ADAPTING YOU TO LIFE.
ADAPTING YOU TO GOD.
Vol. 4 Issue 2
MAKE PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU
FINDING A GOOD ONE. BECOMING A GOOD ONE.
THE LEADERSHIP & JUSTICE ISSUE
But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant... - Matthew 20:26
My desire is to see a generation of leaders whose hearts have been transformed by grace, shaped by love, and vision for the least of these. Those are the kind of leaders our world needs. - ALLYSEN KERR, Editor & Publisher
APRIL MAY JUNE 2016 CONTENTS
THE LEADERSHIP & JUSTICE ISSUE SPIRITUALITY An Inglorious Transformation 16 Becoming a Leader Worthy Following 20 The Heart of a True Leader 22
LIFESTYLE Lead Like a Warrior 26 Update: Living a Surrendered Life 30 Traveling the Great Unknown...Alone 32 Put the Light on Itâ€™s Stand 34 Jonny Petrruco: Bringing a Vision to Life 36
CAREER & MONEY Leadership Mentoring: Empowering People to Succeed 42
A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
PHOTO: L ARRY D. ROSALEZ
FOLLOW THE LEADER Don't you recall playing this game in elementary school? I do. I also remember how much I hated this game because there could only be one leader and I, like all of my fellow grade school classmates, wanted to be the leader every single time. But that wasn't always possible. This game required one leader, one master, one captain. The rest of us...for better or for worse, would have to follow, leaving the destination of our journey around the playground in the hands of -- in our minds anyway -- a not-so-competent 5-year-old. Fast forward 20-plus years and we are still playing the game but this time there are more leaders than followers. Today the call for great leaders is very necessary and many would like to answer the call. We read blogs, read books, head organizations, take courses on leadership development...everything we can do to better our chances of becoming the leader everyone wants to follow. But in my experience, the best leaders are the one who have learned how to follow. Just like a baby has to learn the painstaking task of crawling before they can walk, I believe leaders, great leaders, must learn how to follow. We must learn to develop the character and heart required to lead people well. This requires allowing ourselves to go through a deep process of reflection, growth, maturity. It requires us to let God get to the not-so-pretty places of our lives and allow Him to chisel away at those areas. We must become willing to die to ourselves and let God morph us into the men and women that He needs us to be.
Sometimes this requires what I call a cocoon phase. Butterflies aren't initially born butterflies the same way that people aren't always initially born leaders. My desire is to see a generation of leaders whose hearts have been transformed by grace, shaped by love, and vision for the least of these. Those are the kind of leaders our world needs. Books are great. Blogs are great. But our world needs to see us walk it out before we put out. We have put together this issue with the hopes that it will challenge you become leaders worth following. Special thanks to all of our contributors and interview subjects! We couldn't have put this issue together without you.
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# F O O L I E S 1 0 K
AN INGLORIOUS TRANSFORMATION ALLON BACCUTH, CONTRIBUTOR
In reading the New Testament, we tend to romanticize the revolutionary ways of the early disciples, the Church, and hardships they faced. We see the stark opposition they faced as almost glorious. The antagonists they encountered magnified their courage and exonerated any weakness, fear or struggle they might have endured in the process. Even their deaths, we glamorize.
as normal and acceptable in our culture or self-justified for so long, that we are nearly blind to them. One way to illuminate these self-centered thoughts and actions is to examine what we consider to be our “rights.” Often, we may subconsciously think, “I deserve this…” or “I don’t deserve this…” or “I shouldn’t have to put up with this…” and whatever goes in the blank is the very thing we are clinging to, which is blocking the flow of the Holy Spirit and His Love. And the ironic thing is that many times we justify clinging to our “rights” by saying, “I have to take care of myself before I can take care of others” or “I can’t love them, if I first don’t love myself.” We usually are deceived into thinking that if we cling to these “rights,” then we will get filled or satisfied thus enabling us to love others.
However, with great dissimilarity, we view our own hardships as inconvenient, inconsequential and even unnecessary, as if we were the judges of what is beneficial and necessary. We magnify our weaknesses, our fears and struggles, and we despise the process of procuring courage, overcoming dark forces, and being transformed.
But that is the great lie! Much to the contrary, the tighter one clings to his or her own “rights” and attempts to meet his or her “needs,” the more he or she is blocked from the flow of the Holy Spirit and love, which is the only thing that can satisfy and fill us.
Yes, our reactions to our hardships most often characterized by grumbling, complaining, blaming, frustration, hopelessness, running away, or trying to fix it ourselves. We hardly glamorize the death to self-centeredness that such hardships produce; instead we, passionately avoid them.
You see, the flow of the Holy Spirit and love reaches and satisfies us and moves us towards others. When things impede the flow of the Holy Spirit and love we, as well as others, suffer. A person who clings to his or her “rights,” receive depleted measures of the power and love of the Holy Spirit, and as a result is increasingly drained of satisfaction, love for self and energy to love others.
Let us draw from a common analogy in Christian circles comparing servants of Christ to empty vessels. While this analogy falls short of the Truth, its principle contains merit.
The reality is, many of us feel, on a daily basis, that we do not have enough love for even ourselves, let alone our friends and family and, especially, not our enemies – whom we are called to love. We find ourselves caught in self-defeating thoughts and negative cycles, which leaves us feeling empty, dissatisfied and desperate to cling to our “rights,” as if by doing so we can meet our deficient needs.
Yet, it begs the question: empty of what? The shortcoming of this analogy is that we are not to be entirely empty, as Buddhism or other religions propose. God did not intend for us to be completely empty. Rather, Scriptures declare that He designed and wired us in unique and purposeful ways, with various giftings and talents in order to build up the Church, the Bride of Christ, and draw people to Him. Thus, our distinctive design is intentional and integral to the magnificent tapestry that makes up the Bride of Christ. And to be emptied of these components, which God built into us, would be destructive and would work against the purposes of God espoused in His Word.
Satan is very cunning and crafty! He convinces us that the very act, which blocks us from receiving love, fullness and satisfaction, is what we ought to do – cling to our “rights.” He persuades us to move in the opposite direction of what we really desire, while making us think we are moving towards that desire.
