Remembering Dr. Steve Greene

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Shawn Akers

Dr. Steve Greene was a great leader and a great man. I had the privilege of working closely with him for seven years through a period of significant change in the media world and Christian community.

When he resigned last fall to pursue other opportunities, I tried to talk him out of it, but he felt that season had ended. He was in the process of moving back to Missouri when he came down with COVID-19 and went downhill very fast. He died June 8 at age 69.

His death was a day before I flew to California on business. But while out there I recorded a podcast sharing my personal feelings that you can listen to here. I didn’t want to wait until I got back to put it on the Charisma Podcast Network.

I’ve received many emails and calls from friends who were touched by what I said. However, it was one of the most difficult podcasts I’ve ever done—even though I’ve paid tribute over the years to many people including my own mother who passed away recently. It was difficult because I was so close to Steve Greene for so long and because his death was so unexpected and so tragic.

Dr. Greene worked beside me at Charisma Media as our executive vice president over the media group. I gave him the title of publisher of Charisma magazine. He’s the only one other than me to hold that title in 47 years. He also was the visionary for our Charisma Podcast Network. And, while he was here, he wrote his only book: Love Leads. I saw how he led and how he was loved by his staff. I am the one who encouraged him to write the book which has helped many people.

Before he came to work for us, I got a prophetic message from a man whom I respect. The man told me that God was going to send us someone who would be like a brother to me, even though I hadn’t previously known him. The prophetic message proved to be true.

In the wake of his passing, it would be easy to tell you about the long resume he built or about his many accomplishments, but we listed his accomplishments in an obituary we put online a few hours after he died. This is my tribute to him as a professional and my opportunity to share my personal memories as his friend.

Steve Greene brought not only a level of business sophistication to our organization from his years of working in corporate America and in academia but he also brought a sense of style. He loved to wear tailored suits with handkerchief puffs and cuff links. Everyone who knew him saw he was dapper.

He was also generous. When gift giving times rolled around, he would often give me cuff links. He just had a knack for finding special cuff links. I like dressing up and I’ll remember him every time I wear one of those cuff links.

More important than that was his leadership and his knack for finding the unique strengths in other people. I remember he hired a few young people right out of college. I watched as he mentored and developed them, and I saw how much they respected him. Even our more seasoned staff benefited from his mentoring and leadership style.

He was a good example of a man with a strong work ethic. And he didn’t just talk about it. He led by example. No one worked harder than Dr. Steve Greene. He was also focused and I saw the results of the hours he called “deep work” where he closed the door of his office for a couple of hours to focus on important projects or strategies. Because of his effectiveness, I began to build time for “deep work” into my own schedule.

A couple of weeks ago a reader who loved his book Love Leads sent Dr. Greene a very nice email and he forwarded it to me. He wanted me to know he was still pushing his book and I appreciated knowing how it blessed this reader.

Charisma Media continued to use him as a consultant for the Charisma Podcast Network. We were trying to set up a meeting to discuss steps ahead. Then we heard he was sick. Before we knew it we were told he had pneumonia and had been taken to the hospital. We learned later the pneumonia was caused by COVID-19.

I was in the hospital a week ago visiting a friend who is going to have open-heart surgery. While I was there, I ran into Steve’s wife, Anette. I inquired about him, and I wanted to go visit him. But by then, we knew he had COVID-19 and I couldn’t see him. I never dreamed that in a couple of days he’d pass away.

I am left with so many memories like when he went with me to interview Donald Trump in 2016 during the presidential campaign. I remember my first podcast in June 2015 when we launched the Charisma Podcast Network. Dr. Greene interviewed me for the first few podcasts to show me how it was done. Now I’ve recorded over 900 podcasts and have had millions of downloads. After all that time people still listen to that first podcast on June 4, 2015, including three listeners last month. That’s amazing when you consider it was recorded seven years ago.

I remember he and I had lunch together nearly every week. A couple of times we attended spring training baseball games to watch his beloved St. Louis Cardinals. We went boating a few times on the St. Johns River and even played a couple rounds of golf, a game which he dearly loved.

Listen to my podcast in which I share other personal memories and feelings. And share it with friends who knew him or would be inspired by his life and legacy.

A few weeks ago, Dr. Greene probably had no idea he had only days to live. None of us know how long we will live. Each of us will face death one day and stand before God. The question is, are we ready and what legacy do we leave?

A time like this reminds me of the famous poem by C.T. Studd:

Only one life, twil soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Dr. Steve Greene was an example of a man whose life counted for Christ. I know God is saying to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.” {eoa}

Read articles like this one and other Spirit-led content in our new platform, CHARISMA APP.

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