David Wills is building God’s kingdom as the President Emeritus of the National Christian Foundation. In 2022, the org served over twenty-five thousand families and made grants of about 1.6 billion to almost thirty thousand organizations. David has business and law degrees from Baylor, a master’s from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a degree in Strategy and Innovation from the Said School of Business at Oxford. But degrees are not the most impressive thing about David. He carries a legacy of giving in life, business, and leadership – just like his father. David’s dad was one of the first people to take a chance on Bobby after Bobby’s dad passed. Tune in for stories of life and leadership you’d hear around the kitchen table.
In this interview, you’ll hear:
- How God creates divine appointments that shape our future
- The key to overcoming significant challenges in life and business
- How to gain the trust and confidence of your team
About the guest:
David came to faith at the first event ever held in Texas Stadium when he was ten. His parents wanted to hear Johnny Cash, who was the opening act for a guy named Billy Graham, who was having a crusade there that night. David and Chris have been married for 31 years! They grew up in the same neighborhood in Wichita Falls, Texas. They have known each other since they were kids. Speaking of kids, they have 9 of them, which includes two daughters-in-law! Plus one grandchild!
David serves as President Emeritus of the National Christian Foundation and joined NCF in 1998 as its first President. NCF is celebrating its 40th year in 2022 and has become the world’s largest Christian grant-making foundation, serving over 30,000 families. In the first six months of 2022, NCF made over 150,000 grants of over $1 billion to thousands of churches, ministries, and charitable organizations. He has business and law degrees from Baylor University, a master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a degree in Strategy and Innovation from the Said School of Business at Oxford University. His education mirrors his passions: business, law, and theology. David has co-authored two books, Investing in God’s Business and Family Money.
He serves on multiple boards, including Barnhart Crane & Rigging, Kingdom Companies Group, American Bible Society, The IF: Gathering, The River Foundation, ECFA, The Impact Foundation, Trust Bridge Global Foundation, and Generous Giving, which he co-founded. David and Chris live in China Spring, TX, a suburb of Crawford, TX, which is a suburb of Waco, TX.
About the host:
Following a successful career as CEO, Bobby sold his business to a publicly-traded company. In what he calls his “second half of life”, Bobby seeks to pour Biblically-based principles into growth-minded business, church, and non-profit leaders. Through Values-Driven Leadership, Bobby serves as an Executive Coach and Training Consultant for organizations. He shares many of his principles and practices through a weekly blog, the True North Leader podcast, and through three books he has authored:
- Principled Profits: Outward Success Is an Inside Job
- True North Business: A Leader’s Guide to Extraordinary Growth and Impact
- The Freedom Paradox: Is Unbridled Freedom Dividing America?
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Transcription of Episode: Build God’s Kingdom Through Giving
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David Wills 0:00
You know, and of course, you want to base everything in prayer when it’s an obstacle, exactly. But we know that God will never put an insurmountable obstacle in our way that that can’t that he, if he wants it to be overcome, it will be. Yeah. And so put it in his hands. And he’ll help you figure out if you go over around under three.
Bobby Albert 0:28
LDM Welcome to the TrueNorth leader Podcast. I’m Bobby Albert. And we’re here today with David Wills. And he is the president emeritus of the National Christian foundation. So David, welcome to the show.
David Wills 0:49
It’s fantastic to be here. Bobby, thank you for inviting me. I look forward to this time together.
Bobby Albert 0:53
Yeah, I really do it for our audience’s benefit. David grew up and the town that I grew up in, and that’s Wichita Falls, Texas. So you know, we’re gonna, because we’re both from Texas, we’re gonna both be able to understand each other, we won’t have to pass out any Texas dictionaries between you and me. So, David, man, you have lived a full life. And you still, you’re still going, you’re still. And tell us a little bit. Tell us a little bit about you and about the National Christian foundation and share a little bit even about your family because you got a bunch of kids?
David Wills 1:49
Well, I guess I’d start by saying that I’m the son of Don and Susu. We’ll talk a little bit more about that later. But yes, I am the husband of Chris and the father of Jonathan, Maggie, Chuck, Luke, Josh Drew and Sam salmon album. And the father in law of Abby and Courtney. And now just 76 days ago, became the grandfather of baby Max. I’m counting the days. But yes.
