The Ultimate Champion


“I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” - Mia Hamm, retired professional women's soccer player

Don't be confused. That's not a picture of Mia Hamm. That's her quote, though. The lady pictured here - Julie Smies - is my administrative assistant. And she understands team.

Julie has been on my team as my assistant for nearly nine years. As my assistant...

  • She represents me - and our entire connections and multisite teams - to people in our church, in our WiredChurches network and in our community.
    • The impact of her tone, words, facial expressions, professionalism and personableness cannot be underestimated.
    • She understands that people perceive me, our teams, and our church through her representation.
  • Her number one priority is to help me and our team win.
    • For a long time this was tough for me to say aloud. It sounds ridiculously egotistical. But the reality is - it is her number one job.
    • Her can-do attitude, mountain-moving determination, and humble spirit allow me to do what God has called me to do, to do what I've been charged to accomplish.
  • She is a wiling servant. 
    • Her task list isn't merely that she handles phone calls or my schedule or my email, her "task list" is intentionally choosing to serve. Whatever that means.
    • This doesn't mean I see her as a slave! That she is not! She is an intelligent, thinking, quite independent person who chooses to work interdependently for the sake of the team.

All that said, it's a huge plus that she is a dear friend to my wife, Laura. This brings a heightened level of trust and respect to the working relationship Julie and I share and serves Laura and my marriage well too. Truth is - Laura and I see Julie and her husband, Jim, as family friends. We actually like each other and enjoy being together. 

In fact since Laura's diagnosis with breast cancer in late July, Julie has gone above and beyond. She has been our friend, caring deeply for Laura. During the rigors of chemotherapy, she embraced what had to be done - things I was not getting done - and she found a way. She has carried an exceptional load this fall on my behalf. I am grateful beyond the words I can find here.

Julie makes our entire connections and multisite teams better. She's part of the team. Her role is no less important than anyone else's. Her joy, grace and love of Jesus is a delight to experience. It fuels her work and brings fulness to our team.

The "who" on your team matters. The team, after all, is the ultimate champion.