Aug 29, 2016
“Money, money, money, money… monnneeeeeeeey.
Some people got to have it.
Some people really need it.”
The O’Jays were right: Money is a big deal.
Scripture declares that money answers all things. We are admonished to be good stewards of many things; our time, energy, bodies, and relationships – as well as our money. This includes the financial resources God has given us in our local churches.
In order for us invest the resources of our local churches in the right places and advance the Kingdom vision, we need to develop a strategic plan. A plan that is simple, effective, and workable is critically important. You may disagree with me concerning the allocation of where you would invest your financial resources, and that’s okay. I am sure that you and your team will do what is best in your specific local context, however, one fundamental that we can all agree upon is the plan. As the old adage goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Here are two recommended ways to tailor your strategic financial plan.
Leadership development. The most valuable resource in every organization is people. This is especially true in churches. If this is true, then our greatest leadership investment should be in our people. Great churches put people first.
Children and teenagers. The children and teenagers of today are not only our future, but they are also our today. Your parents will respond with great enthusiasm when you generously sow into the lives of their children. By purposefully investing into the present and the future of this demographic, you will articulate the high value your church places upon their present and their potential. Not to mention, if people are your most important resource, who better to invest in then your children and teenagers?
What are your thoughts?!? What are the investment priorities of your local assembly? If I had to list a third, it would be music. Perhaps I will add that to this journal entry at a later a point in time and explain my reasoning. Until then, let’s go beyond reason! #GoBeyondReason
Aug 22, 2016
The infancy of my faith was greatly influenced by youth ministry. I am indebted to youth pastors, youth workers, chaperones, and youth ministry as a whole.
This is one of the many reasons my lifelong indebtedness to youth ministry has me continuing to pour into this generation, as long as He will allow me.
Our season of youth ministry was one of the most fruitful and rewarding times of our ministry. We still look back very fondly over the young people, volunteers, events, and parents. Thankfully, our connections are still strong, and stronger in some cases.
There are a number of things that I gleaned while involved in youth ministry and I wanted to share a few of them with you.
I wholeheartedly believe that your youth ministry should be parent friendly. I hope to write about this specifically in the near future. However, I wanted to share a few things with youth workers out there.
First, I have been where you’ve been and now I am on the other side of this with one of our children doing well in our local youth ministry. Our second child will be in youth ministry in the not too distant future. #TimeFlies
There are a few things that your parents need from you.
Communication. Communication. Communication.
Each week a number of parents are entrusting the people they treasure more than life into your care. You cannot over communicate! Communication is a key!
If you want to earn the trust of your parents. Communicate. Communicate clearly. Communicate often. Communicate consistently.
Parents want to know what you are teaching their kids. What are you talking about in your small group gatherings? How are you sharing that with Mom and Dad.
When counseling with teenagers, be sure to communicate unfiltered feedback to their parents. If you think the kids will not trust you because of this, I tend to disagree. I would give teenagers (and still do) a disclosure that I would discuss whatever they were sharing with me with their parents and explain why. I never had one instance where it impaired our conversation or connection. As a matter of fact, it was an opportunity that served as a launching pad to facilitate a stronger connection between them and their parents. It also helped build trust with our parents.
When an event is taking place communicate as much as possible.
Here are a few things you should consider communicating via all available communication platforms (i.e., social media, email, text messaging, website, orientations, etc.).
Event Type (social, worship experience, fellowship centric, etc.):
Chaperones (parents want to know who is working with their kids):
Cost (if applicable):
Are there ways parents can get involved? If so, communicate those opportunities for involvement.
Communicate Your Vision
What is the vision that the local church has for the ministry? Communicate that to your parents. How can they help support it?
There’s no quicker way to win the hearts of your parents by sharing with them what you envision God doing in their lives of their children. Share with them your heartbeat. Allow them to see your heartbeat for their kids and watch them begin to give you their loyalty and support.
Oftentimes, student pastors have grand visions and effective programs, however, the parents are unaware.
I encourage you to read 1 Timothy 5. It will become crystal clear that the most effective training ground for spiritual development is the home, as you read this particular passage. There are countless others that support this, however, this is one of my favorites.
As parents learn your vision they will be able to join you and your team, hand in hand, and press toward the mark!
As a parent of a tween (at the time of this journal entry), this season can be unnerving; a season in which we lack confidence, seek guidance, and are doing everything we can to make sure that we get it right.
There’s no specific book that gives explicit instructions on how to raise our specific children, however, there are a number of tools that can be incredibly helpful.
Share with your parents devotional ideas, books, blogs, and seminars that will be helpful in their particular season of parenting a teenager, and remind them to allow the Word to be their guide through it all.
