The Real Me, Part 2

A Women's Leadership Workshop Podcast

Life can be hard. It’s made easier with friends by our side. In this episode of the Women’s Leadership Workshop Podcast, I share how transparency with a close friend and confidant helped me endure one of the toughest seasons of my life.

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To listen to other Women’s Leadership Workshop Podcasts, click HERE.

Jess Bealer

The Real Me, Part 1 Transcript

A Women's Leadership Workshop Podcast

The goal of the Women’s Leadership Workshop Podcast is to bring practical insight and relevant leadership lessons to women. We want to help ladies everywhere learn to lead better. You can listen to all the latest podcasts now by clicking HERE. If a blog format is more your style, we’ve got you covered. Below you will find the transcript to Episode 4. You can read now!

The Real Me

Part 1

“Jess…you’re good at what you do…but, you are crippling your ministry. No one wants to be friends with a “perfect person.” And no one you lead expects you to be faultless. If you only show people the person you pretend to be, how can anyone connect with the real you? And if they can’t connect with you it won’t be long before they move on.”

When my desk phone rang that early afternoon in May, I expected it to be a fellow staffer or maybe even a church inquiring about a system or strategy we employed. I was not expecting my pastor’s project manager. She requested that I report directly to Pastor’s office. I have to admit…it felt a little like grade school when I stole Amanda Baker’s Hello Kitty Markers and then got called to the principle’s office.

A few moments later, when I walked in his office, my mind was put to ease. I wasn’t the only one (whew…sigh of relief). In fact, there were about 6-8 other staffers, mostly women sitting and chatting with Pastor.

“Hey Jess (Pastor called)…as you know Mother’s Day is next week and I wanted to get a few moms together with a couple members from our creative team and bounce around some ideas. You up for that?”

For the next hour I listened as woman after woman shared about the difficulties of being a mom in ministry. When it came my turn to share I pretty much nodded and alluded to everything that had already been said.

I could see the curious look on my Pastor’s face. He wasn’t buying my answer. “Why don’t you want to share your personal struggle? Is it difficult.”

I sat stunned. Not only, was I not expecting such a blunt inquiry, but for goodness sake…did he really have to hit the nail on the head with such precision?

I sighed and took a deep breath before I replied, “I’m a preacher’s kid. Growing up if I did something wrong, everyone knew about it and everyone had an opinion on how to right my wrong. I just learned that it was better to smile and pretend.”

I watched as my pastor’s face softened in sadness. Almost like he was heartbroken for me.

“Jess, you’re good at what you do, but you are crippling your ministry. No one wants to be friends with a “perfect person.” And no one you lead expects you to be faultless. If you only show people the person you pretend to be, how can anyone connect with the real you? And if they can’t connect with you it won’t be long before they move on.”

I’ve struggled throughout my life with vulnerability and transparency. I want those I lead to believe in me and have confidence in the decisions I make. Up until this point in my life I had always assumed that meant I must appear put-together, in control, and perfect. I mean…how could I lead someone if they knew I was just as messed up as they were?

That day…that moment in my pastor’s office was eye opening for me. My flawless impression was actually impairing my ministry.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9:19-22…

“Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”

Paul was a complicated man. He had many roles, one of which was the role of Pastor to the Church at Corinth. It’s clear in the way he writes lovingly and passionately to the people there. In Chapter 8, just before he writes the passage we just read, and again later in Chapter 10, Paul addresses an issue with meat. Essentially, he tells those early Christians that they are FREE. Because they know the truth and have put their faith in the Son of God, they are no longer bound by arbitrary laws. However, in Chapter 9, Paul begins to issue a challenge. Just because the Church at Corinth has freedom does not mean they should neglect their ministry. Instead, they must become all things to all men.

The line that hits home for me is in verse 22, “to the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak.”

Ministry is messy. God is in the business of saving broken and hurting people. I was once one of them and in many ways still am. When shared, my mistakes become my ministry. My vulnerability has value.

As my pastor said, “People can’t connect with the person I pretend to be.” And even if they could, it would be founded in mistruth and deception. The relationships God has positioned you in are purposeful. Whether they are family members, friends, co-workers or those with whom you’ve been charged to lead, there is a reason God has brought you together. He has positioned you for impact.

So here’s your challenge today: Be real. Don’t pretend. When someone shares a struggle or frustration take the time to empathize and share your story. God has done great things in you. Maybe it’s time for you to share them.

Your vulnerability has value and the dividends are incalculable.

I hope you’ll join me again next week on the Women’s Leadership Workshop for Part 2 of The Real Me, in which we’ll be discussing the difference between vulnerability and transparency.


