“The key to leading effectively is knowing the things that make up your environment and then helping to arrange them so that their power becomes available.” —Sun Tzu, The Art of War
My earliest memories are of me living with my parents in an apartment in a small southern city (Greenville, SC). Then my dad moved us to a small “Mill Hill” town nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the tip of western South Carolina (Walhalla). Eventually dad’s ministry took us to the “low country” which was flat and dotted with farms, sluggish rivers, and dark murky swamps (Hamer, SC).
My own life has mimicked my dad in many ways.
My ministry took Team Kemp 2.0 to several different areas of the state of South Carolina – from the “upstate” (LaFrance) to the low country (Florence) over to the southside (New Ellenton) and eventually, with a few other stops along the way, landing us on the northside (Fort Mill).
And then, of all things, this southern boy moved to Bismarck, North Dakota where I serve three northwestern states that include prairies, badlands, the Rockies, glaciers, lakes, the same mighty rivers that Lewis & Clark navigated, and miles of rolling farmland and ranches dotted with buttes and other amazing geological configurations.
And this is just the geography that has been a part of my life.
Every place I’ve lived was entirely different than any other place had I lived with different customs, recipes, economy, and accents.
By now you’re asking, “What is your point, David?”
The point is this:
I have lived a lifetime demonstrating the truth of Sun Tzu’s words stated at the beginning of this blog: “The key to leading effectively is knowing the things that make up your environment and then helping to arrange them so that their power becomes available.
Every place I have lived was different and continued to change. I had to learn to adapt, to take what was available and leverage it for the purpose for which I was there. What worked for my dad or for me at one place didn’t always work at a new place. At first I would feel overwhelmed and hopeless. But then, I’d take a look around me and gather the resources that were available (instead of moaning about what I did not have or used to have) and begin to leverage those resources toward accomplishing the mission that had been assigned to me.
And something else I have learned, God is God everywhere. His promises are true in the great white north or the deep sultry south. God is the god of the valley as well as the mountain tops and all the prairies and plains in between.
And I’ve also learned that people are people everywhere. They may speak differently and live differently but I’ve learned that whether they live in South America or South Carolina or South Dakota people respond positively to a smile and a helping hand and negatively to a frown and a failed promise.
I certainly have not seen it all or learned all there is to learn, but over this rather interesting life I have been blessed to live up to this point I have learned this: No matter where you live and no matter what resources you have (or do not have), with some hard work and imagination, and a whole lot of prayer and faith and a determined desire to honor God and help people, you can live a good life and a successful life – anywhere.
The ONE THING for today: No matter where you currently are and no matter what you have or do not have, something will work – right where you are. Do not give up…get going!
I can honestly say I have enjoyed living every place I’ve ever lived. There was abundant beauty and kind and generous people at every stop. But, for whatever reason, when I head back towards Walhalla & Six Mile, SC and see the Blue Ridge Mountains off in the distance it feels like I’m going home.