Yet, it must be realized that our gifts, talents and God-endowed qualities are most alive and powerful when the Holy Spirit is filling us and flowing through us. This complete filling and free flowing of the Holy Spirit requires that any blockages be removed, hence the terminology “empty” vessels. We proceed then with the answer to the question: emptied of what?
Truly, love for self and for others comes through Love Himself – the Holy Spirit filling and flowing through us, unhindered. In such instances we have copious amounts of love for self and, simultaneously, for others – the two always exist together (only Satan and the world has us fooled into thinking otherwise).
When we are emptied specifically of self-centered tendencies and beliefs, then His Spirit and His Love flow unhindered through us, to ourselves and towards others – the Church.
So what do the Holy Spirit, Love and self-centered blockages have to do with our inglorious hardships and struggles? The very instruments of God used to clear out these self-centered blockages, which hinder the flow of the Holy Spirit and Love to self and others are our inconvenient, seemingly inconsequential and unnecessary struggles.
This seems self-evident enough; yet, these self-centered tendencies that block the flow of the Holy Spirit and His Love have been either so ingrained
God did not intend for us to be completely empty. Rather, Scriptures declare that He designed and wired us in unique and purposeful ways, with various giftings and talents in order to build up the Church, the Bride of Christ, and draw people to Him. 17
Contrary to the lies we have believed for so long, only being filled with the Holy Spirit and Christ’s Love will fulfill our unabated, robust desires for satisfaction, fullness and freedom, and pour through us onto others -- friends and enemies alike. The people that are too taxing to deal with on a daily basis, the situations that leave us feeling powerless and overwhelmed, the seeming failures and mistakes at school, the rebuke of a boss, the untimely traffic hold up or problematic drivers, the family discord, the disrespectful co-worker, the internal wrestling – are all God’s tools, purposefully orchestrated and allowed to remove the blockages within us, so that the Holy Spirit can freely and fully flow! We were made to be empty of self-centeredness. And, the very instruments used to remove these hardened and hard-to-see crustaceans of self-centeredness are difficult people and humbling situations. The things we perceive as a curse are really a blessing aimed at dissolving the very things in us, which we are often blinded to that block the flow of the Holy Spirit and love. Likely whatever is before you now has been orchestrated by God, no matter how hard or trying, to lead you to deny your “rights,” to empty you of them, and then fully fill you up with His Spirit and His Love! In light of this what, then, is to be our response? To submit to the process of being emptied of self-centeredness. To let go of our “rights.” Yes, it is humbling. Don’t fight it (remember our battle is not against flesh and blood – Ephesians 6:12). Don’t run from it, either. Don’t justify clinging to your “rights.” Don’t dig your heels in and stubbornly demand your “rights.” Instead, allow people and circumstances to be instruments of God in emptying you of self-centered tendencies, so that you can be filled with His Spirit and Love. (Warning: if you find yourself resisting or getting angry in this process, that is a sure sign that you have self-centered tendencies to which you are blind.) Contrary to the lies we have believed for so long, only being filled with the Holy Spirit and Christ’s Love will fulfill our unabated, robust desires for satisfaction, fullness and freedom, and pour through us onto others -- friends and enemies alike. Truly, this is an inglorious transformation – for our very own humbling and troubling situations certainly seem to be of no purport! But they are! Perhaps the early disciples and Church felt as we do now, and yet they submitted to the hardships surrounding them and from them were transformed themselves, and they transformed the world for generations to come.
In light of this what, then, is to be our response? 19
BECOMING A LEADER WORTH FOLLOWING MATT ULRICH, CONTRIBUTOR
Have you ever dreamed of doing something significant with your life, leaving a lasting legacy, and being a part of something greater than yourself? Greatness is an innate desire in all of us, yet so few achieve it. Why? Because many of us never really fully grasp that in order to do something great you must first be someone great.
and abide by that vision and thereby live differently -- and by higher standards than your peers regardless of the culture around you.
Socrates said that the first key to greatness is to be in reality what you appear to be. Great leaders realize that there is a key difference between having a good image and having integrity. Image is what people think we are. Integrity is what we really are. Image gets you in the door, but integrity keeps you there.
Leaders create culture, they do not ascribe to the status quo. People don’t follow those who are just like them. They follow someone who creates for them a vision of a better place, product or person, because they themselves exemplify what better is and looks like. True leaders ignite a desire in others to be greater and to be more than what they currently are.
Many young, millennial leaders are moving up in their organizations, making gains and wins based on their talent and ability to produce. And while talent and productivity are important characteristics needed for good leaders and upward mobility, great leadership encompasses so much more than results alone.
These are the leaders that transcend time and cultural variance because it’s who they are that brought about what they did. Their productivity and what they accomplished in their lives were an overflow of the greatness that dwelled inside of them and they could not help but allow that to overflow into the lives of those around them.
Take Steve Jobs for example. Steve Jobs may have been a great producer of desirable products, a technological visionary, and led the juggernaut brand Apple for decades, but those accomplishments don’t define great leadership.
Jesus, Gandhi, Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Mandela, Wilberforce, and Martin Luther King Jr. are a few of the types of leaders that led revolutions, changed the hearts of nations, and were the socio-political and religious catalysts that brought about systemic, global change.
His family and personal life were fragmented and broken while many of his coworkers and employees said they would never want to work with/ for him again. Yet he is glorified as a revolutionary CEO and leader of our day!
I doubt that many of them set out to do so, but the power of their integrity and leadership brought about world change. So if you want to be a great leader, then don’t live the lifestyle of a follower. Whenever you are given leadership opportunities, lead in a way that pulls out the greatness in the people you interact with because they resound with and respect the integrity and greatness that lies within you and your vision.
I think we need to redefine what leadership is versus what it has become. Leadership is not just titles and productivity. External labels do not gain for a leader what only integrity can bring about. Titles are given; true leadership is earned.
Be greater on the inside than you are on the outside. Find purpose before productivity and forge integrity before initiative.
If you are looking to organizational clout to make people follow you, you are not going to get far and the commitment levels to you or your cause are never going to run deep.
Be whole before being promoted! Break this ongoing trend that leadership equates to productivity even if it means it is done through an empty and broken vessel.
Titles and positions do not garner you a following; being a leader with integrity that people desire to follow will. This comes from within and defines the leaders who will change the world.
