Bob Mudd: President of Adventures in Missions
Bob has over 20 years of business and ministry management experience and has served in a number of executive roles, ranging from COO, CFO to CEO. His first 15 years were spent in the technology and telecommunications industry where he was President of Correctional Billing Services, Executive Vice President of Operations at Securus Technologies, COO of Evercom Systems and COO of TDM, Inc. He holds five patents in the technology and telecommunications industry and led business units with over $300 million in full P&L responsibility. Most recently, he was the CEO of Bourbon Brothers Holding Company and prior was the COO of international orphan ministry Children’s HopeChest. He has a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Louisville.
Bob and his wife Julie have six children and have a passion to care for orphans and love to be outdoors with the family.
Bob Mudd 4/20/20
Kelson Mudd: [00:00:00] All right. Well, so welcome, Mr. Mudd, also known as my Dad, to the Global U webinar. So, I just wanted to open up with, if you could just explain, what does Adventures know you as and what's your role?
Just a little introduction to yourself.
Bob Mudd: [00:00:18] I came to Adventures six years ago in June. And as you well know, Kelson, we were going through some challenges in our own home and I came in as the chief financial officer. I've got a background in financial management, but over the series of a season of maybe a year or two, began to get more deeply into the ministry side of things.
And I guess since a couple of years ago, I've been serving as the president of the ministry.
Kelson Mudd: [00:00:45] Awesome. Yeah. So really quick, how this call will go is that I'll ask you a handful of questions at the beginning and then we'll have about five minutes for you to give your advice on whatever you’ve been thinking about or what would be useful for us to know.
Then, we can move on and we'll open it up to the students when we get them on and they'll ask you questions.
Bob Mudd: [00:01:05] Just so you know, I have a hard 10:25.
Kelson Mudd: [00:01:10] Absolutely. we'll be off at 10 15.
Bob Mudd: [00:01:11] Okay.
Kelson Mudd: [00:01:12] Alright. So just a couple of my questions, obviously I have to ask the first one, which is, what do you think the effects on the economy and on the church that the coronavirus will have? And after this we'll get off the corona virus because I have a couple more things, but what are your thoughts?
Bob Mudd: [00:01:31] That's great. I'll start with the church. And I believe that the church has become very consumer oriented and that has been the case for most of my Christian life where it is trying to market to an unreached group of people that are very comfortable, from a consumer's perspective, but don't have the depth of, intimacy with Christ that leads to true joy. That has been markedly ineffective at resulting in deeply committed followers of Christ, not the ones like in first Corinthians.
It talks about staying on milk, but ones that in mass would desire the kind of the solid food or the Christian faith and the deep mystery. You know, being okay with the deep mysteries of God, but having trust in him regardless. And so, I think that the coronavirus presents an opportunity for Christ and him alone to be at the center for people to really wrestle with what that means.
The fruit of that I think has great potential. You know, in a book that I read some time ago, it says if you start by seeking to plant the church, you might get disciples. But if you are a disciple that makes disciples, you'll get the church every time.
And so, I think that it presents the opportunity because there's more intimacy in the home. there's more of a dependency when there's economic strife and it causes people to ask you questions. So, my hope is that the gospel get gets expressed in its purity. It lands deeply in people's spirit. And as a result of that, there's a revival.
I mean, it's happening in America, but so many people all around the world are experiencing, you know, variations of the same thing. Even in India, they're locking people down in their houses. So, as it relates to the church, I think it is burning away that which is built on the things of this world.
And it's presenting an opportunity to stack it on the thing of the things of Jesus in his kingdom economically. You know, it's unprecedented. I have no idea. you've got a number of elements, including the interruption of, of commerce where businesses don't have capacity to weather a storm like this, a lot of businesses don't.
So, you've got the government intervening at unprecedented levels. You know, nobody's ever written that book, on what it will cause economically because we've never experienced it at this level. And so, I don't know how quickly it's going to come back.
