DATIN: Ready for the ROAR!

DatinCover2

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” – Maya Angelou

Artists on the rise have a greater probability of dealing with adversity from those questioning their motives or raising doubts about their message. These artists have a choice: either wallow in the onslaught of attack or rise above it with their message in tack. I’ve witnessed an artist and a man of God rise above it and ready to release to the world a new sound and message. On February 12, 2016, Datin Berrios will release THE ROAR. I talked to Datin about life, ministry and this new album. This is what he had to say:

RF: If you could describe in one sentence where you are in life right now, what would you say and why?

DATIN: Being still. This is the season where I’m about to jump off the plane and the skydiver instructor is the Lord and waiting when he pushes me. I don’t get to choose on when to jump. When the Lord pushes, I trust and let Him lead me. Right now, I’m putting my all in my art. It can be a nervous time, but I also know the Lord is leading me. He has been dealing with me about going full-time in ministry. I know rappers who are struggling financially and cannot do that. It’s easier to rely on a bi-weekly paycheck but I have to trust Him in every area of my life. Since the age of 14, all I’ve known is work — and I ready to work for His glory! 

It can be nerve-racking, but man — I have God’s peace. That peace has not misled me. Right now, it’s a privilege to hear the voice of God. The same voice is telling me TO GO! I have to go! And may it be for God’s glory! 

RF: You have many around the country who are supporting your work and the message. Who would you consider your biggest supporters/backers?

DATIN: My wife (Johely), Lionel (King), my new family in Florida (who have been extremely supportive) and my Christ Church (New Jersey) family. I can always rely on them to support, to build me up and strengthen me during the most difficult times. I’m thankful bro! 

RF: Every life should be about a cause. You haven’t shied away from that. How would you describe your life’s cause? What are willing to sacrifice for and die for?

DATIN: Dude, that’s a good question. Solely to make disciples and to share the same medicine that saved me. Everything else is secondary. Even the secondary things are for God’s glory. When I serve my wife and my daughter – I want to raise and serve for the glory of God. It’s about His glory. I don’t want to do anything that distracts from that. 

RF: Since signing with God Over Money (GOM is Datin’s label), what has changed?

DATIN: GOM has been good to me. Bizzle (rapper) shares his platform with me. After signing with GOM, it has taken things to a whole new level! It’s not simply a label – it’s a family! Me and Bumps, Selah and Bizzle — we are real friends and family. It’s beyond business. It’s personal. They hold me up, keep me accountable and have helped me along this journey. I’m beyond grateful.

RF: Let’s talk about THE ROAR. ROAR stands for Rise of a Revolution What are most excited about the album?

DATIN: Ryan, you can’t ask me that man! 🙂 I can’t wait for people to hear this. When you’re in the studio and recording, you’re feeling good about the lyrics, music and production. But, when it is done, you start questioning “Is this good enough? It’s time to peel the bandaid. I’m ready for this man!  I want people to be blessed by it. I want to make good art that glorifies the Lord.

There are things on this album that are prophetic. Am I saying this because it raps and rhymes? No. It is speaking to what we are dealign with right now. For example, the single Hallelujah All Day – I talked about persecution and I’m seeing the rise of ISIS. I wrote “HAD” a couple of years back. Or when I talk about baphomet symbolism and devil worship. You then see DRAKE putting out cover art with the devil worship symbolism. Now, the baphomet statue is going on tour. I see how God used the music on THE ROAR to prophetically speak to these issues.

DATIN's THE ROAR cover caused many to raise their eyebrows and celebrated by those who feel it represents his music well.
DATIN’s THE ROAR cover caused many to raise their eyebrows and celebrated by those who feel it represents his music well.

RF: I know there has been some controversy swirling around the shock value of the album cover for THE ROAR. Do you care to address it?