In fact, we actually became empty nesters the day before Max was born, which is really strategic timing. So my wife never just had to look at me. So I’d say a couple of other things, though, that really have shaped me are the friendships that God has put in my path. I think we’ll talk a little bit more about that as well.
And the fact that Jesus saved me when I was 10 years old. At a Billy Graham crusade at Texas Stadium, it was the first event ever held in Texas Stadium and my mom and dad put me in the back of the Buick station wagon and went down to Irving, Texas. Really, I think to hear Johnny Cash, he was the opening act for this guy named Billy Graham. And that was the night that I came to faith.
I grew up in Wichita Falls, as did my wife, we actually grew up in the same neighborhood. I met her when she was five years old. But don’t worry, we didn’t start dating till we were in our 20s. We don’t do that kind of stuff in Wichita Falls. Now live outside of Waco, near a place called Cropper, Texas, and just love being back home in Texas. We were in Georgia for 25 years before that.
You know, your next question was NCF. A little bit about NCF. And that’s for, you know, stands for National Christian foundation. NCF is extraordinary. It’s actually this is our 40th anniversary for NCS. And so it’s been around for a long time. And we’re very privileged to be able to help mobilize resources and inspire biblical generosity, which has just been a real blessing.
Bobby Albert 4:13
y’all have accomplished, I think far greater than most people even realize. And if, if I just some things I looked at the organization is approaching about 308 employees. I mean, that’s not small stuff. So do you think go ahead and share a little bit about what y’all have accomplished? Because I’m really fascinated. And I think there are a lot of people in the audience that needs this service. So please share a little bit more about it.
David Wills 4:59
Oh, absolutely. So, just a little bit about in CF, and what kind of what we do. So, you know, Bobby, most people have a financial plan. But not many people have a giving plan to think through their giving. We’re much better about having a budget and a financial plan that we are giving plan. Yeah. And so we really help people think through that. So there’s three questions that people ask with regards to their personal generosity, why should I be generous? How do I do that? Where should I give? And as people continually through their lives, ask and answer that question better and better, the more well planned they are, and people who are well planned, they give more, and they give more wisely. Yeah. And so that’s what we get to help people do.
And it’s really actually been staggering what God has done. So we’re, you know, obviously, we’re a grant reps, we serve about 25,000 families now. And just so far this year, this is kind of a little bit staggering. But we’ve made grants of about $1.6 billion to almost 30,000 organizations, just this year. And so it’s just, it’s crazy, that God has just moved in ways that defied all of our expectations.
Bobby Albert 6:18
Yeah. Hey, David, you’ve also written a couple of books, you want to share a little bit about them?
David Wills 6:29
Sure, we’ve written two books, the first one was investing in God’s business. And that’s really a book, it’s probably way out of date. So he doesn’t even talk about it. Because it has some technical aspects to it. But it’s really a kind of a primer for people to think through different ways. It’s a how to question book that third, that middle question. Okay, how do you do your giving, as it gets, actually gives stories of people that have done some unusual things with regards to how they have done their giving.
And that’s what that book is about. family money is the second book and it pretty catchy title. It’s about family and money. So yeah. And it’s really, you know, it’s really a book full of questions that are helpful for families to think through when they are working on developing a giving plan for passing on all of their resources, whether it’s to family or to charity. And if you don’t make those decisions, you’ll get to pass it on to the government. Yeah. And so that little book helps. It’s just full of questions that are helpful for families to think through.
Bobby Albert 7:36
Yeah. Now, since you’ve moved near Waco, Texas, your Baylor bear, right?
David Wills 7:49
Yes, sir. I assure him yeah, I hope that you’re not. Yeah, I’m sorry if there are any red writers listening. But actually, I’m not sorry. I was actually very, very happy with what happened this weekend. Now, of course, this podcast isn’t going to come out until January. Yeah, you know what we had to Oklahoma this weekend. And I am the son of a sinner and I’m married to a sinner. So I have to be very tempered.
We want you to be careful and season will not the time this podcast came out season will probably be over so but and you got a law degree there you went to bat you got your bachelor’s degree and a law degree and then you went to Dallas Theological Seminary and, and boy, you are a passionately, you know, with for personal growth. And because you went on to Oxford University. You just got a real fascination in learning.
