Abolitionist Harriet Tubman once said, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” Most of us start out life with big dreams. Too often the challenges, and even routineness of life, can cause those dreams to fade away. However, some people are able to retain that ability to dream and often they go on to change the world. To truly make an impact, you not only need to dream big dreams, but also have the ability to turn ideas into action. Colin Powell noted, “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” Whether in the business world, government, or non-profit sectors, great leaders point followers to ambitious game changing goals and motivate people to take action!
My interviewee this week, Stan Buckley, is one of those visionary leaders. He is currently Executive Director of BUT GOD ministries, a faith-based 501(c)(3) organization. Prior to his current role, Buckley served as Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church in Jackson, one of the state’s largest churches. Buckley, a native of Natchez, did not start out in full time ministry. The son of a pastor, he pursued a career in law after graduating from Mississippi College School of Law. After working as a lawyer for several years, he left the practice to follow a call to full time ministry. From 1995-2011, he pastored three churches including First Baptist of Jackson, and he went on to earn his Master’s and Doctorate in Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
In 2011, Buckley had the vision to found BUT GOD ministries with an initial focus on making an impact in Haiti. The organization focused on building a sustainable community in Ganthier, Haiti and has achieved remarkable success. In the last three years, volunteers from around the world have partnered with native Haitians to start a medical/dental clinic that has seen over 24,000 patients, build over 50 houses, an orphanage, and a church. Buckley shared, “In May of this year we began construction on a second Haitian community in the mountainous village of Thoman. This village is located about an hour’s drive from our current community where approximately 6,000 people live with no primitive housing, no electricity, no running water, no jobs, no medical care, and not much else. The success of BUT GOD ministries in building sustainable communities has attracted attention from leaders from around the world including back in Mississippi.
Buckley credits his father Gerald Buckley who served as a pastor for 50 years in teaching him how to rally people to a cause. “He was not afraid to take a chance, try something new, and risk failure. He also taught me to stand firmly for what is good and right and to respect, but not fear, others.” Buckley advises future leaders to not be afraid to attempt something new or different. He emphasized, “Nothing great has ever been accomplished by the weak and the timid and those afraid to take a chance or those satisfied with the status quo. Spend your life doing something that matters.” Buckley cited Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” I am inspired by leaders like Buckley who have the ability to dream big and the courage and perseverance to turn those dreams into reality.[Originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal, July 27, 2014.]