lessons in leadership

All of us are leaders. You may not have some high power leadership job but you are leading others, even if you are unaware of it. God has called each of us to a specific role, in a specific place, and for this specific time. He has gifted us and He is using our experiences to grow us and changes. And the really cool thing is He is using us to grow and change others. This got me to thinking of some leadership skills I’ve experienced and some I’d like to grow in. Let me share them with you.

Listen.

As leaders we probably spend way too much time talking. We should talk less and listen more. Don’t just hear them but pay attention to what people are saying! Listening gains trust!

Share your lives with others.

Isn’t this one of greatest gifts of leadership. Be open to share your life with the people around you… have meals together, play together, cry together, laugh together. This will bring joy to both parties!

Think the best in others.

This was a leadership lesson shared with me a couple years ago and when it was said I had this “ah ha” moment where I was like of course that is what we should be doing but for some reason it doesn’t always naturally occur to me!

Be authentic. 

Share your vision and live your values, be yourself. What does being yourself look like, to me it means not just agreeing with other people or forming your opinions based on what you perceive others want. Sometimes that even means looking closely to identify who we really are.

Be gracious. 

So you are being yourself and you don’t agree with someone, handle that with grace and kindness. Always show respect in conversation and realize differences in opinions don’t have to lead to broken relationships.

Realize when you are wrong.

Don’t beat yourself up about it but realizing and owning where you are wrong will build trust and authenticity within in your community!

What are some practical leadership principles you live by?

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18 for 2018 [looking forward]

On a road trip when I was home for Christmas I happened upon this podcast called Happier. I liked the concept of the word happier…like you do not have to be the happiest but moving towards happier is a healthy way to look at our lives. So I listened to a couple episodes and they caught my attention with this challenge to create a “to do” list of 18 things for 2018 that would make you happier. You know it’s like setting resolutions but instead of a list of things you feel like you have to do this would be a list of things you’d want to do. So I sat down and created my list and thought I’d share it with you! Here goes…

6 new things
6 random acts of kindness
5 year NYC anniversary (done)
Long Day (this is a day of fun on summer solace I created last year)
2018 miles (run, walk, or bike)
#SistaVacay10
2015-2016 photo book (I’m a bit behind)
A Christy/Jesus retreat
Take a writing seminar (Should I write a book??)
Take a cooking class (Scheduled for April)
Finish my LIC restaurant list (I want to eat at every restaurant in my neighborhood, I have about 15 more to go)
Disneyworld (with Misty’s family next month)
Frozen on Broadway
Win 2 diet bets/fitness competition (one almost finished)
Do 18 random generous things (2 down 16 to go)
One distant friend call a month
Treat yo’self once a month
Read Bonhoeffer biography (This one may talk all year!)

I tried to make the list a little ministry and a little personal. I cannot wait to see how they all turn out. The ones I have accomplished already have been a blessing. Here’s to making 2018 a little happier!

17 for 2017 [a review]

Let’s wrap up 2017 with one of my favorite things: a LIST! I love making list because, well honestly, they are easy to read! As I was listening to a podcast the other day, I was challenged to choose 18 things to do in 2018 to bring a little more happiness to my life. That got me to thinking back on this year and I wanted to share with you my top 17 moments of the year 2017.

These are in no particular order and may exclude some important moments but its the list I can think of on December 31, 2017.

  1. Seeing my friends Tara and Leslie baptized and listening to them share about their faith and how our New City Church family has become home to them.
  2. Traveling to Greece and Egypt with some great friends to celebrate the wonderful Christy Hill’s 40th birthday.
  3. Thanksgiving this year was such a blessing. I loved serving with New City folks at a local homeless residence and then spending the rest of the day with my fantastic friends eating some delicious food.
  4. Spending quality time with old friends in Owensboro, KY.
  5. Training other missionaries in partnership development.
  6. Seeing the Great Pyramids in Egypt.
  7. Michael and Shannon Hill moving to NYC. This family has been a great addition to my life and our ministry. And their two adorable girls are a big part of that!
  8. Flying over Greenland and seeing some of the most amazing white scenery I’ve ever seen.
  9. Walking through a difficult journey with a friend. I know this doesn’t sound like a great moment, but we are made for relationships and in the tears and heartache for this friend, I’m becoming a better me and God is using our friendship for His purposes.
  10. Will and Molly visiting NYC (there were some other cool visitors but these were my favorite).
  11. 1st Annual NYC Long Day. Although a lot of it was rained out I love starting traditions and look forward to making this a part of my summer each year.
  12. Celebrating 10 years of friendship with my Nashville friends.
  13. Closing out 5 years in NYC!
  14. VIP tickets to a Yankees game!
  15. Ringing in the new year in Times Square, something I had been trying to do since 2000.
  16. Coaching missionaries serving in NYC.
  17. And last and probably most impactful…being constantly surrounded by amazing people that push me to be the best version of me and love me even when I fail at it!

Watch for next month’s blog post where I share my 18 for 2018!

A picture is worth a 1000 words…

Ok so maybe not a 1000 words because you don’t read blogs for a thousand words but apparently this is just what you say when you think a picture summarizes an experience more than your actual words can! So here’s a bunch of pictures to update you my life and ministry!

