I am not one that is enamored with important or famous people, and unlike my best friend, I do not go out of my way to introduce myself. However, on a few occasions I have found myself in the room with people whom we all stare at in airports and restaurants. Two have made lasting impressions on me because of the genuineness of their faith. The first was Beth Moore. I have often said, “She is the real deal.” There is no stage persona. Off the stage, she is truly what she models on the stage. The other is Tony Dungy, whom I recently had the privilege spending some time with during a video shoot. For those of you who are not football fans, he is a Super Bowl winning player and coach, along with a great Christian example both professionally and personally. I have been a fan since reading his book Quiet Strength. It was an amazing opportunity to be in the room with a man who has “retired” from football but not from life and is acting as an example to us all.
Here are 5 characteristics of a Godly Christian leader that I saw in him.
Humble – Tony walked in, went around the room, and humbly introduced himself as if we didn’t know who he was, to every person. I do mean everyone from the interviewers to the interns. He spoke with a gently humble voice and spirit.
Personable – He not only introduced himself to everyone in the room, but he remembered every person’s name. He even remembered someone in our office that he had only met one time some months earlier. He remembered her name, where he met her, and her family. I consider that a true gift.
Professional – When shooting video you expect multiple takes, if you didn’t know, what you see on TV is probably the editing of 3, 4, or more, takes of the same scene. Coach Dungy walked into the room and answered every question the first time. It only took one take for him every time. Not everyone in the room did that well.
Real – I was struck by how he did not think too much of himself. He just seemed like a real guy doing what God had called him to do as best he could. He shared a great story of how he is the only person to catch an interception and throw one in the same football game. He could have told us about winning the Super Bowl, the important people he has met, or a thousand other things, but he didn’t.
Model of Character – Most people don’t know, but he is a father of not only his biological children, but 4 adopted kids. Tony said that if we ask people not to abort then we have to be willing to give these children a home. He could retire and spend his days playing golf but has chosen to mentor players who need him, do prison ministry, work with All Pro Dad, write books, and a host of other things as he shares his faith and his time.
Tony Dungy, “Coach,” is a great Christian example to us all.