TD Jakes - Don't Drop The Mic
I remember when I was a little boy, my father, our idea of a vacation wasn't like... we didn't go, like, to Disneyland or anything like that. We didn't go to Rome or London or Paris or even the Bahamas or anywhere like that. We went to Alabama to see my mother's mother, and then to Mississippi to see my father's mother, and then we spent a day or a day and a half at each place, and then he had to go back to work. We drove in the car. We didn't have money for a train. We didn't take a bus, we drove in the car. The car smelled like chicken. It had aluminum foil in the back seat, and pound cake and chicken packed up in the car. We slept in the back seat of the car, stretched out, sprawled out, made a bed out of the back seat, and we slept when we had to sleep, but we kept it moving. My father drove the car. My mother didn't drive, but my mother had the map.
Y'all didn't hear what I'm sayin.' Daddy had the wheel but Mama had the map. And it was the funniest thing in the world because Daddy didn't like to ask Mama for directions, because he thought leadership was knowing everything. He didn't understand the benefit of allowing somebody else to have the map while you do the driving. He wanted to come off to us like he knew what he was doing, so he said, "I know what I'm doing". And I'm sitting in the back seat as a little boy thinkin' to myself, "Didn't we pass that Tastee-Freez two hours ago"? And they'd drive around a little further, and a little further, and Mama would try to tell him, and he wouldn't listen. "Odith, I know what I'm doing, leave me alone".
And we go right back past that Tastee-Freez again, and again, waiting on his pride to dissipate low enough to break the cycle that comes. When pride has the wheel, purpose has to suffer. I said when pride has the wheel, purpose has to suffer. Pride will prolong the trip. It'll make it take a lot longer than it's supposed to take, because you really have allowed your emotions to take control, and your ego to take control, and your image to take control, and you've gotten away from having clear direction. It doesn't take anything away from you having the wheel to listen at somebody who has the map. Find out who's got your map. Somebody's got your map. You got the wheel, you got the gas, you got the engine, you got your foot on the gas, you got your hand on the wheel, you got the power, but somebody else has got the map. It's no need in you tryin' to figure out what's already been written out, you need to find out who's got the map.
I wanna tell you right now, one of the reasons that I wrote the book "Don't Drop the Mic" is I don't want you to have to go back and rediscover what I already discovered. Don't let your ego get in the way where you insist on doing it your way, you have to come to a point in time that you need to understand who's got the map, then humble down where you can read it and humble down where you can get there. You cannot lead if you do not read. I'm gonna say that again. You cannot lead if you do not read. He refused to read, and yet he's trying to lead, and it took twice as long to get down there and we already didn't have any time, and we lost the time we had because of ego. And we as kids were like, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet"? The Bible said hope deferred makes the heart sick.
When you keep gettin' excited and then you slump back down again, and then you get excited, and you slump back down again, and then you get excited, and you slump back down again, after a while; it makes the heart sick. I want you to get this information. I wrote down three different types of leaders that I want you to pay attention to. One type of leader, they teach well, but they never execute. They're great trainers. They got training for everything. Training for the ushers, and training for the new members, and training for the deacons, and training for everybody. They train, train, train, train, but they never do anything. They teach well, but they never execute.
Now, I want you to find yourself in these three types a leader. That's number one; number two, they execute well, but they never really teach. This leader jumps on things that the people aren't ready for, that the staff hadn't been equipped for, that they have no understanding of what's expected of them, and then he gets frustrated because they're not supporting his vision when he's always executing without including anybody. You execute but you never teach. The third type of leader teaches the method, manages the performance, and executes to completion. I'm gonna say that again. He teaches the method, he manages the performance, and executes to completion. In other words, he gives the people KPI's, key performance indicators, so that they, too, can be included in understanding what is expected of me. I expect you to come to work; so I came to work, now what? How am I being evaluated? What does good look like? Because see, the problem with communicating in terms is that terms are always based on images, and images are based on experiences.
So for example, when I say excellent, you say excellent. Excellent, when I say excellent, you say excellent. When I say excellent, you say excellent. What I say excellent, you say excellent. Now, we're saying the same word, but do we mean the same thing? Because your idea of excellent is only based on where you've been. So if I don't have some metrics to describe what excellent looks like, you can have these bogus terms, and have these long meetings where nothing ever gets done, because nobody ever gets down to the metrics. Exactly how much? Exactly what time, exactly when? You need clear direction. I know you're anointed, but you need clear direction. I know God spoke to you, but you need clear direction. And the people up under you need clear direction. And what I do sometimes, I'll say, "Now, tell me what you heard," because sometimes what I said and what they heard are two different things. But then I must also be fair.