David Wills 9:00
Well, that’s kind of something that, you know, was passed down from my mom and dad. As you may recall, my dad was very involved in education, which taught falls. Yeah, that was instilled in all of us. at a very early age, being a lifelong learner is just kind of guessed, it’s baked into my DNA from the very getgo. And I love to go to school and I love to learn and so I’m not sure what’s next. But maybe there’s another degree lurking out there somewhere.
Bobby Albert 9:33
I’m trying to remember. Didn’t your dad serve on the school board? The public school board, okay.
David Wills 9:42
Yeah, he was the president of the school board.
Bobby Albert 9:45
Yeah, that man was a long time ago. So yes, it was. And I know for the audience I found this fascinating. But I asked David since he’s lives near Chris offered as they see George W. Bush and ensure a little bit about that if you would.
David Wills 10:08
Well, when you live out this way, as the host, Bobby that, you know, there are a very limited number of places you can eat out here. So, we’ve got Crawford, we’ve got Clifton Valley, Mills McGregor. But there is actually one particular restaurant in McGregor that serves these pies that are just absolutely extraordinary. And I’m afraid, I’m afraid who has taken a real liking these pie? So do you want to run into George W. And Laura, you should go to the coffee cafe and Gregor? Because that’s a place for you might have a sighting?
Bobby Albert 10:46
Yeah. Well, I was sharing with David. You know, before we started the recording is, I got to know, George W. Back in 1988. I mean, boy, that’s a long time ago. And I traveled with him a couple of times back then. I threw him. I got to know Karl Rove, I got to know Rick Perry. And course. Rick Perry. Serve just like George W is Governor of Texas. And so anyway, Rick Perry lived pretty near which at all, folks, so just a little bit out west Texas. So well. David, you might have already addressed this, but what why do you feel so passionate about what you and the National Christian foundation? If Do you have anything else to add about that?
David Wills 11:57
Wow. You know, it’s just been such a privilege to walk alongside these fans, you know, my job is just kind of ridiculous. So I spend, you know, a portion of my time working alongside the most generous people you’ve ever met. I mean, they’re extravagantly generous and walking alongside these churches and ministries that are just doing the most phenomenal work. And I get paid to do that. So it’s a great gig.
So yeah, every day I’ll wake up, and I’m going to be interacting with, with multiple of each one of those. I mean, it just so yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s easy to get up in the morning and get going. And it’s just a privilege. You know, Aslan is on the move in the world in extraordinary ways. And it is fun to be kind of sitting in a place to, to see some of that happening.
Bobby Albert 12:57
Yeah, I bet it is. And just to meet the people you’re talking about, I’m sure you have heard lots of stories about people and their background, that I’m a it’s invaluable. In fact, I’m sure you could write a third book, just on stories of the people that you’ve met over, cuz you’ve been part of that organization for how long? How long has it been?
David Wills 13:33
You? 25 years? 25 years?
Bobby Albert 13:38
Yeah, that’s so. So, what brought you to the place of leadership in the organization? How did you get connected there?
David Wills 13:52
Well, that’s a good question. So it’s kind of a multi-step process. I think that I have to say, at a first met fellow named Greg sparing, who was a fellow lawyer and really went to work with him. And we met a guy named Terry Parker. So we were actually in St. Simons Island, Georgia, which is a nice place to be we lived there for a little over five years. And then Terry was in Atlanta.
We started one foundation, Terry had started another foundation, and we eventually learned with each other and built a relationship. And that kind of Trifecta continues to this day. But that’s really how I got connected to the National Christian foundation. And Terry probably made the greatest risk movie ever made when he asked me to come and serve as the first President of NCF. So I don’t think he regrets it, but I haven’t asked him so I’m not gonna ask.
Bobby Albert 14:49
Yeah. Well, you know, in addition to him, there were a couple of other co-founders. Do you mind?
David Wills 14:58
Yes. About that as well. Certainly. Yes, Larry Burkett and Ron Blue. It’s a fascinating story. I can’t do it justice because there are a few people that can tell stories as well as Terry Parker again, let me tell you. Terry was a lawyer in Atlanta. He did a lot of nonprofit work for organizations and Christian businesses in Atlanta back in the late in the 70s.
These two clients, one named Ron blue and one named Larry Burkett, nobody had ever heard of them. Their organizations had not even started. They both found their way to Terry Parker. Terry, who can sometimes see around corners. He thought to himself as he was starting this thing, he said, You know, I think someday people are gonna know who these guys are. So he asked them if they would be on the founding board of NCF. This was in 1982. And so sure enough, there are a few people that ended up knowing who Larry Burkett and Ron blue were. When I went Dark Prince CF, those were my three bosses, Terry Parker and Larry Burkett and Ron blue, which was just Yeah, it was well, that’s exactly right.