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In September Send NYC hosted a vision tour. Here Josh Edney, a team member, from the Bridge Church talks with the participants about the work God is doing through their church and the potential they have to move into this building in Flatbush.

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Recently, I started working with Steve Kersh at the national office to lead other missionaries in Ministry Partnership Development training and coaching. This is from a seminar we did earlier this month through BLVD at NAMB. I’m excited to help other leaders grow in their knowledge and understanding of partnership development.

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Long Island City continues to grow and expand. This is looking down Jackson Ave where it meets 50th Ave.  The Citi Bank Building is getting a lot of company in the sky.

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Recently we had 26 people sign up to serve through one of our New City Church ministry teams! This was a great Sunday to mobilize our church family to be on mission with us!

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View from One World Observatory! You can see LIC to the far upper right.

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Grateful for times when friends and ministry partners get to visit me! This is my friend Brandi who I had the privilege of sharing life with when I lived in Nashville.

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The Hills’ newest addition is adding some fun variety to my life. Here she is rocking it during worship yesterday. 

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In September I was blessed to share at a women’s conference through NY WMU. It was great to share what God is doing through my ministry with women who love and support missions.

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Ellis with his friend Macy. He continues to give me opportunities to meet people and have conversations. It helps that he is the world’s friendliest dog. He even hung out at the carnival with us and helped lead the costume parade.

Continue to pray for the work of New City and other church plants in New York! God is doing great work and I’m very thankful to play a small part in it.

A Quick Update

I try really hard to keep you guys updated on my ministry but some months are harder than others. This month has been particular hard. I generally struggle with this the most when ministry is really busy or I’m facing some sort of life crisis and this month has been a little bit of both so its been hard to think how to best update you.

So I’m going to give you a fast update with a list.

  • I had a great time a couple weeks ago with a team from APSU BCM in TN. I was so thankful to have them share in our ministry at NCC as well as other plants around the city. I love working with college students and their campus director is a personal friend of mine, so it was a lot of fun.
  • Life at New City is an absolute blast, relationships are continuing to build and life change is happening in many ways.
  • We have enjoyed the addition of the Hill family over the last few months, not only at our church but in our friendships as well. Shannon and I have become great friends and I love exploring the city with her and introducing her to some of my favorite places while trying new ones as well.
  • At the end of April I helped lead a training for missionaries serving through NAMB’s MSC program. This is the fundraising/partnership development process that NAMB missionaries go through and I’m excited to continue to help missionaries raise support for their ministries.
  • My sister and niece Molly came to visit last weekend and it was a fantastic time! Seeing NY through a kids eyes is hilarious and exhausting all at the same time. Molly went home and told her teacher she got her nails done at a salon in NYC. The teacher clarified with Misty that she in fact did. Molly had a blast and I loved every minute of it.
  • Last week I was in TN. I originally planned to be home for the weekend for my nephews high school graduation but made the trip a bit longer to see my friend and former intern, Sabrina Thompson, as she is dealing with some health stuff. It was good to be there with her and pray for her and her surgeon before she had surgery.
  • My nephews graduation was a lot of fun, its weird to think he no longer has to go to high school. We had a great celebration with family!
  • We are just weeks away from our GenSend students arriving as well as our New City interns. It will be a jammed packed summer of interns and ministry. I am really looking forward to it and have spent a good deal of the month prepping for GenSend team. I will be leading that group this summer but still interact with the New City team.
  • Lastly, Wednesday I leave for vacation. I look forward to a time of rest, relaxation and exploring another part of our globe and seeing another culture. I value vacation and time away and I am thankful for the sell of my condo last fall to make this trip possible!

A couple things you can be praying for! Pray for my friend Sabrina as she continues to deal with this unexpected health issue. Pray for my nephew as he embarks on adulthood and that he would let God lead him. Pray for my vacation that it will be a restful, refreshing time! And lastly pray for the summer mission teams and interns that will be serving across the city this summer!

Photo journal of a week

Ever wondered what the Number 1 question I am asked about my ministry, well here it is… “What does a typical week look like for you?”. So I want to answer this question this month for you with pictures because reading about it would probably be very boring.

Sunday

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Sunday’s are for New City. I arrive at church around 9:30 to help with setup. Once we get everything setup we welcome volunteers and then guests and regular attenders. I love greeting and helping our people connect with each other. We are normally done around 1pm and then head to lunch with friends. I generally spend the rest of my Sunday relaxing, because Sundays are busy days!

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A large part of my “job” at New City now is organizing, recruiting, scheduling and shepherding our volunteers. This has really helped create a “volunteer family” at our church plant and is helping us to create some emphasis around owning your faith and serving in it.

Monday

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Making its way onto Monday, is the most boring photo of my week. I spend a lot of my “office hours” from home, coffee shops, or the New City office. A good portion of my week I work on plans for events, volunteers, internships, mission teams, team members, emails, phone calls, etc. These “tasks” of ministry make things happen and while not glamorous are absolutely essential. (also essential: coffee)

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Monday nights I attend a Bible Study Fellowship group in Manhattan. While this is not my group, it looks a lot like this (minus those boys). BSF is an interdenominational Bible study group so I enjoy getting to know women from other areas of Christianity and from different cultural backgrounds. I also love the in-depth study of a book of the Bible. We are currently wrapping up a study on John.