Leadership is not a means to an end product or sale; true leadership is an end result in itself that leaves a lasting legacy, and in the process, calls those who are following you to rise up to their potential greatness while willingly following yours!
Steve Jobs may have revolutionized the technology of this age, but someone will come along and create better technology. Soon, no one will really remember Steve Jobs, because what he is known for is based solely on his product, not his leadership. So once a better product comes along, his influence will permanently fade. If you want to be a great leader, your vision and your actions must be seamlessly interconnected because people don’t just follow a vision; they follow a visionary who is living out that vision. You must internalize, own
I think we need to redefine what leadership is versus what it has become. 21
THE HEART OF A TRUE LEADER NEHEMIE PIERRE, CONTRIBUTOR
What does it take to be a “leader?” What does being a “leader” even mean? Whenever I think of a leader my memory jumps back to the fifth grade where the line leader obtained all the prestige of leading the line but I never discovered what they did in order to become the leader. What qualities did they possess? What set them apart? What can I learn from them? To quench my curious mind I started my quest to find a leader who would show me how they are able to lead effectively in their line of work. I had the chance to interview TJ Luke the Children’s Ministry Director at Orlando World Outreach Center. Through this interview he was able to shed light on what leaders do, who they are and how they lead effectively. adaptmag.com
NEHEMIE: What are the most important decisions that you face daily as a leader in your organization?
TJ: Both. I enjoy leading and coaching large groups of people and seeing one-on-one success.
TJ: The most important decisions I face daily is “how will I respond”. As a leader you are faced with different situations on multiple layers (personally, relationally, and organizationally). I have been taught you will either react or respond to a situation.
NEHEMIE: How do you lead through change? TJ: Prayerful, steady and eyes wide opened. You have to pray for wisdom because change sometimes is difficult to navigate alone. Steady, because to give up in the middle of change leaves you in an awkward place, you are no longer where you were and you are not where you are wanting to go.
Reacting to a situation is when you allow the situation to make you frantic, anxious, defensive, mad, etc. and behave or “lead” out of that reaction. As if you are at a disadvantage. When you respond to a situation, you approach the same situation knowing you were called to handle the situation that has risen.
Eyes-Wide open because in the midst of the storm of change, as the leader, you have to see your team. Is your team doing well? Are they hurting? Where are they in their hearts? etc. When you see where they are you will know how to lead them to see the change through.
You may not know the answer but you are determined to be a part of the solution.
NEHEMIE: How do you organize projects and tasks?
NEHEMIE: How do you maintain your and your team’s daily motivation and inspiration despite obstacles, push back or setbacks? TJ: Prayer. As a leader with a team trying to make a difference, opposition comes as no surprise.
TJ: Through much time and many hands. You can’t go at projects and task alone. The leader’s job is not to do everything but to get things done through other people. So through this interview I have learned that as a leader you have to be able to hold your emotions when in a situation that is difficult to get through.
Honestly, there are times when opposition can cause much fear, worry and assumptions of defeat. However, when I pray I know God hears me. He affirms me as His son and His love for me, He reminds me of His promises found in the Bible and He gives me wisdom on how to utilize the great people he has surrounded me with in order to see the obstacle, push back or set back become a lesson, a story, a part of our history towards our destination.
As a leader you have to be able to make a decision quickly and to be able to stand by it despite fear and doubt. As a leader you have to be able to work alone as well as with others. As a leader, keep growing; never think that you know all there is to know, keep your ears and your heart open to receive knowledge despite your age and despite how established or esteemed you are.
NEHEMIE: What are the most important traits of successful leaders today?
I’ve realized in life that most leaders do not even know what they are doing. But by being focused, by being flexible and by trusting their decisions they are successful in their endeavors.
TJ: Our lack of hesitation to make an idea reality; Our perseverance to do whatever it takes for however long it may take; and our mutual encouragement and support of one another. NEHEMIE: What are you doing daily to ensure your growth and development continue as a leader, and how? TJ: Asking questions and listening to the answers. Mainly asking my superiors the questions that may be awkward to ask, or things I should know and purposefully listening to the answers they give and the stories they tell. NEHEMIE: What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time? TJ: Know your role. Be an example in word, deed and life. No matter your lack of experience, it is your time. Do something. Learn what you need to learn, do what you need to do but do not fear, do not go at it alone. You have a team; you have a vision, so win! NEHEMIE: What is the difference between a leader and a manager? TJ: A leader sees the vision, inspires his or her team and allows the team’s gifts and talents to advance towards that vision. Managers see the quota that needs to be met this week, month or year and makes sure EVERYONE is meeting that and if not you will be replaced. NEHEMIE: Are you more effective in a group, a one-on-one basis (or both)?
Leadership + Justice
LEAD LIKE A WARRIOR PAUL MERCADO, CONTRIBUTOR
PHOTO: GAINESVILLE DOJO
The concept of a warrior is difficult for most people to comprehend. There’s the discipline, the readiness and the strategic perspective, just to name a few of the aspects one has to develop. For me, I found training in Kung Fu has helped to hone these characteristics. My father instilled the seed for martial pursuit into me as a child. Having trained in a couple of different martial arts as an adolescent in New York, he had an idea of what to look for in a good teacher. When I was nearing the end of my adolescence, my dad and I began searching for a local martial arts teacher that measured up to his elevated standards.
As you’ve probably already figured out, he became my teacher as well. His name is Sifu D.A. Jackson.
But, to no avail. It appeared we were out of luck until…
As long as I’ve known Sifu, he has always set a good example with his spiritual and moral virtue. Not only has he taught me good martial techniques, he’s also led an example that directed my life toward Christ.
One faithful day, while my dad was venturing out on his own, he sought out a studio which taught a similar style to the one which he had trained. Unfortunately, the instructor of that particular style wasn’t available. But, serendipitously, another instructor was able to address my father’s questions. Not only did he and my father speak, he also demonstrated some techniques. And even though it was a different martial system than he initially set out to find, my dad was convinced that this man was a worthy instructor. So much so, that my dad joined the school then brought me in to meet this man. I’m reminded of a famous Kung Fu adage, “It is said that a wise student realizes that it is better to spend several years looking for a good teacher than to spend the time learning from a mediocre one.”
