32;20
Monte Wilkinson
Well, when we interviewed Rusty for his internship, I was in a I was in a conference room around a table with I think there were like three or four elders and deacons. This is back in the day where the youth committee was made up of all elders and deacons. Right. And I was interviewing Russ to be the young adult intern.

00;35;33;16 - 00;36;01;18
Monte Wilkinson
And of course, we're on the phone. This is before Zoom and all that kind of thing. And so the Dark Ages, him and he had sent a picture. And, you know, those of you that know reading simple, you've been here since day one. You know, this man is a slave to fashion. I mean, he whether it's the hairstyle, he's sporting the beard right now, looking dapper and sharp and the whole thing.

00;36;01;18 - 00;36;24;28
Monte Wilkinson
I see the glasses from time to time, you know, and and just the the wardrobe is spectacular, not the case in college. We asked him to send a picture and he sent picture and he's wearing denim jeans and a denim shirt. And one of my one of my committee members said, Hey, Russ, can I ask you a question or other?

00;36;25;11 - 00;36;27;16
Monte Wilkinson
Sure. And he says, Do you own a belt and.

00;36;29;03 - 00;36;29;09
Speaker 4
Is.

00;36;29;09 - 00;36;34;17
Monte Wilkinson
Resting of a belt on in the picture. And we've we've joked about the belt ever since. Right.

00;36;34;25 - 00;36;38;21
Rusty George
So I didn't want to break up the denim ensemble.

00;36;38;25 - 00;36;41;07
Speaker 4
You got a lot like Levi.

00;36;41;07 - 00;36;42;26
Monte Wilkinson
Strauss just vomited.

00;36;42;26 - 00;36;45;01
Speaker 4
And. Yeah, yeah.

00;36;45;08 - 00;36;53;01
Rusty George
So I was being sponsored by them. Those were good days. I was on a pay phone in the dorm. I remember that.

00;36;53;09 - 00;36;54;24
Speaker 4
Well, yeah.

00;36;55;20 - 00;37;14;09
Rusty George
Whatever it takes. Yeah, yeah. Hey, let me interrupt this podcast for just a second. Every church leader knows that having trained and engaged volunteers is essential to successfully accomplishing your mission. But if you're like most leaders, you also know how tricky it can be to onboard and equip people for your team. What if there was a resource that made it easier?

00;37;14;22 - 00;37;45;01
Rusty George
Let me recommend Serve HQ to you. Serve HQ as simple video training courses that help you equip volunteers and develop leaders. You can create your own training or use their video library. You can even automate next to onboard new people. Check it out at Serve HQ Dot Church. Now back to our conversation. Okay, so here you are at this church and you were an associate for a while and now you're kind of hand-selected by the elders to be the lead guy.

00;37;45;23 - 00;38;03;00
Rusty George
Well, this is the this is difficult because now, you know, people that were your teammates are now people that report to you. How do you go tell certain leading the people that you were once side by side with now you're in front of?

00;38;03;10 - 00;38;08;21
Monte Wilkinson
Yeah. You kind of make it sound like I had all these damaged relationships around me and maybe.

00;38;09;06 - 00;38;09;16
Speaker 4
I did.

00;38;09;16 - 00;38;40;01
Monte Wilkinson
Go through a process. You know, it wasn't like they just one day rung my phone and said, Hey, come in. You are now coronated leader and nobody you know, like I told you before, it wasn't like a lot of people were breaking down the door to get this job. And so but I did I had been here for three years and had built a lot of capital, relational capital, with with, you know, this team of people.

00;38;40;29 - 00;38;46;28
Monte Wilkinson
And so and, you know, we'd been a year and a half without a lead guy. And so.

00;38;47;19 - 00;38;47;26
Speaker 4
Hmm.

00;38;48;08 - 00;39;14;26
Monte Wilkinson
Truthfully, I think, you know, they were thrilled that they just had somebody. Right. And then we started moving forward. And you know it was it was actually relatively I wouldn't say seamless, but it was a pretty easy transition considering because, you know, it was like one day on December 31st, I was an associate and then on December, on January 1st, I walked in and I was the lead guy.

00;39;14;26 - 00;39;19;25
Monte Wilkinson
And so I, you know, I just moved my books from one office to another.

00;39;20;01 - 00;39;23;02
Speaker 4
And with what I.

00;39;23;02 - 00;39;35;02
Monte Wilkinson
Would like to say that there was this cathartic moment where everyone said, oh, this is it, this is a fabulous move. Right? But never that never happened.

00;39;35;02 - 00;39;37;17
Speaker 4
But, you.