People talk about a V recovery. I just don't see any scenario where that's the case. I think we're gonna have to work it out, set ourselves out of a malaise, and ultimately, it will be an environment if the government doesn't take control of more, which is possible, it's going to be an environment where our entrepreneurs are going to have a raw, rich soil to create new things because old things are going to be burned down.
I don't know any other way around it, and I don't know how quickly it returns. And, in the midst of that, it presents a really ripe opportunity for people to fall into the arms of government, which I am not a fan of, but that is the reality of the progression of the West, right?
Kelson Mudd: [00:04:58] Yeah. That's really good. I think it was Steve Watson, the last person I interviewed, that he said you almost have to look at this in terms of this isn't an economic crisis. This is almost a domestic war. We've just never seen anything like it. We have no idea what it is.
Bob Mudd: [00:05:15] And it comes at a crazy time because you've got a presidential election coming up and the two options are very, very different people illogically and personality-wise.
I mean, it's going to be, if nothing else, it's going to be great theater.
Kelson Mudd: [00:05:30] It will. And we look at that the same way, but I’m curious. What you said about the church earlier, it was really, really good. So, what do you think are the characteristics, like the fruit, of a healthy church.
Bob Mudd: [00:05:49] Well, I mean, the simplest picture that I can paint is what you find in the second half of the book of Acts two. And that is, you know, they met together around the table. They sat under a solid teaching. They worshiped together. They were charitable. They shared with each other as each had need. It said they went out to the temple courts, so they went right back into the culture that had crucified their leader, and they were a beautiful expression of the gospel because it says at the end of that chapter they were loved by all. They were evangelical, but they were evangelical in a way that did not create political divisions.
It was a true expression of Christ in his character because everybody saw that it was beautiful. And so, a church that I want to be a part of is one that sits around the kitchen table, that has intimate relationships, that travels with people when they make bad choices and when they have hard times because there's a high level of commitment and trust.
Ultimately, it's a body that is not focused on the perpetuation of itself, which is what the consumer model produces, but it's a body that focuses on Christ in his kingdom. And when that happens, I think things are possible that are not possible under any other framework. And so, a world could be transformed through disciples making disciples, hanging out together, committing to each other, under the framework of glorifying God and reaching people for Christ.
Kelson Mudd: [00:07:23] Yeah, that's really, really good. Cause I really think it's something that is gonna take like a full one hundred percent unity. That's something we talk a lot about is trying to just get a unity in the group and we're all going for that same thing. Sort of related, is that the other day Josh sat us down and said, “what do you think about work life balance?”
I personally think this is a question I ask a lot of the mentors. How do you maintain work life balance? I personally think that's why I came on Global U, to learn how to create a life where ministry is life and life has ministry.
So, what are your thoughts on work life balance in terms of that?
Bob Mudd: [00:08:11] I mean, it looks a lot different for me today than it did 10 or 15 or 20 years ago. And I, I think looking at divisions like that, where you compartmentalize all this stuff is, is a false paradigm. And that we need to see that we are ministers of the gospel in all dimensions of our life.
Be careful not to outsource it. I mean, one of the thing of Western Christianity is that we often have this transactional relationship with a body that I drive to. I give for the sake of outsourcing, reaching people, caring for people, compassion, and ministry. And so, I have a job, I have a family, and then I have church.
And, what that does is it creates a leaky church. It's not that it's not effective in its mission. if we had everybody seeing themselves as ministers of the gospel, and they were doing it in the context of all dimensions of life, then the lines between work and the rest of your life are hard to see. One of the things, even in our own community at Adventures and Missions, that we talk a lot about is boundaries. And I think boundaries in the context of truth. Boundaries in the context of how we are instructed to live by the gospel are good boundaries in terms of me time versus other people's time or creating a big space for rest. That's outside of the definition that God's given us. Based on what I read, there's six days of, of work and in one day of rest. In the midst of that, you know, I see death, not rest.