Delays are not always a bad thing. Sometimes you need time. You need to be held back. Have you ever seen parents that force the teacher to promote the child? The child was reading on a third-grade level, but you wanted them promoted to the fourth grade, and you force him to go forward when in fact later you learn now they're completely lost, and by 12 they drop out of school, or 15 they drop out of school altogether, because sometimes it's better to slow down and get it right than speed up and be in a room that you don't belong in. In my book, I talk about being in a room where you don't know the language. You're in a room full of architects, but you don't speak the language. You're in a room full of accountants, but you don't speak the language. Every area has a language that goes along with that promotion.
Now, you can dress like it, but can you communicate on the level of where you're tryin' to go? Anybody can put on a uniform, but it doesn't make them a police officer. Just 'cause you're standing in a garage, it doesn't make you a car. Have you got all of the accessories that go along with the next move? And if you don't, let's delay. Why taking a longer route between two points isn't always a bad thing is because sometimes in the process of going around in circles, you gain experience, and you gain wisdom, and you gain focus, and you gain so many things. I wanna talk about this, but back when we were in geometry class, they used to give us a little packet with all of these tools in it, and one of 'em was a protractor. And when you have a protractor, a protractor was used so that you could draw a circle.
Now, the truth of the matter is, I could take a pencil and draw a circle. Now, it's gonna be a little sloppy, but it's gonna be a circle. If I take a protractor and I decide to draw a circle, it's gonna be a perfect circle. Not because of the point on the pencil, no, it's not the pencil that makes a circle perfect; it's the little metal point on the other end that establishes a center. Every circle requires a center. It is that absolute center that determines the efficacy of the circle. The problem we're having in the world now, in the country now, in many countries now, in many businesses now, is that we have lost our center. So, if you lost your center, you destroy your circle.
Rebranding is important. You must realize that we have a million and a half people who have spent 400 years as slaves. They're going from servitude to sonship. They needed to wander a while. They didn't know anything about possessing the land, about owning property, about expenses, about fighting off enemies. They knew how to be slaves, they didn't know how to be sons. So sometimes God will let you wander around in the circle while you rediscover who you are in the light of where you are now. Oh, do you hear what I'm sayin?' Every person listening at me has to go through rebranding. Periodically in your life, you have to rebrand. Who you were at 20 is not who you are at 40. Who you are at 40 is not who you are at 60. Every so often, you need to take another lap. Every so often, you need to take another lap until you begin to understand for where I am in life now, I need this, and I don't need that.
When I was a child I thought as a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child. When I became a man, I had to rebrand. How do you rebrand? Start putting away childish things. For them it was about going from servitude to sonship. The Bible said Israel is my son, that's why the death angel was killing the firstborn sons in Egypt. Because God was saying if you hurt my son, I'll hurt yours. They were his son, but they didn't understand themselves to be his son, 'cause they hadn't had a relationship with their Father for 400 years. So he let them wander in the wilderness so that they could build up a relationship with their Father. For 400 years he'd been an estranged father. They had been away from him so long that when they got ready to build a picture of what God looked like, they built an Egyptian god.
So number one, we are delayed and we go in circles so we can rebrand. Number two is erosion. We go around in circles for the death of the cultural impact of Egypt. It takes time for where you were to die. The whole delay in the wilderness was so that slaves did not inherit the Promised Land. The slaves all had to die. All of those that couldn't be transformed had to die. You need time for the people who can't go with you to die off from you. Oh, y'all don't hear what I'm saying. Like a bud has to die so that a blossom can be born, you need a certain amount of erosion. That erosion doesn't mean failure, it doesn't mean you're going backwards.
Every time somebody leaves you, don't feel like you're going backward. Erosion is an important part of goin' around in the circle. It is the death of the cultural impact of Egypt. They can't go forward because they are too connected to the past. These are the five points, because if we're gonna use our protractor to draw the circle, you gotta understand the five points that explain why do you have me wandering? I'd thought I'd be married by now. I thought I'd be pastoring by now. I thought I'd be the CEO of a company right now. I thought my business would be exploding right now.
One of these things is holding you back. Either you're not rebranding, you've got the opportunity to be the boss, but you're thinking like a employee. You don't work on the level of an entrepreneur. You have the idea, but you don't have the work ethic. And sometimes you gotta wander around till you rebrand yourself, till you understand who I am now, so that all those little voices that are in your head can stop talking to you. They have to die out till they become quieter and quieter. All of those voices that say you're not worthy, you're not competent, you can't do this, you're faking it, you can't get there. All of that has to die while you circle.
Number three, you have to establish what are your core values? What are your core values? What do you really care about? I'm not talking about what you're supposed to care about, I'm not talkin' about your core morals, and I don't need you to quote Scriptures on me. You as an individual, or you as a company, or you as a church, what are your core values? What do people get when they get you? What do they get? Why should they go to your church? There are a thousand churches all around you, what sets yours apart? Until you can answer that in three sentences, you don't have core values. Once you have core values, you know what to turn down.
