Last year Andy Stanley, the dynamic pastor of The North Point Community Church in Atlanta, gave a sermon titled “Intentional Apprenticing.” “The church should be irresistible,” Andy explained. “People should wake up on Sunday morning and find church irresistible.”

I feel the same way about the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA). NLBMDA should be irresistible!

Andy went on to say that the key to creating an irresistible environment is to identify and involve more people in the organization. He challenged his membership to “give the gift of opportunity” by identifying and inviting others to get more involved. “Most people will not respond to a general call. They must be chosen and invited.” Successful organizations, Andy said, recruit leaders; they do not sit back and wait for volunteers.

In reflecting upon my involvement in our industry, Andy's words ring true. Ten years ago Mike Fritz of Rugg Lumber in Massachusetts called me in his role as chair of the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association (NRLA) and invited me to get more involved in our regional association. I accepted the invitation. Several years later, Roger Scherer of Scherer Bros. Lumber in Minneapolis called me in his role as NLBMDA chair and invited me to get more involved in NLBMDA. I accepted the invitation. I am thankful to Mike and Roger for the invitation they each extended to me. I doubt that I would be as involved in NLBMDA today if I had not been chosen and personally invited by them.

I want to show my appreciation for their invitation to me by extending the same invitation to you. I am dedicating my year as NLBMDA chair to extending the invitation to get more involved in our national association to every lumber dealer in America. I personally and sincerely invite you to become more involved by joining your national association, NLBMDA, as a direct member. The membership enrollment form is available on our Web site,

There is an important role for each of you in our national association; every company contributes to defining the fabric of our industry. We need your voice, perspective, participation, and membership. Please join NLBMDA as a direct member today. And please inquire about the many ways in which you can get more involved.

Andy concluded his sermon by saying, “We are involved in something that is going to go way beyond our lifetimes. Give the gift of opportunity. Invite others to become more involved. Success is succession.” This, too, holds true for our industry, as well. I have identified and invited you to become more involved in our national industry through membership and participation. The next move is yours. I sincerely hope you will accept my invitation. The NLBMDA needs you! I look forward to working with you! —Kevin Hancock is chairman of NLBMDA and is CEO of Hancock Lumber Co. in Casco, Maine. His new “Outlook” column will run every other month during his tenure.