There are success coaches—and then there are Christian success coaches.
Dr. Dave Martin is showing the world the difference with his Bible-based teachings that aim to equip believers to walk in the fullness of God’s plan by pursuing, possessing and teaching scriptural keys to biblical success. The author of several books, Martin’s latest is called The 12 Traits to Greatness.
Charisma News caught up with Martin to talk about why taking responsibility is the first step to greatness—whether you are an actor, a preacher, a schoolteacher or a grandfather. Check out part one of our exclusive interview.
Charisma News: How did you become interested and involved in success teaching?
Martin: I grew up with a really strict church background in a small town in Mississippi. So success and thinking big wasn’t really a part of my life. I like to say, “I got out of Mississippi long before Mississippi got out of me.” I had a small mindset. I began to have a desire to improve and to be inspired. I began to see how it all connected to the Bible.
It took several years before I really got a passion to teach it. I started preaching when I was 15, but it was several years later when I got a passion. At that time, no one in the body of Christ was really teaching these success principles like this. Christians were probably going to this motivational seminar and that inspirational seminar but not of a lot of them could go to church and get this kind of teaching. God put the desire in my heart a few years ago to really step up and teach this to the body of Christ.
Charisma News: I’ve read some of the secular success books out there, like Jack Canfield’s Success Principles. I notice that all of these success books start off with taking responsibility for your own actions. That’s also the theme of your first chapter. Why is taking responsibility the first step to success?
Martin: A lot of times Christians want to blame somebody else for everything or just leave it all on God. There is a difference between the person of Jesus and the principles of Jesus. The person of Jesus prepares us for heaven but the principles prepare us for earth. And I think God laid these principles out because He wants us to succeed. I believe He wrote the Bible to help us.
We always say the Bible is our road map for life. I heard someone say “Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth” is what Bible stands for. But we still want to just blame it all on God: “Well, God is in control of everything.” If we can begin to take responsibility for ourselves and say, “Look, God already told us. Here’s what we’d do if we honor God with our finances or if we take care of our bodies.”
I’ve already found that the greatest conflict in the book so far is the first chapter and just getting people to say, “You know what? It is my fault that this is happening.” I know there are things in life that happen, but how we react to them is our responsibility. I wanted to get that down first thing to get people to really think. And if they begin to do that, then everything else in the book, all the other chapters will work for them.
Charisma News: While this book has some of the core values of success that would work whether you’re a Christian or not, I feel this book is different than the secular books on success because it really dives into these biblical principles, bringing them them to life and helping people understand them.
Martin: I wanted this book to be a crossover for Christians and non-Christians. I’m Christian. I’ll be able to pick it up, read it and go “Wow, okay. Yeah, yeah. That’s good.” But then, in the middle of that they’re getting the Word. They’re finding that “Well, that’s in the Bible. I never realized that God thought about that or even mentioned that.” So in each chapter I feature people with the success trait—Winston Churchill used that trait, Moses also had the same trait, and Tim Allen, the actor, had the same trait. I tried to use someone from history, someone from the present, and then always show where David or the apostle Paul or someone from the Bible had that same trait.
Charisma News: That is an effective way to bring the point home and to reach Christians and non-Christians alike. Who are some of the other examples of greatness in your book and how did you decide whom to include beyond the sort of historical, modern and biblical?
Martin: The book is called 12 Traits of Greatness. But you can be great and not be famous, just like you could be famous and not be great. An example of greatness could be my grandfather. He may not be famous. No one may know him or have heard of him, but I can look at 68 years of marriage in his life and his ministry as an evangelist—he is 89 years old and still preaching every chance he gets. I can look at his life of integrity. He stayed the course. He stayed the same, and to me he’s great. Sometimes it’s a schoolteacher that someone remembers from fourth grade that really made an impact in their life who was great.
In part two of this interview, we’ll talk about how Martin’s teaching on how to use our imagination God’s way to help drive success.
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