5 Questions with Anne Jackson – A Leadership Profile

In the “church” world some of us unfortunately forget that women are leaders too (The Apostle Paul didn’t forget – just read Romans 16 for a anne1list of women that I’d take in Grace Church any day {in addition to my wife and soulmate Kelly who has a heart for giving and hospitality to internationals} )

I’d like to introduce you to a bold leader – Anne Jackson. I consider her my teacher in several areas. Both Zondervan authors, we chatted at Catalyst -THE leadership conference. Anne is a leader at her church (Cross Point Church) and what encourages me is that she’s not afraid of anything (hence going public with her past porn addiction and her recent 40 day fast from soical net-working). Her bold new book MAD CHURCH DISEASE is helping many people experience healing. Listen in to our interview.

  1. How did you get from here to there? It’s interesting to see my professional career come full circle. I went from an author (in the fifth grade – my mom threw the book out because it was a little too gory for a ten year old Baptist preacher’s daughter) to a bookstore manager after high school. And now I get to stalk large Christian bookstores and make sure they have my book.  I feel sneaky because I know all the secrets.  Anyway, I digress. It’s been an unpredictable journey – from bookstore manager, to spending several years in communications and media roles after I left the faith.  After a bit of a reconversion experience, I wound up in full time ministry, and have spent the last six years serving in a variety of roles within the church.  Then I realized how much I love to write, and I love the church.  Combining the two made sense.  Hopefully, my mom won’t think this book is gory.
  2. Give us the Big Idea (3-4 sentences) behind your madbreakthrough book Mad Church Disease and why you wrote it? Just two years into my ministry, I stressed out to the point of being hospitalized.  After returning from a short break, my eyes were opened to how burnout was killing so many other leaders – whether it be physically, emotionally, relationally or spiritually.  I’m a fighter.  Burnout is something that can’t win.  We are called to be the hope of the world and so many of us live in a professional ministry world with hidden hopelessness.  Nope. No more. We have to stop.  This book is a call and a challenge to do just that.
  3. You’ve written about your addiction to porn in an article called: Dirty Girls: The New Porn addicts. What’s has been the response of sharing your secret? It’s been almost three years since that article released and every week I’m still contacted by women (sometimes men) who have found freedom in being able to admit they too are addicted yet they now know they’re not alone.  It’s opened up doors to speak on the subject, which surprises so many people that women can have sexual addictions.  At least a third of us do.  So why not talk about it?
  4. How have you closed these leadership gaps in your life  (ministry burnout and porn addiction)? COMMUNICATION. I can’t stress that enough. Open, honest, messy, ugly, painful, hopeful, scary, redemptive, grace-filled communication.  With my husband, with my friends, and even with the public.  Both my husband and a few friends have access to everything I touch…my email, calendar, computer, passwords – everything.  Keeping nothing hidden is key.  And being wise to stay as far away from the lines we’re so easily tempted by is essential.
  5. When I think of Anne Jackson I think of 2 things: (1) someone who re-invents herself and (2) someone who takes risks. I applaud your courage to take a 40 day fast from blogging and twittering. What’s the next risk Anne Jackson is taking? Ask me in six months! :) I have no idea. That’s not true. I do have a few ideas, but that’s part of this fast is to seek God, eliminated the noise, and align my heart with his so I can confidently take the next leap.  God and I have a deal set up.  I keep praying for opportunities that require me to jump and jump high, and he keeps providing them.  He hasn’t failed me yet.  It’s going to be an exciting year!

Thanks Anne for helping us grow as leaders!

Before I sign off, I’d like to ask you the reader 2 questions… 1. “What’s the last big risk you took for God?”  2. What are some tips for protecting yourself from potential pitfalls like porn and/or burnout?