Author Archives: Brandi Wilson

Mixtape: It Stinks Being the Bad Guy

Brandi Wilson 2I’m just gonna start by stating the obvious… It stinks being the bad guy. I mean rotten egg, wet dog food, road kill kinda of stink.

However, in leadership, sometimes it is necessary. And I know that no one enjoys being the bad guy and delivering hard truths, but it seems especially difficult for those of us who have the personality strength of harmony. Dang that harmony and our need for consensus… after all we don’t enjoy conflict but seek areas of agreement.

There are times in ministry we have to be the bad guy. Deliver hard truth. Be criticized because we were honest. Even if that honesty was delivered in love, laced with grace and covered in prayer we still often face the judgment of hurt hearts. But, because we’re leaders, one of our jobs is to help those trusted in our leadership to grow and develop in Christ.

We’ve established it isn’t fun, but sometimes it is necessary. What can we do to help “bad guy” conversations go more smoothly?

1. Pray. Pray. And pray some more. Pray for Brandi Wilson ayour words, your heart, your attitude. Pray for their heart, their ability to hear and perceive your words. Often this is our last line of defense when it should be our first!

2. Sit with God. Take time alone to hear Him guide you, to give you the words and the heart needed to address each one of these situations.

3. Make sure you have all the facts. These tough conversations aren’t something we jump into, but seek to really understand the truth of the situation. There are always two sides to every story.

4. Believe the best. Often difficult situations like these are good people who have made a bad decision. Remember they are God’s beloved and show them grace and love.

5. Pray some more. It can’t be said enough. Cover the situation in prayer. 

Of the five steps listed above, which one seems to be the most difficult for you?

(originally published on September 3, 2013)

World Help Operation Baby Rescue: Guatemala

I don’t know about you, but I have loved following #LALIRescue15 this week on social media. Seeing 25 Leading and Loving It ladies on a mission trip together, rescuing babies and providing hope, love and hugs to so many who feel they’ve been forgotten. Today Lori, Lisa and Noel have a personal message and a challenge just for us.

Guatemala | #LALIRescue15 from World Help on Vimeo.

Want to know how you can partner with us and save 200 babies? How to provide hope in situations that seem hopeless? Join us HERE and help save children in desperate situations who need to know the love of Jesus.

Help us show these children a little bit of heaven right now.

12 Steps To A Healthier Staff Culture: Step 8

Posted by Brandi Wilson

Step 8One of my greatest struggles in ministry has been balancing leadership and friendship. One of my greatest blessings in ministry has been balancing leadership and friendship.

Putting yourself “out there” in ministry also means you’re putting your entire family “out there” as well. I’d be lying if I said friendship in ministry has always been easy. I have been hurt, and I have hurt others unintentionally, I’m sure. Despite the pain, I still choose friendship.

The reality is your leadership hat and your friendship hat will collide. And because of what we are called to do, your leadership hat will trump your friendship hat. Here are a few tips as you’re navigating friendships in leadership.

Assume the Best. Friendship chooses to believe the best in people – to give the benefit of the doubt. Friendship refuses to fill the unknown with negative assumptions. A good friendship focuses on the positive.

About three years ago, I was in a season where I felt overwhelmed and needed to work through some personal issues with a counselor. Without even realizing it, I had gone almost three weeks without even talking to Lori. I remember which street I was driving down when she called me to check in. In that moment, I realized that in my disfunction I had distanced myself from her. But the best part of this story is when Lori said, “I knew you needed some space.” She didn’t allow negative thoughts to run rampant in her mind and eat away at our friendship. She didn’t follow a negative thought pattern like “She obviously doesn’t appreciate me enough… why waste my time trying to reach out to her and show her grace.” We need friendships that are forgiving and grace-filled. We need friendships that believe the best about us even and especially when we’re in a season of pain.

Authentic vs. Transparent. This was a game changer for me. Realizing that I am suppose to be authentically Brandi with everyone I come into contact with. When I’m grocery shopping, volunteering at my kids’ schools, talking to volunteers at church. I am called to authentically be myself in all relationships. However, I am not called to be transparent in every relationship I have. Transparency is reserved for a few close friends where trust has been established. It’s not that you don’t appreciate what all friendships have to bring to the table, but it’s also possible to crave community yet also crave your privacy.

8 bSurround Yourself With Defenders. Be a Defender. I truly believe that part of friendship, part of serving on a church staff together is choosing to speak up for one another. But the lines are easily blurred between what you choose not to repeat. Sometimes people need to be aware of what’s said for their own protection. Part of being a friend, a sister in Christ, is fighting a battle for your friend…even a battle they might not know exists. I don’t have to repeat everything to you… but I do have to protect you. Hearing everything negative that is said about you is tough so it’s wise to surround yourself with people you know are in it with you through the good and the bad. Look out for your fellow staff members and their spouses. If it’s not uplifting, think twice before you repeat it back to them. Loyalty is a term that is thrown around a lot these days. Being loyal doesn’t mean relaying all conversations that can destroy and cause hurt. It means being a friend who’s safe whether I’m around or not.