Bobby Albert 16:13
Wow. That’s something that is really so it’s interesting that the organization started in 1982. And it’s also interesting to me, that you shared a while ago about going to the Texas Stadium and praying to receive Christ.
Actually, September 1 of 1982 was the year that are the time when I prayed to receive Christ. And until that time, I was one of those people, I knew a lot about God, but I didn’t know God. That day, a friend that I had not seen and several years. And there’s more of a testimony to all of this. But it was very clear. It was a divine divine appointment. And he led me to the Lord. And so I know, you know where this is, but it was at a Denny’s on Camp Street, because he wanted, he wanted a cup of coffee.
Well, I don’t drink coffee, but I’ll have some hot chocolate, you know, so. I don’t think I had ever been there before.So David, can you share a story about an obstacle that you challenge you and your team and how to tell us a little more about how you overcame that?
David Wills 17:54
That’s a great question. It’s actually hard to pick one. Yeah, no. One thing I was really I’m really good at is, is finding obstacles. Yeah, as an entrepreneur, that’s just part of the way it works. But you know why? They find you know, so that’s, that is true, that does happen. So I’ll tell you a story about an obstacle that we encountered.
So it was in about 2006, we had these two brothers, that owned a crane company in Memphis, Tennessee, and they, they wanted to give away their company, but they wanted to keep stewarding it. And so they came to us and said, help us give away our company. And so one of the things that we’ve done at NCF, is we’ve tried to kind of build this, this group of folks that can help crack the code, so to speak, and the code itself, to try to help people. But this was a pretty big problem because this is not something that had happened before.
Our folks, including those two gentlemen, that I mentioned before, who were involved in this process, really put their thinking caps on. Usually, you think of engineers and scientists are the kind of inventors. But in our world, as odd as it may sound tax lawyers and tax accountants are the equivalent of engineers and scientists. So we actually come up with new and creative ways to accomplish things that have never been done before. Of course, anything that has never been done before can be seen as an obstacle. Because it’s a challenge. You got to figure out your way around it.
In 2007 99%, of that company was given away and we figured out how to do that. However, another obstacle came into play because about five years later, these brothers came back to us and said, That’s not enough. We want to give away 100% of our company and continue to steward it. How can we do that? And so basically, we went back to the drawing board, basically, put the mad scientist back in the room.
They figured out a way to do that. So that company when they gave it away in Oh, seven ish, it was probably worth about 150 million, I’m guessing. Today, it’s probably worth over a billion dollars. Wow. The cash that it’s throwing off, it’s going into the kingdom in the form of grants is 10s of billions of dollars every year. That’s an example. It’s kind of like RJ Paterno. You know who that is from? Texas. So in earthmoving business, he wrote a great book, several of them, actually. One of the things he said was, I keep shoveling, I could shovel it out. God keeps shoveling it back in his shovels bigger than my shovel. Sure enough, that’s what happened to these two brothers, they keep shoveling it out and shoveling it out.
Eventually they decided to just, you know, they want to one of the spouses of one of these brothers said, when they gave away their company. She said, you know, our balance sheet has dramatically changed, that our lives have not changed at all, we are now aligned from a spiritual standpoint with where we’ve always been, we were never the owners. We’re still not the owners. But we are the stewards, and we’re acting as stewards. And so that’s an example of what I would call, a double obstacle that we were able to overcome.
Bobby Albert 21:50
You shared a very important point, for any organization, big business, or even a church event. Running the nonprofit ministry, and even, you know, education institution, is, it was a big lesson for me, I had a business. In the early 90s, my, the Lord has blessed me to be a visionary.
The challenge for me it you might call it an obstacle, but I can see so far out, it looks real, that it’s occurring right now, I get you put, plus, I’m impatient. I thought I was doing this work for the Lord. Because we started seeing our work as a ministry and not a job back in 1987, which was uncommon way back then. So they were a service offering that didn’t exist in the marketplace, that I could see down the road that was coming. I and I invested about $4 million over a three year period. And it didn’t take off. And, man, I went to talk to our pastor, and because man, I was praying a lot, what was I going to do?
