Brian Veeder shares how trusting God and letting Him work through him unlocked great successes in his mission to empower and enlighten business leaders.
Even if you are unsure with what you can do, the key in unleashing your full potential is trusting God and letting Him work through you. In this episode, Brett Snodgrass sits down with business leader and pastor Brian Veeder, who talks about his personal relationship with God. Brian share show God’s guidance and grace helps him in empowering fellow business leaders.He explains his approach to teaching them how to perform at their best without falling prey to pride or aggression. Brian also emphasizes the need for a strong community to support you, aligned with your goals and the teachings of the Lord.
I'm talking to my good friend Brian Veeder about the challenge of balancing your desire and your heart with being sensitive to the Father's will.
I have Brian Veeder on the episode with me. What's going on, Brian?
Great to be here. I appreciate you having me.
You too. It's been awesome getting to know you. I have just known Brian. He has been to two of our Iron Deep Awakening events and our retreats. We had one in Northern Georgia, in the mountains of Helen, Georgia, at the Bison View Lodge. We came off that. We got to know each other well. We drove together and came back together. You drove. I learned that Brian is an excellent driver. We rented this big Sprinter van and through the mountains, the gravel road, and 3 miles up the mountain there. It started raining. You were awesome. I appreciate that.
It was another phenomenal trip. It's one of those experiences where three days almost feel like a month but in a good way. There's so much depth to the relationships that form intimacy among guys. That's so rare in our culture to be intimate with other guys, vulnerable and open. I still can't quite explain it concretely but there's something that happens in those times where it's special.
I know it's hard to explain. It’s one of those things you got to have to experience it. It's about being intentional about getting away, being with the Father, being with God and encountering him in an intimate way, and being with other guys. As you said, getting to know them on a deeper level. That's what Iron Deep is all about.
If you folks are interested in that, make sure you check out our website for the next events coming up at IronDeep.com, but we are not here to talk about that. We are here to talk about Mr. Brian Veeder. Brian lives in Illinois. He has a vast business background. A lot of operational backgrounds. He's a bivocational pastor but he's also a pastor, which is awesome. He doesn't do that full-time. He does business and leadership. He leads other entrepreneurs in a godly way. Why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself? Who is Brian Veeder to our readers?
You mentioned my diverse career history and some of the different things I have had the privilege of being a part of. As I reflect on how that has taken place or formed in my life, it's been about relationships. It's always been about people that I have known almost my entire life, in some cases for a long time, decades, and others even fairly short periods of time. Having the ability to go deep with somebody and become pretty close in a short period of time and be involved in business with them.
My first stint was with a small electronics manufacturer. We did test equipment for wireless communications. I got my feet wet doing business-to-business. We had government defense contracts with the Department of State, NSA, and other three-letter government organizations. I got to travel a lot doing that. I had the opportunity to work in agriculture and production AG in Central Illinois. It's corn and soybean country.
I got the ability to live a boy's dream and go work on the farm and get paid to drive tractors and trucks and stuff. That was a lot of fun. Another season of my life was in Vocational Ministry. We will get to the pastoring here too, but this phase was in stewardship ministry. I got the ability to work with folks and their charitable endeavors providing them with resources to accomplish their charitable goals and their giving goals. I got to work with nonprofits as well in that role.
Resourcing them. I got to work with churches with both the pastors and lay people in churches resourcing with stewardship education materials. That was a super rich experience in my life, professionally and spiritually as well as in a lot of ways. It provided me with a ton of great relationships that I still keep up with and I keep connected with super high-quality people from top to bottom and in that role.
Also, I had the ability to join a family that's got a trucking company that has grown tremendously in the last several years. That's where I sit now. I'm back in a role there and I’m tremendously blessed to have this opportunity again. I'm contributing here again, but I had the ability to join in ownership and leadership with a business services firm in Bloomington, Illinois.