00;39;37;17 - 00;40;04;09
Monte Wilkinson
Know, getting getting the opportunity and then people rallying around that and they did that. You know, we we went through some staff change quite a bit of staff change early on. And, you know, some of that was, you know, changes either good or bad, but it's always hard for somebody. Right. And typically, if you're if you're making a change, it's hard for that person.

00;40;04;17 - 00;40;13;10
Monte Wilkinson
And so we went through a lot of that. And then and so some of those people, if they weren't fans of mine who really for.

00;40;13;18 - 00;40;16;04
Speaker 4
You know, who yeah.

00;40;16;11 - 00;40;21;21
Rusty George
If they're not your fan, you're getting a position of power doesn't automatically sway them in your direction, does it?

00;40;22;03 - 00;40;32;09
Monte Wilkinson
Now there are, you know, every every organization has its sycophants. You know who. Hey, sir, it's great to see you. You're looking good in that Captain Spirit.

00;40;32;14 - 00;40;36;16
Speaker 4
You know? Yeah, I know. You know. I know you.

00;40;37;13 - 00;40;40;07
Rusty George
Yeah, absolutely, I. I know who they are.

00;40;41;03 - 00;40;41;18
Speaker 4
Yes.

00;40;41;26 - 00;41;10;15
Rusty George
Okay. So I want to talk just one more question about the job you inherited because yeah, it's it had some toxicity. You had to manage. You had an elder board that was kind of in over their skis and probably a little bit too hands on. Right. You had you know, they just run off this one guy. They were still cleaning up from a moral failure from years prior and a massive amount of debt that you had to take on with kind of a dwindling population.

00;41;11;26 - 00;41;17;06
Rusty George
What did you do right? What did you do wrong? What would you do differently or the same when it came to kind of righting the ship?

00;41;18;20 - 00;41;52;13
Monte Wilkinson
Well, during that year and a half, there was no lead guy. There was a group that was praying. Hmm. They were upset over the previous guy being forced out. And I started going to some of those prayer meetings, and they were visceral. I mean, like people not not mad, but just aching, you know, and I felt like, you know, when someone is is near death in the hospital and you go to the chapel and you hear people praying for them, right?

00;41;52;20 - 00;42;22;29
Monte Wilkinson
It's that kind of guttural kind of prayer. It just hurts to pray. And they were praying hard like that for God to, you know, to to turn this thing around. And they had they had put into place for us, this is just the province of God they'd put in and they'd gone to a Bob Russell Elder seminar. And he had said, If you don't have a rotation on your elder board, you know, you're just doing it wrong.

00;42;22;29 - 00;43;06;24
Monte Wilkinson
I mean, that's not what he said exactly, but that is what our guys took away. Like, we got to have a rotation. And so when I took over this job, the, the last group of guys that had just finished their year of service and so they rotated off. Okay. And that was it. I mean, that was the beginning of a transition in leadership here because I had a young chairman, he was in his early thirties and he said he goes, it's time to, you know, kind of stock the cupboard with some fresh, you know, fresh leadership.

00;43;06;24 - 00;43;25;23
Monte Wilkinson
And so we were we were doing that. And there was little bit of, you know, guys saying, hey, why are you bringing us back? And we're like, it's a new day kind of thing. Now, I wasn't saying any of that. You know, that the current elders were saying, Hey, we need to we need to make change. So we did that, right?

00;43;26;12 - 00;43;26;22
Speaker 4
Hmm.

00;43;27;16 - 00;43;49;22
Monte Wilkinson
I think the one thing we did well, though, I mean, that was done for me, that kind of thing. I think the one thing we did well was we we kept praying and, you know, God, if you're going to, you know, turn this around, you turn it around. Right. And that that carried all the way through to meetings with the bank.

00;43;49;22 - 00;44;18;02
Monte Wilkinson
And, you know, we started making changes from a traditional service to say, hey, we had the second youngest area code in Lexington or zip code, I'm sorry, zip code in this greater Lexington area of all of the areas around our zip code, the four or five or nine, it was the second youngest. The youngest was right around UC's campus.

00;44;18;02 - 00;44;50;18
Monte Wilkinson
So we said we got all these millennials, young families. We have a facility that is the best facility for children in the city. I mean, if you got bass in your pond, you should be fishing for bass, right? You shouldn't you shouldn't be fishing for anything else. You should just go after that. And I'm not saying that we we didn't care about other people who were outside of those ranges, but there was just and at the time, you know, Barna and and Lifeway were saying about 10% of millennials are believers.

00;44;51;12 - 00;45;20;12
Monte Wilkinson
So, I mean, Jesus said the fields are you know, they're ready for harvest. Let's go, get out. Right. And I had people pushing back on that, you know, like I now we can we could spend 2 hours talking about that season, but we prayed hard during during the beginning, before, during the beginning, and then even into the days of, you know, transition and change.