So, in this much anticipated interview, I hope to introduce you to, and give a glimpse of a leader I’ve come to call a close friend. And, hopefully in the process Sifu can give us greater insight on how to be better leaders for those whom God uses us to disciple. Therefore, without further adieu, I’m pleased to present to you my Sifu, mentor and friend, Sifu D.A Jackson...
PAUL: What does it mean to be a Sifu? SIFU: The title of Sifu, within the world of the Chinese martial arts, is defined as “Teacher.” However, the role of a teacher is defined as the 'Father of the kwoon (school),' which means that the instructor bears the responsibility to not only teach skills, but to impart the moral discipleship to use them appropriately. PAUL: Speaking of skills and moral discipleship, can you elaborate on what these skills are, what moral discipleship is (or looks like) and how they can strengthen a student’s (person’s) life of pursuing Christ? SIFU: The easiest way to explain those concepts is through explaining the term 'Kung Fu,' which translates as hard work. Specifically in reference to a highly refined skill such as art, combat, teaching, etc. In this case, the skill becomes a vehicle by which to convey a deeper concept. You may learn how to paint, but you’ve also learned how to wait for the paint to dry. You may have learned a kick, but you also had to embrace the concept of balance. This reflects our walk with Christ by showing how a test or refinement in one area (usually where he’s building us) can improve our growth in other areas. PAUL: Why is this art so important to you?
SIFU: Enjoying a task, any task, is more a matter of purpose than preference. If we didn’t have to go through some of the trials that we go through, I’m sure most of us wouldn’t. But, as Christians we can see a purpose in the way God is molding us and it motivates us to make it through. Much is the same in teaching. Purpose precedes motivation. As for those who learn slower, it also follows suit that their understanding of the purpose is still clouded, hence the motivation is impaired. A simple fix. PAUL: Do you think that the rate that a person picks up a task is always contingent upon their understanding of the purpose for why they are doing the task? Or could there be other limitations in the persons that come into play, and how do you help an individual with such say, mental or physical limitations? SIFU: Like I said, purpose is paramount. All other perceived limitations are merely opportunities to grow; not obstacles. Look at it this way, if you’re hungry and you don’t have an eating utensil, you still find a way to eat. Purpose is there, so motivation is there. And, regardless of the limitations, adaptation is stimulated.
SIFU: The tool of Kung Fu is no more important than any other tool that God gives us, but I have found that the training allows us to test the sincerity of our faith in real time against constantly changing scenarios. Case in point would be, if you say you believe in a block, yet you cower instead when pressured.
PAUL: So in short, help them see the purpose and direct them to find ways to adapt if necessary?
PAUL: So it’s like going from theory to actuality to test your faith. And when faced with obstacles and/or opposition, you get to see, “in real time” if you can actually apply what you’ve learned to overcome these obstacles and/or opposition, or to find out if you cower under pressure instead.
PAUL: How do you know how far to push someone before their breaking point/discouragement?
SIFU: Basically, yes. But to simplify, I’d say it was a test of sincerity. If your yes is yes and if your no is no. It’s a tool to detect if you’re lying to yourself. PAUL: Is leadership something that is inherent or developed, or both? And at what time in your life did you feel like you were called to be a leader? Ready to be a Sifu/Pastor etc.
SIFU: Yes, exactly. After all, a teacher is just a sign pointing to a destination.
SIFU: It’s not a matter of pushing to a point, its a matter of knowing their potential. Think of it like a rope that’s coiled up. If you know it’s 7 feet long, you’re not testing to see how close you can get it to 10. But you will use every bit of its length for the purpose it was created. PAUL: Is it a matter of discernment or observation to get to know ones potential? SIFU: I’d say its a matter of discernment because God determines it. Hence, a good teacher is really just a good listener.
SIFU: I believe that leadership is first inherent, as in God-given, and then developed. We all eventually find ourselves in some leadership role during the course of our lives. As Christians even more so because we are meant to be reflections of Christ.
PAUL: How do you deal emotionally, if or when one of your students misuses the information that you have given them?
But, in understanding that, we must also concede that not everyone is meant to lead the same battles, otherwise there is confusion. Some may be amazing sports team leaders, others may be politicians, and still others may be pastors.
The lessons I share are gifts that were given to me, but were also meant to be passed on. Now if someone chooses to misuse the information I may find disappointment in their moral failing, but to take offense would denote something other than a gift that I shared.
All great leaders in our community, but no greater than two parents raising a family. Everyone has a place to lead. And, to answer the last part, God kind of gave me cues all through my life. He constantly placed me in leadership roles or positions of authority, even when I tried to avoid them...but I thank Him for it.
It would be more like an obligation in which my students had to live up to my expectations. Which is an unreasonable request for one, and secondly, the only standard they should honestly hold themselves to, should be obedience to God. If they do that, they’ll never misuse the gifts He blesses them with.
PAUL: What standard governs your leadership?
PAUL: What’s the strongest characteristic of a leader?
SIFU: I try to honor God in all I do. So, my leadership decisions usually begin and end with Him. By maintaining a biblical perspective, you ensure a certain objectivity to your actions. One that serves those around you before serving yourself. In turn, those whom you are blessed to lead can trust that you have their well being in consideration.
SIFU: The strongest characteristics of a good leader, in my opinion are: a heart that’s willing to put others first, a mind that’s flexible, hands that are willing to work, and a spirit dedicated to Christ.
PAUL: As a teacher and leader, how do you motivate someone to do a task that you know they won’t enjoy? And how do you handle students that are slower to learn, or pick up a task?
SIFU: A gift is something you give freely and release. As is the case with God’s gifts to us.
Sifu Jackson is one of the teachers at the Gainesville Dojo, a total martial arts facility. To learn more, visit GainesvilleDojo.org.
Purpose precedes motivation. 29
UPDATE: LIVING A SURRENDERED LIFE ALLYSEN KERR, EDITOR
Talking to Davidson Jean-Rejoius is like catching up with your favorite cousin or older brother. No matter how much time or distance has passed, our conversations always pick up right where we left them. This time was no different...
“If that happens, the goal is to go to North and South Carolina for the month of May and part of June as well…we have a training that we have to attend." But at some point, Katie will be staying behind to prepare to bring their newest addition into the world. Yes, they’re expecting and it’s a boy!