DATIN: At first, I wanted to rebuke it but then received a revelation. God inspired a thought. Bizzle didn’t want it thinking it was a bit too much. But, I knew this was speaking to the core of the music. I wanted The Lion, which symbolizes the Body of Christ starring and roaring at the barrel of the gun, symbolizing the face of death. The guy holding the gun, suited guy like an angel symbolizes persecution. In other words, the world is trying to keep us quiet and cause us to embrace lukewarm Christianity and legalism. It’s an anti-Christ spirit. But, we need to ROAR the gospel everywhere we go! 

RF: You’ve heard the criticisms and read the posts about your music, tone and even demeanor appearing demonic or angry? You responded through your music to those criticism. But how does that make you feel when you are trying to rep Christ?

DATIN: Ryan, it’s about the love we share. It bothered me because it’s not who I am. Like on the song HAD ENOUGH, I’m here saying, “you’re not out here. You’re behind a keyboard. We out here representing the Kingdom!” When the put out OFF THE LEASH and we heard the criticisms – my first reaction was laughter. I couldn’t believe it because God had a plan already in the works. We had already planned to send out HAD ENOUGH featuring Bizzle and it was a revenant rebuke! God knows my heart and he provided a prophetic flow. I’ll let the music speak.

RF: What do you think is the state of CHH now?

Here’s what I like: That’s its growing and opening up doors for artists. Artists like JGivens, who I know he has a heart for Jesus, given a great platform.

Here’s what I hate: I hate that it is becoming an idol (too many false motives). CHH (Christian Hip-Hop) is becoming the pastor and church rather than becoming discipled. CHH has their own followers. This is not how it’s supposed to be. We need more discipleship and more accountability. Every rapper should have church covering. I hate that Jesus is being removed from it.

When I say this, most may misunderstand and automatically point to well known artists like Andy Mineo & Lecrae. Here’s the thing – they are doing what they are prompted to do by God. I want to make sure all of our motives are pure. For example, that’s why I like to lay down my track first when collaborating. I don’t want body anybody on a song. PRIDE – It’s the elephant in the room. When I see it, I just say “Stay right there in the corner, pride!” Otherwsie, I will be on my back.

RF: For those who are watching your career and hearing your music and are inspired to do the same, what would say to them?

DATIN: Don’t be stupid – don’t think you can get around God’s truth. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things will be added (reference: Matthew 6:33) There is nothing I have done but where God has told me to do and go. I didn’t make these deals. God supernaturally orchestrated it! My salvation and my walk is divinely orchestrated! 

Seek God in prayer, read His Word and obey! It ain’t all pretty. But, it is always a privilege to serve the Master.

DATIN is signed to God Over Money (GOM).
DATIN is signed to God Over Money (GOM).

 

 

 

DATIN’s new album, THE ROAR, is available on Friday, February 12th on God Over Money. 

 

REFlections Interview with Angela Robinson

Angela1

 

If you’ve seen the OWN series Tyler Perry’s The Haves and The Have Nots, you have been introduced to Veronica Harrington aka The Ice Queen. To characterize Veronica as ruthless would be the understatement of the year. In the upcoming promo for the new season (starting on June 30th on OWN), The Ice Queen herself bookends the commercial callously remarking, “When is the devil ever too tired to raise hell?” After hearing those words, I would prefer to forego ever meeting Veronica in person (and keep her in fervent prayer). But, thankfully, I’ve had the honor of meeting and knowing the woman behind the character. Angela Robinson is a gifted artist with a heart for others and their dreams being fulfilled.

In this REFlections interview, let me introduce a woman whose talent is only outmatched by her character, love for the arts and her genuine love towards others. Thank you Angela for taking the time to share your thoughts and insights. For our readers, enjoy!

RF: Ryan Faison | AR: Angela Robinson

RF: How would you describe Angela Robinson in one sentence?

AR: A work in progress. I’m constantly working on myself. I’m a painting that’s not nearly done yet.

RF: I wonder how Veronica “The Ice Queen” Harrington (from The Haves and the Have Nots) would answer that question! Due to the success of this drama on OWN, you are becoming a household name. Do you relate to the character you play in any way?

