The Code of Leadership; Character

Family and Dog

How many of you enjoy a good swashbuckling movie? I always enjoyed the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series. Although very fictitious, there was something that the pirates often referred to when faced with a dilemma. It was “The Code”. In the movie, “At World’s End”, all the Captains of the pirate ships came together and they brought out the large, dusty book of the pirate law and opened to “The Code”. It was a standard (I will agree rather one sided) in how they would live and act toward each other. I began to wonder, what is my “Code of Character” for the Lord I serve? I went to the ultimate source of truth and began to search the high seas of the scripture. From this beginning journey, I found the treasure of four principles that help to protective the posture of my heart and life in leadership.

Character is visible: A good Character is first demonstrated rather than declared. I love what Margret Thatcher said during her time as the Prime Minster of England, “Power is like being a lady, if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” In Luke 8:17 and Ephesians 5:13, we read that everything is on display. If you are married, how do you view your spouse regarding his or her character? How does your spouse view you? How about friends and even strangers? Remember, in times of stress and challenges, what is on the inside of you will come to the surface and pour out of you. Conflict does not make character- it put’s it on display. Remember, if those that know you the least respect you the most, you have a problem with your character.

Character is reliable: There are many routines that help us to get through the day without much thought. Routines like; getting dressed, brushing our teeth and hair, and stopping at stop signs and all yellow lights (Well two out of three isn’t bad). One of the healthiest routines we can develop is a consistency of character. The old phrase, “What you see is what you get” is wonderfully appropriate in our life because it denotes transparency and consistency. Matthew 5:37 and James 5:12 provide for us a template of a reliable routine of character. If your “yes” is always “yes” and your “no” always “no”, people, especially our family, never have to questions where we stand on issues or ideas.

Character is tactful: So how would you answer the question, “Honey, does this make me look fat?” We are encouraged in Ephesians 4:15 to “Speak the truth in love”. So how do we accomplish this while holding onto our character when we know that what we say will hurt the other person? Depending on the comfort of your couch, you may take the stance of, “I’ll just tell it like it is!” If this is your approach, please tell me what couch you recommend for me to buy. If you would rather choose another way, let me recommend what one man said to his wife when asked the question. His lovingly, tactful, and truthful response was, “Sweetheart, I do not think that outfit brings out the beautiful woman you are.” (Smooth as butter). In Psalms 15:2, the writer pens these words, “He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart.” Tactful techniques in developing our character consider how to engage others with truth while encouraging them with tender touches.

Character is Confident: What is the difference between confident and cocky? It is what becomes evident when the spot light shines on the person. The cocky person will soak it all in and welcome the recognition. The confident one will reflect the light and bath others in its radiance. 1 Corinthians 3:13 and 1 Timothy 3:10 teach us about the light of a refining fire that will test our motives, attitudes, and agendas of the works we do.  True confidence of character remembers that nothing significant was ever accomplished by one. It takes a team. Having a character of confidence means that you are secure in who you are and what you do so that you can turn the attention to what others have done and give them the recognition for it. Remember, a man wrapped up in him-self is a very small package. I also like what John Maxwell said. “It is amazing what gets accomplished when you don’t care who gets the credit.”

As you consider these principles, I encourage you to take the needed time to dig deeper into each one and make it personal. As the famous boxer, Joe Frazier once said, “You can have a fight plan or a life plan.” If you cheat yourself in the dark, early morning hours of training, it will be exposed in the light of the ring of life. Make every day count as you travel the high seas of service for our gracious Savior.


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Personal Story:
Chaplain (MAJ-ret) Daniel Middlebrooks was born in Plant City, Florida on 19 July, 1966. After receiving his AA degree from Hillsborough Community College, he entered the Active Duty on 27 May, 1988 at FT. Jackson, SC and began his career as a 91J- Physical Therapy Technician for three years at Fox Army Hospital, Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL (1988-1991). In November 1988, Daniel surrendered to the call of the ministry and worked toward his BS degree at Athens State College, Athens, Alabama. He left the Active Duty, May 1991 and entered New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and the National Guard Chaplain’s Candidate Program. He was endorsed by the Southern Baptist Convention, commissioned as a 2nd LT in January 1992 and served with the HQ STARC until Jan 1994. He completed his MDIV in the summer of 1994 and was commissioned at a 1st LT, January 1994 and transferred to 769th Combat Engineers, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was later transferred to the 2-117 FA in Oneonta, Alabama.
Civilian Ministry Experience:
CH Middlebrooks served at Williams Blvd Baptist church from 1991-1995 as the Minister of Newlyweds, Minister of young Adults, Minister of Family Ministries and Interim Music Minister. He moved to Morgan City, AL and served as the Associate Pastor and New Building Construction Director from OCT 1995-June 1997. He served as the Senior Pastor for Hopewell Baptist Church, Plant City FL from Feb. 2013- March, 2017. He currently serves as the Command Chaplain for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and as the Chaplain for Plant City. His also volunteers as the chaplain of Plant City Fire Department and Hillsborough County School Board-Security Division. He is the President/CEO of R3 Care & Consulting, LLC and Chaplaincy Care, Inc.
Active Duty Chaplaincy/Military Experience:
He entered Active Duty again in June 1997 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He served in the 626 FSB (97-98) and 1/502 IN BN(99-2000); Deputy 280th BSB CH (2000-02) and 1-26 IN , Schweinfurt, Germany (2002-03); 1st Recruiting Brigade as the OIC of the CH Recruiting team (2004-06);and 10th Combat Support Hospital, Fort Carson, CO (2007-10). He last served as the Chaplain’s Career Course Senior Course manager, instructor and developer/writer.
His military Schooling includes Chaplain Officer Basic Leaders Course (93), Chaplain Career Course (2003), USAREC Chaplain Recruiting Certification, CPE (2006), and ILE (2007), and the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School Faculty Development Training/Instructor Certification. CH Middlebrooks has deployed to MFO/Egypt (1999-00), Kosovo (2002), and Iraq (2008-09).
Awards: Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, The Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leave Clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with one Silver and four Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal with one Silver and two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with bronze star, GWOT, Humanitarian Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Oversee Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, and MFO Medal. He earned his Air Assault Wings in 1997 and his Recruiter badge with three silver stars in 2006. He was awarded the distinguished Witherspoon Award from the OCCH and National Bible Association in 2010. He is married to the former Arienne Plyler of Brandon, Florida. They have two daughters, Erica (23) and Allison (18). Over the last 29 years of marriage, the Middlebrooks family has moved 19 times and understands what means to “Bloom where God plants you”.

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