Even if you have close friends, you will probably go through seasons of isolation. There will be situations you can’t discuss, incidents that you can’t get your friend’s feedback on and frustrations that should be kept to yourself.

Relationships cause pain but they also cause laughter, growth and provide community. Having friendships is scary but living a life of isolation is even scarier. I hope I will always believe friendships are worth the risk. 

Have you found this aspect of friendship in ministry to be difficult? With whom are you transparent? Do you tend to be someone who gives friends the benefit of the doubt?

The Gift Of Unity

Posted by Brandi Wilson

Unity is something that comes very easily to the Leading and Loving It community. I’ve always been so impressed by how quickly you ladies unite together at events like re:treat, Connect LIVE and Leading and Loving It Local events. It makes my heart full knowing you go from strangers to friends in the matter of a short and simple conversation.

I’ve always said friendship isn’t about what you say, but about what doesn’t have to be said because we know what life looks like behind the scenes for one another. Recently that belief was seared into my heart when I was on the other side of the world with a church mission team in India.

Nabonita

Nabonita

Here’s where I introduce you to my new friend, Nabonita. Her husband pastors a church in a village called Katakapur, which is about two hours outside Kolkata, India. I don’t have to explain how different my life in Nashville is to Nabonita’s in Katakapur. And I also don’t have to explain how much we have in common. She speaks very little English, and I speak virtually no Bengali. Despite our language barrier, there was an instant connection. One of the reasons Nabonita was so fun is because the Indians refer to her as a “24/7 FM radio station” as this sweet lady is never at a loss for words. I snapped the photo above after she told me she had a “Colgate Smile”. This clearly shows she has a great sense of humor.

Nabonita is probably one of the most dedicated pastor’s wives I know. She leads women in their church making cleaning supplies and jewelry they can sell and help support their families. While they are working, she teaches them worship songs and encourages discussions about life so they can build a stronger Christian community. She also leads them in weekly Bible studies and chooses to invest in their lives as individuals. She’s pretty remarkable.

However, my favorite thing about Nabonita is her dedication to prayer. Nabonita and her husband accepted Christ 22 years ago and were baptized. When the news of their Christianity spread, they were kicked out of their village of Katakapur and had to move to another village. This new village was a 45-minute walk away and had a church that took them in. They stayed in the new village for 19 years, and Nabonita told me she prayed every day they could go back to Katakapur to pastor a church. She prayed the same prayer for 19 years. Not once did she stop.

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And now here she is back in her home village ministering to the people God carved a spot in her heart for. Her relentless dedication was such a great lesson for me. And I hope it is an encouragement for you. Whatever prayer is in your heart today, don’t be afraid to ask God for it. If you’ve been praying a specific prayer but find yourself wondering if you’re wasting your time, consider Nabonita’s dedication. And keep at it. 

I’m grateful for a unity that crosses language barriers. For friendships that surpass continents. I’m grateful for this community that challenges and supports me on a daily basis. You guys are the best. Your unity is a gift.

 

 

Right Where I Need To Be…

Posted by Brandi Wilson

photoYesterday was a big day at Cross Point. We had a beautiful baptism service that I had been looking forward to for weeks… weeks I tell ya. Then on Saturday evening while Pete and I were at a wedding he was officiating for some dear friends, I received the text that Brewer, our youngest son, has been hit with a nasty stomach virus.

I traveled home to be with him and couldn’t believe how sick he had gotten so quickly. It was one of those long momma nights where we made lots of trips to the bathroom and did a lot of washing of sheets. With re:treat kicking off next Tuesday I have to have a moment of honesty and tell you bout 2:30 AM I might have been surfing online for a hazmat suits, it was a long, rough night.

Obviously I knew I was out for our services on Sunday and was definitely bummed to miss what was a special day for our church as well as miss volunteering in the baptism room and meeting fellow Cross Pointers as they celebrate their baptisms. I sat down at 9:30 to watch our online service while cuddling with Brewer and it became one of those sweet moments where I knew God was reminding me I was right where I was suppose to be. Brewer and I had a great conversation about salvation and baptism. He asked such thoughtful questions and asked about the happy tears he saw on so many faces. It was a precious conversation, a conversation I probably would have missed if things had gone as planned.

I missed a big Sunday at our church, but I had an even bigger moment with my little guy. A moment where God was telling me, “I know you’re not at church as the pastor’s wife and I’m gonna create something special for you at home as Mom, you’re right where you need to be.”

Grateful God is always willing to meet me exactly where I’m at in any given situation.