While things didn't turn out there the way any of us had hoped they would. It was also a tremendously rich experience, which is my connection point with you. I have had the opportunity to do a lot of different things in different focus areas, different vertical markets, and somewhat different applications. I have also been able to glean a lot of knowledge of what works in business. What are some truths that translate across almost any market, across any size business even?
Things like integrity and personal responsibility and leadership and showing the people you work with and you work for. The people that work for you as well. The responsibility is to address what needs to be done and to do it the right way. Do it with integrity for your people and your clients. All those good things.
Through my time in that vocational ministry, I also had the chance to get to know the people at the church I now pastor. I tell my church in a very positive and affirming and in a very grateful way that, nonetheless, I feel like I'm an accidental pastor. I didn't set out to find a church to pastor but my availability and their need intersected. In the first of 2020, had the opportunity and am still pastoring that church now. It ended up being about a third time, a part-time role. What a blessing, too, to reflect on something else I never thought in my life I would ever do and here I am in that role too.
It's all been a fantastic ride for me in a lot of ways. Something we will talk about here, things certainly don't turn out the way we envision them a lot of the time. It doesn't necessarily discount having a vision and chasing after it. Also, I want to talk about the balancing act of recognizing God's sovereignty and God as the creator. God owns it all. We are told that in scripture, but yet we also have a responsibility as his people, as his created, to manage that, to take dominion of it. We are told that in Genesis, “To steward that well. To leave the legacy better than the world was at the time we entered.”
All those things are part and parcel of the life of an entrepreneur and a business owner too. We have a special opportunity in the role we have as an entrepreneur to make a tremendous impact in our communities and our families and with the lives of the people who work for us in terms of the clients we serve and how the relationships go out from there. There's a great balancing act and a tremendous responsibility on both sides to manage that well.
We are going to dive into that. As Brian talked about, number one, Brian, thank you so much for sharing the different seasons that you are at. I know we have gotten to know each other. One thing I know about you is that you like to be loyal and consistent. It seems like you like routine things in order. It seems like you have had a lot of different things going on in your life. You have had a lot of beginnings and ends. A lot of different types of seasons. This is a great topic for you as we talk about wrestling through some of these desires that you have had in your own heart but maybe didn't turn out the way that you anticipated. God working in that in your life.
Can you talk about what are some of the desires that you have had in your heart that maybe you thought would turn out a certain way and you went after these big goals? You were aggressive after them. You looked at your life 10 or 20 years down the road. I'm going to go big and you go after it but maybe it doesn't quite turn out the way. What were some of those things that in your own heart, in your own life?
The season of business ownership and leadership, I alluded to was certainly probably the most acute example of that in terms of my aspirations and my ambition for what I saw there, for me, as an opportunity to go after. I had an open door to come in and help lead a small business that we had. We had a boutique business around accounting for small law firms, mainly. We had other verticals in our book of business that we served as well.
It tended to be about 85%. We are a small law firm. We had a good working business. We had a good foundation to build from. We had intended to build more of a community of entrepreneurs who came together and shared the journey of life, business, and legacy. They were collaborative and contributed to each other.
We had the intent to foray into services that went into capital and marketing and other things that were helpful to small business owners. Unfortunately, the part of our story that ended fairly abruptly was a business dispute that happened in a company we had shared ownership in years ago. Litigation moved to the place where we couldn't afford to win or lose and had to seek protection through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Ended up having to shut the entire business down.
Unfortunately, it wasn't anything that we ever thought would come to pass. Nonetheless, it was the journey we found ourselves walking. We had intended to find a way forward with that business, whether it be under a different name. It wasn't going to work. All those aspirations I had and the ambition and a lot of the decisions we were making were very long-term. A lot of the groundwork we were laying.
I even invested fairly heavily in the business myself. All those things came together to make it a huge disappointment. Not to mention the fact that we had to relatively and coldly email clients and tell them, “This is the end. You have got to find another service provider for your accounting and bookkeeping.” That probably hurt the most of anything. To not be able to end well as we felt we would want to end well.