Last year Adapt interviewed Davidson and his wife Katie about their upcoming missions trip to France and their fundraising goals. A year later, we sit down again to follow up on these goals, family and to see how they are handling living a surrendered life.
"We’re thinking about the name, Levi, like the tribe of Levi, the worshipers. The more you read about the tribe of Levi, I’m like, man, I don’t want to put that on my boy,” said Davidson laughingly. “They were fully dependent on the offerings, sacrifices that was brought to the church…they were fully dependent upon the Lord. That’s the best journey ever.”
Living a surrendered life has not come without its challenges for Davidson and Katie. They have spent months on the road, living from house to house, with two young daughters. They have spoken at churches, networked and prayed their way to raise funds for their four-year assignment. Even with all of their efforts, the couple has had to learn to trust God every step of the way. Davidson has seen God come through on countless occasions and it’s been good. God has used those moments to remind Davidson that his efforts alone will not get the job done.
“I think it’s harder because we don’t believe that God is who He says He is. If we totally did, we would be at peace every day that we wake up, but we don’t. Honestly, I don’t and I wish I did. That’s why every day, like this morning, it’s an uphill battle.” As far as fundraising, Davidson said they are almost there but they can still use support.
"…That part is not fun…he’s like, “Listen, I don’t need you to do everything for me…,” Davidson said.
"We hope to be fully funded before this year ends," he said. They have less than 47 percent to raise to be fully funded for the next four years. They are so grateful to everyone who has already given.
Somedays are more challenging than others. Davidson sometimes feels like he swings between working hard or waiting to see the fruits of his labor.
"The cool part is that there are some people who have been giving for a couple of years already," Davidson said. "We have two different numbers: we have the one-time and the monthly. The one-time is easier to get because people kind of like to give a one-time gift but monthly commitments are what we are really after. If we can get that, we will be golden (no pun intended)."
“I literally sat here for a week and I did nothing…I was like, 'God, I don’t know what to do at this point. I’ve emailed people, now I have to actually wait to hear from them…’” Davidson says he finds himself constantly asking: ‘Okay God, when am I being lazy here or when do I need to work hard’?
In light of the goal and even growing safety concerns, Davidson and Katie are determined to follow God’s leading.
"Then our prayer changed to: God I want to do the hard work, provide a way for me to do it and I’ll do it and that’s it. I'm willing to work my butt off, you show me and I’ll do it."
“God has called us to go to France and unless God tells us it’s not where He wants us, then we will not go, but even in light of the recent events that are happening, our hearts have not shifted."
“It takes the stress away from me when I do that because I don’t know what the next step is going to look like but I'm just going to trust in Him and whatever happens happens,” he said.
They worry about their kids and then God reminds them that He loves their kids a lot more than they love them and if He calls, He will provide.
Every day is different for Davidson. “I tell people: today I’m having a good day. Tomorrow I might be overwhelmed and freaking out but today is a good day.”
“So no, our hearts have not really shifted,” Davidson said. In fact, the more we continue to learn about the French, the more our hearts are burdened.”
When it comes to hearing God’s voice and seeking him for direction, Davidson, like many believers, still struggles.
Davidson said that he learned that there is more money to be made by psychics and mediums than for doctors in France.
“I wish He made it easier (laughs),” he said. “My prayer has been: God, you can do whatever you want with me, just let me feel your presence. I don't care what you do, take it away, do whatever, but let me feel your presence.”
“It’s gloom or doom for the French. They have no hope," he said. “We want to proclaim the hope of Jesus Christ that it’s not gloom and doom, there’s true hope, a source of happiness." Their team is already on the ground working to revitalize a church in Toulouse, France, which will then send them out to another area to work once the family arrives.
For the past few months, Davidson and his family have been traveling all around the country raising support for their upcoming long term missions trip to France.
"We are eager to be there, to be a part of that and love on the French,” Davidson said. “Lately that’s been my goal…to live in that joy that I have in Jesus. [But] if I need to live in France where it is really dark spiritually, then I need to start to live it out here in the USA where it’s not as dark spiritually."
At the time of this interview, they are in Orlando, FL. "We were actually here for a friend’s wedding but we also ended up making some new connections, so that was pretty cool,” he said. "Then after that they are headed to Vero Beach for a few days to pick up a car to take us to the next stage of where we are going,” Davidson said.
To give and to stay up-to-date with Davidson and Katie visit: https:// jeanrejouisinfrance.wordpress.com. 31
TRAVEL THE GREAT UNKNOWN ...ALONE NICOLE WALKER CONTRIBUTOR
"HAVE A SAFE TRIP!" "BE SAFE!" "DON’T TALK TO STRANGERS..." "...WATCH YOUR SURROUNDINGS." These are some phrases you will probably hear when you tell family members, friends and others that you are going on a trip. Whether it’s a trip for school, work, vacation, or “missional,” someone close to you has uttered these phrases at one time or another. But what do they say when you’re traveling alone? You booked your ticket and you’re leaving the comforts of your environment to travel across the world to another country, another place where their culture and language are different from yours? When I found out that one of my friends went on vacation all by herself, I didn’t think much of it until I found out she had gone to India! By her-self! I was shocked and surprised. This is something that seems so dangerous, yet very bold and, as strange as it may seem, can make for a positive and healthy experience. When you are able to go outside of your comfort zone, you open up to a whole new world. You are able to enjoy new things and experiences. When you’re in another country, you have a chance to see and meet the local people within that community. You can also become open to learning about natural remedies for sickness, illness and just and general health conditions. As my friend would tell us about her experience, I listened in awe at how the people she met were so open to her, and how bold she was while talking with them, and even taking pictures! This gave her a sense of community. There are benefits to travel to another country. One benefit, for example, is learning new customs such as managing your health, especially when it comes to skin care. Our skin care regimen can always change once we find out what other products actually work, and discover better ways to use natural and/or organic products. (Of course, you want to always sample these products on a small area on your body to see if there will be irritation.) I am all about using natural and organic products, and lately I have become more intrigued by products that are more natural to use on my skin. My friend’s trip overseas has inspired me to get outside of my comfort zone and seek new places and experience, as well as the beauty and health that each culture and country has. “You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you come out” ~Deuteronomy 28:6
PUT THE LIGHT ON ITS STAND ALLON BACCUTH, CONTRIBUTOR
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. - C.S. LEWIS
This mesmerized me. Then I woke up. It was not until I awoke, that I realized the name of the man with a familiar face. And when I recognized who he was, the meaning of the dream flooded my consciousness. We live in United States of America, and this is our nation…this is our city. Whether we like it or not, this city, this nation sits on a hill. We are looked at, and looked to, by the entire world (excluding those without media access.) In light of this fact, we the United States cannot hide – nor would it be argued that many desire to hide. To the contrary, we have been endowed with sundry assets, not in order to become idle or self-serving, but in order to serve and bring forth light to places of darkness in the world.
