Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Millennial Leader: An Introduction

I started laughing before I typed a single letter of this blog entry. “The Millennial Leader”–even the words make me laugh. I have to tell you, I have worked with a lot of millennials. In my current job, I started out surrounded by millennials. One was very smart but incredibly insecure; one was gorgeous but made very stupid decisions on the daily; and one was fairly smart and hard-working. All three were women. I currently work with one millennial male, and he’s a mix of all three of those. Somewhat smart, makes stupid decisions on the daily, hard-working, gorgeous (lol). He is a far better example of what millennial leadership should look like than the girls were–which, as a woman myself, naturally upsets me.

Millennials are the subject matter of leadership material everywhere; interesting, because my generation never needed books written on how to deal with us, work with us, or train us to be leaders. Seems most of us just naturally figured it out. But with these new generations, that is not the case. There are tons of videos, articles, and books that deal only with how to work with millennials and groom them for leadership. The truth is, millennials are a lot of hard work in the workplace. Looking at the four I mentioned up there, only one has moved on to do bigger and better things–the fairly smart hardworking woman. The rest are floundering, because they entered into an organization that did not train them properly, work with them on their skills (leadership and otherwise), and expected far too much of them in an environment not well-suited for them. That is partially the fault of organizations and companies worldwide; the rest of the blame falls on parents, culture, and millennials themselves who have been handled with kid gloves so they only respond to compliments, praise, and rewards.

And if there’s one place where millennials are getting far too many leadership opportunities and not nearly enough training, it is in the church. Don’t get me wrong; I see the need for millennials in our churches. We want and NEED this generation to be involved in the church and contributing to its success. However, we are doing them an injustice by not giving them proper training and support and making sure they are being healed from their issues prior to throwing them into ministry.

My church is no different. I can look across our campuses and see the involvement of millennials as pastors (youth, worship, children’s, even campus pastors). But I also see where we as a church have failed them. We plucked many of them from their former environments–where some of them are struggling to overcome family issues, addictive behaviors, and worse–and expected them to lead ministries and people without giving them the resources to succeed.

And as this is happening, the millennials themselves are demanding to “have a seat at the table”–to contribute and speak their minds without fear of failure. And all the while, they are failing to lead with integrity and failing to thrive because they refuse to be held accountable, refuse to give up their vices (desiring to be worldly and godly at the same time), and refuse to mature emotionally (and thus, spiritually). And I am watching it happen with great sadness.

And yet, my worship leader, at the tender age of 23, stands head and shoulders above his peers. I’ve led and coached a number of people in my lifetime, and I’ve been led by a number of people in my lifetime. And I am also very proud to say that he’s one of the best leaders with whom I have ever worked.

I am excited to share how a ministry team can thrive under a spiritually mature millennial who leads with integrity and honor. You don’t want to miss this!

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It’s Been A While…

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Well, readers, it’s been a while since I posted, and for that I do apologize. Life happens, you know? However, over the last few months, I’ve realized how much I need to blog–how much I need to share what God is doing in my life. It’s my testimony, and it’s a way that I can get the word (and the Word) out to others. So I am hoping to blog more regularly now that my life has calmed down significantly. And I do hope you’ll come along for the ride!

Right now, I’m on vacation enjoying a few days to rest and rejuvenate. I haven’t had a schedule, an itinerary, or anything to do for a couple of days–and I’m away, so that’s been something new for me. Friends always make fun of me for my schedules and plans, but this is the first time I haven’t made any plans and have just listened to my spirit. And my spirit has said “REST.” So honestly, that’s what I have done!

I plan to share some of the exciting things that have happened in the last year of my life over two series of blog posts. One series will be entitled “The Millennial Leader” and will talk about a leader I currently serve with who is impressive. I’m excited to hit some of the highs and lows of this, because millennials often get the sham when it comes to their leadership skills. I’m lucky to work beside a millennial leader who is doing many of the right things–and then some. I can’t wait to highlight him!

Another series will be called “The Broken Road Blessings” and will chronicle a relationship in my life that started with a vision God gave to someone else for me. This will be my most difficult and challenging blog series I’ve written to date; the vulnerable nature of this series will have me sharing parts of my life and heart that I have yet to share with anyone, even my close friends. I think that’s because this will be the first time I’ve put this into words and seriously thought it out. Either way, I look forward to sharing this information with you.

And lastly, I plan to share some of the things I’ve encountered in my life over the last year regarding my health–physical, spiritual, and emotional, and I will call this series “First Aid.” I was recently diagnosed with a plethora of things, but praise be to God, God has healed me, and I want to touch on these things and how God has shown Himself faithful (as always) through these storms.