When you change your paradigm to one of family friendly ministry, you will quickly understand that when the family succeeds, you win too. Remember, the church is made up of families.
Cheer Your Parents On!
As I mentioned earlier, parenting, regardless of the season, is difficult. However, parenting a teen is even more difficult.
Simply put… When your parents bring their children to youth ministry events, don’t forget to express your appreciation to them and affirm their decision to make attending these events a priority.
When their kids do something well, please share that. As a matter of fact, not only share that with their parents, make sure you share that with the student in particular.
There will be moments of doubt, however, when you come alongside a mom or dad to affirm that they’re going to make it by His grace, that encouragement will fuel the will of God in their family.
What are some things that you’ve found to be helpful in youth ministry? Let’s collaborate, as we go beyond. #GoBeyondReason
Aug 15, 2016
My wife has long since been a proponent of personality profiles and understanding how people are wired. This insight, applied personally, has positioned her to add value you to our family, friendships, and a number of organizations in myriad of ways; in addition to adding a peace in understanding herself and how she’s been uniquely gifted by God.
I recently asked one of my interns to go through this process, which produced an Aha! moment. Everyone on our team should do this! Here’s why:
You will understand where you fit. In his book, “From Good To Great”, Jim Collins explores the necessity of not only identifying the right people, but making sure they are on the right bus. Knowing your unique personality, natural temperament, specific gifting, and how you are wired in general, will undoubtedly help you in identifying which jobs and volunteer opportunities you want to pursue. Trust me, this will mitigate much frustration.
Communication is key. This information is not only insightful, but empowering. Share your findings with your team. This will not only help them understand you, it will give you a better understanding of each other and the unique vantage points each team member brings to the table.
Strategic placement. Depending upon the project, this information will let you know who should play what role.
Understanding and value. When we have a better understanding of someone, we oftentimes develop a better appreciation for them. Your team will begin to value the diversity that exists, through understanding one another better. Understanding and value are inexplicably intertwined.
The Holy Ghost changes everything. Remember! While our temperaments and personalities are gifted to us from God at birth and shaped as we grow; as we all mature to become more like our Master, our nature will inevitably change to reflect Him. You are not bound by your weaknesses, and your strengths will undoubtedly be enhanced as His glory is continually revealed in you!
Are you ready for the moment of truth? You can begin your journey and take the personality profile test here. #ItsFree
Hopefully, you’ll find the following infographics helpful and brief summary of each personality type helpful. You will find a much more detailed description at the conclusion of your test. So, make sure you bookmark or email yourself the results.
Once you complete it, I’d love to hear about your experience with your findings? Did you facilitate this exercise with your team? Has it helped with strategic efforts? Productivity? Let me know! #GoBeyondReason
Personality Summaries were obtained from Paul Sohn (giving credit where credit is due). Check out his blog here.
- On personality trait measures, score as Artistic, Reflective, Careless, Sensitive, Flexible, and
- Among lest likely of all types to suffer heart disease
- In men, among least likely to report chronic pain
- Second highest of all types to report marital dissatisfaction
- Among most likely to have suicidal thoughts in college
- Tend to be more successful than the average in learning a foreign language
- Among types most likely to be dissatisfied with their work
- Personal values include Autonomy and Creativity
- Overrepresented in occupations in counseling, writing, and the arts
- Least common type in the population
- On personality trait scales, scored as Sincere, Sympathetic, Unassuming, Submissive,
- Easygoing, Reserved, and Patient
- Among highest of all types in college GPA
- Among most likely to stay in college
- Most likely of all types to cope with stress by seeing a therapist
- Highest of all types in marital dissatisfaction
- Personal values include Spirituality, Learning, and Community Servicer
- Commonly found in careers in religion, counseling, teaching and the arts
- On personality trait measures, score as Discreet, Industrious, Logical, Deliberate, Self-confident, and Methodical
- Among types least likely to suffer heart disease and cardiac problems
- Least likely of all the types to believe in a higher spiritual power
- One of two types with the highest college GPA
- Among types with highest income
- Personal values include Achievement
- Of all types, least likely to state that they value Home/family, Financial security,
- Relationships & Friendships, and Community Service
- Overrepresented among MBA students and female small business owners
- Commonly found in scientific or technical fields, computer occupations, and legal professions
- On personality trait measures, score as Candid, Ingenious, Complicated, Independent and Rebellious
- More likely than other types to study a foreign language
- Most frequent type among college students committing alcohol and drug policy violations
- Have lowest level of coping resources of all the types (with ISTPs)
- One of types least likely to believe in a higher spiritual power
- Highest of all types in career dissatisfaction (with INFPs)