There was once a house, an old brick farmhouse with many rooms. Its three-story, box-frame sat on the top of a hill.
Were we a city on a hill, or a house on a hill, whose lights were burnt out or non-existent and thus consequently offered no light to the inhabitants within the house, nor to those outside the house, what good then would we be?
Windows lined every wall of the house, each looking out a different direction over the hill. At night, when the skies were as black and empty as a descending well, and the shadows lurked like slow moving molasses, and the stars did not seem bright enough to counteract the darkness, there stood the house upon the hill, and from every single window a light shone forth, penetrating the darkness.
If such were the case, we would be largely unseen, if not hidden. Yet, the fact of the matter is that we do possess light, and we are situated on hill. As it is, naturally, a light must first be lit, somehow and in someway. And when it is lit, it must be placed on its stand, that it might give light to everyone in view, both within close proximity and those who can merely perceive a flicker piercing through the darkness, beckoning and directing that soul forward towards the light.
As I approached this farmhouse, ascending the hill, my vision grew more clarified and my sight discernible from the light protruding out of the house, despite the surrounding dimness. As I drew nearer, I saw many people moving about within every room of the house, all busy with a task.
How could we, why would we, find a light and then place it under a bowl? How counterproductive this would be.
Though these tasks seemed to vary from room-to-room, there was a sense of continuity within the whole house, as if they were all moving about to accomplish the same goal.
How utterly daft to be a proponent for perpetuating darkness by hiding or refusing to place the light on its stand.
As it appeared, this goal was an objective much grander than each of them alone.
The “they” I inquired of in my dream is the American people. In essence, my dream conveyed that we, the American people, have a prerogative to place the light on its stand. To do otherwise would be to perpetuate darkness.
And I saw, as I stood outside one of the windows, that each person diligently worked. Quite unexpectedly, I noticed an aura emanating from the faces of the people within the house, as if there was a light within each of them.
This, then, begs the question: Who or what was it? There is however, a prerequisite question: what stand is being referred to?
I remained gazing upon this spectacle with both curiosity and excitement for quite some time.
For there are many stands, in which lights need to be erected and placed. The stand, with regards to my dream, was the stand of head leadership over this nation, this house on a hill – the stand of U.S. Presidency.
Suddenly I heard a voice, speaking from above, and behind, and all about me. It said, “A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. A city rejoices when the righteous prosper, through the blessing of the righteous a city is exalted.”
Who do we, the American people, place on this stand? Who will give forth light to the American people and to those outside our nation? Who contains and holds in high esteem, with unwavering and consistently displayed strong convictions, the source of all light?
My mind echoed the phrase, “They put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone.” Who were they I questioned. Who or what was it?
The man, who held the Bible in my dream, was Ben Carson, a former presidential candidate. And I believe the dream was a call to the Church to put the light on its stand, that it might give light to everyone.
Then, among those within the farmhouse, I saw a man, whose face bore a familiar resemblance. I looked intently at him. He held the Bible in his hands and from that Bible light poured into the room; a light significantly brighter than the bulbs in the ceiling or the faces of the people within the room, from whom light also shone.
As a fellow disciple of Christ, I encourage you to research both the faiths and fruits (character, conduct, etc.…) of all the U.S. presidential candidates for 2016. Weigh with wisdom the righteousness of each candidate and their adherence, in all policies, to the Truth found in the Bible, namely Jesus Christ – who is the source of Light himself.
“A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. A city rejoices when the righteous prosper, through the blessing of the righteous a city is exalted.” 35
BRINGING A VISION TO LIFE ALLYSEN KERR, EDITOR
Jonny Petrucco is a University of Florida graduate student with a passion for connecting faith with the business world. We sat down with him in March to discuss how his organization, Christian Business Leaders is helping to accomplish this mission.
ALLYSEN:: How did you get the idea for this organization? What is it about, why did you start it?
I was really zealous when I got here. I talked with every single Turlington preacher and I went to five or six different ministries and then that’s how I found out about UniteNOW.
JONNY: I got the idea briefly over the summer. I got real interested in this faith and work intersection, and so I would non-stop, every day, type Christian business stuff on Google, and I would try to find out what was already existing, what ministries are out there, and then that led to me finding a book from Matthew Perman called, “What’s Best Next?”.
And then I’ve just been developing Christian life at UF, and I’ve had three internships so I’m really interested in the business realm as well. So I got my Bachelors in Accounting; I finished in December. And now I’ve started a Masters in Entrepreneurship in January.
And so this led me [to become] interested in connecting all my experiences in the Christian life at the University of Florida. I became involved with UniteNOW and I’ve been very involved in the business school.
ALLYSEN:: How’s that going so far? JONNY: I’m taking it as a part-time grad student so that I can focus. I had an internship earlier this semester, I started at CBL and I’m taking two CPA exams. So I decided to take a part-time load.
So these things merged and I thought all I wanted to do was have a Bible study with four or five guys in the business school. That’s all I wanted to do, which [was] a really small vision compared to what it is now.
I’m going to South Africa in the summer for consulting, a study of our program for the entrepreneurship and then I launch full-time in the fall for the entrepreneurship program.
And, God laughed pretty much, and then I started to talk to some of my friends about this and one guy said he had the same interest and vision, and so we kept meeting different students and, then I met business people…My original intention was small and now it’s developed, and once I had a team that really helped things to go forward in our vision and, now, it is where it is.
ALLYSEN:: So what was your process for getting things organized. Like, if someone asked, ‘Hey Jonny, how can I start an organization?’ What did you do to get ready or prepare yourself to launch this organization?
ALLYSEN:: That’s really awesome! So you guys started this when?