00;45;21;07 - 00;45;42;11
Monte Wilkinson
And what did I what would I do different? I would ask for help more. I was I don't know that I would say I was afraid to ask for help, but I just thought, hey, I don't want to bother anybody. Right. And that was the one thing as an associate, you know, you just stay in your lane, right?

00;45;42;11 - 00;46;00;06
Monte Wilkinson
And you don't I mean, you're not like you can't ask the guy over here in this other department to do this for you because it's it's your job. It's what they pay you to do. And I it took me a while to go, Hey, these people are part of the team, right, that I'm supposed to lead.

00;46;00;17 - 00;46;00;29
Speaker 4
Mm.

00;46;01;06 - 00;46;31;10
Monte Wilkinson
So I just was I done on a lot at that point. I would, I would probably ask more questions too. There were a lot of things that happened that I didn't know about that if I just ask a few questions, I think that's the one thing you go to lunch, sit down with somebody, ask him a couple of questions about their their life, and then asked him the question, do you want to know about what they're doing ministry wise or job wise?

00;46;31;10 - 00;46;46;22
Monte Wilkinson
You know, if you're the point leader and I wish I had done more of that and then probably the last thing was I wish I would have listened just in prayer, for I was reading fast and praying fast at that point. And I wish I slowed down.

00;46;46;22 - 00;46;48;08
Speaker 4
A little bit. But yeah.

00;46;49;22 - 00;46;54;27
Rusty George
It's hard because in those moments you think time is of the essence. I got to fix this quick.

00;46;54;27 - 00;46;55;04
Speaker 4
Yeah.

00;46;55;15 - 00;47;05;04
Rusty George
Let's just get to it. I'll get back to the slow, prayerful, devotional, monastic life later. But right now, we got problems to solve.

00;47;05;06 - 00;47;08;24
Monte Wilkinson
Exactly. Put the labyrinth on hold, my friend.

00;47;09;00 - 00;47;47;15
Rusty George
That's right. Exactly. Okay, so, Monte, I told you this before, but, you know, I'll say it again now on record, since we're recording this. I mean, I truly am where I am today because of you. And it's not just because you gave me a job, even though I had impeccable design, suave status. But I think about all the little things I learned from you, and I sort of jotted down some of these things, and I wanted you just to kind of comment on them all, kind of tee you up and you just talk about what you think about that and why that matters to you.

00;47;47;21 - 00;48;06;06
Rusty George
Yeah, one of the things that I learned from you was just the work home balance. I mean, you you were not an absentee father. You were there with your kids. You went home as often as you could. And I've just seen you work that balance. Tell me about that a little bit.

00;48;07;11 - 00;48;30;26
Monte Wilkinson
Well, first of all, my family, you know, from almost the beginning, they were my they were my favorite people. I mean, I love people, Russ. And, you know, that I love hanging out. I love, you know, a I'm I love a good meal. I love good stories. I think it's part of why you and I clicked to that.

00;48;31;02 - 00;48;56;02
Monte Wilkinson
You know, there was always laughter that was always, you know, a great a great thing for me. But the people I loved the most were, you know, and Bailey, Natalie and any chance I got, you know, I love my job and I loved every almost every season that I had. Now, there were times where I was in certain roles where it wasn't as fulfilling.

00;48;56;02 - 00;49;22;26
Monte Wilkinson
But, you know, I always found God's favor in that. But, you know, to get to go home and hang out with them, you know, meant it was just part that was that was that was fuel for me, right. And I didn't want to miss stuff either. You know, we know guys that I mean, they just, you know, 80 hour weeks, they're selling it out, selling out for the Lord.

00;49;22;26 - 00;49;43;16
Monte Wilkinson
Right. And in the end, you know what they, what they miss. What they miss their kids. Right. Mhm. And their and their wife and I didn't want to do that because I realize too that if I lose them I lose my marriage or my kids don't respect me or something I'm losing something in ministry.

00;49;43;24 - 00;49;44;02
Speaker 4
Mm.

00;49;44;21 - 00;49;50;18
Monte Wilkinson
I'm losing because why, why would anybody come to talk to me about marriage if my wife hates me?

00;49;50;19 - 00;49;53;11
Speaker 4
Mm hmm. Right.

00;49;53;11 - 00;50;14;26
Monte Wilkinson
And, you know, I. I'm just so thankful for for those relations. I just loved it. I loved them, and I wanted it so, you know, I remember having when I first got in ministry, having to tell my supervisor, I said, listen, I got it. I got to go home. You know, I can't I can't do the 70 hour week like you do.

00;50;15;19 - 00;50;23;19
Monte Wilkinson
And, you know, we had some hard conversations along the way early on to to help to see a.