AR: I definitely can relate. I don’t think it’s possible to play a character that you can’t relate to. I can relate because everyone has their own “stuff”. My character Veronica is walking around with a suitcase full of “stuff”. She has not even begun to unpack yet! I can relate to someone being so controlling and so interested in what people may think to the point of hurting people around them to keep up the facade of perfection. I am not that, but I can relate to people who are exactly that.

 

On Acting: I don’t think it’s possible to play a character that you can’t relate to. – Angela Robinson

 

RF: As a work in progress — the painting still being actualized — what is the one thing, the passion, that wakes you up every morning? 

AR: I’m most passionate about being exactly where God wants me to be and doing what He’s called me to do. I believe what that is — is to encourage people to pursue their dreams and their purpose. This gives me life and wakes me in the morning. I am always thinking of how I can encourage and talk people “off the ledge”. I understand that when we truly walk into what God has destined for us, it doesn’t always look “traditional”, especially traditionally Christian. It’s scary. You may have people talking you out of it. But, you must discern the voice of God and the few people in your life that will encourage you to take the step of faith. I wake up with a passion for people living their fullest life. I think too often we live in fear of rejection, fear of lack, or fear of “will this pay enough?”. Typically, I find my niche in the area of artistic pursuits.

RF: What words of wisdom would you share with those who are driven to pursue their dreams but also need to balance their lives, especially at home? How do you do this Angela?

AR: You have to be intentional. I married an artist (Scott). We get each other. We understand the business. When we first got married, we made a conscious decision not to travel for the first year of our marriage. Sometimes that’s hard because you are looking for that perfect job that may require you to travel in that first year! You have to make that sacrifice. You have to say, “Even if I have to work at a restaurant to make ends meet, I want to invest in my marriage (or home life).” You must lay the foundation. We have a rule in our marriage that we don’t let three weeks go by without seeing each other. You have to be intentional because your family comes first.

RF: How has Scott (your husband) inspired you to reach your dreams and goals?

AR: I couldn’t do what I do without him. He is the wind beneath my wings. We are in this together. Someone asked him recently, “This must be really hard for you with Angela’s success”. Scott was taken aback by the comment because we are one. Our approach is that when the other is doing well, we are doing well. We are one unit. My husband reads lines with me. He helps me memorize my lines. He prays with me before a difficult scene. We are just partners. There is not the attitude of “I’m doing this, you’re doing that.” He’s teaching, he’s acting and he’s very busy himself. We never look at it as separate careers. Our position is what are WE doing next.

 

On Marriage: It’s about what WE are doing next. – Angela Robinson

 

RF: I first met you at Metro Community Church. We were singing together on the worship team unto God. Your passion for God was undeniable. How do you live out your faith in God in your career?

AR: If I were a teacher or waitress, I would use my faith. The same applies to being an actress. It’s an expression of my gift. I studied and trained and I love it. I take it very seriously. In my career, if I played a part where the character is not Christian, some would question and say, “How can you do that?” I respond by simply saying, “That’s not me. I studied and trained so I could diversify and play different, complex and crazy characters.” Living my faith is a walking out.

RF: Does it help to have a boss (Tyler Perry) who has publicly shared his faith in God?

AR: Tremendously. I’ve never experienced that before. I’ve been in this business for a long time and I’ve done theater for so many years. But, I’ve never experienced THAT before. I got a little taste of it when I was in the cast of “The Color Purple” on Broadway and Oprah (Winfrey) was one of our Executive Producers. The ship was run a bit differently because her focus was more on the spiritual side of things. She wasn’t there on a daily basis but had great influence on the show.

With Tyler (Perry), he directs every show (of The Haves and The Have Nots). We are with him on a daily basis. To have a boss who starts everyday with praying is refreshing. We pray together as a cast and crew. When we think about character choices, we always consider from a perspective of faith. We present characters with flaws — they’re not perfect people by a long shot. But, we consider faith in the equation. Christians are watching and we want that represented. Tyler walks out what he talks about.

