We live in a world of words. With words we create the life we live, generating reality out of understanding how to use words, language, communication, to build society, community, and our world.
Doug Schneider grasps this understanding of the power of words with acute sensitivity, loving to study the origin of ideas, concepts, and principles. He spends his days deep in thought and study, fleshing out the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic origination of words that teach us how to tackle life in this world.
Schneider shines in the lives of hundreds of people he influences every day, with bright enthusiasm, a man full of bright energy and the biggest smile in the world and a great big laugh that echoes the simple joy of life that bubbles in his heart: he’s a man of service, pastoral care, and a deep vision for how society would best function.
Today, leaders of the servant-heart, who also embody vision, and, crucially, the experience of facing reality with insight for the necessity for practicality – who, in other words, recognize the limits of the idealist – such leaders come to us as gifts, rare.
In a bright, spacious, airy office on the ground floor of the Embassy building at 416 Taunton Road in Oshawa, Schneider spends his days among towering bookcases brimming with books – not as an intellectual, but as a man with a mission of knowing how valuable is every word. Books cover the walls of his office, from floor to ceiling, all around. Two big windows shower the room with natural light. He sits in a chair behind a big polished wooden desk, bare, clean, organized. His personality dominating the room, he yet influences the space so that his visitors sense a feeling of ease, comfort, warmth.
But Schneider comes around from behind his desk and entertains anybody who visits his office, with a consideration for creating equal footing. He sits in one of the two chairs for guests in front of his desk, and openly engages in conversation with the person, facing each other as fellow guests, in his office.
One feels welcomed, equal to him as pastor and leader of this towering organization, the Embassy. The Embassy is a sprawling multi-million dollar brown-brick building decorating Taunton Road behind large trees on a massive property backing onto a wooded ravine – almost like a serene park. At night its rooftop steeple lights up the night sky, painting the night across from Oshawa Airport with a dazzling glow pointing up into the dark sky.
Inside this building, Schneider makes one feel worthwhile, important, valued. In that, he’s different from the regular CEO of a firm, or a Government leader, or some important person who is aware of his or her power. Schneider is pastor, mentor, life coach, inspirational leader, and visionary. And one sees the difference in him from the rest of society with this simple gesture, of removing that desk from between him and his guest.
Yet, people encounter Schneider with a sense of awe.
For 30+ years, he’s stamped his personality, leadership and life vision on the hearts, minds and souls of men and women and children of all walks of life. Generations of people who made Durham Region their home embrace Schneider as their inspiring leader, spiritual guide and teacher, and soul mentor.
He takes the responsibility with ease, yet with a deep commitment to the eternal impact of his work.
Last year, Schneider authored a book that he published and circulated globally, titled ‘How Do You Rule Your World?’ which symbolizes how his heart works: he sets out to make life easier for people, to point us to the road of wise living, peaceful existence, and to an eternal heaven. This man lives to study and show us how to make our life blessed, full of grace and love and humane understanding. Such leaders humanity cherishes, for they play the role of angels among us, making human society a place for joyful living.
And hundreds flock to hear him speak from the stage at the Embassy, every week. He’s into his fourth decade of speaking from that platform, with generations of folks growing up to hear his voice speak into their lives words of power, life, wisdom, love and faith in the fact that there’s a heaven, and we could head there instead of fall victim to the wicked ways of this world.
When I interviewed Schneider for the Millionaire Mindset, I asked him the inevitable question: what is the secret for any person to transform his or her life from a mindset of drifting through life, to a mindset of abundance and fruitful living? His answer surprised me.
“We must understand that mindset is not a fixed, rigid state,” he said, “but rather it’s a dynamic, open, constantly expanding horizon. It’s a process of continual expansion of the mind; as you reach one destination, you realize you haven’t arrived, because the horizon has expanded, and you have to keep going. Mindset is an unlimited expanse of how we view life. It’s a moving boundary”.
So mindset is not a set state at all. “Until we develop a mind that keeps moving forward, always expanding and opening and reaching for new heights, we’re imprisoning ourselves,” he said.