You know what engagements not to take. You know what places not to go. You know what not to waste your finances on, because if it doesn't line up with your core values, then there's no need for you to spend any more time doin' things that are fighting who you are at your core. Because you can only produce what's at your core. I know the first thing that the Lord said to Adam and Eve was be fruitful, but the statement be fruitful implied be seedful, because you can only produce fruit that is related to your core. You can't have a peach core and produce a watermelon. What are your core values?
Number four, when we get to the fourth one, it's structure. Do you have the structure to get there? Moses was anointed, he was gifted, he was called, he was set aside, there is no question about whether he was God's man or not. He was absolutely God's man. He was gifted enough. There wasn't a leader like Moses in all of the Old Testament, but he had no structure. He had great anointing. He demonstrated in the Spirit quite effectively. He did amazing things in the Spirit, but he had no structure. He could turn water into blood, but he had no structure. His rod could turn into a serpent, he could pick it back up and it would turn into a rod again, but he had no structure. He could have face-to-face conversations with God, great prayer life, no structure. I can't tell you how many churches have great prayer lives and no structure.
So you're anointed, but you can't get a building. Oh, talk to me somebody. You're gifted, but you can't negotiate a contract. You have no structure. So God's got you goin' around and around and around so that you can understand structure. Structure is who, what, when, how, why. While God was letting them wander, he was teaching them structure. He was teaching Moses how to lead on the level he was on. You need help learning how to lead on the level you're going to. And had he not been called to the side, he would've never been able to judge. He was killing himself trying to do everything. The busiest pastors I know are the ones who have the least flock. They're on the phone all the time, they're working all the time, they're goin' all the time. I gotta do this, and I gotta do that, then we gotta do this, and did you get this ready, and I want this chicken brought, and I want that done.
Do this over here and do this over here. They are busier than people with huge congregations. You know why? No structure. So he had to learn things like judges, appointing people to be judges. He had a crowd, but no structure. There's a difference between a crowd and a church. You can get your EIN number, you can get your 501(c)(3), you can get your "not for profit," you can set up an LLP, you can set up whatever you want to and get into whatever building you want, but if you have no structure, it will never work. You got great products, but they won't sell, not because they're not great products, you have no structure. So God will let you wander around until you figure out the structure for what's next. The structure for what's next cannot be the structure for what was.
Do you hear what I'm sayin?' The structure for what's next cannot be the structure for what was. You're tryin' to do next with what was. While they were wandering, they learned what priests were. While they were wondering, Joshua, leadership ability began to stand up in him. While they were wandering, they learned the difference between judgments and ordinances and laws and government, and they started becoming a government, a theocracy. All of that had to happen over the 38 years. Had they taken a shortcut, they would've got there, but they had no structure when they got there, and they were going to fight people who had structure. You cannot compete with people that have structure when all you have is talent.
Oh, God, help me a little while. People become successful not just because they have talent, but because they have structure. You name anybody you wanna name that's a great singer, I'll name somebody you don't know that could sing them under the table. You don't go to the top because you got the best voice, it's because you've got the best structure. You're losing because you have no structure. You got great anointing, but no structure. You've got a great plan, but no structure. You have not set yourself up to succeed. Success is a setup. Can I go deeper with this? You need to understand that God has allowed them to go around and around for nearly 40 years so they could get their act together, and one of the points that the protractor is gonna make the circle on is based on structure. Structure is important. It's very important.
Number five is credibility. Seniority, stability, sustainability, creates credibility. Sustainability creates credibility. Just the fact that they survived in the desert for 40 years gave them credibility. Just the fact that they escaped the hand of Pharaoh and he drowned in the Red Sea gave them credibility. When they got to Canaan, you know what caused them to get the victory when they got to the Promised Land? They had credibility. Rahab said, "We heard about you. We heard about you".
So, it takes time for people to hear about you, and God will let you circle and circle, and send manna down from heaven. He'll send quail down to feed you. He'll bring water out of a rock to build up credibility, so that your enemies will know not to... oh, oh, oh, oh, I felt that down in my soul. So that your enemies will know not to fool with you. God needs time to prove that I was with you in the desert, so you know I'll be with you in the Promised Land. You need to circle around until you gain credibility. Nothing takes the place of credibility. They had gone, we have compassed about this mountain long enough. Moses didn't say that, the children of Israel didn't say that, the sons of Esau didn't say that, God says when you get out. He determines when you have circled long enough. He determines when it's time for you to go to the next level.
I don't know who it is, but I feel like I'm talking to somebody. I don't even know who I'm talking to, but I'm talking to somebody. I know you're tired of it. I know you're sick of it. But until God says it's over, it's not over. Until God says it's time, it's not time. Until God says you're ready, you're not ready. Until God moves and gives you the next clear direction, you're supposed to keep goin' around. I know you saw that Tastee-Freez, you need to see it again, and you need to see it again, and you need to see it again, until it has done what it's supposed to do in your life, and you're ready to go to the next level. Somebody shout hallelujah.