“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you…for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7). This verse is the foundation for BocaLead, a monthly business luncheon hosted by Bill Mitchell, a former real estate professional and current pastor of Boca Community Church, and John Barber, a successful Boca Raton businessman.
Intended as a four-month trial balloon, the mission was simple: bring 25 fellow business leaders together for a monthly lunch with a specific purpose of delivering inspiration and raising the bar of ethical leadership in Boca Raton through mentoring. BocaLead has now grown to over 400 men and women, young and old, from all varieties of business, non-profits and service organizations.
BocaLead has outgrown all initial expectations and is now being replicated in individual businesses throughout South Florida as “Take the Lead.”
“I’m delighted to see non-believers — about a 60-40 split — attending regularly, and many have actually started to visit our worship services on Sunday. That was not the intent but we’re elated to expand God’s Kingdom,” stated Mitchell.
Gathering in the Boca Community Church fellowship hall, Mitchell, an accomplished speaker and preacher, brings his foundational Christian principles to the business world with such monthly topics as: “The Heart of a Leader,” “You Can’t Do It Alone,” “Trust Rules,” “Leading by Example,” “Making Work Meaningful” and “Focus on the Future.”
Pastor Mitchell speaks differently to the business leaders than he delivers his sermons on Sunday.
There are no sales pitches or sponsorships at the lunch but a solid teaching message with handouts for note taking and a clear sense of nuggets to take back to your office employees or peers. A fun giveaway for a business card drawing blesses attendees with a chance to win a leadership book or gift cards. They have redesigned the entire fellowship hall with staging and nice large screens for better viewing for a very professional business setting.
“We know how to run meetings and do church every Sunday with our sound teams, check-ins for our school projects with name badges and an all-volunteer staffing from our church leaders to make sure we have a first class presentation and experience with no real budget. We offer a very cost effective lunch buffet for $10 and allow area businesses to sponsor a table for just $70 and bring 8 fellow workers for clients or guests,” added Mitchell.
I have benefited personally by sponsoring a monthly table and bringing clients and potential partners for my own Leadercast Palm Beach events.
“We encourage people now to come early as we often sell out and suggest advance registration so people can network early and stay as late after they want,” noted Barber, one of founding members of BocaLead and emcee.
Today the BocaLead lunch continues to grow to capacity but a new program was just announced called, “Take the Lead” to organically try to expand the monthly message outside the physical walls of Boca Raton Community Church by giving local business leaders the tools and resources of Pastor Bill’s leadership messages.
During a special Take the Lead Orientation, more than 60 attendees received presentation kits with a thumb drive of four leadership messages and worksheets to start another four month trial balloon. The business men and women were challenged to stage their own monthly small group BocaLead get togethers of 8, 10 or more in their conference rooms at no charge and report back on their success. It’s another way to grow communities with ethical leaders, accountability and integrity as the cornerstones of their businesses.
Mitchell would like to see 500 leaders using the material, and there’s been interest from other cities and churches outside of Boca to look at mentoring leaders in their areas, but of course, it wouldn’t be called BocaLead in Jupiter.
The group leader’s role is to facilitate the discussion. They are not expected to teach a lesson, and it is okay if they aren’t experts on the weekly topic. Group time will consist of viewing and discussing a thirty minute video of Pastor Bill Mitchell teaching on a particular topic. The leader’s main responsibility is to create a safe environment for group discussions to happen.
“It’s not a Christian yellow pages, it’s not Christian networking and people are pleasantly surprised when they attend and see over 400 business leaders from all denominations, businesses, millennials and veterans. It’s a positive way to seek success for our city of Boca, and we all succeed when we can work together to make a difference,” concluded Mitchell.
BocaLead has become a must attend monthly staple for area leaders. And if you’re interested in adding some quality leadership material to your own business, I highly recommend contacting John Barbar for your Take the Lead guide and help build better communities.
For more information on BocaLead, visit www.bocacommunity.org/bocalead/
Carl Foster is the founder/President of Foster Events Group, LLC, and event director for the upcoming Leadercast Palm Beach May 4th and 5th at the Hilton Palm Beach Airport.. Carl also is the Palm Beach Community Director for the Good News and can be reached at [email protected]