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?

Tim says:

Biggest risk my wife and I ever took was leaving a growing church at which we served and becoming a church planter.
Best practice for fighting burnout is remembering that Shephering is not a job. I remember who called me, and what I have been called to do (Colossians 1:28).
Paul uses the phrase “was made a minister” twice in Colossians 1:23 and 1:25. I think he recognized that in a very real sense, he didn’t choose the “job” but was placed into the position by God himself.

Kary Oberbrunner says:

Tim,

Church planting is huge. I am the son of a church planter. I’ve seen the tremendous amount of faith it takes. On behalf of the Body of Christ, let me offer a sincere THANK YOU to you and your family.

Kary

Kim says:

Leaving a ministry leadership position of over 10 years in order to break free from a toxic relationship was probably the biggest risk of faith I’ve taken in recent years. Although I was gifted and effective where I was serving, it was tearing me apart emotionally and spiritually. The whole experience has left me spiritually and emotionally “paralyzed” for lack of a better term, and that paralysis (fear) has kept me from serving in just about any ministry leadership role at present.

But I believe that God is teaching me how to watch for and protect myself from pitfalls in the future. He is presently giving me opportunities to serve in secular leadership roles, and in supporting ministry roles under leaders whom I can trust…so that I can hopefully learn to discern the godly ministry leaders in the future.

Blind faith in God is a good thing. Blind faith in church leaders is not such a good thing. Sometimes it’s that misplaced faith, regardless of good intentions, that leads to burnout pretty quickly.

Kary Oberbrunner says:

Kim,

Thanks for risking to share your heart. Looks like God is doing a sweet work on your heart!

Lori Moore says:

1. Selling our house (and everything else), giving up a business and retirement, leaving a son and grandchild to take our 15 and 10 year olds overseas to serve in missions.

2. Possible pitfalls are seemingly endless. At times, being overtaken with feelings of disappointment and disillusionment (both with God and the church), I find help in reading other’s stories in the Bible, and know that my struggle is not unique. God himself reminds me continually that he is providing for me through his church, and renews my faith even as I think it is fading.

Kary Oberbrunner says:

Wow…talk about a walk of faith!

1. Starting a new youth ministry at my church (which has the grand total of 2 youth, me and my friend)

2. Constant prayer & prayer cover. Speaking out the putting on the armour of God daily. All those are very important especially when challenging things like Porn, Masturbation and Sexual Sin, big challenges that I am trying to do something about… but first the church needs to admit the problem.