Tag Archives: leadership

Through the Eyes of…the Co-Pastor

Posted By: Jessica Cornelius

Veronica Brown serves alongside her husband Mark, who is the Senior Pastor of Breath of Life Church in Austin, Texas. Together they have two boys, Mark and Matthew, and embrace ministry as a family. She has a solid background in Business Administration and is a skillful Minister of the Word of God. Veronica has a heart to celebrate uniqueness, cultivate confidence and prepare women to impact, influence, and inspire the world around them. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, or her blog.

1. What is your hobby? I don’t have a hobby exactly, although I’d love to learn how to crochet one day. I do however, have a fascination with handbags. I love purses way more than shoes. I’m a makeup fanatic and love to shop. Scoring a deal on top of it all, is winning in my book!

2. How do you create a peaceful environment for your husband? I am keenly aware of what I bring to his attention and when. I am intentional about his needs, likes and preferences; guard his time and the anointing.

3. Which famous female (past or present) do your friends say you remind them of? Past: Selena (Spanish singer) Present: Rachel Ray (not her cooking, her dark hair and big smile)

4. What is your most embarrassing moment? Recently, a friend asked me what I thought about their outfit. I told them the outfit looked great, material flowed, the top complimented the bottom, their accessories made the outfit pop but their shoes had to go. Scuffed fronts were not polished!! Then they reminded me of their handicap which caused them to drag the front of their foot, scuffing their shoes. I apologized profusely and felt horrible for days.

5. When are you the happiest? When I’m with my family. Or, singing in front of the mirror, jamming to music as I do my hair and make-up, produces good moments too.

6. What do your friends & family say you are really good at? Professionally, business, the operations aspect, contractual negotiations; hands down it’s a natural gifting. Casually, makeup application and fashion; that comes rather natural also.

7. How do you expand your capacity for ministry? I am consistently learning from other PW’s and Women in Ministry, then applying the best practices into my world to impact, influence and inspire those around me.

8. What local, national, or global issues grieve you the most? Healthcare and Education.

9. How do you balance family, work, friends, ministry, and life? Balance, what is balance? For us, they all blend together. We go through seasons and through it all we stay together, pray together, fight together, and win together. We work hard, very hard. My husband and I are both driven, but we also play hard. The children follow our lead.

10. How do you cope with the hurts and betrayals that come in leadership? Through love, forgiveness and management of my mind, will and emotions. To some that may sound cheesy but allow me to quantify and qualify my process. Hurts and betrayals come on different levels and can happen concurrently or in waves. Unfortunately, it’s the nature of the leadership beast.

I have different methods for different situations. For the small stuff, I wear my big girl pants all the time. I wear my thick skin sunscreen on a regular basis and I practice separation; managing respectively. Separation works like this: (my life) public, private and personal, (people) partner, parasite or pirate. With separations, I do not allow everything to penetrate my heart. I guard the opinions I value and should poison of any kind enter a relationship I cut it off at the root, eliminating the flow of poison so toxins do not build up.

Am I cold? No, I’m careful.

As for the bigger issues…You know, the ones that leave you stunned initially. The situations that come up, that you can’t talk or blog about. The painful feeling you get, literally going through your heart, when you are informed or discover what’s going on. The ones that cause you to take a deep breath, one right after another. Or how about the issue that rocks you to the core causing you to question yourself and things around you?

For those situations, there is no amount of thick skin sunscreen or big girl pants that can help. It’s in those moments you must train your heart and train your mouth. You must manage your mind, your will and your emotions to be tools in the hand of God and not toys in the hand of the enemy. It’s imperative to realize that in situations of this magnitude the only solution is healing from the Master. Allow him to remove the sting from the wound site. If you must practice love, don’t hold back. If you must practice forgiveness, don’t delay.

Good Friday

Posted by: Jessica Cornelius

God took the worst thing that man could do to His Son, and transformed it into the best thing He could do for man.

God knows what suffering is all about, not merely in the way that God knows everything, but by experience. In the darkest night of the soul we have something to hold onto that Job never knew. We know Christ crucified.

We have learned that when there seems to be no other evidence of God’s love, we cannot escape the cross. “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all-how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) When we suffer, there will sometimes be mystery. Will there also be faith? Yes, if our attention is focused more on the cross, and on the God of the cross, than on the suffering itself.

I was moved by this insight by D.A. Carson and wanted to share with you as you celebrate the cross. His display of love is more than enough.

When you have felt like there is no evidence of God’s love, or that He has forsaken you, what helped you overcome that lie?

