Just The Basics (The Jonathan Burgio Interview)

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When a leader “has it”, you just know it. 

The “has it” quality includes their vision, character, integrity and how they value their team. When you are in conversation with them, you can immediately tell that their focus is on others and not themselves. Their words are seasoned with grace and convictions anchored in their deep-seeded values. Jonathan Burgio is one of those leaders.

Jonathan serves as the Executive Director of BASIC College Ministries, headquartered in Rochester, New York. This life-changing ministry has been transforming the lives of college students in the Upstate NY area. BASIC is now expanding the ministry outreach with their first New Jersey conference on November 21-22 at Christ Church in Rockaway, NJ. I had the opportunity to ask Jonathan some questions in this special #REFlections interview:

How would you characterize your transition as the new Executive Director of BASIC?

A huge life change. Being in charge of an organization isn’t just a job title change or a responsibilities increase, it is a total life change. At the end of the day the success or failure of BASIC comes back to me. I love BASIC with all my heart and want the best for the organization so I take it with me wherever I go. This is no longer a 9-5 kind of job. Everything I see or do can become something I am doing for work. I love it so it is easy to get wrapped up in it and talk about it all day but now I am also in charge of it which makes it even easier to be in every aspect of my life.

If you could describe this generation in one word, what would it be and why?

New – Never before has there been such a demand to have new stuff constantly. The obvious is the demand on the newest technology, iPhones being sold out the minute they come out, or the constant change in clothing styles. We see this also in music, art, trends, etc. But there is more than that. There is a need to be constantly engaged, impressed, or whatever it is to have something new. I don’t say this to be negative it also has many benefits. For example, our technology is increasing at a bigger rate than ever because demand is higher than ever and so on.

What is your ultimate prayer for this generation and the one to come?

That the ones sharing Jesus would be better examples of who He is.

From my interaction with you, I have witnessed first hand how you value teamwork. How has the BASIC College Ministry team added to your leadership?

The BASIC staff is incredible so it makes leading them easy. The ability to allow others to express themselves and have ownership over their work has greatly effected the way I lead. Once I find someone and discover what their talents and abilities are and what they enjoy doing then I take a huge leap of faith and I trust them to do a great job in whatever I ask them to do. I do not micromanage them. I have learned I need to clarify exactly what we want but in the end they have a lot of control over how to get us there. I take the heat if something goes wrong but all in the effort to show them my trust and belief that they can create something better. We are raising up individuals who are mastering certain areas of ministry. None of us can do everything so I rely on others to do what I can’t do so I can do what I am good at.

Where do you see BASIC in five years?

I see BASIC reaching college students on 50 different campuses reaching thousands of students each week, and having 3 conferences in the fall and one huge conference in the Spring.

What wakes you up in the morning? What do you go to bed thinking about?

What wakes me up each day is thinking about what I can accomplish today to reach my goals in the future. I go to bed thinking about how to reach more people than we currently do. What do we need to change. By changing our approach what are we at risk to loose?

How would describe yourself as a leader?

Laid back, relational, and empowering. I try to stay relaxed and confident. I enjoy being friends with my co-workers and most importantly I go out of my way to empower others to not only do there jobs but to become better at it.

What challenges have you faced that have caused you to draw even closer to Christ?

The challenge I think about often is battling whether I am trying to reach more people to become famous or to make Jesus famous. I never want to be successful so I can be successful. I want to be successful in making Jesus’ name great.

You recently married your wife Nicki. How has your marriage affected your leadership and service to the next generation?

My wife enhances everything I do. Her vision is my vision, her talents compliment mine. I am very, very fortunate to have allowed God to bring me the perfect woman to partner with me in ministry. It hasn’t been a year yet but I feel like she has only made my ministry better. (I have to add an AWWW)

How would like to grow personally as you continue to serve others?

I’d like to always help others to achieve their best. First I believe people will enjoy working with me more but second by doing this we will be able to do whatever we want to do better.

MY CLOSING NOTE: I want to personally thank Jonathan for his leadership and brotherhood. I look forward to the BASIC Conference in New Jersey (BASICConJersey for short) on Friday-Saturday, November 21-22, 2014 at Christ Church in Rockaway, NJ! Get ready to hear more details soon! In the meantime, check out all the great things BASIC is doing at www.thebasicsite.org!

How to: Selecting the perfect wine

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