You understand from the banking side and I kept our bank and form because I could we could forecast that we were going to break some covenants at the bank. You know, what happens when you do that you they flagged, you know because the feds are coming in and going to audit the records. We had to move our business and, but the big lesson that I learned from that was that God owns the company, and Bobby Albert was to be the steward.
To be honest with you, it was so shocking to me, that I argued with the Lord over it like no, I own this company. Bobby, I own this company, and you’re my steward. And it was an expensive lesson and it was a hard lesson because I had to lay off, 60 employees that we hired during that time period and it broke my heart are letting those people go. Because I was impacting not only that employee but their families. And it really broke my heart.
So it was a hard lesson for me to learn. It’s also interesting you were brought up by Luke eternal, I spoke, it’s been a few years back at Luke eternal university, at their chapel, and about, but you know, you know, leading, you know, seeing your work as a ministry and not a job at their chapel. And I think they had about 600 students in attendance or something like that. And so, but, you know, I tailor the discussion about because I knew that mainly the audience were students, but I knew they would be going into the workplace someday.
So for them to see their work as worship, not just a job they went to so. So David, you know, what people, you know, that has come besides you over the years, they have mentored you, if you mind sharing a little bit about that.
David Wills 26:29
That’s something I love to talk about. I’m a big believer that in order to be well grounded, we need to be surrounded. I believe that we need people downstream, who’ve been down the river, they’re ahead of us, I think we need to always have people that are upstream in our lives that we’re pouring into, and then there’s got to be people paddling alongside us. When I think of those downstream people, the mentors, if you will, I mean, I’m obviously a very needy person, because God has always put lots of people in my life, probably just to keep me from going off the rails.
The first and most important mentor is someone that you know, and that’s my dad. I can get very emotional very easily. I can say this, and you can confirm it, everyone who knows my dad, every 100% understands why he is my most important mentor, every single person. That’s the kind of man he has been and continues to be. He’s been my dad. I mean, I’m like, it’s, it’s a huge win for me. Yeah, I got a dad like that. I hope that I can be, I seriously could be happy to demand that he’s been and if I can do that, I will. I will have lived a full life.
There’s several others. I mentioned, the gentleman, Greg Sperry, who kind of got me into this back in 1992. Greg and I have worked together since the first week of 1992. And he’s still my mentor. We communicate at least once a week and have since 1992. That’s how important he is in my life. But he’s been my mentor, from a personal standpoint, a spiritual standpoint, a professional standpoint. And he is a big mentor, Terry Parker would be right behind Greg.
I mentioned him earlier, the founder and CFO. He’s the guy that took the big risk. But Terry has been just an extraordinary example to me, Terry is, is just He’s gifted in so many ways. He’s one of the most savvy relational people that I’ve ever met. He just, he knows how to love people. It’s not one of my strengths. And he’s also extraordinarily gifted from an intelligence standpoint, and he’s married to Paul on his wife who I have also been influenced by as well. But you know, over my life and what you mentioned, Larry Burkett and Ron blue rant, Randy Alcorn. Howard Dayton. Howard Hendricks
Yeah, another influential and then just this this weekend, Steve Douglas, the former president of Campus Crusade passed away and he was a very important mentor in my life. And I could go on and on so So the degree of neediness is extraordinary.
Bobby Albert 29:36
So it’s it is fascinating the position you had there at the Christian, National Christian foundation that the people that you’ve been able to interact with, and was introduced to and things like that. I know you mentioned your dad. Actually. It seems like It was maybe about seven or eight years ago. It been a long time since I had seen your dad. Bob Buford of halftime had invited couples to spend a day and a half with Ken Blanchard and his wife and your sister, and your dad was there. I’ve spent a lot of time with my wife and I spent a lot of time with your sister and your dad.
We talked about some things back in which Wichita Falls when y’all lived here. Because you know, your mom even had a retail store here. She was way ahead of herself in the kind of retail store she had back then. But the thing about that story about your dad, the first time I met him, is when I was 20 years old, life was really good for me. I just graduated from college at 20 years old at Midwestern, you know that now they call it Midwestern State University here, Wichita Falls, Texas, and became engaged to marry my wife. Life was really good to me.