I’m excited about all that I have to share with you–and even more excited to get all of these thoughts out of my head! Thanks for being here.

Monday Minute: A Time to Grieve

I am grieving for my uncle who died today. 

He was a broken man who tried his best to do good. He made me laugh. He gave selflessly at times. I went with him to Vegas and drove a cross country trip with him during a huge turning point my life—we took the “cascenic” route, hitting every casino we could find all the way from Arizona to Virginia. He was a treasured part of our Siblings Cruise vacations. 

His last few years here were marred with health issues, his trademark stubbornness, and a depression that resulted from the fallout of a major stroke. I longed to see him laugh—giggle, actually—the way he used to when something tickled him. I was sad when he left for the west coast, knowing I might not ever see him again. 

I am grieving the man who gave me the down payment for my first car. The silent soul who said little but knew a lot. The friend who was kind to all, but close with only a few. He had far too many demons and far too little peace. I pray that Jesus saved him before he passed.

Monday Minute: Time Share

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I just logged into my blog and realized that it’s been TWO MONTHS since I last blogged. That is CRAZY…and I believe it’s crazy because so much has happened, and I’m really mad that I haven’t been writing more . The Lord has been so good to me, and has shown me such extravagant love over the last two months, and I dislike that I haven’t been sharing it with you.

It makes me think about time…how we spend it, how we use it, how we lose it. I have been spending lots of special time with the Lord lately, and while I wouldn’t trade that for blogging, I have this blog so that I can share with you about identity and the Lord’s work in me. Part of the call on our lives, our ministries, is that we share what the Lord is doing in us and through us. So please accept my apology for not sharing more.

And I want to encourage you this Monday to not let time fly by you, either. Time is a precious gift, and we are meant to share it with others. Take time for yourself, take time for others, and most importantly, take time for the Lord.

“Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” -Ephesians 5:16

Monday Minute: Just Apologize

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A friend of mine skipped my birthday festivities and did not alert me he would not attend. He never called, never texted–just didn’t show and then went on vacation for two weeks. When I brought it up with him, his response was, “I’m a work in progress.”

That’s true. We all are.

But APOLOGIZE, dude! It’s two simple words–either “I’m sorry” or “I apologize.” When there is even a HINT that you could’ve hurt a good friend’s feelings, just apologize. It tells people you’re thinking of more than just yourself–it shows you care about others’ feelings.

So next time someone points out something you did wrong*, swallow your pride and JUST APOLOGIZE!

*not applicable to coworkers with severe insecurity issues who take everything you say as a sleight against them

LL School Day: Safety Nets

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One of the lessons I’m learning about right now is safety nets. We have lots of safety nets that we depend on in this life; I feel quite sure that grieves the heart of God in many ways. We think of people as safety nets; possessions; money; careers; so many things can become safety nets to us, which causes us to miss the point of God entirely.

I didn’t realize it until my car broke down recently, but money has been my safety net. As a single woman with no family or husband to count on financially, and as someone who doesn’t have a killer job making buckets of money, I have always been incredibly cautious about money and having enough saved to feel financially comfortable. The problem is, it was never enough–until it wasn’t there anymore.

The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and the LORD shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders. –Deuteronomy 33:12 

The Bible reminds us in many places, OT and NT, that God wants to be our safety net. He wants to be the One that we depend on. He wants to take care of our every need, our every want, and our every desire. And any time we depend on someone or something else to do so, we miss out on receiving something wonderful from our Heavenly Father–His gift of HIMSELF.

The great thing about God being our safety net is that God will always provide for His children. It might not be what we want or expect, but He is always there, and He is always on time. And even better: God will always be enough. We may not ever have enough money, love, or power–but we always have more than enough in God.

And that’s an invaluable safety net.

LL School Day: Anger at God

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It’s been a difficult week. My car broke down to the tune of $2,000. I finally got it fixed, and got it back last Friday…only to have it break down again on Sunday–the problem related to something they were supposed to have just fixed. And the mechanic that’s been working on it is closed this week.

Because I had just dropped most of my savings on my car, I didn’t have the money to rent another car. So I’ve been taking the bus this week and depending on the kindness of my friends.

On Monday, I waited outside my job for 30 minutes for a bus that never came. I had been trying to deal, but I lost it. I came back into my place of employment, sat in the basement room where the tourists come to watch a brief video on the history of the place, and I bawled my eyes out. It was the third time in 24 hours that I had done that.

