Change Is a Process, Not a Position

I will never forget one of the first campus visits I made as children’s director at Elevation Church. I was newly promoted from kids’ campus director, and I was thrilled at the opportunity to lead the charge and make a greater impact on families. I climbed out of my car and skipped to the door. Okay, I may not have skipped, but I was definitely walking on clouds as I made my way in, clipboard in hand. It was going to be a great day, a start to an incredible journey.

It was most definitely the start of an incredible journey, but it most certainly was not a great day. Two hours later, head hung low, shoulders slumped, I traipsed to my car. How had it gone so dreadfully wrong? What did I do? I clearly made the campus director nervous. She kept glancing at my clipboard like I was making war plans, instead of taking notes, and that wasn’t even the worst part. I hadn’t held my tongue when a volunteer asked my opinion. I freely shared my thoughts only to be left dumbfounded when the volunteer and her husband picked up their personal belongings and walked out, leaving me and the campus director to deal with the kids. Let’s just say it was a learning experience.

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Overheard at #OC17

For Our Neighbors

Opening Session

“The next generation needs someone who has gone before them to be for them.” – Gerald Fadayomi

“Do you want to see my face? Was it what you were expecting?” – Danielle Strickland

“Jesus liked parties because Jesus loved people.” – Reggie Joiner

“We’ve got to stop acting like discipleship is about information and realize discipleship is about relationship.” – Reggie Joiner

“Some of your neighbors feel like you don’t love them becaue you act like you don’t like them.” – Reggie Joiner

Main Session 2

“The hardest thing in ministry with children is you don’t always get to see the results.” – Jon Acuff

“Freedom is not just an outside job, it’s an inside job.” – Danielle Strickland

“God is really in love with people, and you can’t dismiss people and be right with God.” – Andy Stanley

“If we’re not careful – intentional – we’ll orient children and students toward obeying invisible God rather than loving visible people.” – Andy Stanley

“What does love require of me?” – Andy Stanley

“Horizontal morality is less complicated but more demanding.” – Andy Stanley

“My generosity is because of what God has already given to me.” – Andy Stanley

Main Session 3

It was SERIOUSLY night….so seriously, I don’t have anything constructive to post…except that, “As Christians we should laugh more!”

Main Session 4

“God wants to show us radical grace. When we get to be a part of that, it changes us.” – Mike Foster

“We’re going to celebrate the misfits and the marginalized.” – Mike Foster

“If I’m going to reach outsiders, I’m going to have to go outside.” – Ryan Leak

Main Session 5

“Social media posts from churches are 99% about the church. What if our social media highlighted the community?” – Jeff Henderson

“A Neighbor minded church allows people to BELONG before they BELIEVE!” – Jeff Henderson

“A Neighbor minded church creates common ground instead of dividing lines.

Main Session 6

“We need to love schools without an agenda.” – Nicole Fulgham

“Sometimes I’m reluctant to get out of my comfort zone to meet my neighbors.” – Kara Powell

“The Gospel champions cause, not comfort.” – Kara Powell

“Love everybody always.” – Bob Goff

“I’m not trying to be RIGHT anymore. I’m trying to be JESUS.” – Bob Goff

“Don’t JESUS at them, just love them.” – Bob Goff

“God doesn’t want your help. He wants your heart.” – Bob Goff

Main Session 7

“We cannot afford to be in the conversations and dialogues at the level the world is. We have to raise the standard.” – Bernice King

“We have to be willing to lead the community and connect with someone who doesn’t look like us.” – Bernice King

“We’ll never all agree, but at the end of the day, we can find win-win solutions.” – Bernice King

“What killed my father was indifference and apathy and the absense of the people of God and the spirit of God.” – Bernice King

“If you hold a grudge long enough, that grudge will start holding you.” – Jud Wilhite

“The devil wants to take your bitterness and hurt and make it a foothold that he can make a stronghold.” – Jud Wilhite

“You’re free, but you’ve got to walk in it.” – Jud Wilhite

Main Session 8

“If you’ll live for people’s acceptance, you’ll die from their rejection.” – Lecrae

“I may not condone everything you do, but I’m not there to condemn you.” – Lecrae

“When we are for our neighbors, we do more than just talk about it.” – Doug Fields

“There’s one Savior, and you’re not it.” – Doug Fields

“I’m suggesting a life that is less activity and more love.” – Doug Fields

“Busy is the enemy of neighborly.” – Doug Fields

“Go with confident expectation that God’s power is going to show up!” – Doug Fields

 

 

Defining a Leading Lady – FAITH

By Jess Bealer

Let’s be clear. As passionately as I feel that FAITH is a requirement for a Leading Lady, I feel equally as unqualified to suggest I set an example for those to follow.