The beginning of understanding Jesus is death to self. When we are persecuted, we are to turn the other cheek. we are to think of others as more highly than ourselves. And if we began to embrace those fundamental principles, it becomes hard to have all these boundaries in place, because you are seeking others first. And so, that's something that I've learned increasingly over time, and that God has kind of vested into my spirit.
I'm hopeful that this transition in the church begins to have all people that claim Christ as their savior operating under less of an outsourcing framework to a group of professionally paid ministers.
Kelson Mudd: [00:10:46] Yeah. Thank you so much. So now, if you, like I said, have a couple of minutes of something that maybe you've been thinking about to impart of the group of Global U.
Bob Mudd: [00:10:58] Yeah. I, I, the thing that the Lord has given me in the midst of all of this pulling of you guys off the field and bringing you home is found in acts 11 and it is consistent with obviously what happened in the early church.
It's consistent with what happened when Mao took over in China. It's consistent even in Russia when the communist persecuted the Orthodox church. And, that is that under the duration of persecution, and an attempt of mandate to constrain the gospel, the dispersion that happens is the place at which movements of God have taken root.
In Acts 11 right after Stephen was stoned and a number of the apostles, the disciples, kind of dispersed because of what had happened there. In the midst of that, they began to reach the Jews initially, but then the Gentiles in significant ways.
And so, you guys are home. Some of you are going back out to the field. Some of you are going back home in the midst of it. You can't look at this experience as a season in time that was transactional that is over. It's really a start of a new way of life, such that you become an expression of God and his kingdom wherever you go. And, you have the beauty of relationships now that you can lean back into because you guys have established deep, deep relationships.
Whatever it looks like for you going forward, whether you're a leader on Global U, you're going into season two and Global U, or you go into a career or college after that, you now have developed a community. That could be virtual in nature or it can be pivotal in nature, either one.
At the end of the day you can know what Hebrews says, encourage each other towards love and good works. And, that's what you all are to do.
Kelson Mudd: [00:12:48] Yeah. That's awesome. Thank you, Dad. So, now if we can get Jacob to open it up to the students and bring them in. There we go. Hey guys. Hey, good morning.
Bob Mudd: [00:13:02] Good morning.
So, let's go ahead and you all start firing off questions.
Lexi Grisanti: [00:13:09] How do you have a healthy balance between, having that missional community and not excluding outsiders? And how do you find people that actually want to sit down at the table with you?
Bob Mudd: [00:13:23] That’s a good one. Those are both very good questions. A community that is an effective missional community is one that is focused on Christ. When focused on Christ, we have our eyes, our spiritual eyes, open to the spiritual, physical, emotional needs that are in front of us. So, if we're breathing in and out of this community where we're caring and loving and holding each other to accountability within it, then we will begin to create the character of having those spiritual eyes to reach people outside of us.
We oftentimes like to lean into programs. I mean, I've run a ministry that develops programs to try to encourage this, but so many of what you've got, so much of what you guys are going to experience is not going to be programmatic. It's just going to be an openness in your spirit to the person that crosses your path and having enough capacity to go where there's a need with a listening ear to the Lord. That’s how you're going to respond to that need in the small things in life. Yeah. We like to create big strategies and big moves. Most of what happens in the kingdom is in the small things. How do you find those people? Man? You guys got a huge running start, but it's not easy.
Yeah. And it's not how many of us grew up, so, it's new. You have to have a level of commitment to each other that transcends the commitment that we see in the rest of the world that is transactional and me-focused because it becomes us-focused for the sake of his purposes. It's hard.
Yeah. People are out there. They're few. At least at this stage, and I haven't always had it, so I'm not sure I'm the pro that you should be asking on that question, but I'm sure that's true. I know it when I see it. Yeah.
Lexi Grisanti: [00:15:16] Thank you so much.
