In those moments, I ponder through a tsunami of thoughts and emotions that converge to create a state of mind which "overwhelms and satisfies my soul."* There are moments of sadness and grief that can overwhelm the senses for the loss of one's physical presence, yet in the same moment other thoughts transcend into a sense of satisfaction, awe and gratefulness for the blessings and life lessons learned which can be attributed to the recently departed.
Albert W. Seiter, Jr.
Al Seiter, husband to Lu Seiter, father, grandfather, great grandfather, friend, mentor to many and servant leader, recently passed away. Al and Lu are founding members of Bethany UMC in Austin, Texas. Countless lives have been impacted and will be for generations to come by Al and Lu's actions to establish a United Methodist Church in Northwest Austin 37 years ago.
Al and his band of brothers and sisters brought forth a place full of love, embraced by the Holy Spirit, to create a refuge from the daily grind of the world. For more than thirty-seven years individuals and families have found love, comfort and healing at Bethany. Cindy and I and our sons are one of those families.
Servant Leaders Grow Others
Al exemplifies the definition of servant leader by the numbers of people who have grown personally and spiritually, but Al's actions go a step further. Al and Lu attracted many other servant-minded followers and leaders. I blogged about one of those leaders, John Griffith, on Veterans Day 2012. John and Al were best friends and I am thankful for how they taught me what makes a successful church family retreat, so people experience God's love. It takes big hearts, many constantly moving hands and feet and lots of really good food. More importantly, over the years, I experienced these men living and leading this way in all aspects of their lives and activities.
Even before Bethany began worship services in a local school, a small group of individuals canvassed the neighborhoods to find out who were Methodists and would be interested in attending a new church. What is unique about this canvassing project is the information was collected on index cards and shared with other denominations, which led to the planting of five other churches in the growing Northwest Austin neighborhoods. To this day, Bethany's leadership continues to reach out to other church leaders in a sense of unity in the community. It's about the Kingdom, not individual denominations.
Bethany's foundation was infused with servant-mindedness, from the very beginning, and when the cornerstone of Christ was laid upon that foundation built by the founding members, a healthy and blessed spiritual community emerged. This community now continues to impact lives throughout the Austin community, Texas and the world.
Servant Leaders Band Together With Other Servant Leaders
While many churches will measure their impact based upon measuring the numbers of people who attend worship - it is in this sense of servant leadership that Bethany extends their metrics to include how those attending Bethany impact others in their homes, neighborhoods, workplace, schools, community and the world. The encouragement is to be servant-minded in all you do with all the people you can, in all the ways you can and in all the places you can. This way of living and serving is attributed to the legacy of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement.
Al and Lu and their band of brothers and sisters exemplified Wesley's legacy. Many recall their initial reactions to finding Bethany as it felt like home. It is a place of love, worship, learning, serving and leading - all you would want to be in your home. And today, it is apparent based upon the level of activity, changed lives and spiritual transformations at Bethany - the same sense of servant leadership has been infused into the DNA of Bethany.
Thank you Al, Lu, all founding members and all who have followed in the steps of Al's servant-minded leadership. For many generations to come, lives will continue to find love, comfort and refuge at Bethany, but more importantly they will Experience God's Love, Know Jesus Christ, And Grow In His Image.** In the midst of this experience, people will be inspired to servant-minded leadership and make a difference in ways only dreamed and envisioned by Bethany's Founders.
In remembrance of Al for being a mentor to me and modeling the better way,
~ Alan Goldsberry, Author and CEO of ZFactor Group Publishing
ZFactor blog explores and discusses a variety of techniques, tools and discoveries by successful people that will assist others to achieve greater personal and professional success. ZFactor is a proprietary coaching methodology based upon the premise that successful people think and act differently. The ZFactor methodology is proven to accelerate a person's ability to think and act differently.
* Lyrics from the song "One Thing Remains"
** Bethany's mission statement