How to STAY CONNECTED and GROW as a Married Couple in Ministry

As Featured on the Married People Podcast

For the final episode of the 2017 Married People podcast, Frank and I were invited to share how, despite our demanding schedules, we stay connected as a married couple. We don’t have all the answers. Honestly, I’m not sure we ever will, but there is one thing we do, one habit we’ve formed that helps keep us connected and growing in our relationship.

Click HERE to listen now.

For additional podcast content, check out my new WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP WORKSHOP Podcast.

Jess Bealer

An Interview With Gina And Jessica

Nick Blevins Family Ministry Podcast

For those of you in ministry, it may often feel as if your job is to manage the chaos. In our new book, Don’t Quit, Gina and I give you practical solutions to combat the crazy and endure the marathon race that is ministry.

Recently, Gina and I spoke with Nick Blevins about the whys and hows of sticking it out in ministry.

To listen now, click here.

To purchase Don’t Quit, click here.

Jessica Bealer


DON’T QUIT Interview

Kids Ministry Collective Podcast

Just a few weeks ago, Don’t Quit, the book I coauthored with Gina McClain, released on Amazon. The response we’ve received has been overwhelming. When we started the process, we wanted to write something that would not only inspire ministry leaders to stick with it for the long run, but also give them practical tips to make the journey easier.

Last week in an interview on The Kids Ministry Collective Podcast, Gina and I discussed many of the topics we wrote about in the book. I hope you’ll take just a few moments to check it out.

Click here to listen now.

Click here to purchase Don’t Quit!

Jessica Bealer

How To Unite A Divided Team

If you’ve ever found yourself a member of a united, successful team, you know it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that clicks. It just feels right. On the other hand, have you ever been on a team that just couldn’t collaborate? For whatever reason the scoreboard was never in your favor, the project never found completion, or a consensus of strategy was never established. In these instances, it’s much easier to identify foundational cracks: lack of communication, no discipline, no accountability, no vision.

The product of time and consistency is unity. The best teams in the world didn’t start out being the best. It took time to develop trust, to recognize and appreciate team dynamics, and to gain confidence as a group. However, as a leader there are a few steps you can take to hasten unity and accelerate trust.

  1. Communication limits mistakes. When training leaders I often say, “You will never regret increased clarity. Over communicate if necessary, but never assume your teammates understand.” I’m not suggesting a weekly two page informative email is the catch all to your problems, but the more clarity you gain as a team, the more success you will find.
  2. Loyalty must be shown mutually. Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m with you all the way!” Only to have them depart your team two weeks later. It’s incredibly frustrating. In the past I blamed the fickleness of people in general. However, over time I’ve realized most people who walk away do so because they didn’t feel their loyalty was reciprocated. Your team has to believe you will crawl through the trenches and leap over the hurdles alongside them.
  3. Put your team before yourself. When you’re the leader it’s easy to use your position to campaign your ideas, convince others of their validity, and influence strategy. Before you buck around in the china shop, stop, listen, and consider others’ thoughts and ideas. Your personal agenda has to be set aside for the benefit of the team.
  4. Team discipline unifies your effort towards your goal. Set standards, deadlines, and targets. Then hold each other accountable. Without control and restraint, chaos reigns. Disorder breeds confusion and confusion is the beginning of the end. Your team should set clear expectations of one another and be willing to speak up when those expectations are not being met. A disciplined team is a confident team.
  5. Success must be attained and celebrated together. No one is successful independently. There is a reason why award speeches are long. Your team must learn to rely on and rejoice together as victories are attained. Celebrating success creates a winning attitude.
  6. Keep the vision out front. God has placed everyone on your team for a reason. Calling trumps ability every day of the week. The Bible tells us in Romans 8:37,“…in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Your greatest tool, your secret weapon, the thing that sets your team apart is a heavenly father who created you and believes in you. Never discount calling when calculating success. Keep the vision God gave you out front at all times.

You may not be familiar with the name Pat Head Summitt, but if you’re from any state within the SEC Conference, you know who she is. Pat Head Summitt holds the record for the most wins of any coach in NCAA basketball history of either men’s or women’s teams in any division. She coached the Tennessee Lady Vols for 38 seasons, won 1,098 games, and never had a losing season. She’s also ranked number 11 on the 50 Greatest Coaches of All Time, the only female on the list. In short…she’s the best. When asked about teamwork she said, “With a combination of practice and belief, the most ordinary team is capable of extraordinary things.”

Your team doesn’t have to consist of all-stars. Hard work, passion, and discipline are enough to achieve most goals. Strategies change, vision does not. Motivate your team with positivity. Speak to their passions. Hold them accountable. Most importantly, keep the vision at the forefront. When your team is confident in it’s calling, they will pursue excellence until it produces the desired results.

For additional leadership articles such as this, click here.

Jessica Bealer