In Matthew 17:20 Jesus explains, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

FAITH the size of a mustard seed? Have you seen a mustard seed? Hold it in the palm of your hand and you’ll barely be able to distinguish it from the flesh of your palm. It’s microscopic. The fact that I’ve never moved a mountain, not a single tree or even a pebble, is telling. Yet, I’ve seen God move despite my lack of FAITH. I’ve felt his comforting presence when waves of doubt threatened to capsize. God has never been and will never be intimidated by my uncertainty. He can and will work despite me. However, my trust in Him facilitates strength, endurance, and opportunity. Here are a few examples from my own life.

At 13 years old, my dad was told he had cancer and given a terminal diagnosis of eight months. My family was in tears, devastated by the weight of such horrific news. Three days later, I had an experience with God that forever changed me and redefined what it meant to have FAITH. I was getting ready for school, curling my hair, when God audibly spoke to me. He said, “Your dad will live, just trust in me.” I announced it to my family and believed wholeheartedly the words God spoke to me. 22 years later, my dad still lives. He stands in the pulpit and ministers to families each Sunday.

At 29 years old, my husband looked at me and said, “I know you don’t feel ready, but God has chosen us for a life of ministry.” I remember physically shaking my head and saying, “Are you sure? I just don’t know if I’m cut out for it?” Despite my hesitation, I obeyed God’s calling. Over the next five and a half years, God would use me to personally lead more than 200 children to Jesus and launch 15 Elevation locations.

At 35 years old, the Holy Spirit, once again, began to urge my husband and I to take a step of FAITH and go in a direction we never could have imagined or anticipated. It hasn’t been easy, but God is taking us on a journey that, no doubt, will conclude with his exaltation and my astonishment. That’s just how God works. His plans are always bigger and better than my own.

We all face seasons that are more difficult than others. When this happens, my FAITH tends to ebb and flow. I don’t always get it right. So many times I’ve tried to exert control over a situation I should have placed into the hands of a Savior who’s never failed me. Just like the song I sang in Sunday School as a child, “He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be.” I believe that FAITH is nothing more and nothing less than a surrendering to God’s will. Trusting He has a plan and a purpose that while unseen, is also unfailing and true. FAITH is a journey that lasts a lifetime, and while it may be frightening at times, we can find reassurance by recalling God’s past faithfulness in our lives. When we remember the miracles he’s performed on our behalf, we are able to anticipate the blessings and find peace in His promises.

Becoming a Leading Lady of FAITH means we do what only we can do, trust and obey, and God will do what only He can do, part the Red Sea and gift us with the promised land. It’s not always a grand gesture on our part. It’s more often a listening ear, a willing spirit, and a step in the right direction.

Check back here, at FamilyMinistry.Church, for additional Defining a Leading Lady articles in the upcoming days.

Defining a Leading Lady – CLARITY

 

A few years ago when preparing to launch a new portable location I asked my intern to wipe down the school’s water fountains. She smiled and nodded, but sighed as she walked away. A little later in the day as we were unloading supplies I asked, “Did I upset you earlier?” She explained how sometimes she felt insulted because I dumbed things down, shared too many details, and had a tendency to repeat myself. I asked for an example and she laughed and said, “You told me, in detail, how to wipe down the water fountains, explained what happened the last time you asked someone to wipe down the water fountains and they did it wrong, and you’ve reminded me about six times today to wipe down the water fountains. I got the message loud and clear, you want the water fountains to be clean.” I cringed and quickly apologized. I thought I was bringing clarity when in reality I was only creating frustration.

Over the years, I’ve learned clarity comes when you care enough about those you are communicating with to make a conscious effort to be cautious, clever and brief. Let’s take a closer look at what that means.

Be CAUTIOUS

As a child and teen my dad would say, “Just because it can be said, doesn’t mean it should be.” He taught me that before you speak you should run it through a filter. Ask yourself these three questions.

Is it TRUE?

It has to be absolute, not just partially true, not an opinion that could and most likely will be subjective, but fully truthful.

Is it KIND?

Ask yourself, would you like for someone to say this to you or about you? If not, keep your mouth shut.

Is it NECESSARY?

So much of what we say is superfluous. It’s unneeded or useless. When we say too much, we often find ourselves regretting what was only meant to serve as a momentarily entertaining conversation.

Clarity starts with caution. Voicing the wrong sentiment or saying too much altogether can muddy the conversation and cause you to sidetrack. Use discretion when you speak. Don’t waste the time or relational equity focusing on nonessentials.

Be CLEVER

I’m not advocating for you to speak in rhyme or for every word out of your mouth to be a pun or parody, but in most circumstances there is a way to create innovative language that is also memorable.

Here are some examples:

We want to engage kids and empower families.