- In school, have lower grades than would be predicted from aptitude scores
- More likely than average complete engineering programs
- Personal values include Autonomy, Freedom, and Independence
- Overrepresented among working MBA students
- Commonly found in science and technical occupations
- On personality trait measures, score as Conservative, Conventional, Guarded, and Reserved
- Among types most likely to believe in a higher spiritual power
- More likely than average to experience chronic pain
- Among types most likely to suffer heart disease
- Second most common type among education majors in college
- More likely than other types to watch more than 3 hours of television per day
- Personal values include Happy family, Health, and Spirituality
- Overrepresented among MBA students and male small business owners
- Among three types with the lowest income
- Commonly found in education, health care, and religious occupations
- On personality trait measures, score as Easygoing
- Among types most likely to report heart disease and hypertension
- In college, likely to report low levels of assertiveness
- In essays, projected themselves the fewest number of years into the future of all the types
- Among the types least likely to stay in college
- Most likely of all types to report stress associated with finances and children
- In a national sample, likely to value a work environment which provides security, clear and simple instructions, and no expectation of extra work hours
- Underrepresented among MBA students and small business owners
- Commonly found in occupations in health care, business, and law enforcement
- On personality trait measures, score as Calm, Stable, Steady, Cautious, and Conventional
- More likely than other types to experience cardiac problems and hypertension
- More likely than other types to experience chronic pain
- Among four highest types in college GPA
- More frequent among African Americans
- Personal values include Financial Security
- Most likely of all types to enjoy a work environment where everything is done by the book.
- Overrepresented among bank officers, financial managers, MBA students, and small business owners
- Often found careers in management, administration, law enforcement, and accounting
- On personality trait measures, score as Critical, Detached, Guarded, Independent, and Resourceful
- Commonly found in populations of male college scholarship athletes
- More likely than other types to suffer cardiac
- Lowest ranked of all types in using social coping resources
- One of four types least satisfied with their marriage or intimate relationship
- Among types least likely to complete college
- Personal values include Autonomy; at work, value Stability, Security, Independence, and Achievement
- Commonly found in skilled trades, technical fields, agriculture, law enforcement, and military occupations
- On personality trait scales, scored as Active, Pleasant, Social, Demanding, Impatient, Appreciative, and Compromising
- Most likely of all types to cope with stress by exercising
- Most likely of all types to believe in a higher spiritual power
- Ranked by psychologists as among least likely to have trouble in school.
- Personal values include Friendships, Education & Learning, Creativity, and Community
- Among types highest in job satisfaction, but also among the most likely to report plans to leave their jobs
- Commonly found in careers in religion, teaching and the arts
- On personality trait scales, scored as Enthusiastic, Outgoing, Spontaneous, Changeable, Impulsive, Energetic, and Understanding
- Scored among highest of all types in available resources for coping with stress
- ENFP women are less likely to suffer from heart disease
- ENFP men are less likely to suffer from chronic pain
- Rated by psychologists as among most likely of all types to have trouble in school
- Overrepresented among academically talented elementary school teachers
- Personal values include Home & family, Friendships, Creativity, Learning and Community Service
- Commonly found in careers in counseling, teaching, religion and the arts
- On personality trait measures, score as Ambitious, Forceful, Optimistic, Egotistical, Adaptable, and Energetic
- Least likely of all types to report stress resulting from work or finances
- More likely than average to suffer cardiac problems
- Among the least likely of all types to believe in a higher spiritual power
- Among top types in college GPA
- Among most likely to stay in college
- Personal values include Home/Family, Achievement, Creativity, and Learning
- Overrepresented among MBA students and small business owners
- One of two types most likely to be satisfied with their work
- On personality trait scales, scored as Enterprising, Friendly, Resourceful, Heading, Self-centered, and Independent
- Least likely of all types to suffer heart disease and hypertension
- Least likely of all types to report stress associated with family and health
- Scored among highest of all types in available resources for coping with stress
- Overrepresented among those with Type A behavior
- Among highest of all types on measures of creativity
- One of two types most frequent among violators of college alcohol policy
- Among types most dissatisfied with their work, despite being among the types with the highest income
- Commonly found in careers in science, management, technology and the arts
- Underrepresented among people suffering from substance abuse
- Among types highest in resources for coping with stress
- Second most likely of all types to report believing in a higher spiritual power
- Highest of all types in reported satisfaction with their marriage or intimate relationship
- Among most likely of all types to stay in college
- Most likely of all types to be satisfied with their co-workers
- Values at work include clear structure, security, and the ability to be of service to others