00;50;26;01 - 00;50;27;10
Speaker 4
You're all you know.

00;50;27;14 - 00;50;29;01
Rusty George
We're all here waiting on you.

00;50;29;11 - 00;50;31;27
Speaker 4
Hello? Hello. Hello? Yeah, I.

00;50;31;27 - 00;50;37;18
Rusty George
Remember that the pastor that that we had the founding pastor of South on Wayne Smith.

00;50;37;23 - 00;50;38;01
Speaker 4
Right.

00;50;38;13 - 00;50;57;29
Rusty George
And he was a he was a just a workaholic. You know, he'd work 120 hours a week, whatever. Right. He called you up on a Saturday and he asked you something and he I think he asked where you were or whatever. You said it was your day off. You remember this? Yeah. And you said, he said to you, Jesus never took a day off.

00;50;58;19 - 00;51;32;00
Rusty George
And your response was it his ministry lasted three years? I thought that was hilarious. And he thought that was hilarious. No disrespect to the Son of God, but yeah, it was so funny. But yet there's a tremendous amount of wisdom in that way. Okay. Obviously, for those who have been listening, you know that we like to laugh. But you've taught me the value of humor in messages, that there is a place for that and there is value to that, rather than just to declare or rightly the Word of God.

00;51;32;05 - 00;51;38;06
Rusty George
There is a place for peppering it with reality and humor. Tell me a little bit about that.

00;51;39;17 - 00;52;06;02
Monte Wilkinson
So to me, you know, there are people come to come to a service, right? They come to hear you speak. Maybe they're listening to you on a podcast. Maybe they'll listen to you on OnDemand or YouTube or something like that. And they they come in. They've got all preconceived notions about you or about church in general or just Christians or something like that.

00;52;06;21 - 00;52;13;07
Monte Wilkinson
And what I what I learned early on was that if people laughed, it was disarming.

00;52;13;07 - 00;52;13;18
Speaker 4
Mm hmm.

00;52;14;01 - 00;52;38;28
Monte Wilkinson
Like they would relax, like they would exhale. Right. And so, you know, your sermon isn't it isn't a stand up routine. But if you can if there's a moment where you can tell a story that's humorous and people can kind of let down, I, I, I'll tell you, I think a lot of times people will remember a joke before they will remember the text.

00;52;38;28 - 00;52;50;01
Monte Wilkinson
Right? So he comes up and says, Hey, I saw you a couple of months ago and I don't remember what the story was about. You told that story about, you know, and then you.

00;52;50;01 - 00;52;50;13
Speaker 4
Go.

00;52;51;16 - 00;53;14;02
Monte Wilkinson
And I told Sun we were talking about, you know, we're in the series talking about when the fight calls and we're talking about how we need to guard our heart. Proverbs 423 And and then King Solomon talks about, you know, keeping your eyes on the path. Right. And so I told the story about walking into the pole and area.

00;53;14;21 - 00;53;37;23
Monte Wilkinson
And, you know, the people love that. You know, I was given directions. Russ and I had gone up there with a couple of other guys to see a ballgame is Cincinnati Reds game and Russ had never been to Cincinnati before, so I showed him all this landmarks on the hills surrounding Riverfront Stadium, and there was a pole right there.

00;53;37;23 - 00;53;50;09
Monte Wilkinson
And I turned just in time and I walked right into it. And and all the everybody around that was walking in just died laughing. And some lady with their thing just laughing her head off. I said, What's so funny?

00;53;50;09 - 00;53;54;15
Speaker 4
And she goes, You've just walked into all.

00;53;54;15 - 00;53;59;05
Monte Wilkinson
And you said to me, you go, I saw that coming.

00;53;59;05 - 00;53;59;17
Speaker 4
And I said.

00;54;00;28 - 00;54;06;14
Monte Wilkinson
Say something. You go. And you said, You remember, you go because I thought it would be hilarious.

00;54;07;01 - 00;54;07;24
Speaker 4
That was.

00;54;07;24 - 00;54;35;18
Monte Wilkinson
Right. But here it is. It's like it's 30 years later. And I tell that story in a moment. And I told it was I told her watch order that I just did here. But the the point was, you know, you got to stay focused right? So you have a point. But you illustrate in a humorous way. People laugh and and they kind of reengage because sometimes people, you know, but something like that they were engaged so and.

00;54;36;08 - 00;54;37;00
Speaker 4
Was that's.

00;54;37;03 - 00;54;37;29
Monte Wilkinson
You know that I.

00;54;37;29 - 00;54;38;27
Speaker 4
Mean he was.

00;54;39;14 - 00;54;48;09
Monte Wilkinson
He had he had incredible incredible timing on, you know, telling a story, telling a joke, use more canned jokes than you and I are.

