Tony Dungy & James Brown share living legacies
May 9, 2012
By JONI B. HANNIGAN

WISDOM Tony Dungy, host of NBC’s “Football Night in America,” and member of Central Baptist Church in Tampa, joins Ken Whitten, senior pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in Tampa, where he was formerly a member, and Mac Brunsoon, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, for an Impact for Living men’s conference at First Baptist April 20-21. Photo courtesy Sarah Orgunov/FBC
JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—More than 2,000 men gathered at Jacksonville’s First Baptist Church April 20-21 to hear football coaching legend Tony Dungy and host of “The NFL Today” James Brown talk about how they hope to finish strong—“Living a Legacy of Eternal Impact.”

Another local sport’s personality Tony Boselli, former NFL Jaguar and broadcast analyst, joined the church’s senior pastor, Mac Brunson; Ken Whitten senior pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz; Daniel Crews, popular vocalist in residence from First Baptist Church in Atlanta; and others for the two-day Impact for Living conference.

Dungy, a member of Central Tampa Baptist Church and host of NBC’s “Football Night in America,” asked participants, “What is your platform?” 

While it might be tempting to wish for a large platform like those of megachurch pastors like Brunson or Whitten, or to be on television like James Brown—or to have a voice like Daniel Crews—Dungy told the men each has a platform.

 “Your platform may not be like theirs, but you certainly have one already,” Dungy said, asking who has family, job or friends. “God has given you one.”

Figuring out your own platform is important, he said, as is asking yourself whom you impact and how you impact them. If you are a Christian, your platform is “huge,” he said.

“It really is—God expects big things,” Dungy said.

Quoting from Acts 1:8, Dungy said Jesus was telling the disciples what would happen once He left the earth. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. You will be my witnesses,” Dungy quoted.

The disciples’ platform can be referenced by a modern day comparison to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth, Dungy said.

Jerusalem for Dungy was his like home. “My father made a tremendous impact on me,” he recalled, describing the older Dungy as an example of James 1. He was slow to get angry and he advised his son to not complain, but instead to solve problems. Dungy said he didn’t know his father was a Tuskeegee Airman until his funeral. “He has a Ph.D in biology, but he seldom talked.”

Dungy said words matter, and told of getting into a debate with a colleague a few years ago who uses profanity. “I agree to disagree on this point,” Dungy said. “When I get mad, I say, ‘You got to be kidding.’” 

Dungy recalled an incident when his 11-year-old son was upset about a Hot Wheel car and sputtered, “You’ve GOT to be kidding!”

“I was so pleased. Why did he say that? He thinks that’s what you are supposed to say when you get mad,” Dungy laughed.

Reminiscing about another sweet family moment, Dungy said one of his biggest thrills came after watching his son Eric throw a touchdown pass at the University of Oregon last year. Responding to a newspaper reporter for this school who asked him what was the best thing his dad ever told him about football, Dungy said Eric told the reporter, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul.”

“How well are you doing in Jerusalem, in your home? You have a platform. What will your kids say 40 years from now?” Dungy asked.

Judea is your surrounding area, your neighborhood, Dungy told the men. Naming people in his life who encouraged him when he was raising young children, Dungy said he was too focused on himself earlier in his life, but has since begun teaching a Bible study for couples in his home. “I feel better about what I am doing in Judea right now.”

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