An Extraordinary Strategy for Your Family

An Extraordinary Strategy for Your Family

This year at our theme for our entire year is strategy. It is my prayer that everything that we do emanates from a place of deliberate purpose and diligent thoughtfulness.

If our families are going to thrive, we must be remarkably intentional, as extraordinary things rarely happen accidentally. None of us intentionally set out to fail in the most important relationships.

Think about it for a moment. No one is intentionally undermining their marriage so it will fail. It is absurd to think that someone has purposed to sabotage their relationship with their children. However, few families have a strategic plan for strengthening their relationship with their spouse or raising their children. You’re familiar with the adage, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” It’s a true principle that applies to every facet of our lives.

Truthfully, I was never taught the importance of developing a strategic plan for my marriage and family. I thought I would figure it out, but I have had to learn many things the hard way. This is what has given birth to our recent Midweek Bible Connection series, “An Extraordinary Family.” I want to share thoughts with you that I learned throughout the years. Some things I have learned the hard way, some from Sarah, and some from other families.  Prayerfully, some of these things will help you.

First, pray. The first thing Paul admonished Timothy to do is to pray. Pray that the Lord will download wisdom and understanding into your spirit so that you may have a heart and establish practices to position them for Godly success.

Secondly, establish margin for the family. As you know, every Monday is a family night at If Monday doesn’t work for you, pick another evening where you can focus on one another without distractions.

Third, clarify your family values. What is important to you? For us, it is distilled into a handful of things.

  1. Jesus Christ.
  2. Family
  3. Church
  4. Relationships
  5. Career / Academics

Take some time to clarify your values and what they mean to you. This could be a great family discussion depending upon the age of your children. It is undoubtedly a critical conversation amongst married couples.

Lastly, pick one achievable activity or habit at a time. You will not build an extraordinary family overnight. It will happen by consistently performing healthy family habits one day at a time. By the way, don’t be discouraged if these things feel unnatural in the beginning. Some growth happens slowly, but it is growth nonetheless.

Here’s to building an extraordinary family!

Don’t Worry. Trust Jesus.

Don’t Worry. Trust Jesus.

Jesus had a lot to say about worry.

He came to an unstable and unpredictable world. He lived in an agricultural society where one summer’s drought could wipe out crops for the winter. He hung out with fishermen, who might fish all night long and catch nothing to sell or bring home to family. And Jesus knew the human heart and the temptations presented by the cares of this life. Matthew records some excellent instruction that Jesus gave them, and I wanted to share a few of them with you.

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? (Matthew 6:25 NKJV)

First, Jesus says God gave us our human life and our bodies without us even asking. Human life and our physical bodies are incredibly valuable. Our life is much more valuable than the food we put on the table; our body far more valuable than the shirt we put on. If God gave us life, which is so very valuable, will He not provide us with food, which is of far lesser value? If God gave us these bodies which are fearfully and wonderfully made, will He not give us clothes to cover them? And even further, if God has given us eternal life, will He not provide for our temporal life?

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26 NKJV)

This passage reminds us that God faithfully provides for animals. Birds don’t sow or reap or store their food in barns—and they don’t fret about whether they’ll have enough for tomorrow or to get through the winter. Yet He feeds them. And Jesus tells us that humans, the crown of God’s creation, the only creatures made in God’s image, are of much more value than birds. If God provides for birds, then surely He’ll provide for those He created in his own image. Furthermore, will not God especially provide for those He bought with His own blood?

27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? (Matthew 6:27 NKJV)

Worry does absolutely no good. It won’t bring in money, food, or clothing. Worry only has negative results: it chokes the word of God and distracts us from God. It is unbelief, the opposite of faith. And it leads to more fear and anxiety. And the different scenarios we play out in our minds can’t prevent a single thing from happening. And besides that, most of the things we spend so much time fretting about won’t happen anyway.

Here’s what I want you to come away with.

Your life and body are far more valuable than any food you eat or the clothing you wear. If God gave you life and fearfully created your body, He’ll provide food for that life and covering for that body.

God provides for birds who don’t know enough to plant, reap, and store up for winter. Humans created in God’s image are far more valuable than birds, so He will undoubtedly provide for us.

Worry can’t do a thing. It won’t bring in a penny. It can’t put a crust of bread on the table or add 5 minutes to our lives.

So don’t worry, trust your heavenly Father who cares for you. He’s a Good Good Father. (By the way, if you haven’t heard this song before, take a listen below. You’ll love it!)

