Businesspeople from all walks of life meet monthly at Boca Raton Community Church for BocaLead to enjoy a casual lunch and take away a few principles to help their professional life grow. This popular event, pioneered by Pastor Bill Mitchell, a businessman for 25 years, is now being offered in Fort Lauderdale beginning in September as LauderdaleLead.
While BocaLead will take place September 7 at Boca Raton Community Church, LauderdaleLead will launch on September 21 at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, with Mitchell initially sharing the same lesson introduced at the earlier event.
“The Heart of a Leader,” “Lead by Example,” and “Focus on the Future,” are three of the principles that BocaLead, a biblically-based business workshop, has taught. And according to BocaLead.org, it works with the business community to explore how Biblical principles apply in the workplace.
“I don’t share the gospel,” said Mitchell, as he expressed his true heart for his fellow business men and women. “Everybody wants to make the world a better place, but BocaLead is about how to help the individual be a better person.”
BocaLead began in 2013 as an idea analogous to leadership activities such as sports and education, in which its students learn the guiding principles of success in business leadership. This paradigm still serves as the heartbeat of the program now. BocaLead began with about 160 businesspersons in attendance. Since then, its attendance has grown to over 400 entrepreneurs and professionals, from a variety of backgrounds attending the leadership event every month.
“It is unlike any other business format you will ever see,” said Mitchell.
Why Fort Lauderdale?
Having attended BocaLead about a year ago, Rob Pacienza, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, decided to collaborate with Pastor Mitchell to bring this leadership innovation to Fort Lauderdale, calling it “LauderdaleLead” after its predecessor, “BocaLead.”
With a 200-250-seat capacity, LauderdaleLead will begin with Mitchell as keynote speaker for the five-month test period. Based on its evaluation, its organizers will decide who will continue to lead it.
“They have the facility and manpower behind it to be able to do it,” said Mitchell.
Pacienza said he envisions a monthly program for business professionals to “receive effective and relevant business concepts that can be implemented immediately.”
“Our hope is that businesses in South Florida are transformed in such a way that it leads to the flourishing of our entire region,” said Pacienza. “As Tim Keller says, ‘We don’t want to use the city to build a great church, but instead use the church to build a great city.’”
Ruth Storrings, realtor at Deer Creek Real Estate, concurs. “I have been attending for a couple of years on and off,” said Storrings. “It has taught me to deal with people honestly and ethically.”
Storrings, as a realtor, has learned that “you always have to remember never to put your license or Christian life at stake ever.” In her line of work, Storrings experiences situations that have the propensity to lead to compromising a person’s ethical standards. “You have people who may try to put you in trouble,” she said. “This base gives you a good understanding to go the other way.”
Andrew Nichols, director of operations at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, a new participant of the Take the Lead South Florida business movement, also maintains that ethics in the workplace is one of the core values that attendees can bring back from this program.
Reflecting the heart of BocaLead Founder Pastor Bill Mitchell, Nichols said that the CRPC leadership aims to create a safe environment for business people to come and participate in a progressive activity without feeling threatened by theology. “We cannot be isolated but be engaged with business leaders, so they can be successful. We care about the thriving of Fort Lauderdale,” stated Nichols.
Other applicable lessons presented include holding effective meetings, solving conflict in the workplace, and for someone such as Attorney Harley Storrings of Storrings Law, connecting with clients.
“It resonates regardless of what field you are in,” Storrings said. “It helps me stay relevant with clients.”
BocaLead’s success has stemmed from and multiplied mainly through its heart for the person, not the business person. This philosophy has facilitated not only attendance, but also attendee word of mouth and colleague participation.
Lydia Hicks is a freelance journalist and graduate of the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at Texas Christian University. She is also a communications consultant and can be reached at [email protected].