A note from Kelly King: Each month, we will feature a leader who ministers to women, either through the local church, a non-profit organization, or in the marketplace. In today’s leadership Q & A, we’re featuring Andrea Lennon. Andrea is the Women’s Ministry Specialist for Arkansas Baptists, but she is also an accomplished author and speaker. I know you’ll enjoy hearing from Andrea today.
Who has been most influential in your ministry leadership and how did they influence you?
Oh, wow! Picking one person is hard. God has blessed me with men and women who have been encouragers in my leadership journey. I want to give a shout out to the close friends and mentors who have challenged me to never settle for less than God’s best. This has looked different in different relationships. For transparency sake, my natural bent is to be in control and stay in the safe and comfortable places. Of course, this produces a tug of war between the Spirit and the flesh. It has been invaluable to have people in places of accountability who will lovingly tell me what I need to hear. The qualities that have made these moments redemptive are love, honesty, transparency, mutual respect, and a deep desire to live out the sanctification process. I can’t say enough about the potential available to us as we embrace biblical community. If we don’t have people speaking truth into our lives or if we are afraid to be real with others, our leadership potential will never be realized.
How do you practically spend time with the Lord each day? What is your normal practice?
I start my day with prayer and time in the Word. This looks different each day depending on my schedule. Sometimes I have an extended period of time to read, study, and journal. Other times, I listen to the Bible as I drive down the interstate to an early morning meeting. I think it’s important (and freeing) to practice the presence of God throughout the day. This means I am always looking for God and His movement. I see my time in the morning as the beginning point of this daily seeking process. This is a big shift from my early years in ministry where my quiet time was first thing in the morning and checked off my list so I could “get on” with my plans for the day. Today my heart is in a much different place. In a sense, I want my day to be one long quiet time with Jesus. Don’t get me wrong. My life is crazy with all the different roles and responsibilities, but God is good to teach the value of a quiet and focused heart. The practice of spiritual disciplines has played a vital role in my life. From Scripture memory, to a balanced prayer life, to establishing God’s authority over my day, God has not left me without an array of tools to help me grow in my faith. Here is one example. Each day I pray, “Lord, You are the Creator, and I am the creation. You are the Potter, and I am the clay. You are the Savior, and I am the sinner. You are the Vine, and I am the branch.” As I remember who God is and who I am in relationship to Him, I am more likely to see God’s plan and respond to Him in obedience and faith. This is just one example of how I practice the presence of God.
What is your best piece of leadership advice to another women’s ministry leader?
The best piece of leadership advice is to protect your walk with Jesus. Don’t let what you are doing “for” Jesus take the place of your relationship “with” Jesus. It’s a slippery slope, and we must be careful to guard against busyness or compromise. As leaders, we have the chance to minister out of the overflow of our daily walks. When we do, the Word of God and the Spirit of God are leading us every step of the way. In addition, I like to encourage leaders to take a deep breath and celebrate the victories even if they seem small. Celebrating the big and small “wins” keeps us focused on what really matters.
What is your current leadership struggle?
My biggest leadership struggle is striking a healthy balance at work and at home. I am a Type A driver. My mind is always on “go.” I see a need, and I want to address it. If I am not careful, this tendency leads to overcommitment. The result is a reactive leadership style that is usually responding to the tyranny of the urgent. The tyranny of the urgent bleeds over into my family time and is usually accompanied by stress. I don’t want this for my family, and I don’t want to model this style of leadership to the women I lead. Like others in ministry, I have missed moments at home and that goes with the calling, but God has taught me it’s OK to say “no” and put my family first. My boys are growing up, and I am realizing how quickly time passes.
The other struggle that results from my Type A driver self is my leadership pace. I tend to run fast in my leadership style. This means I am usually thinking and planning two steps beyond where I am in the process. If I am not careful, I will forget to slow down and take the necessary steps of hearing from others and bringing them along in the vision casting process. Early on in ministry, I thought I had to figure everything out on my own. Now I realize there is so much value in sharing the leadership process with others. It helps to stretch me as I hear and see things from a different perspective, and it helps to identify and develop future leaders.
What “new” thing are you trying this year that is requiring faith?
What a relevant question for this season of life and ministry! My husband recently started a new job, my oldest son started college, and my youngest son started high school. It seems like everything is “new” and requiring faith. Regarding ministry, I serve in two leadership capacities. As the Women’s Ministry Specialist for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, we are developing twelve leadership networks allowing women to gather in organic groups for the purpose of networking, training, resource sharing, and sweet friendship development. We are asking God to break down the walls between churches and send revival as we work together for the glory of God. It’s exciting to see God raise up network leaders and to see the vision for these networks spread across the State. As founder, author, and speaker at True Vine Ministry, God is faithfully transitioning the ministry to reach more women with the gospel of Jesus. The recent establishment of a True Vine Ministry Core Team has served as a faith builder in my life. I am amazed by God and His ability and willingness to provide. The purpose of True Vine Ministry is to encourage women to know the truth, live the truth, and share the truth. God is so good to remind me of deep biblical truth. He is always on the move. He is always ahead of me. He is always making a way. Why would I ever want to remain in control or stay in the comfortable places when I have the opportunity to live by faith? My constant prayer is that my life and ministry are leveraged for the glory of God and the spread of the gospel. I believe the faith we cultivate is the faith we communicate. May we be women of deep and abiding faith!
An “on the go” kind of girl who loves Jesus, Andrea is a Bible teacher whose life calling is to teach women to know the truth, live the truth, and share the truth. Her passion is honest conversation about the topics that drive our everyday lives and how we can always weather the storms through the love and power of God and His Word. Andrea is a 2004 graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She has written and published Reflecting His Glory: From Conformity to Transformation, Free To Thrive: 40 Power-packed Devotions for Women on the Go, On the Road with Ruth, and God in the Window. Andrea hosts a weekly radio program called Truth on the Go with Andrea Lennon. She also serves as the Women’s Ministry Specialist for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. She is the founder of True Vine Ministry and lives in Arkansas with her husband, Jay and two sons, Jake and Andrew. Connect with Andrea at www.andrealennonministry.org