I was waiting, David, you went on to law school, but I was waiting to be accepted to go to law school, which I never make it there. But what happened is that one evening, I was playing foosball with some college buddies. A friend came up to me any, and he said, we just got a call. Your dad has been taken to the emergency room. He’s had a heart attack. So my buddies, we climbed into the car, rushed down to the hospital. When I walked in those double doors, my mom stood up at that time, and about that time, our long term family doctor walked up. He said, I couldn’t save you. I mean, right, then my mom and I, were absolutely stunned, absolutely stunned. At that time thrust to become the leader of this small family business have five employees.
I, very shortly after that, I learn because your dad was in the banking business. He had seen me as a little boy, you know, grow up. So what I learned shortly after that we were heavy in debt. What’s shocking, I mean, I don’t know how we came out from under it. But our total debt was equivalent to the total gross revenue for one year of the company. It was all a debt was short term, in other words, owed in one year. And not only was it your dad, but back then my dad dealt with two other bankers. And I, you know, at first they wanted, you know, to shut us down and sail off everything and take what was left to pay off as much debt as possible. Which still, it was going to come up short.
So but you know, what, somehow, and it was to me, when I look back on it, you know, this was before I became a Christian. Even though I went to church, I knew a lot about God. But it’s a God thing, that somehow your dad wanted to give me a chance. And he convinced the other two bankers, who were more, they were pretty hard nosed, older guys older than your dad. Somehow he convinced them to give me a chance. And that first year as you know, we were revenue starved.
That was our big problem, we grew our revenue. With a lot of people helping us by 252%, and we had the highest profit in the history of the company, we’ll finally, you know, we were able to pay off the debt. All of a sudden, your dad started loaning me some money now, because I had to use, I had to use cash flow from the business, just, to operate. From that point, build, you know, take on, you know, be able to get more money is because amid this visionary me, our company just kept growing, kept growing and kept going kept growing.
Until 2011, I sold my company to a publicly traded company, we had over 150 employees. And we were not only much more as a national level type of organization, but also did work internationally as well. So, but your dad was the key. That gave me a chance. I will just be I, I’m just being honest with you. I feel like crying right now. Because I can’t Yeah, I had, somebody took a chance on me. And, you know, because they’re looking at this 20 year old, they’ve seen me as they still think of me as a little boy, you know, because I hung out with my dad a lot back then.
The friendship that I’ve developed over that time with your dad is just been, you know, it’s just I don’t know how you explain it. But it was a wonderful experience. I know you shared that share that your mom and dad are still live in the I guess they still live in the Dallas area.
David Wills 37:30
Yeah, they split their time between Dallas and Scottsdale, Arizona.
Bobby Albert 37:34
Okay. All right. So well.
David Wills 37:41
You know, I just want to make one follow up comment. First of all, I love that story. I just love it. The legacy I have for my mom and dad is just it’s just incredible. I just can tell you story after story after story of people from business people to couples that they have influenced and taking a chance on in different ways. And that’s just who they are. Yeah.
Bobby Albert 38:15
Well, I’m just thankful that he took a chance on me it was a game. Yes. And it worked. And so that’s, I’m glad to build I’m glad that you are on this podcast that I could share that story. Even though, I think I might have shared this with you, when you and I met at the COVID Billy Graham retreat several years ago with marketplace chaplains. So David, you know, we talked about your obstacle, or obstacles that you’ve overcome any other advice you could give to our audience, about overcoming obstacles? Anything else you would like to share about that?
David Wills 39:11
Well, I think, you know, people have different perspectives when they even think about the issue of obstacles. I mean, some people see a problem that needs to be solved and some people see the very same thing as an opportunity that can be seen. Okay. It can be exactly the same thing. It’s actually I would say the first thing is when you do come up across something that is an obstacle, don’t go it alone.
You really need very capable people around you. To be surrounded. You need different skill sets. Need different perspectives at the table, both professional and personal. I’m a big believer that you need both men and women at the table to help really overcome significant obstacles. They just have different ways of seeing NGS.
I also think that the word ingenuity is really important when it comes to obstacles, because obstacles can really, they can stop you. So you got to sometimes you got to figure out, do I go over it? Threw it around under it? Because we do know that. You know, of course you want to base everything in prayer when it’s an obstacle. Exactly. But we know that God will never put an insurmountable obstacle in our way that that can’t that he if he wants it to be overcome, it will be. Yeah. And so put it in his hands. And he’ll help you figure out if you go over around under it or through it.