Stephen Barton: [00:15:19] Yeah, I get a question as well. So, since we are going to be, you know, going back to our homes here in like a month and a half to two months. For those of us who are going home and say they desire to open up their own, like small little house church with the fear and social distancing and stuff like that. How do you suggest people go about that and still respectful of the social distancing guidelines and stuff like that. How do you suggest being the church when you can't really be together?
Bob Mudd: [00:16:02] Isn't that an interesting question? I mean, so there's a few things. One, scripture gives us some, some real clear guidelines on the church. I would encourage you guys to look at the gifts that God gives the church, which is in Ephesians four.
It talks about that unity at the end of that chapter that Kelson talked about, which is unity in the spirit and the bond of peace. The other piece is in second Timothy and Titus where it talks about elders. So guys, it's gotta be multigenerational and that's why you need the wisdom of an elder and they need the youthfulness, exuberance, and excitement about God and his kingdom. Together that can really produce beautiful things.
I mean, one of the things that's happening, if you look at the early church, there's some really interesting elements in Acts two. It talks about them meeting in their homes to eat and to break bread. The average home in Jerusalem at that time was very, very small. Much smaller than you guys are living in today.
So, you have to know that the early church was small groups of people that came together and encourage each other. This social distancing is a 10 person limit or whatever it is. Wherever you're going back home, it may even be smaller than that depending where home is. You gotta be creative.
But, at the end of the day, God can do amazing things with just three people. I wouldn't, you know, let's not lean into old wineskins of having to come together and have techno electronics and all of that stuff. Let’s lean together into what the Lord is producing amongst a small group of people and how we encourage each other and love each other and exhort each other towards the things of God and his kingdom and not overthink.
Stephen Barton: [00:17:49] Cool.
Bob Mudd: [00:17:50] And you guys are virtual people by nature. You guys have your technologies. So, I mean, it's not ideal, but it is an option. If you think back, they didn't have telephones.
One more thing for you guys. Know that your transition is going to be hard. Just know going in that you're going into a choppy season, and that you gotta keep your feet moving. You got to just completely depend upon the listening to what the Lord has in store for you. You guys have been on an exceptional experience and are in the midst of it.
You've had an environment where you can establish deeper intimacy that’s easier to be established in something like what you’re experiencing than outside of it. And, when you do that, it's going to be challenging whether you guys are going to college or you step into leadership over another young group of people, which presents its own set of challenges, or whether you go back home and go to work.
You know, having seen the race for four or five years, you guys have a smaller group of people. I think it really presents more potential challenge. So, you guys have to lean into each other, but just going know that these transitions can present challenges and you've got to commit yourself to each other.
Benjamin McCrary: [00:18:55] I have a question. How do you find a rest and energy and time to where you constantly have to be moving?
Bob Mudd: [00:19:05] You know, people call me high capacity. I've had that. People have said that a lot to me. I would tell you that in seasons where I'm intimate with the Lord regardless of what's going on around me, he provides an abundance of energy and not just the sense of the physical energy, but the emotional energy and the intellectual capacity. It flows out of intimacy with the Lord and seasons where I'm not intimate with him, which ebbs and flows, simple seasons can become challenging.
You know, the apostle Paul says, I've learned to be content regardless of my circumstances. That contentment didn't come through some intellectual strategy of rest and boundaries and renewals and Zen and exercise. It came out of dependency upon the Lord. The only solution to that is seeking him in the small thing, seeking him in short duration, and having conversations with him. Not these transactional things like having my quiet time in the morning and then I go 23 hours without thinking about it.
Again, it's about having the space and connectivity with the Lord that you're constantly seeking his will in your life and you're listening for what he's saying. And you will find yourself not being tired over the long seasons. I get tired in the short seasons as my daughter gets up really early, or Julia and I stay up late.