Even if it had to end, to not be able to communicate well and not be able to give people days or weeks of a runway to transition and help them through that time. We didn't get to do much of that. That was disappointing. It was very challenging to not be bitter and to not harbor any anger. I won't say those moments didn't happen. They certainly did and to move from that into a place of forgiveness and recognition that God is faithful.
He continues to provide even though the methods don't necessarily fit how we would want. It reminds me of the Israelites’ wandering and the wilderness. God provides a manna. How unorthodox is that to have this provision that appears like a carpet on the ground every morning? It's there. God, as only he can, continues to provide me opportunities personally for continued provision for my family and opportunities for myself personally and professionally to make a way and to continue to make positive impacts in places where God's gifted me for a purpose and to apply those gifts. God continues to open doors for me to do that.
Amen. That was my next question. You have come to the end of the season. You had these big ambitions and dreams, then God, the door closes. What's been like your relationship with God during this time? Maybe some of the conversations that you have had, some of the questions, and how is he bringing you through?
Again, even going back to the beginning. We are talking because of that business relationship. You are on this show because of that relationship. I had that relationship with your business. That's how we met. Seeing through and seeing the vision. Even in this conversation, you have had other conversations and other relationships. Business relationships come out of this, even the relationships that I have had with you. Talk to us about what it's been in your conversation with God and the relationships moving forward out of this.
I have had seasons in my life and this is one where we are told when we don't know what to say, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in our groaning. I have prayed some two-word prayers like, “Help me or this hurts.” God understands those things. That's the amazing God that we serve. The God of all the universe and yet, such an intimate relationship that God sees me. God even knows me to the depths of my inability to communicate fully what I'm feeling in an eloquent way.
I'm a pastor and pastors want to pray the perfect prayer. We want to be wordsmiths and crafts. We want to have the people in the pew think, “He's such an eloquent speaker.” That even pervades some of my personal prayer life. That was clunky and awful but God still hears us and God knows our hearts. God is our good Father. He wants to take care of us and give us good gifts. We are told that in scripture too.
God's been reminding me of his nature to be faithful. That's one of the themes. In all of scripture is God's faithful presence. God is always desiring to be present with his people. For you and I, as individuals, it's no different than God. God desires that personal relationship with us. God desires for us to take those fears and anxieties to him. He keeps reminding me of that as well.
One of the things that's emerged for me in a more special way is I'm not a natural entrepreneur, to be honest. I'm not a natural creator, a natural starter, or a vision person, but God has reminded me that muscle is in me. God created me that way because I'm created in his image and God is the creator of all. That muscle may need to be worked a little bit more for me than for somebody else. It may come more naturally to but it's still within me. That ability is within me and God's placed that there. I have the ability now, even though the slate or the canvas may be more blank than it's ever been in my life professionally. God has reminded me of that, number one. I’m with you.
Number two, you have the ability to create. You have the ability to do things that I'm more naturally one that comes alongside something that's already working and helps it work better. God reminded me that I can trust him to step out into some deeper unknown water and follow him in ways where the canvas needs to be painted on much more so than I'm used to or comfortable with.
It sounds like things are coming out of you that maybe you are not naturally at. You know yourself. You talked about God knowing the depths of you and building that relationship with him. This may be the end of a season. It's also the beginning of a season. What's your mindset coming into the beginning of a season? Sometimes, there are different people. I get excited about new things, beginnings, new beginnings, and what's been your attitude about this newness? God talks about this more in the goodness, this newness. What's been your appetite for that?
We had a made-up word. It was a mashup of two words. We used to use at Kahuna, the business I was with. It was terraphoria. It's terrifying but it's also euphoria of excitement. It's being on a rollercoaster and you are climbing an incline towards this great drop. You know it's about to come and it's going to be exciting but it's also terrifying because you know it's in store.