Tuesday

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In between “tasks”, meetings, social events, etc I take Ellis to the park to hang out. We have met lots of new friends this way and are using these connections to have gospel conversations and invite people to church. This is Ellis and our friends Erin (human) and Macy (dog).

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Most Tuesday nights I play volleyball with a group of people in the school where our church meets, it’s a great opportunity to build relationships in our community and I get some good exercise. In the warmer months we play at the sand court in our park.

Wednesday

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Wednesday mornings I usually meet with the Send NYC team, which is Steve Canter pictured here and Sterling Edwards not pictured but sitting to the left of the girl standing in the photo. This was a meeting we had a few weeks back with a former IMB missionary to the deaf who is starting a deaf ministry at Sterlings replant church, Park Slope Community Church.

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I’m the only one that knew I was taking this picture so I hope these students don’t kill me for this. Another important ministry I am apart of through Send NYC is our GenSend internship. This summer I will help lead and coach a team of 16 college students that will be serving in three of our Brooklyn church plants. I love this part of my ministry.

Thursday

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Once a month I write an email newsletter update. Here is a sample of the first part! If you don’t get my newsletter, feel free to fill out the “About You” section of this blog and I will add you to the newsletter. I also write three other newsletters through out the month, one for our Send NYC partners, one for our Church Planting Team Members and one for our New City volunteers.

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On Thursday nights I met with Chelsi (pictured reading the Word) and Tara for a discipleship circle. We are reading 2 Corinthians together now. This is one of my favorite times of the week!

Friday

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These are our lady Church Planting Team Members serving across the city (there are some guy team members as well but I didn’t have a pretty picture of them). Twice a week I coach two our new team members and at various times throughout the week I am interacting with others or planning trainings/gatherings with them and having conversations with potential missionaries about serving in NYC.

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Sometimes I take time out of my ministry work to pick up a side babysitting job. I like to hang out with babies and I also like the extra spending money!

Saturday

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This is from last Saturday and represents brunch on Saturdays as well as our small group that meets on Wednesday nights. Brunch is a big deal in NY so when we need a small group fellowship time, we take on brunch.

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Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon is my sabbath (I like to sabbath with my Jewish friends). Ok not really but I believe that a Sabbath is important for all Christians and this is the time that works best for me. So I try to protect this time for fellowship, time alone with God, and rest. This is from last Saturday when I was beating Natalie at a dance game… well I was losing but I thought I would share this slightly embarrassing photo anyway!

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Maybe a better picture of Sabbath… hanging out in this awesome view!

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Lastly, Saturdays are for fun nights out with friends and trying different restaurants around the city. This was a Hawaiian place Jocelyn and I tried last week and that is a Brûlée Pineapple that was delicious.

Reflections on a year…

One year ago today, I moved into the apartment God provided me through a NYC housing lottery. This week’s social media memories from Timehop have been filled with excitement, joy, and most importantly relief.

Following the approval and moving in, I wrote two blogs, A place to call home! and More big news!! (See October 2015 archives to read them). So this weekend I went back through and read these posts. Here are my quick reflections based on the reality of this last year and the anticipation and hope from these posts.

  1. Living in Long Island City has been a tremendous blessing for my ministry at New City Church, most of our church members and friends are just next door or down the street so loving on them and serving them is more convenient from this location.
  2. Although God has used my home as a ministry, I don’t feel like I have used it to the fullest. I wanted to use my home in creative ways that would point people to Christ. This has seldom happened and the reason is because I’m just not that great at coming up with ideas and not bold enough to make big moves sometimes. (I did try to host a brunch once but it failed before it even happened…lol)
  3. It’s easy how quickly we forget the pain and suffering of difficult situations once they have passed. It’s rare that I think about those tears once shed over the struggle of apartment living in NYC.
  4. While I have met almost all of my neighbors on my floor and have interacted with people from all over the building, it’s harder than I expected to build genuine relationships with people in my building.
  5. God’s work is never accidental or haphazard. Its no consequence that October 16 was my application date one year, the lease signing date the next year, and a day of reflection and thought this year.
  6. Much of the first three years of my life here felt like constant transition and preparing for the next phase but this last year has been a settling down year. Its been a great year in many ways but in other ways its been hard. I no longer look at my life here as “this is where I live right now” but more of “this is where I live”.
  7. I continue to feel extremely grateful and I have probably said 9000 times this year how God provided this for His glory and I’m just trying to use it for His purposes.
  8. My last reflection is this… it’s really, really nice to have an elevator and air conditioning whenever I need it.

Pardon my ramblings but just thought I’d share with you some of my thoughts. My biggest desire is to see God glorified in the things He provides and the ways He leads; so my biggest plea tonight is that you pray that I will continue to use my home as a blessing for ministry here and that I will be more open to ways to build relationships in my building and that I don’t stand in the way of how God would call me use this blessing.