Life is difficult. As Christians, we have zero promises in the Word about an easy life. Instead, we are told, “Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows.” (John 16:33–thanks, Jesus.) It also says that Jesus has overcome the world. But I have admit–in the moment, it just doesn’t feel like it.

And I think that’s okay. Because feelings pass. I was very angry at God for a couple of days–like full-out-cussing-and-refusing-to talk-to-Him-without-using-four-letter-words angry. I’m not ashamed to admit that, because I think it’s important that I have a fully encompassing relationship with God. If I have the capacity to feel it, it’s because God created it and gave it to me. So obviously, He can handle it. Yes, I sinned in my anger, but I also asked for forgiveness and am allowing God to heal my heart and love me again.

I’m not saying it’s right or wrong to be angry with God. I’m just saying that if it happens, God is God enough to handle it and forgive us if we sin in the midst of it. I’m getting better about dealing with trials (I was angry for two days instead of two weeks this time); but in the meantime, I can rest in knowing that God can take a shoving and keep on loving.

LL School Day: No Respect

Read this in a blog yesterday: “Adultery is no respecter of persons.” But really, I thought it should’ve said, “SIN is no respecter of persons.

My friend has a husband who loves guns. She’s always nervous because she has two small kids and he can be somewhat careless with his guns. Once she asked him, “what if you have an accident?” And he said, “I won’t. I will never have an accident with my guns.” What he fails to recognize is that accidents aren’t planned; you don’t get to decide if an accident happens to you; they just do. They happen to everyone, because accidents are no respecter of persons. And the same goes for sin.

Look, I don’t care who you are, you’re going to fall in sin. The Word says that “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). The great thing about sin is that everyone on this earth struggles with it. Doesn’t matter who you are; you just do and you will until you die. Sin is like brushing your teeth before bed; you wake up in the morning, and your teeth need to be brushed again. “How did that happen? I was ASLEEP! I didn’t eat anything!” But yet bacteria and germs festered in your mouth overnight, and now your breath is funky and you gotta brush again. That bacteria doesn’t say, “oh, that’s Michelle. She’s a good girl; we are going to let her off the hook and give her sparkly fresh breath every morning.”

Again, the same goes for sin. Sin doesn’t care who you are; sin just says, I’m going to fester and grow. Doesn’t matter if you are a scholar, a homeless person, a mom, a dentist, or a BMX biker. Sin affects us all. You can’t escape it.

But I’m glad Jesus is my toothbrush!

 

LL School Day: Being Lovers

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It’s a leadership lesson school day! These are going to be short blogs I write during the week with leadership lessons I’m learning (and believe me, I’m learning a LOT these days). They’re not going to be connected in any way, except for the fact they are all lessons.

Read recently: “Love isn’t what I have the opportunity to GET from this world; love is what I have the opportunity to GIVE.” (1 Corinthians 13)

Well, if that one didn’t punch me in the face, I don’t know what will.

One of my biggest issues is being loved, and subsequently, loving others. And I feel plenty of love from plenty of people in my life, but I have always been a seeker of love. My complaint to God has always been that I want someone to love me.

Now, I have PLENTY of people who love me. But you know, I’m usually talking about THAT kind of love.

And one of my other issues is that I know deep within me that I am always seeking to feel loved. But this quote challenged me: how much am I seeking to give love away? Not much. That’s because I’m always withholding love for fear of rejection. It doesn’t matter if it is with my family, my friends, or potential suitors, I have the tendency to be more closed off and unavailable to them than they are to me. I have known that I am afraid to love, but I didn’t realize how much I would hold back from being myself, from expressing myself to others out of that fear of rejection.

So when I saw this quote, I immediately thought…how can I move from trying to get love to trying to give love? Immediately, God told me to text someone and tell them how I was feeling/what I was thinking. So I did. The response was less than stellar/accepting, but at the same time, it was the response I needed. Because God wanted me to understand that it wasn’t about their response; if it was about their response, then it was what I was getting in return. Instead, it was about my choice to GIVE, regardless of the outcome. And that is a hard lesson, but a good one to learn, nonetheless.

So…how are you giving love away today–without expecting anything in return?

Blogger Interrupted

Allow me to apologize for not blogging again last week! It was fully my intent to get back into the blogosphere with a vengeance, but I was interrupted by a ma$$ive car repair. Lucky me, God is using it to refine me in the fire! While I’m waiting–for my car and my Lord, I fully expect to post this week. Thank you for hanging in there!