00;54;48;09 - 00;55;06;22
Rusty George
But he did. But he'd also read of text. And, you know, somebody would have a goofy name and he'd make fun of the name or so-and-so was in prison. And I remember one time he read this passage and said he tried it. He just butchered the name. It was in prison and they ought to be with a name like that.

00;55;06;24 - 00;55;07;29
Rusty George
That was his. Yeah. You know.

00;55;07;29 - 00;55;10;13
Monte Wilkinson
So you remember he quoted Francis of Assisi?

00;55;10;23 - 00;55;13;11
Rusty George
Yeah. Francis of Assisi. Mary Magdalene.

00;55;13;11 - 00;55;14;12
Speaker 4
He married man.

00;55;14;29 - 00;55;16;02
Monte Wilkinson
The Italian lady.

00;55;16;02 - 00;55;20;26
Rusty George
Yeah, that's right. Picasso. He. He butchered a lot of things.

00;55;21;16 - 00;55;22;21
Speaker 4
Okay?

00;55;22;21 - 00;55;43;03
Rusty George
We went to a lot of lunches with people, and I was always amazed how you were very disarming at lunch, but you seemed to have a mental progression and you talked about this a little bit already, a little bit of personal. And then you get into some ministry and sometimes we'd sit down with, you know, this young up and coming business guy that we needed him to step up and be a leader in the church.

00;55;43;03 - 00;55;59;29
Rusty George
And that was the ask you were going to get to, but you never led with that. And I kind of learned there's a little bit of an art to the lunch. You know, you're going to be interrupted by the server. There's going to be certain things you need to address first. How are you going to end it so you can both leave on time, those kind of things.

00;56;00;02 - 00;56;03;25
Rusty George
What's the mile markers in your mind for a great pastoral lunch?

00;56;05;05 - 00;56;27;29
Monte Wilkinson
For me, I always want to engage the server, right? Because I think people, especially the person you're having lunch with, they're going to watch how you treat that person. You treat them well, then it's good. There's a good watch you're going to treat them well. Yeah. And we're just talking about respect. We're not talking about, you know, hey, I want to put your kid through college, you know, that kind of thing.

00;56;28;00 - 00;56;52;21
Monte Wilkinson
Yeah, right. It's just I mean, I'm a I'm an associate at the time. I can't afford anything. Right. And so but again, food is another one of the things that's very disarming. So I could have a meeting with somebody. But if you go to lunch and there's awkward moments, you got food to break it up, right? Especially if you're asking them, you know, you're you're calling them.

00;56;52;21 - 00;57;11;17
Monte Wilkinson
I remember I had dinner with a guy a number of years ago, and I was asking him to be a leader. If we had these community groups and I wanted it would be a community group leader. And this guy was one of those guys that I would call whenever we had a kind of a financial push and would see what he wanted to do to help us.

00;57;11;17 - 00;57;35;16
Monte Wilkinson
Right. And he was a very generous guy. And so we got to that point where we talked in small talk and ordered and, you know, food came. We're starting to eat now. Now he says, okay, why are we have why we have this meat? Right. And I started to talk to him and he pulled out his checkbook and I said, I got a Danny.

00;57;35;16 - 00;57;50;02
Monte Wilkinson
I'm not I'm not asking for money. He goes, You're not. And I now what I want you to do is for the next nine months, if you just invest your life and let me tell you what I'm talking about. And he was terrified by this.

00;57;50;02 - 00;57;50;11
Speaker 4
Yeah.

00;57;51;20 - 00;58;14;08
Monte Wilkinson
He led a business and everything, but he didn't feel like he was spiritually capable of doing it. I said, This is what I see in you right? And I think, you know, you have a meal. I remember Everybody Loves Raymond. You know, his mom taught Ray's wife, you know, give him a good heavy meal, you know, and then he'll he'll be happy, you know?

00;58;14;08 - 00;58;43;23
Monte Wilkinson
And I think that's there's something true about that. You know, when you eat you know, it's a good meal, you feel good and you kind of you can relax. It's very again, food's very disarming and then have some, you know, deep conversations. Have hard conversations sometimes. You know, I remember some of those, you know, being nervous at and I was glad I had something in front of me to kind of preoccupy myself with.

00;58;43;23 - 00;59;03;00
Monte Wilkinson
And but that guy took he he said, you know what? I'm going to do it. I'll do it for nine months. And then at the end of nine months, he said, I did my name. And it's like I've done my stint in Joliet and I'm now getting out right? And but yeah, you can ask you can ask people a lot.