- Among the types most satisfied with their work
- Commonly found in careers in education, health care, and religion
- On personality trait measures, score as Changeable, Energetic, Forceful, Initiating, and
- More likely to use emotional coping techniques over spiritual or physical resources
- Tend to look to authority in education rather than expressing intellectual curiosity; prefer hands-on learning
- Among most likely to stay in college
- More likely than other types to watch television for more than 3 hours a day
- Second highest of all types in marital satisfaction
- Among types with lowest income
- At work, tend to be satisfied with co-workers but dissatisfied with job security, stress, salary, and accomplishment
- Personal values include Home/Family, Health, Friendships, Financial Security, and Spirituality
- Overrepresented in health care, teaching, coaching, and child care occupations
- On personality trait measures, likely to score as Contented, Energetic, Prejudiced, Self-Satisfied, and Practical
- More likely than other types to exhibit Type A behavior
- Of all types, scored highest in coping resources (with ENFP)
- Ranked 3rd highest in marital satisfaction among all types
- Among top four types in college GPA
- Least likely of all types to think about suicide in college
- Among most likely to stay in college
- Among types most satisfied with their work
- High-ranking personal values include Health, Financial Security, Achievement, and Prestige
- Overrepresented among bank officers, financial managers, and business owners
- On personality trait measures, score as Dominant, Flexible, Demanding, and Sociable
- More frequent among patients suffering from chronic pain
- One of four types reporting highest levels of assertiveness in college
- One of two types with lowest college GPA
- Among most likely of all types to stay in college
- Values at work include autonomy, variety, independence, and structure
- Overrepresented among MBA students
- Commonly found in careers in marketing, skilled trades, business, and law enforcement
Aug 8, 2016
My journey into full-time ministry was anything but strategically planned, at least by my hands. However, in hindsight (which always provides greater clarity) I can clearly see the providential hand of God carefully directing each step.
The last 8 (almost 9) years have been some of the most rewarding, challenging, and revealing years of my life. I recently crossed paths with a ministerial acquaintance and as we caught up on the happenings of our lives, he said something that has left an indelible impression upon me. He said, “Akil, ministry is brutiful.” It took me a brief moment to discern that he didn’t stumble over his words, rather he knew full well what he was saying.
You know what?!? Vocational ministry is brutiful and I absolutely love being a part of this life changing process. It has its moments of beauty and brutality, many of which you can experience in a matter of a few hours, depending upon how life unfolds in your local context. As a matter of fact, I intend to write about the brutalities of ministry in the near future, however, that’s for another journal entry. #StayTuned
There is no place I’d rather be than immersed in the work of the Lord! My family and I are passionate about the Kingdom of God!
In spite of being borderline workaholics for the Lord, we are strongly committed to unity, peace and joy in our relationships, our marriage, and with our children. Family first – forever!
We believe the fulfilled life really is all wrapped up in loving God, living by His word, loving people, and living a character-driven life; remembering that God is sovereign and his agenda is always better than ours!”
I think the #1 reason for loving your work, no matter where that work takes place, whether paid work or unpaid work, is centered on the “why” behind the work. Even when I was bi-vocational and had a corporate banking career, I found both to very fulfilling and rewarding.
I wanted to take a moment and share a number of things that I love about this journey! So, without further adieu… What do I love about ministry? Let me count the ways! Obviously, the list goes on and on, however, these were the first things that quickly came to mind. 😉
1. Working vocationally for Jesus is a gift I treasure daily. With that being said, we all have varying callings, purposes, etc. Regardless of your vocation, Jesus is your employer and all of work is worship unto Him. #TreasureTheOpportunityHeHasgivenYou
2. People. I love the people I work with (locally and nationally) and the people I serve in our local church community. Every now again, I have the opportunity to travel and meet new people. This is the icing on the cake.
3. Witnessing Revival. To experience first hand what God is doing around the world is one of the most inspiring and formative experiences for me personally to date. There’s nothing more stretching than to see God move outside of my cultural familiarity.
4. Family. I am able to engage my family in almost every aspect of my work life. Yes, this is a challenge, because the lines can become blurred, however, it has been flat out awesome to watch them develop a heart for His kingdom in a variety of ways.
5. The challenge to grow.
6. The opportunity to learn. I’ve learned that I must turn my failures into insightful and productive learning experiences.
7. The opportunity to create.
8. The opportunity to collaborate. Teamwork really does make the dream work.
9. Serving on a leadership team.
10. Change. No one likes change. We all like routine. Yet, change is inevitable. Nothing remains static. Growth and progress necessitate change.
11. New interns. The spice of life!
12. We take time to pray at work.
13. The opportunity to exercise my gifts and strengths.
14. Accountability. Having strong leaders that I am accountable to, who invest in me spiritually, and develop me as a leader.