JONNY: You have to empty out your brain. You have to put things on paper. And it will not make sense at first, but you have to have sessions where you can just type for 20 minutes straight.
JONNY: It became an official [student] organization [in February]. I had a “pilot” meeting in October where I got the Dean of the Heavner School of Business to speak and I printed out flyers on my own…I was a one-man show at this point, and boosted the word out like crazy; I got 20 people to show up to that meeting, and at the end I had an altar call and said I have this vision, I’m not doing this alone, I need help, I need co-founders so please come up here at the end to sign the papers of you’re interested in this.
Every single day I would add something new to my document. I use OneNote and it’s the best way, from my experience, to get organized… Evernote is great as well…and this way I created a framework -- a structure. I would have tabs for marketing, fundraising, for vision, and all these things, and then if I ever have a thought I would immediately type it down in the right location.
And then nine people came, that’s almost half of the room came up to write their emails and I set up interviews with them the next day. I interviewed nine people in one day.
So this process of gathering data by research…I have tons of websites. I am hungry to find out what people are doing. I research every single business [student] organization, how they do their Facebook page, what they’re currently going trying to make sense of it in this one document, and then I would keep adding on to it and then I got to a point where I’m a single person trying to have this vision…I reached out to mentors to help guide me, and I probably had my vision framework critiqued by eight different people and every time it went through the fire, it made sense, because at first I was very detailed and analytical in the sense that I couldn’t give a 30-second pitch and someone would get it.
To me this makes sense, to interview them to see who they are and things. One of my mentors, Mason, thought I was crazy to interview people when I’m a single man; I can get all the help I need and I would still interview someone. So, that was just my instinct, but he thought it was kind of mind-blowing that I would do that. ALLYSEN:: Are you happy you did that?
I wasn’t simple. So, through this process, me meeting with mentors allowed me to get more simple.
JONNY: Very happy! Because God is so perfect in His piecing because I outlined 10 positions and I would have conversations and a few questions aligned with the person and then right away I would have a picture of what spot they were supposed to be and the I would show ‘em, here’s the roles, ‘what do you think would work best for you?’ And then every single time, my intention is what they wanted to do. So everyone fit perfectly and now they can serve with their passions and skill sets in the area they’re supposed to be in. So it worked out.
That’s not the end of it because it’s a team effort, and once I get the team on board I presented here’s what God has laid on my heart so far. Here’s what I’ve done through the help of others. I submit this at the altar and what do we think this could be. But it’s very important for the individual who God decides to impart the vision to write it down, and then it’s your responsibility to bring it before the team and to willing for it to get attacked again, and come to a collaborative framework.
ALLYSEN:: So, tell me a little bit about you. Are you in school right now, are you studying, how old are you, where are you from? The whole gambit.
And this way it got real simple; it’s on one page. It makes sense. I couldn’t have done it without me being opened to critiquing.
JONNY: I am 22 years old from Broward County, Florida. I came up here (Gainesville) in 2012. I applied to UCF and UF, but then came up to UF because someone told me it was a better school. I got into the AIM program for at-risk students and then I was in the ROTC program for a semester, so I jumped in pretty much.
ALLYSEN:: So, what other preparations, spiritually did you go through to kinda get ready to launch this. Were you fasting, were you praying, etc? JONNY: Well, as I mentioned over the summer I got interested in faith and 39 37
work. I was doing an internship in Charlotte, NC, and I had time after my internship -- unlike school, where you have homework all the time. So I would spend those times reading a lot, like also spiritual reading and praying, and I just got downloaded a lot of personal direction in my life; things I’m called to. And that’s how it started. It was me seeking God and He showed me that this is something that you are to go down this faith and work path. And that’s why I thought it was just for me. I have a blog idea and a book idea that I want to start and, by the way, that was my intention over summer – actually I already started writing it; however, CBL somehow came up and retold me to put this on hold and go do something that has life. I can tell you many examples of miracles that have happened through CBL. And so, it started out with a personal thing. Then, in order to foster that I would continually think about it and then have mentors guide me through it and then do Biblical research, I guess you could say, and finding the Bible verses, to back this up, and then praying through that…same things that Dave Ramsey does, same things that Tommy Nelson does...and bringing them together as well…finding the correct resources and then praying through how it makes sense in their context. ALLYSEN:: When people, students, business leaders come to your orientation what are they going to get out of it? Who is it for? JONNY: It’s open to everyone. Those who will benefit most: probably Christians. We are overtly Christian. In one sense we’re not a Christian ministry like CRU, Baptist Christian Ministries, Chi Alpha. We are a business group like the student finance group, like the economics club who just happen to be Christians who love God, love people and follow Jesus. So, all are welcome for this is who we are. We have an engineer on our leadership team. Does that make sense? It’s not just for business majors. You will enjoy this club if you are businessminded. So this is an individual wants to go for his MBA after college, this is who it actually caters toward. adaptmag.com 38
ALLYSEN:: So, what is it that you guys do? JONNY: There are three things we do: Speaker meetings are roughly once a month. This is our large group meetings, this is the inspirational talk, this is someone who is very experienced and then you can network with individuals before and after. It’s a large group setting. But this, in many ways, is purposed to filter you, funnel you into the small group setting, which is called a networking group. The networking group is where you flesh this thing out. Our mission is to love people and to revolutionize the way students connect faith with business. How do you change someone’s way of thinking about connecting faith with business? They appear to be quite colder and don’t connect. It’s not going to be a one-time talk. The networking groups are purposed to have a continual fleshing out and straining with this concept. The primary networking group we have is a personal finance group modeled after Dave Ramsey’s material. Our last one we had talked about the difference between stewardship and ownership; how God owns all things and we have stewards of it. The third thing we do is serve, and our goal here is to love students, faculty and then the community. A lot of organizations focus on community service, which is wonderful. Our focus is on the students and then the faculty. So the primary way we do this is through our coffee outreach. We give out free coffee, baked goods, tea, hot cocoa every other week around the business school. All the time they’re asking ‘Why are you doing this?’ Well, our goal is to love students. Please enjoy... ALLYSEN:: What do you guys need right now? Are you inviting people to join you. Do you need business leaders to come in and get involved? JONNY: So, I’ll just identify a few items: Speakers. We have three or four speakers aligned for the fall. Morris Morrison, motivational and
international speaker, John Rivers (CEO of 4Rivers Smokehouse) and then Ruth Everhart, who does MaryKay. We want get a local speaker for next fall; not sure who that will be yet. So, local speakers and then international speakers.
associations of the like. Gainesville has a few random things that are affiliated with faith and work, but they haven’t come together--Leadercast is the best example; they do a great job. So the need here is for individuals very interested in this business and faith connection to initiate and lead this community group.