00;59;03;24 - 00;59;25;08
Monte Wilkinson
You can you can have really deep conversation. And I'm not just talking about moving them to do something ministry wise for you or something, but just to challenge them to, you know, to be all that God called them to be, whatever that is, you know, like, hey, you're going to be a dad. I just want you to know, I think you're going to be a great dad, but it's going to take sacrifice.

00;59;25;08 - 00;59;50;18
Monte Wilkinson
You know, it's things I got meetings this afternoon when we're done here and with two guys you know, and the both be coffees and it just it'll be that it'll be just, you know, sharpen the sauce. Stephen Covey said you know with that and food does it makes it a real nice environment for that to happen. So if nothing else, you know, you ate, right?

00;59;50;19 - 00;59;50;28
Monte Wilkinson
Yeah.

00;59;51;22 - 01;00;12;23
Rusty George
I remember one of our young adults showed up. Ended up being one the servers at the restaurant that you would frequent. And he said, Yeah, we had a nickname for you, a t monty, because you would have eight iced teas over the course of your time there. I thought, wow, that's that's a good amount of time. Okay. So here's one of my favorites.

01;00;13;16 - 01;00;36;02
Rusty George
You never value people more than when you ask their opinion. And I would watch you do this for people that were on the lowest level of the org chart, but you would talk them up in the hallway or they're by the mailbox. You would ask them questions about high level issues that I thought, wow, that's interesting that you're sharing that or or finding out what they think about that.

01;00;36;02 - 01;00;44;02
Rusty George
And you just told me, hey, they feel valued when you hear their opinion. And every now and then you get some kind of Jim from it. So what's your thought process there? Yeah.

01;00;44;28 - 01;00;52;05
Monte Wilkinson
Treat people way you want to be treated. I don't care if you're talking about the CEO or you're talking about the custodian, the guy that parks, cars.

01;00;52;25 - 01;00;53;14
Speaker 4
You know, just.

01;00;53;14 - 01;01;23;25
Monte Wilkinson
Treat people that way. And, you know, one of the things, especially during COVID, you know, people are so desperate for, you know, just human connection, right? That it even a little bit of recognition or value, you know, you just ask somebody, hey, how's your day going? And genuinely listen. And the way that you can, you know, authentically listen or empathetically listen is just ask him a couple of questions about why they said, you know, well, it's been good.

01;01;23;25 - 01;01;35;20
Monte Wilkinson
And I go, what? Why has it been good? Tell me what's been great about it. You know, it's so good, you know, because mine's not been good. So I want to talk to somebody who's had a good day right. And they go, well.

01;01;35;29 - 01;01;36;11
Speaker 4
Yeah.

01;01;36;11 - 01;01;56;12
Monte Wilkinson
You know, my kid didn't wet the bed last night. I go, Oh, great. That's way more than I. And you know, it's funny, in that moment and you can laugh about those things and listen, my wife is always I say always, that's kind of a stretch. But I'd say 98% of the time you're blessed by people that you engage like that.

01;01;56;20 - 01;02;10;22
Monte Wilkinson
Right. The other thing is that you said you might get it, Jim. I never went into those conversations with that, but I always you know, I'm always leaving conversations with stuff like and I can't wait to tell this story, you know? This is hilarious.

01;02;10;23 - 01;02;13;22
Speaker 4
Yeah, right.

01;02;13;22 - 01;02;36;09
Monte Wilkinson
I had I asked our staff the other day to tell us just I said, share a story about your mom. Mother's Days coming up. We're not going to use any of these stories. I just want us to value our moms. And here we can talk about our moms, right? And so the guts, you know, it talked about is mom.

01;02;36;10 - 01;02;58;13
Monte Wilkinson
It was just I can't tell it because I'll he may listen to the podcast, so I'm not going to tell. It was so funny and I kept thinking, I can't wait to tell this story. I mean, it wasn't confidential. You would, but I don't want to mess it up. But it was funny, you know, and people people just they're experts about what their life consists of.

01;02;58;13 - 01;03;25;06
Monte Wilkinson
So ask them about their life and it may be something as simple as they drive a tow truck, and that's all they do. But they may be really good at that. And you guess what? You may need a tow truck one day and you know, so, so and you know, the value the value is not in the advice or the story or anything like that.

01;03;25;06 - 01;03;28;15
Monte Wilkinson
The value is is that you recognize them and you spent time with them.

01;03;28;20 - 01;03;29;00
Speaker 4
Yeah.

01;03;29;09 - 01;03;36;15
Monte Wilkinson
And not that my life makes anybody's life better. I just want them to know that that they matter, you know?

01;03;36;15 - 01;03;55;15
Rusty George
Yeah, it is the human connection. All right. So one time I was talking to you about I've got to teach this message. I'm looking for a text. What am I going to say? And you said to me, I find the Apostle Paul is always relevant. I remember you had that painting in your office of Paul in prison, and I just knew what a hero the Apostle Paul was to you.