15. Pursuing unity with others “… for there the Lord commands the blessing…”
16. Game-changing partnerships.
17. The Bible is my roadmap to EVERY destination.
18. Being accessible to others.
19. The God surprises. Never a dull moment.
20. Changing the world, one person at a time!
… And so many more reasons!
What is it that YOU love about what you do? What is the “why” behind what you do day in and day out? I look forward to hearing from you. #GoBeyondReason
Aug 1, 2016
As I’ve contemplated the journey of being an employee in a plethora of secular and/or sacred environments, I’ve realized there were a number of principles I embrace that have guided me through a process of not only becoming hire-able, but have lifted Him higher in very practical ways.
Here are a number of things that I would encourage you to consider on your journey to becoming not only an awesome employee, but one that lifts Him up.
11 Quick Tips (But Very Effective) To Be An Awesome Employee
1. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God. Remember, God is your employer and you honor Him by recognizing that all you do is unto Him. If you keep Him first, by allowing all of life to become worship (yes, that includes your career), then you will see supernatural things happen.
2. Maintain and protect your character. The writer of Proverbs said, “A good name is to be desired more than great riches.”
3. Be passionate about learning.
– Be a lifelong learner. Whatever you do, please keep your curiosity alive.
– Learn from others. When you’re hanging with others, do more listening than talking. Remember, everything that comes out of your mouth, you already know.
– What books have you recently read? Readers are leaders! It sounds cliche, however, it is true. Readers are constantly learning, thus evolving and adapting. This is paramount in today’s competitive workforce. More than likely, the job you are in now will look very different a couple of years down the road. Leaders are interested in recruiting talented people who can grow with the ever-evolving demands of their job and bring fresh ideas that’ll add value to the organization. There are few things that will grow you and spark creativity like reading. For some cool reads, check out some suggested reading here 40 Great Books To Read.
4. Go beyond what’s required. There are no traffic jams when you go the second mile. Why? While most employees will do what is expected, very few are willing to travel consistently into the realm of sacrifice. Trust me, people are watching, even when you think no one is watching.
5. Refuse to embrace or tolerate vague goals.
If you don’t clearly understand the goal, how will you be able to achieve it? Ambiguous or unclear goals, produce results that are unclear. Define the win and define it clearly! This is a must for any project or endeavor to be successful. When embarking upon a project, before you set your goals, ask yourself: “What does success look like?” Now. Go for it!
6. It’s not about you, it’s about the team, therefore, think we, not me. Navigating through the complexities that Fortune 500 companies, small startups, non-profits, and governments are facing is challenging. One of the most effective ways to navigate through the challenges your organization is facing is collaboration. More than ever, businesses of any size are intentionally deconstructing silos; and facilitating project management, collaboration, brainstorming sessions, and recreational time together to facilitate some of the best ideas. In a world of ‘me’ first, you will find that you will thrive when you are able to focus on others, first. So, make a note of these things.
– Learn how to work incredibly well with others.
– Partner with others. Synergy is a powerful force. A single horse could pull a heavy load, but when yoked with another horse, together, they could pull much more than the sum of the amount that each horse could pull alone. Pull with the rest of your team, as opposed to trying to do it all yourself.
– Get involved in the community by serving others.
7. Be a 10! What are your strengths? Forget about working on your weaknesses and work on improving your strengths. If you are a really good communicator, become a great communicator. If you are a horrible organizer, PLEASE do not work tirelessly to become an average organizer. No one is interested in hiring mediocrity.
8. Be on time… Better yet, be early. I had to learn this the hard way. Thankfully, my former pastor (Senior Pastor of Life Church, Buddy Thompson) loved me enough as a young adult to communicate to me that my habitual tardiness was not only undermining my credibility, but it was very self-centered. Do you know what being early communicates? It communicates that you want to be there!
9. Accountability. Don’t shy away from accountability. As a matter of fact, embrace it! Take ownership of your projects or tasks, as well as responsibility when you drop the ball. Yes, there will be moments when it is uncomfortable to acknowledge that you missed it, however, you will earn the respect of your peers and leadership when you hold yourself accountable.
10. Be a servant to the vision. When you work to make someone else’s vision come to pass, you will find that you will reap the seeds of such efforts when you are in pursuit of your own vision.
11. Watch what you post on social media. Nuff said!
There are a number of things that are not on this list, however, I felt like these were some must haves for me. What other competencies, skill sets, or values do you feel are important to becoming a hire-able and an employee that brings glory to Jesus? Share your thoughts! #GoBeyondReason