Fun Friday…Sexpectations

Posted by: Jessica Cornelius

For mobile users: Click Here To Watch

You have to check out this video of our son, Cole, who is in the midst of a conversation with Bil and I about…well, you know…SEX. And even though we crack up when we watch it, it does bring lots of questions to the surface. If you’re like me, you grew up thinking sex was wrong. And then on your honeymoon, the paradigm shift is supposed to magically occur. Suddenly you’re expected to transform into a tigress in the bedroom, much to the delight of your husband, who has been dreaming of this day for so long.

I would love to know how you balance the sex talk. On one hand, we want our daughters to know that sex is beautiful. God designed us to enjoy our life mate and He created us for physical intimacy. But we don’t want to swing the pendulum too far in that we pique their curiosity without balance or caution. We worry about telling them too much, or robbing them of their innocence. And we worry about not telling them enough. It’d be nice if we could package “the talk” nice and neatly, but obviously it’s a conversation that will be spread out over the course of childhood/teenage years according to their understanding and level of maturity. However, Rob Jackson with Focus on the Family says it really well: “God created a man and a woman who could make babies by loving each other in a special way. (Cole clearly grasps this concept in the video!) God also knew that a man and a woman would grow to desire a special companionship that includes enjoying the differences in each other’s bodies.”

As with all teachable moments and life lessons, God is the Ultimate Parent and will direct and grace us for these conversations with our kids. As for Cole, we are saving this treasured bit of footage to show him again on his wedding day. Until then, we’ll try to break it to him gently that it’s ok to “do it” more than 10 times!

So I’d love to hear your feedback. To quote My Big Fat Greek Wedding, what are some things that you’ve learned that have helped you to go from being a “lamb in the kitchen, to a tiger in the bedroom?”

Through the Eyes of … The Senior Pastor, Part 1

Posted by:  Jessica Cornelius

With a contagious zest for life, Bobbie Houston passionately believes in the potential of all people and is devoted to the Cause of Christ.  Her and Brian’s all consuming desire is to place value on humanity.  To that end they labor to see healthy men, women and youth emerge across the landscape of the Church.

She is a wife, mother, grammy, friend, pastor, creative visionary, communicator, author, role model and mentor.  Her life reflects the message that she teaches-that people have incredible God-given potential waiting to be unleashed.  It is this message that has defined her life.  Bobbie has a desire to see value placed on womanhood, a passion that underpins the annual Colour Your World Women’s Conference, which she and the Hillsong team host in Sydney, London and Kiev annually.  Since 1997, Colour, has been bringing a message of value, work, and dignity to women from around the world, encouraging and inspiring them to be all God has created them to be.  Colour has also been a catalyst for mobilizing thousands of women, moved with compassion and a heart for justice, to help poor and marginalized children and women in developing nations.  Bobbie has been married to Brian for over 30 years and they have three grown children; Joel, Ben and Laura.  Together, they have an ever-growing family (including three beautiful granddaughters).

1.  What is your hobby? I don’t really have a hobby to be honest.  When we get spare moments I just love hanging with my kids.  A wander around the shops or a quiet coffee or time out with friends replenishes my soul.

2.  What is your idea of the perfect vacation? Friends, family, beach, sand, good food.

3.  How do you create a peaceful environment for your husband? I try to be low maintenance.  He carries huge responsibility, much of which is unseen, so I’m not gonna add to his stress especially when he needs space to think and produce.

4.  What special little things does your husband do or say to show you he loves you? Ha.  We’ve been married for 35 years this year.  His ability to create special holidays or things I would never consider says he really does love us amid the wonderful madness of life and ministry.

5.  What would you say is a unique characteristic about each of your children? They are all unique.  They all love God and His House.  We’ve always released them to serve God in their own way.  They are all artistic and creative in their own way.

6.  How did you know your husband was “the one” you were going to marry? Felt it the moment I saw him.  I was only 16 and he was 19 when we met.  We were pretty young.  And basically I fell in love.  Always pays to love the one you marry-especially if it’s gonna be for life.

7.  If you could do one thing all day long, what would that be? I have no idea.  Sometimes sleep would be a nice option.  Smile.

8.  What is your most embarrassing moment? It’s so embarrassing that I will NEVER tell.  Although I did manage to say something pretty crazy at Colour in London last year.  I strung two sentences together that needed a pause between…and accidentally said something quite “interesting”…So interesting that it can’t be repeated!

9.  When are you the happiest? When I’m feeling prepared and confident.

10.  What do your friends & family say you are really good at? Wiping the kitchen bench (it’s almost an obsession) and probably creating graphically and visually what I am sensing in the Spirit.

11.  What is the best leadership lesson you have learned lately? I don’t know if it’s the best or latest thing learned but I am mindful that “the more we know, the less we really know” and that we NEVER GRADUATE from being completely dependent upon His Grace and Strength for all we sense we are called to.

God Bless!!!


What is the best leadership lesson you’ve learned lately?