That's very much where I'm at now. It is super exciting. A lot of it is up to me and that's awesome. In this phase of life, I get to draw on all the past experiences I have had. I have been in the professional world for many years now. To reflect on that and think, God has been training me for this day for years and I didn't know it.
That's powerful to recognize, too, that I have been learning how to do this for all of my adult life. It never dawned on me until now because the opportunity is here now. It is also terrifying, as I said. It's not naturally something I get excited about. It's not something I look for but it's also the place I have been put and so, to be faithful to what God's got in store. I feel like I need to be gracious and grateful to him for being faithful to me. Also, for equipping me with whatever I need. I can be confident in him because of his track record. God's undefeated in each of our lives in terms of showing up of being faithful. God never loses that battle.
Amen. That is true. He is undefeated. I want to just like shift this to getting back to balancing your desires, goals, and opportunities and going after them and being aggressive towards them. Balancing that with continuing to want to be in the will of God. You want to walk down his narrow path and use your life for his glory and his purpose.
Can you talk to us about that balancing act with some of the entrepreneurs out there? A lot of people read this. They are very type-A, Aggressive. They have big goals. They want to be the best at whatever they are doing, whether it's a business success or being the best dad or husband. They want to be the best at everything. Maybe it's their fitness goals and they want to accomplish certain things like that but balancing that with the will of God. Can you talk to us about that in your own life?
We can layer over this. The successes and failures we have all had in life, too, because that goes hand in hand with the spiritual aspect of what we are talking about wrestling with as well. One of my favorite scriptures comes out of Deuteronomy 8:17-18. God is reminding the Israelites, “Don't forget me because I have been here all along. It's me that's the source of all your ability to do anything.” God says, “My power and my strength have produced well for me.” He says, “You might say that. You might feel that in your heart. You might look around and say, ‘Look at all of what I have done.’” Our figurative trophy case in business.
Look at all the awards and the championships I have won. Look at all the championship belts I'm wearing but God says, “Remember, it's me who gives you the ability to produce wealth. It's me who made this covenant with you.” God made that covenant with Abraham. God covenanted with himself because he knew the people couldn't live up to it.
God gives us this reminder, which we always need. We always need that reminder to bring us back because we become prideful people naturally to look around and say, “Look at what all I have done. By my power and by my strength,” as it says in Deuteronomy 8. That's an incredible pride check scripture to at least, for me, to keep in front of myself to remember that it's God who has given me the ability to do anything I have ever accomplished.
It's God who's given me the gifts I have. It's God who's helped me overcome the weaknesses I have in all those ways. Whether we have had successes or as I said the failures that things have been taken from us or at least it feels that way. It felt very much to me that the business, opportunity, future, and vision we had, were taken from us. Remember that God owns it all anyway. If God sees to move life in a different direction, for me, God has a purpose and a plan that's greater than what I'd even envisioned.
I can trust that because his word says it's true. In business, that's one thing to grasp that in theory but to put it into practice. That translates into all aspects of life. A lot of us have families. I have young children and to look at your marriage relationship that way to not take it for granted. Look at your children that way and not take them for granted.
I don't own my kids. God's given them to me for a time to raise them, to teach them how to follow him and love him. Show them how to do that and how to be a good father. God has given me all those things. He's given me the ability to do that. It's up to me to manage those things, to recognize that's a significant call. It's only God who enables me and allows me to do those things and gives me the opportunity for however long any of those things last, whether it's business, family, or any aspect of life.
God gives us these opportunities and these experiences for his glory and looking at them like that. I find incredible empowerment but I also find incredible release and relief from any pressure that I put on myself to make it all about me to put all the onus on myself. I do still have a responsibility. We are called the hands and feet of Jesus. We are called to move. Colossians 3:23 is another great verse, “Whatever you do as if doing unto the Lord.”