01;03;55;15 - 01;03;59;08
Rusty George
And I think there is some relevance to that. Why would you say that?

01;03;59;08 - 01;04;01;20
Monte Wilkinson
Seriously, I have to explain this to you.

01;04;02;26 - 01;04;07;05
Rusty George
For our listeners, for four graduates of Cincinnati.

01;04;07;05 - 01;04;36;01
Monte Wilkinson
Yeah, it's well, those of us who were beyond the inner linear of Greek study, you know. Yeah, I would say that the apostle Paul, you know, Paul, obviously Paul was relevant right in his day and he wrote all of these books in the New Testament. And if you don't think he was relevant for his day, I mean, he got what he wrote, got added to the canon.

01;04;36;12 - 01;05;02;16
Monte Wilkinson
And a lot of it got added to the canon. So there's significance in that, right. But beyond that, I mean, beyond just the scholarly, scholarly side of this thing, the Apostle Paul resonated with me. I mean, I would read a verse and I would go, I, I could see it. I could see how I could live that. You know, I remember first Corinthians 1013.

01;05;02;29 - 01;05;14;15
Monte Wilkinson
You will not be tempted beyond what you can withstand. And God always provides a means of escape. And I remember thinking the game is rigged in our favor. Right?

01;05;14;29 - 01;05;16;21
Speaker 4
How how? I mean.

01;05;17;08 - 01;05;41;04
Monte Wilkinson
You talk about relevant, you just go around it and preach first Corinthians 1013, you know, Hey, you got a problem with sin? Let me tell you what the what is going on below the waterline on this thing. You just need to know that. So, yeah, here's the other thing about Paul that I think is is so significant. We talk about transformation a lot, right?

01;05;41;04 - 01;06;05;27
Monte Wilkinson
We talk about people going from death to life or darkness to light and how God can change the life this guy went from. He was on the Devils team and he has an encounter with God on the road to Damascus. And before it's over with, he's on God's team. Russ That is like a guy entering the transfer portal from Duke and going to North Carolina.

01;06;06;13 - 01;06;07;11
Monte Wilkinson
You got me, right?

01;06;08;14 - 01;06;09;29
Speaker 4
I mean, it's unheard of.

01;06;10;20 - 01;06;36;26
Monte Wilkinson
It's a miracle. Yeah, that's a miracle, right. And he's not it's not that he's not. I mean, this guy was a zealot, you know, to pursue the church. I mean, he was a Jew among Jews. And now all of a sudden, he's a kingdom of God guy. And you're, like, going, Well, what causes that? I mean, if you can't get energized about a life like that, right?

01;06;37;05 - 01;06;37;16
Speaker 4
Yeah.

01;06;37;18 - 01;06;45;19
Monte Wilkinson
And I say, who's relevant? I just I think he would be I think he would be a factor today if he lived here today.

01;06;45;25 - 01;06;47;28
Speaker 4
I mean, better to be individually.

01;06;48;05 - 01;07;08;09
Monte Wilkinson
So yeah. I mean, we, we joke about some of that stuff. But the truth is, you know, I don't know where my my early days in young adult ministry would have been without the apostle Paul. And Warren was be you know I will.

01;07;08;09 - 01;07;17;15
Rusty George
Oh, no kidding. Okay last one. That's probably my favorite. Yes or sarcasm is simply being a humility broker.

01;07;17;21 - 01;07;18;02
Speaker 4
Right.

01;07;19;08 - 01;07;28;28
Rusty George
You and I share a love and unfortunately a gift when it comes to this. Yeah. Tell me the value of this that you've seen. And maybe it's also the curse.

01;07;30;09 - 01;07;36;01
Monte Wilkinson
Well, it is a curse. That's why I was going to old Kentucky chocolates to get candy.

01;07;36;13 - 01;07;38;01
Speaker 4
Because I had.

01;07;38;15 - 01;07;59;13
Monte Wilkinson
Taken it too far. Probably when I was in junior high, I was in a Sunday school class and the guy was talking about spiritual gifts and God is my witness. Russ He was saying A gift is something that the Holy Spirit equips you to be good at. You don't have to work at it, you're just good at it.

01;07;59;13 - 01;08;31;18
Monte Wilkinson
And I thought sarcasm. I don't even know what the word was, but I knew this, this, you know, this thing with sarcasm. I knew that I was really good at it and it got me in a lot of trouble over the course of time. But sometime sometimes today. Now I eat. You learned this before I did, but able to put a little bit of a of a guard on that, you know, not to to allow it to to come out in its in an appropriate environment.

01;08;31;19 - 01;08;31;29
Monte Wilkinson
Right.