Through the Eyes of…the Pastor’s Wife

Posted by: Jessica Cornelius

Carmen Meeks serves in the Discipleship Ministry at EastLake Church in Chula Vista, California where her husband, Mike Meeks is Senior Pastor.  She is the editor of their E-Devotional ministry, leading a team of thirty talented writers.  She also writes growth group curriculum used by hundreds of volunteer leaders.  She considers herself a lifetime learner, but was happy to finally complete her Bachelor’s degree from Azusa Pacific University in 2003.  Carmen and Mike have two grown children who both chose awesome spouses.  They are thankful for their seven amazing grandchildren.

1.  What special little things does your husband do or say to show you he loves you? Oh cool!  A chance to brag on my husband!  I am happy to say that I am more in love with my husband today than at any other time in our 34-year marriage.  We’ve talked honestly and openly about our marriage struggles over the years, which has been helpful and encouraging to other struggling couples.  But it’s wonderful to be at a place where our relationship is so mutually satisfying.  The way I know my husband loves me is that he is considerate toward me in the little everyday things: making my coffee in the morning, doing the laundry when he sees the need, making time for our morning “coffee talk” so we know what is on our agendas for the day, and praying with me about the things that are weighing me down.  But most of all I know my husband loves me because he cooks for me!  Just a few short years ago, the only dish my husband knew how to make was French Toast.  Then he attended a men’s cooking group through our church.  He had fun hanging out with friends, drinking a beer, and learning basic cooking skills.  He is now a lifetime (or remedial) member of this group, having repeated it three times.  The results have transformed our marriage.  After three decades of being the chief cook and bottle washer, I am now the biggest fan of his delicious barbequed chicken, moist and tender pot roast, and sizzling seared ahi tuna.  Cooking has become a relaxing hobby for him and a huge blessing for me.  Dr. Kevin Leman wrote a book titled, “Sex Begins in the Kitchen.”  He’s right.

2.  What is the best leadership lesson you have learned lately? I accepted Christ and started out in ministry as a teenager.  I met my husband while volunteering with junior high students, got married, then left my hometown of Eugene, Oregon to help plant a church in the Seattle area when I was twenty-two years old and our first baby was not yet walking.  I have been in an evolving leadership role ever since.  But I have learned so much in the past few years from the gals in the Leading and Loving It network.  Through them I have grown in a single area that has had a ripple effect on every area of my life and ministry:  Trust.  I’ve learned that I can best lead in my church and on my church staff when I trust my husband’s leadership and choose to be his best supporter.  Although he respects my input, he doesn’t need me to try to change who he is, but I can encourage him to be the person God created him to be-nothing more.  And I can best lead my staff and volunteers when I trust them to be the capable and competent people God created them to be.  That means I do not need to do (or re-do) their jobs for them.  I can relax and do my part, while trusting them to make wise decisions and minister with their own unique gifts and abilities.  In other words, I’ve learned to get out of the way and let others lead and learn-sometimes by making a few mistakes.  What I try to offer my husband and my staff and volunteers is my accessibility, my listening ear, my advice when they need and ask for it, and fresh insights and resources I come across while focusing on my own assignments.

The only way I can continue to grow in my ability to trust others is to grow in my ability to trust God in the daily details of my own life.  For that, I lean on this great passage from Matthew 11:28-30, “Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out on religion?  Come to me.  Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.  I’ll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

3.  What new adventures in ministry have you enjoyed this year? After many years of dreaming about a chance to go to Africa, my dream came true this year.  My husband and I led a team of nineteen people to visit a school and orphanage in Uganda that we have helped support since its inception.  Although we had sent teams in the past and I had seen pictures of the children and the facilities, it does not compare to being there in person.  Bright Hope School is located near Bulanga, Uganda.  There is no electricity or running water in this part of the country.  Most people are subsistence farmers and many families have lost mothers or fathers to AIDS.  Grandparents, uncles and aunts are struggling to raise children who have been orphaned.  In the midst of this poverty-stricken area, Bright Hope School is a beacon of hope.  The children living or attending school here have grown healthier each year as they have been able to receive nutritious meals and access to basic medical care on a consistent basis.  They are grateful for the opportunity to receive an education, which will pave the way to a better future, so more than 200 students walk to school from all around the surrounding countryside each day, eager to learn alongside the 200 children who live on the property.  The presence of Jesus is seen and heard each day in the bright smiles and beautiful voices of the children as they sing and pray as naturally as they laugh and play.  You’ve probably heard of “helper’s high”, which describes the endorphin rush you feel when you do what God has designed you for, which includes serving others.  I am still on a helper’s high from my visit to this beautiful country.  What could possibly be more satisfying than realizing your sacrificial gifts have literally saved the lives of hundreds of children and continue to give them hope and a future?