Your Mentor Is Right In Front Of You

Your Mentor Is Right In Front Of You

Those who know me well understand that I am naturally an introvert and have developed an aptitude to interact beyond my comfort level. However, new interactions can still be awkward for me. I hope that this isn’t obvious through my body language or words. If that’s been the case with anyone reading this post, I am sorry.

With that being said, I am an avid lifelong learner and believe in drawing and growing from every individual and experience that I have. Recently, I was directing a video for Florida North American Missions and was with church planters, Anthony and Jessica Marquez. I marveled at how Pastor Antonio engaged with complete strangers, and how it opened doors for meaningful connection. One of two things happened that day, as I stood salivating for that prowess and ability to interact with strangers. Pastor Marquez either recognized the astonished look on my face in that quaint espresso and crepe cafe or heard my heartbeat for that ability. Because after his interaction he looked at me said five words I will never forget. “I never meet a stranger.”

Since then, I have embraced every interaction as a Divine appointment, knowing that my steps are ordered by Him. The mantra that rages and drives me to connect with all people (literally), from all walks of life, in this foreign land are those convicting and inspiring words, “I never meet a stranger.”

Why am I sharing this with you? In the past, people have inquired as to who my mentors were. For many years, I wasn’t able to cite a specific individual and allowed that to create an imagined void in my ministerial life. I felt pressure to seek out people I admired with the intent of gaining a mentor. Yes, I have a Pastor (as I believe all pastors should) and I have some elders that have, and continue, to significantly shape my life. However, I don’t think that you have to have a specific “life coach.” When in actuality, I believe God will use your past and present circumstances as well as a myriad of people to deposit things into your life in which the whole of your existence may hang. These people, may or may not quickly fade out of your life.

So much can happen in a conversation, an embrace, a listening ear, etc. I encourage you to stop seeking a “mentoring ideal” and drink deep from the experiences, people, and opportunities God has set before you this day.

Here are three things I would like for you to consider.

– Get over yourself. Humility is key. Once you get over yourself, you will begin to see the many mentors that are right in front you, as opposed to the utopian mentor you’re seeking.

– Keep learning. Commit to being a lifelong learner. This positions you to live in the rhythm of the many teachers God will give you (circumstances, experiences, people, etc.)

– Enjoy the journey. Mentorship, in its myriad of forms, is an experience and not a destination.

Thank you, Pastor Antonio Marquez, for an unforgettable mentoring moment.

How about you? How has the mentorship journey looked for you?


Things Thompsons Don’t Say

Things Thompsons Don’t Say

It’s been said that people judge you by the words you use, and this is true. Some of my readers may not agree with this statement, however, if you do, then you understand the importance of choosing your words with prudence.

Words have power!

Words shape our worlds!

Words shape our behaviors!

The words we use every day shape our realities, whether we realize it or not. The words we use to express ourselves can make a powerful impression on the lives of people around us, whether they occur in a polite conversation at Starbucks, or a more spiritual exchange while you’re ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Words have the power to impel nations to war, peace, and alliances. The fact of the matter is, the words we choose can do the same for us in relationships. Our words can create war, peace, and forge lifelong alliances.  The impact of what we say, and how it is delivered, can literally have eternal repercussions.

Growing up in the Thompson household as a child, we were greatly encouraged to regard our words carefully and avoid one word in particular at all costs.

Do you know what that word is?


If I, or one of my siblings, ever said “can’t”, we were quickly rebuffed with, “Can’t isn’t in the Thompson dictionary.”

How often do we utter the words “I can’t?”

• I can’t be a missionary.
• I can’t be a business owner.
• I can’t be a teacher.
• I can’t be an author.
• I can’t be a straight ‘A’ student.
• I can’t lose weight.
• I can’t forgive.
• I can’t move forward.
• I can’t give.
• I can’t love again.
• I can’t reconcile.
• I can’t repent.

The list goes on and on!

This word has become so common and accepted that we have completely missed the major problem with such a declaration. When we declare that we are not able – we are. In essence, declaring that the Mighty God who empowers us is also not able.

Do you realize once you make such a declaration, you are correct? If you SAY you can’t do it –  you are correct!

Today, I encourage you to stop limiting yourself. More importantly, stop limiting God!

You can, because He can! God is able!

Because God is able, we are able!

Today, throw the “can’t” out of your vocabulary and begin to replace it with the truth and promises of the matchless, undefeated Word of God!

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)


Why Every Leader and Their Teams Should Complete A Personality Profile

Why Every Leader and Their Teams Should Complete A Personality Profile

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
  • Appreciative
  • 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
  • Service
  • 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
  • Resourceful
  • 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
What Do I Love About Ministry? Let Me Count The Ways!

What Do I Love About Ministry? Let Me Count The Ways!

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