A Lesson in Leadership from Toby Mac

A Lesson in Leadership from Toby Mac
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First things first, a big thanks to Mary Nikkel for the great concert photo of TobyMac. To check out more of Mary’s shots, follow her on instagram @marynikkel.

I’m not necessarily a big fan of TobyMac’s music, perhaps it is the simplicity of it or the sheer amount of radio play he gets on Christian radio, however, my opinion of him as a person was cemented earlier this month.

“The best way to deal in a transparent world is just be transparent. Let your life be authentic and let people look in. Because if they want to find out, they’re gonna find out.” – Michael Hyatt

I had the privilege of serving TobyMac, his band and his crew recently. He was playing a couple shows at my church and I volunteered to be a “runner” for the day. If you don’t know what a runner does, I basically drove people around, got them to where they wanted to go and needed to be.

When dealing with artists, the first thing you think is that they are going to be stuck up, rude, prima donnas. At least that’s what I always think. However, I am always happy for my preconceived notions to be shot down.

On the rainy, cold, October night I picked up Toby, DJ Maj, B Haley, and Gabe Real after the concert. As I drove to the first drop off, Toby asked me what I was listening to and why. Then he and Gabe talked shop and played an unreleased track from Toby’s phone, they talked about current artists and artists yet to be signed, who was going to get what song and who they were writing songs with right now. It was somewhat surreal.

Maj and Gabe got off at the first hotel, I jumped out, helped them with their luggage and they were thankful. I had driven Maj around earlier in the day and we talked about race relations in Canada, and hip hop.

It was then off to drop of B. Today was the first time I met any of them, but when I had met B earlier in the day, he was the most genuine person I may have ever come into contact with. Then it was just Toby and I.

I was driving a bonafide music legend (as far as Christian music goes). Between DC Talk and his solo career there may not be a more influential personality in the genre.

As we drove, and chatted, first about music, then about family, we came to the lesson.

Toby said something interesting about some of the younger artists in the game right now and that his desire is to serve the younger artists coming up to bring them to a place of humility, where the focus isn’t on sales or numbers, but serving the church with their gift and talent. That night he also redefined what “Christian” music means. He didn’t say that the point is to spread the gospel, or to say “Jesus” an X amount of times in the album, he said that the point of his music is to serve the church.

The lesson was that leadership comes from serving people. It was about leading people in such a manner that they want to serve as well. It was obvious in dealing with Toby’s team that day, that he has lead them well. Each person I came into contact with, whether crew or band, was appreciative and thankful. It was obvious they understood the real mission that they were on. Not merely to put on a concert to a sold out crowd, but to serve the church and each person they came in contact with.

“The theory of servant leadership is vital, but it’s the active Serving Leader that makes the critical difference.” – Ken Jennings


Have you had a celebrity experience? Did it change your preconceived notion of them? Let me know. Also, don’t forget to subscribe, there are some great things happening in November and I want to be sure that you don’t miss them.

  • Wow. What a privalege. He’s one of my favorites.. if not THE favorite of my household. I try not to lift up artists above regular human status… but in my mind he’s on a different level. Jealous of your interaction with him and the other members of the group, but i can think of no person more fitted to meet such a talent than you. Great blog!