This explains the priorities by narrowing the scope and limiting the distractions created by highlighting everything.

We don’t “have to,” we “get to.”

This expounds on the mindset of servitude without the ten-minute speech.

Create Wow Moments.

We repeated this to volunteers frequently to remind them to go above and beyond when serving families.

The most effective form of communication is unforgettable and implicit. Say what needs to be said, but find sticky ways to get your message across.

Be BRIEF

I distinctly remember a British Literature class I took in college. Every day I would sit in the front row and attempt to focus and stay awake. The professor was highly intelligent, extremely knowledgeable, and immensely boring. It wasn’t because the subject matter was uninteresting; it was because my professor spent half the day chasing proverbial rabbit trails. She would start with Chaucer and The Canterbury Tales and within a few minutes we were listening to her recount her recent trip to England. By the end of the hour, most in the class were confused, bored and frustrated because it meant we were going to spend hours in the text self teaching material that should have been explained to us.

We’ve all sat through a lecture, a speech, or a class and thought, “Why doesn’t he get to the point?” or “How does she not realize no one is paying attention?” Yet, most of us have the unfortunate tendency to over share the personal when only the pertinent is necessary. Personal examples, if relevant, can help to illustrate a point but only if they are concise and draw direct correlations from an intangible thought to a concrete experience.

Don’t assume your audience knows anything, but say only as much as is necessary to clearly explain the point. In most cases, truth is straightforward and simple. Your speech should be as well.

The next time you find yourself leading a team meeting or preparing for a difficult conversation ask yourself how you can be more cautious, clever and brief.

Join us again next week on FamilyMinistry.Church as we continue to define what it means to be a Leading Lady in ministry.

Jess

Thoughts On Leadership Development

 

Leadership Development (with Craig Johnson & Frank Bealer) from INC Pastoral Resources on Vimeo.

The Defining Characteristic of a Leading Lady

 

Have you ever looked at the women around you and wished you could be more like them? I’m not necessarily talking about envy, just admiration and a desire to have more of one characteristic or another. I have a friend, a mom of four, who always has the best perspective when it comes to parenting. Another woman I worked with for years was the hardest working individual I had ever met. My own mother sets an example for all of us in patience and compassion, and I have yet another friend whose creative genius is unparalleled.

I have a genuine desire to be a better mom, to work hard but also show patience and compassion to those around me. And even though my artistic ability is limited to drawing Christmas trees and butterflies, I still want to operate in ministry from a place of creativity and innovation. I could sigh and wish “if only” or I can decide to become the best version of me. Yes, God gave me a defined skill set, but He also gave me the capacity to learn and grow.

I believe a Leading Lady in ministry isn’t defined by age or title, it’s defined by willingness. Are you willing to grow and learn? Are you willing to pick up a book in those rare moments of unscheduled bliss and commit to becoming the best version of yourself? Are you willing to switch out your favorite playlist for a leadership podcast a few mornings a week? Are you able to receive critique and use it to construct? Do you shy away from change or are you consistently looking for new ways to advance your ministry? Do you strive to stay current with upcoming trends or do you poke fun at your own expense because you are unwilling to invest time into that which is unknown and uncomfortable?

A Leading Lady is only leading when she is growing. Click To Tweet

When she stops growing her influence will begin to diminish, and I refuse to believe God’s will is for us to be less influential.  He never wants to leave you or I where we are…even if where we are is pretty great. He desires for us to grow closer to Him and then lead others into a closer relationship with Him.

Whether your past is riddled with failure and frustration, or you’ve established a reputation for consistency and capability, your willingness to grow, learn, change, and adapt will determine your success as a Leading Lady in the future.

Here are several questions we can ask ourselves to help us measure our WILLINGNESS to grow and learn:

What was the last book I read (or listened to) to completion? What did I learn from it? How did I implement those teachings into my life?

What was my response to the last critique (either personal or within the realm of ministry) I received? Did I brush it off or consider its validity?

How comfortable am I carrying on a conversation with anyone outside of my generation? Have I taken the time to learn what matters to them? Have I stepped outside my comfort zone and inquired of someone with a drastically different perspective than my own?

Have I allowed the comforting nature of routine to kidnap my once curious spirit and nimble approach to ministry?

Although I believe WILLINGNESS is the starting point, I’ve also learned that becoming a Leading Lady takes love, patience, kindness, discipline, clarity, strength, endurance, compassion, empathy, and about a dozen other traits that depending on what day of the week we cross paths, I may or may not exhibit. However if we, as women, want to unlock the untold potential that God has placed inside of us, we have to start somewhere. I hope you will join me over the next few months here on FamilyMinistry.Church as we continue to discover what it takes to become a Leading Lady in ministry.

 

Jess Bealer