Bobby Albert 40:42
Exactly. It’s interesting. What you the way you said that because it made me it made me think especially our Chief Operating Officer, when he’d come in, I could see the look on his face because he had the gift for exploitation. And, you know, he’s an encourager, you know, I used to call him Barnabas, you know, so, and when he would be coming in and rubbing his head, and because he was bald, I knew, Okay, something is not going to be good, you know, here, and, and he would share an obstacle that’s popped up.
But he knew, I would just the way you kind of describe it, one of my first question is, what’s our options? What, what, what, how can we work through this? And it’s just something in me. I love the challenge of Oslo. Do I like obstacles? No, I don’t. I’d rather you know, laugh, be linear, you know, not back and forth. And you know, all those kinds of things. But he was always prepared. And we would pull just like you mentioned, we would pull our leadership team together and talk about, okay, we got this issue, how are we going to overcome it? So? So you’re exactly right. Well, David, how has your faith influenced the way you approach the way you lead your team?
David Wills 42:29
Wow. Well, I guess, when I think about leading the team at being, I really think of Jesus as the model. You know, a couple of things come to mind. And he, he was a servant leader, when he was caught in a servant leader. So I’ve got to be a servant leader. And I have to have that mindset. This means that I need to constantly be pressing into being humble.
Yeah. And for me, that means I need people that can be honest with me and speak directly to me when they see me not being that way, because that is not my default. Yeah. And so another thing that he did was he was a delegator, and he enlisted and delegate action. He also delegated decision-making. So as we know, leaders, building leaders, is the way to continue the company into the future. And so, that’s, that’s what he did. Those are just good. Those are three examples. Or maybe that was four of Jesus as a model of how to how to lead.
Bobby Albert 43:45
I think, so many leaders, I mean, with so many Christian leaders, they are turning to the Lord, early on, and that, you know, when he was talking about the servant leadership, is, you know, I was talking about me being a, you know, a little boy hanging out with my dad. I remember 12 years old, my dad, let me go out on my first job with a crew. He brought before we were about ready to go out, man, I was fired up. I may, um, you know, you gotta think 12 years old. So he pulled me aside and he says, Now, Bobby, when you go out there, I don’t want you to act like the boss’s son.
Well, I don’t know how to explain it. But somehow at 12 years old, I I knew exactly what he meant. So when we, when I went out with that crew, I took on the servant role. I was constantly asking them, you know, how can I help you? You know, can I do this for you? You know. I still carry with me today of serving people. But I tell you how important that is, in a practical way, because Jesus was the ultimate, you know, servant leader is when my dad died, is that those five employees, I had asked them that, like, take a pay cut.
Now, today, if you ask employees take a pay cut, it’s not going to be a happy day. But you know. Not only that these five employees, they’re looking at this 20 year old. But you know what, it was shocking to me. Well, let me say this, when I was asking them to take a pay cut, I mean, I’ve never had this kind of fierce conversation with anybody like this. I mean, I was shaking, my lips were shaking, I was sweating. I got 100% acceptance. They stuck with me. And I think it’s because they had the confidence that Bobby was going to figure out how to overcome this obstacle, like you’re talking about, because they saw my work ethic out there, when they when I go out with them on a job.
So David, if I can add one other thing, when I saw a work as a ministry, and not a job I took, which you’re very familiar with, because you probably had it there at the National Christian foundation is, you know, you had an organization chart, particularly an organization is as large as yours. Well, I took the organization chart and turned it upside down. And I took on just like, Jesus said, I’m paraphrasing this, I come not to be served, but to serve.
I took on an attitude to serve our people. And our, to equip them to develop them and serve them. Our leadership team, they knew they had to do it to you know, people reported them. And on a, you know, in the organization chart, and the frontline people were at the top of the organization chart, and even above them on the front line was the customer. And even above the customer was Jesus Christ. Because the foundational verse that was in our company was Colossians, 323, and 24. And we’re in a dress that it’s the Lord Jesus Christ you’re serving.
Our employees clearly knew when they came to work every day, they came to work for a higher purpose. And it wasn’t to come. Because the traditional organization chart it tells all employees they come to work for Bobby Albert. But when they, with them understanding and seeing visually out upside down organization chart, is they knew they were coming to work for a higher purpose to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. So when they served the customer, they were serving the Lord Jesus Christ, when we taught them how to serve each other as a team. They knew they were serving the Lord Jesus Christ. So anywhere else I’m preaching now so you know, let the fat lady sat down, you know. I’ve enjoyed you bringing up what you said about that.