We need minds that are “destination-oriented”, or we would find ourselves disappointed because a fixed mindset becomes a rigid road. So how we see the word mindset itself becomes important, because the word could suggest that we should aim for a fixed state of mind – especially as suggested in ‘set’. But “mindset is elasticity, the moving target opening up to you – it’s opportunity expanding as you move towards it”, Schneider said.
Although one’s core belief system may not change, that belief system should lead to ever-expanding understanding, “which causes growth of character”, he said.
Schneider talked of his friend and spiritual student, Dan Carter. The Millionaire Mindset featured Carter’s story in our inaugural edition last month, as he was campaigning for the Mayoral Chair in Oshawa. Schneider said Carter is a classic symbol of a human being who accomplishes tremendous personal transformation through a mindset that embraces expansive, continual growth. Carter’s story makes fascinating reading, inspiring in how he rose from a terribly bad start to life to become a beacon of hope and leadership in society. The mentor who fuels Carter’s life of faith and spiritual groundedness, is Schneider. The Millionaire Mindset is deeply honoured to feature in our magazine both these icons of the noble life, these who show us how to make the best of the life we live on this earth.
Schneider said people show up in this world as one of three groups: those who find gold and chase it, but then stop short; those who gaze upon the horizon, on the opportunities of life, but never chase their dreams, giving up before they start, and “these are 98% of humanity”; then there are those people – “the 2%” – who put it all on the line. We should all be like these. It should be the usual thing for all of us to live with a heart to bring out greatness in everybody we come across,” he said, emphasizing that greatness means the ability to fail and keep trying, never giving up on one’s dreams of the best life possible, “to always be moving towards the horizon. There is that horizon in everybody, that human gift of unlimited potential. And we’ve got to reach for more and more of that, because the horizon is our landmark that constantly moves us forward; it’s the elastic capacity of the human being for growth and development”.
The question of a belief system that’s fixed and rigid and dogmatic engages Schneider’s own mindset these days. He is one of the leading pastors of a church in Canada, and Canada Christian College recognized him for his exemplary leadership with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree. He sees society evolving, impacting churches and the Christian lifestyle across the nation. How could the Church with its core belief system remain relevant to the shifting nature of culture?
He leads an organization called Global Canada, dedicated to networking across the world with others for sound family values, moral and ethical living, and for society to stand on solid foundation. He sees big transformation happening in Canada, especially in the church movement, which once was a foundation of Canadian lifestyle.
“Churches made it their primary goal to bring people into buildings,” he said, noting that churches developed a “monastic” kind of structure, where members became inward looking, each congregation existing unto itself. And so Christian leaders lost their influence on society.
With social values that the Church frowns upon now a norm in Canada – such as unrestricted abortion, legal marijuana, euthanasia and assisted suicide, and homosexual legality – leaders like Schneider are reinventing how the Church continues to be relevant in its impact on wider society. “We’re here to serve and love and reach out to everybody. Nobody is going to be excluded. The Church has become somewhat irrelevant, and we’re almost at a place where we’re unable to offer anything that’s meaningful. We must look again at what we need to do to get back in the game. We cannot live in a bubble. Everybody deserves to be loved and cared for, and that’s why we are here. We have to live that in reality,” he said.
His method is simple. In a world that’s transforming with rapid evolution of social values and imposition of new belief systems and cultural norms, Schneider sets out to bring home to us what words signify, and in that simple leadership vision, open up our mindset to what’s possible for us.
In embracing the depth, meaning and significance of a word, we could grasp truth, justice and the power of engaging community, because we see ideas, concepts and principles with fresh eyes, renewed minds, and a wholesome perspective. In that, Schneider demonstrates the genius leadership vision that caused him to impact thousands upon thousands of lives over his four decades of pastoral work, quiet, without fanfare, humble.
Schneider’s wisdom, of understanding that the real meaning of words is the way to hearts, creates a fresh new path for ideas, concepts and principles to reveal life’s meaning, power and truth to us.