01;08;34;06 - 01;08;48;24
Monte Wilkinson
But I have found that just a little bit of sarcasm can help a person who has a problem with pride to find a maybe a healthier level. You know, they they can experience just a little bit of humility.

01;08;48;24 - 01;08;49;09
Speaker 4
Yes.

01;08;49;15 - 01;09;18;25
Monte Wilkinson
And yes. And I remember one day thinking, I think, you know, if I were to put words to it, I think I'm a humility broker. I part of what I'm good at, you know, and, you know, you when you when you have friends that that joke and things that's that you know, you have you do have that. But you you do have to be wise to the fact can some people can be hurt by that.

01;09;18;25 - 01;09;39;08
Rusty George
And and I think that's what you did about it did so well. Remember I my wife told me one time that you're just hurtful when you're sarcastic. And I said, well, mine is not. And she said, That's because Monty laughs after he says it. And I thought, That is a good point. It comes off a little bit stealth.

01;09;39;08 - 01;09;46;19
Rusty George
Or Are you serious when you say that? When I've said it because I was just trying to be David Letterman and you were laughing, you said your comment.

01;09;46;19 - 01;09;47;26
Speaker 4
So my wife.

01;09;47;26 - 01;09;49;19
Monte Wilkinson
Does not feel the same way.

01;09;50;25 - 01;09;53;12
Speaker 4
I get to meaning.

01;09;53;24 - 01;10;05;10
Monte Wilkinson
The most powerful nonverbal that you can get in a marriage is an IRA. Okay. And I'll get and where they go up the top of Everest and down the other side and.

01;10;05;10 - 01;10;08;18
Speaker 4
I'm on it know. Yeah. Yeah.

01;10;08;19 - 01;10;35;16
Rusty George
I always ask her what's on the ceiling. Well, brother, this has been fantastic. If nothing else, I've enjoyed the, the trip down memory lane and I just. I love you. I'm so grateful for you and your friendship and encouragement over the last goodness 30 years and excited about what God's doing in your life there in Kentucky and not always excited about your Wildcats.

01;10;35;16 - 01;10;37;25
Rusty George
But hey, love, college basketball.

01;10;37;27 - 01;11;05;04
Monte Wilkinson
It's right. Well, listen, let me say this. I so proud of you. I mean, I you know, I'm your biggest fan praying for you. I prayed for you for Easter. Thank you. So excited. Before we off off the mike beforehand hear how great Easter was fruit for real life. I can't tell you how excited I am every time you have a new book, I always tell people I know this guy, ou know, and they'll Just just love you like my own brother. And so excited for what God's doing in your life. Do not disappoint me. I am out there. I'm not physically able to to lay out to lay a weapon on you now. But I will bring someone with me. Okay. That Just do not do not let the kingdom of God down.

01;11;29;26 - 01;11;36;23
Rusty George
And thanks, man. Yeah. You're used to always telling me before I go out and preach. Hey, don't throw up on yourself.

01;11;36;24 - 01;11;37;07
Speaker 4
Yeah, I.

01;11;38;14 - 01;11;39;20
Rusty George
Really appreciated that.

01;11;40;00 - 01;11;42;21
Monte Wilkinson
And watching. Have you ever vomited on yourself?

01;11;42;26 - 01;11;49;10
Rusty George
I have not. I have not. So, yeah. And I got that coaching for free, so. Yeah. All right, brother. Thank you.

01;11;49;21 - 01;11;50;08
Monte Wilkinson
Thank you.

01;11;50;28 - 01;12;14;04
Rusty George
Monte. I cannot say thank you enough for your influence in my life. I'm so, so grateful for you and your friendship, even though you're a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. I love you. Anyway, next week we'll be back with brand new content as listen to another baseball talent scout who is going to make some predictions for us about the upcoming Major League Baseball playoffs.

01;12;14;12 - 01;12;34;04
Rusty George
And I think you're really going to find his insight about leadership and developing leaders and spotting talent to be really helpful for you wherever you serve, whether it's in the church, in the marketplace, leading at home, wherever you lead, we all have influence. He's going to help us with that. Thanks again to everybody who shares these podcasts and those of you that leave reviews.

01;12;34;04 - 01;12;52;09
Rusty George
Please go and do that today wherever you get your podcasts. That helps us get the word out. And we're already seeing an uptick in downloads and notices from people and subscriptions because of the number of you guys left over the summer. So please keep that going and helps us get the word out and helps make leading simple even possible.

01;12;52;10 - 01;12;55;01
Rusty George
So until next week, keep it simple.

01;12;55;01 - 01;13;18;04
Intro/Outro
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Episode 219: Monte Wilkinson makes interns, transitions and life wisdom simple.
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