David, looking toward the future, what is one potential opportunity or an obstacle that you see on the horizon and why does this need to be talked about?
David Wills 49:48
Goodness gracious, we could be multiple. Yeah, no, no, that’s that’s quite a question. I out there, you know, there’s several that come to mind. I won’t elaborate. Well, every one of them. We have this incredible generational thing that’s happening in our culture. What? What’s going to happen with this millennial Gen Z thing? How’s that gonna play out? We also have a very polarized culture. Yes, increasingly. So how’s that gonna play out? And we have global unrest, economic unrest? How are those things gonna play out? And in our world, and the this is relevant in more ways than we probably understand. We also are in the middle of the greatest wealth transfer in all of human history. How’s that gonna play out?
Even though the stock market is not up this year, the amount of wealth that it’s going to transfer is still in the trillions and trillions of dollars. That’s going to have a huge impact. Boy, I guess if I was gonna dive a little deeper on one thing. This, it just comes to mind because of where I was this weekend, I was at a gathering called the I was, my wife and I are investors that have a thing called the finishing fund. The finishing fund is kind of like a it’s a collaborative funding effort. The purpose of it is, is finishing and so the first finish line is to get the gospel to every unengaged people group on Earth.
There’s 12,000 people groups in the world. In 2005, there were 3500 of them. Today, there are about 200. So that’s how many have been engaged and unengaged people group means that there’s no known believer, no worker, no church, no scripture, nothing. At 2005, there were 3500 of those people groups, hundreds of millions of people today 200, and probably about 10 million people. A huge milestone is getting ready to happen in the history of the church. But the big, but the big obstacle is that there’s probably about that same 3500 that had been engaged in the last 17 years. I would call them I would call them marginally engaged. They’re barely engaged. One of the things that you don’t want to have happen if you’re in a war is for your enemy to retake a hill that you’ve successfully taken.
That’s happening Ukraine right now. And it’s, it’s crippling the Russian. It’s causing them to do things that are horrendous. But that’s what’s happening. And we don’t want that to happen. So a big obstacle is how do we now go to basically, these 4000 people groups, how many there are, whatever it is, and take them for being marginally engaged to securely engage? In other words, multiplying churches, multiplying disciples, it’s, we’ve hit some incredible milestones, but now we need to start fun, too, and start securing these engaged. So that’s, that’s one of the biggest opportunities in the world. And so that’s something we ought to be talking about.
Bobby Albert 53:07
Yeah. I love that thought. Because daily prayer I have is, because our whole world personally as well around us is just right now. We’re in this spiritual warfare that’s going on and our world is just turned upside down right now. We need changed hearts. It’s That’s my prayer. And not only for unbelievers, but we need believers to go from being secured by the Holy Spirit to being filled by the Holy Spirit. And but it so you know, I? That’s exactly it sounds like exactly what you see is we need changed hearts. And
David Wills 54:01
what was one of the things that all those other obstacles that I mentioned, one of the things that those cause to happen is they actually cause the gospel to spread faster. Yeah. For change, to change to occur more quickly. So globally, they, as I mentioned, at the verbi, we’re seeing Aslan on the move in breathtaking ways that have never before been seen in the church. In fact, the hotter it gets in the kitchen, the more it seems that people are coming to Christ and being committed to Him. It’s a tension.
But it’s it’s absolutely breathtaking what’s happening in the world today. So you’re, you’re living you’re living in the best time in all of human history. I know that sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Exactly. But you are living in the best time in all of human history.
Bobby Albert 54:51
Yeah. Well, I think you I know you understand this God’s plan is always perfect. Even though we Don’t know we we don’t understand it a lot of times, but it does. It is perfect. So hey, David, is there anything else or story you’d like to share with us today?
David Wills 55:16
I think we’ve covered all the bases. We need to cover this time. Maybe we’ll do it again.
Bobby Albert 55:20
Yeah, well, I’ve man I’ve truly enjoyed reconnecting with you. Maybe one of these days, you’ll get back to Wichita Falls, and you and your wife and cover some old neighborhoods and things. So where are they? Where can people go to connect with you and learn more about the National Christian foundation?
David Wills 55:50
The website is NCF giving.com. So that’s, that’s the main place to go. And you can learn all about it.