The key to that is doing. We are supposed to move. We are supposed to pay attention to what opportunities God has put in our path and to the people that God has put around us. They are there for a purpose but it's up to us yet to move and to capitalize on those things. There is a tremendous balance here, especially for the entrepreneur. We have significant opportunities that other folks don't have to be able to live out in a different way.
I love that and it comes back to you talking about being a good steward of what God has given us, whether it's our gifts, our resources, our relationships, our money, and our families and being a good steward at that. It takes so much pressure off yourself. I put a lot of pressure on myself. Whatever I was doing, whether it was success or making a lot of money. I had this big weight on my shoulders. I have to do this. If I don't achieve this, then I'm not enough at the end of the day. A lot of pressure. Now, honestly, when it comes to money, I put my hands up like it is all yours and it takes a lot of the pressure off myself.
If I make a lot, it’s because I do want to glorify him. I want to spread his kingdom. I want to do those things with my resources. I would encourage you to do that. If something has a hold of you, if you are reading, what can you do to start to open your hands and release that grip? I didn't do this overnight either and it still knocks me upside the head sometimes but what can I do? Each day, start to open your hands, start to release, and start to say, “This is all about you,” and it's all yours and what will be done right at the end of it all.
Let's talk to a minute of our audience. Let's say they are going through maybe a season. I know, especially for a lot of the real estate investors out there. They are going through some trials and some challenges. It's the end of a season for certain individuals. We have had some guys on our trip going through some personal challenges of relationships or their kids. There are some children that they want to be following Christ and they are not. They keep praying for them. There are a lot of different difficulties of different seasons out there. Can you give any type of encouragement with that through your own life?
I have known some personal despair too. Unfortunately, I went through divorce years ago and to liken that a little bit to the abrupt end of the business that happened. In both cases, I felt like something was taken from me. I didn't let go of it. I didn't abandon it but yet it wasn't anything I could do about it either.
The power of prayer, surrounding myself with people who could help encourage me and carry me even through prayer during those times. If there's an element of despair or even overwhelming despair and you don't feel like. I had days where putting one foot in front of the other quite literally. It was the best I could do. I know, like James 5 tells us that the prayers of a righteous person avails much.
That was never so true in my life than at that point in that season. I would encourage anybody who's going through that season that if you don't have people around you who can encourage you, especially lift you in prayer. If you don't have a church community, a small group, or a handful of people that you can be real with and be vulnerable with that will come alongside you and walk with you through that journey and continue to help carry you when you need it. It's invaluable. It truly is and to recognize that and the need for all of us to have that.
No man is an island. We need other people. We need community. It’s a lot of what God formed the church to be about to come together and do life together, to lift each other and celebrate when we have victories together. That's incredibly important too. Being in the depths of despair is one thing but achieving great things and looking around and having nobody to celebrate with too.
Golf is an individual. I love watching golf. When somebody wins a major, what's the first thing they do on that eighteenth green? They hug somebody that comes running out to them, whether it's their wife or a kid. They hug somebody. You want to celebrate with other people, whether it's victory or defeat. We have the need.
We are made in such a way to be in community, to be with each other, and to experience things together. That’s one of the most important things to remember in all seasons of life because we don't know what's around in the next corner. We don't. We might think we do. We might have plans in place but it's God's purpose. It prevails and to have community is so important.
Amen. That wraps up. That’s what we are all about, having a brotherhood at Iron Deep. I know that you have been a huge part of that. You have had some other communities with your church and even outside of other businesses and organizations. I know you are part of Convene. You have built some communities with that.
I want to encourage you guys out there. Wherever you can get around other like-minded groups, like-minded communities, or like-minded men. Iron Deep is more of a business entrepreneur type of man who is of faith and wants to have more intimacy with each other and with the Father. Make sure you check that out. Brian, it has been so good to see you. Thank you so much for being in the show and wish you well.
My pleasure. Thank you so much.