From the student’s perspective, we need students to participate in the events. We want every person in this group is to be a leader. That’s the purpose of Christian business leaders; you don’t come to be an attendee or a participant. Inevitably this happens, and that’s okay. But the focus and the point is that everyone can take up some responsibility and learn how to lead and learn to be a disciple, to be a follower.
Just as I have a leadership team for the students, I would love to see a leadership team in the community. And this way, once that’s established the two can very much connect through mentorship opportunities. Obviously another need is finances. I have a budget of very detailed itemized, probably about $2,500 for the year. [At the time of this interview] I am $500 in the hole. I have a spread sheet that accounts for everything, but I am taking everything out of my own account until someone else can contribute.
So, that’s from a students perspective. There’s many things they can do. From the community perspective, I will explain that there are two separate groups happening. The student groups that I told you about, and simultaneously I’m trying to establish a community of Christian business leaders group. Eventually, my hope is that these two will blend together and merge through mentorship opportunity, through prayer and financial support, through being a speaker, through internships where the students can connect with business people.
I’m actively seeking people; we already had a few donate. My hope is that eventually it’s self-sustaining; that the alumni members can contribute back, but as a start-up, we need the initial funds. So, the needs: speakers, leaders for this community group, financial support, prayer support, and mentors.
The need I have is to develop this community component. And it’s not developed in Gainesville.
Follow CBL on Facebook @ChristianBusinessLeadersAtUF.
There are plenty of other cities that have Christian businessmen
CAREER + MONEY
LEADERSHIP MENTORING: EMPOWERING PEOPLE TO SUCCEED PAUL A KERR, ASSISTANT EDITOR
It might surprise you to know that, for the most part, successful people have never reached their goals alone. There always has been someone along the journey to help them navigate the paths to their destiny in life. Whether it’s in giving feedback, providing coaching, guidance, encouragement, or even inspiration, mentoring is an essential skill every leader should possess.
However, if you find you’re drawn towards helping people, always encouraging them to be their best and have a positive outlook, chances are you could be a candidate for mentoring. An important first step is to consider what is required before taking the plunge. Here is a short list of some essential skills: 1. Share your knowledge. People love to hear other people’s experiences, by this you’re giving them ‘H.O.P.E.’; don’t be afraid to share what you know. 2. Be a good communicator. This skill is especially helpful when you’re trying to help people discover their identity, and where they’re going in life. 3. Encourage and motivate them. Your personal experiences can be a great way to help others see that they are not unique in their situation, and that you’ve been whey are. 4. Be inquisitive. Ask questions to learn about the needs of people so you can provide them with good and wise counsel. 5. Have a willingness to invest your time in them and contribute to their growth and development. Many mentees have credited their success to the kind of leader who guided them throughout their career journey.
What is mentoring? I’m glad you asked. Mentoring is a partnership that is based on mutual respect with two individuals; in other words, a mentor and a mentee (also referred to as a protégé) contributing to the discussion.
If all this has got you thinking so far, here are a few suggestions for starting a mentorship partnership and developing that leadership-mentoring connectivity with others:
Mentorship is a practice that has traveled throughout the decades, and among cultures, in which a more experienced person assists someone in his or her career or personal development. It is a great way to develop people who aspire to leadership.
1. Set clear and realistic expectations when developing a mentoring partnership. 2. Foster a safe environment for a trusted relationship. 3. Determine what each of you perceives as boundaries for the relationship. 4. Establish how confidentiality will be handled. 5. Create a welcoming and inviting atmosphere (office, break room, etc.). 6. Establish a meeting time. Know the purpose and explain goals; stick to the schedule and be accountable. 7. Communication. Develop mechanisms/checklists, etc., to guide your conversations. 8. Measure/assess progress. Evaluate the relationship periodically. 9. Provide feedback. This is critical to the relationship, as well as the continued growth and development. 10. Be available for support and encouragement. 11. Above all, enjoy the journey!
Perhaps you are a student desiring to be in management after you graduate. Or, maybe your goal is to become a leader of an organization some day. Or, perhaps you are presently a leader in your church or running your own business. Whatever your position, you should know that there will be people who cross your path to whom you might one day give advice on their personal growth or professional development. What an awesome opportunity that could turn out to be! I have benefited on multiple occasions from the sincere and effective mentorship of some really amazing leaders who helped me navigate through my career. Secondary to learning to put my trust and future in God’s hands, these dedicated men and women invested time to make sure I was always on a solid path to succeed in my endeavors. They helped me discover my full potential and always reminded me that I had much more to offer others than I could ever have imagined. Are you a leader or a mentor? While the two roles often go hand-in-hand, there’s only a slight difference: A leader is one who guides and inspires others to be their very best.
It’s always been said that experience is the best teacher. People who love to talk about themselves, their experiences, how they got to the stage in their career journey, often inspire others to want to persevere while pursuing their own success.
A mentor is a wise and trusted advisor, a master guide and preceptor -one with whom you can share your deepest fears and concerns, yet feel confident they won’t betray your trust.
This could be the opportunity you’ve been looking for -- to positively impact another’s life. And, why not? There is a whole world out there looking for someone who can lead them to the next level in their life. Perhaps you’re the one.
And, since mentoring can offer enrichment and encourage development, for the leader who is also a mentor, this means having the best of both worlds. Empowering people to succeed. It’s what leader/mentors do and is often good at. You might be asking yourself, ‘Is mentoring right for me?’ Truthfully, everyone is not cut out to be a mentor, so the answer to this question lies within you alone.
The Leadership + Justice Issue. Good leaders learn how to follow. Are you willing to do what it takes to become a great leader?
Published on May 17, 2016
The Leadership + Justice Issue. Good leaders learn how to follow. Are you willing to do what it takes to become a great leader?