All of that can mean the physical body has its limitations, but in the long haul, there's a great book that won't mean anything to you yet, you'll need to get a little bit older. But, Eugene Peterson wrote a book about an obedient walk in the same direction. It really spoke to me about what it looks like to finish well and that intimacy is the key.
Kelson Mudd: [00:21:03] With that said, I only have time for one more question. If somebody got one.
Bob Mudd: [00:21:07] You girls are awful quiet.
Hailey Hite: [00:21:10] Hello. You mentioned having more people be ministers of the gospel. In a way you’ve even framed in a way that wasn't looking for the congregation to be actually like doing something or just having more of a role in the church. Can you expand on what you mean by that?
Bob Mudd: [00:21:29] First of all, you've got to define the church.
The church is a group of disciples that comes together. It has some elements that the Lord's given us. There's teachers, there's evangelists, there's prophets, and in the midst of that, there are gradients of those elements. There’s elders and there's young people. There's Pauls, and there's Timothys.
And when you get that all together, you don't have to have graduated from a seminary to be a leader in the midst of it, of a community like that. And so, then that body needs to be encouraging each other towards love and good works. What is happening at the corner of Lula Road and Clarks Bridge Road?
I don't know. But there are people living quiet lives of desperation stopping at that intersection every day. So the matter of engagement is having an opening in your spirit to see where God wants you to move into and be an expression of him. It's no more complicated than that.
And that's why the church is so important is because we will continue to encourage each other, push each other towards that.
Hailey Hite: [00:22:34] Yeah. In that span of thinking about was like, I think that works great when you have people that are like on the spiritual meat, but what do you do for the people that are still drinking milk?
And then you hear a lot about like in first Peter different parts about like warning against the false teachers and even hearing about like small groups in churches that I grew up in. They lead their whole small group of stray because of the things they said and some of the challenges that come with that.
Bob Mudd: [00:23:01] Well, that's where, you know, spending time in scripture all the time and not having a persuasive individual. You and I talked about this on the front porch the other day. You've got a person that doesn't know how to lead themselves, that's actually gifted and leading others. And, if those others are not themselves pursuing God's word in a deep and rich way through prayer, then that can happen to a tribe.
You don't have any corrective forces because the sheep are not themselves seeking nutrition. And so, you guys have to do that. There are great churches in the U.S. that are seeking the Lord's will and they have paid pastors. I am not depreciating that church at all. What I'm cautioning us to be is not a person that looks for somebody to stand up in front of us and have great persuasion techniques.
I'm looking for you guys to look for a body of believers that are willing to commit to themselves for those that are drinking milk, to challenge them to know where they are and to bring them with you and to show them grace. Paul says to show him grace, but you gotta bring them with you and some people are going to move at different speeds through different life events.
In my own journey, I have had to run into some brick walls to consider the deeper things of Jesus. It wasn't some profound teacher. It was me coming to the end of myself because I have a strong soul. I can go a long way before I get to the end of myself, but the Lord has gotten me. There are a couple of times and they were times of growth for me and when done in community, it can really be a beautiful thing.
It can be beautiful outside of community too, but we'd much rather do it with a group of people around me that I know love me, that I know are committed to me, that I know are pursuing the same thing, which is Jesus in his kingdom.
Hailey Hite: [00:24:58] That's so good. Thank you.
Kelson Mudd: [00:25:01] Yeah. All right. Well, I don't wanna take too much of your time here, so, if we get to Stephen, go ahead and bless my dad.
Stephen Barton: [00:25:10] Sure. Lord, I thank you so much for Bob Mudd and I thank you for his, his time and his willingness to jump on a call with us and just spread the wisdom and the knowledge that he's gained.
Thank you so much for the way him, and many others like him, just decide to pour into young people. I just pray that you will continue to bless his choices and the decisions that he makes under your authority. And, I just thank you so much for the time and the space that we get to have to ask him questions and to just really come under his guidance and understand how maybe we can better lead ourselves based on how you have led him. In Jesus name, Amen.
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