 

On Tyler: He walks out what he talks about. – Angela Robinson

 

HAHN2
Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots premieres a new season on Tuesday, June 30th at 9 PM ET on OWN (The Oprah Winfrey Network). Angela Robinson plays Veronica Harrington (aka The Ice Queen) | www.oprah.com

 

RF: The rating success of the show is quite overwhelming, especially on a relatively newer network. Did you expect the response to The Haves and The Have Nots? How have you dealt with the “celebrity” and larger platform as a result?

AR: That’s a great question. I teach actors and I always say, “This can’t be about the fame and celebrity. You have to LOVE THE WORK!” I used to boast that I don’t run after fame. I want to be a working actor. And then it happened!! I still to this day and shocked when people come up to me and ask for a photo and say, “Oh my…that’s Veronica!” Ryan, I’ve learned not to go out with my do-rag! You never know who you will run into. I must admit that I’m surprised by the whole celebrity deal.

With the celebrity, God has opened the door to more speaking around the country. I’ve always loved that and appreciative of those doors opening. I tell you — it makes me think all the time. I see why people get addicted to it. I have a greater understanding of why there are those who will do anything not to lose their celebrity because people treat you differently. I’ve said, “Why are they giving me free stuff?” I’ve asked, “Why did I get in and people are still waiting?” I can see how it is an addiction. So, there are those who will take roles that don’t represent them or their values in order to maintain the celebrity. I pray often that I never have that issue. I do see how it can happen. It’s very interesting.

 

On Fame: This can’t be about the fame or celebrity. You have to love the work! – Angela Robinson

 

RF: With the celebrity and the greater platform, what are some causes that you champion?

AR: The Broadway Inspiration Voices. We’ve been together for almost 20 years, comprised of Broadway actors. We have a concert a year and it’s like CHURCH! It’s sometimes the only church some people will ever attend. It’s everyone — Jews, Gentiles, Muslims — to hear the choir. I champion veterans, cancer awareness, and issues I’ve been directly affected by. I’ve had the opportunity to speak at several United Negro College Fund (UNCF) events. I attended a historically black college, so that means a lot to me. All of those things are important to me.

The main thing I echo is that you cannot sit on your dreams. Dreams are from God and are meant to be pursued. “I want to be famous one day” is not a dream. But, if God has put a song in your heart, sing! If God has called you to be a worship leader (like you Ryan), do it! Whatever that is — you cannot allow fear to cripple you. I always say that your life depends on it because your life does depend on it!

RF: Speaking of dreams, Dr. King had a dream. Yet, we see like in the recent Charleston, South Carolina shooting (which was racially motivated), there is a segment of our society that rather live the nightmare of discrimination, violence and division. As an actress and who is a world traveler, how do you respond to these events and offer wisdom for healing?

AR: You mentioned Metro. It is a special place. We prayed early in the morning with the pastor and staff to pray for healing. We believe in prayer. I believe there needs to be intentionality in working toward healing and justice. I am praying for an awakening. Racism does exist — its not in our heads — it does exist. We must acknowledge that and then move forward toward healing. I have been impressed by my white brothers and sisters who have acknowledged the issues and have stepped out to speak out. Hopefully, we can all join in, unify and work together for the common good. For when you have someone who has such hate to kill, my earnest hope is that that these individuals will not be welcome or have any friends because their positions are not embraced.

 

On Charleston, SC Shooting: I’m praying for an awakening. – Angela Robinson

 

RF: Thank you Angela. It has been encouraging to see millions of people around our country and around the world rally for justice and bridging the racial divide. With that said, what are some things that are coming up for Angela (that you are at liberty to share)?

AR: June 30th, The Haves and The Have Nots are coming back! We are excited about TEMPTATION TUESDAYS starting again on June 30th at 9 PM EST on the OWN Network. It is a great season. I’m doing a lot of auditioning as well as serving as the Performance Arts Director at Metro. I’m doing more speaking. Ryan — I’m living my life like it’s golden! (Ryan: Alright, Jill Scott) 

RF: What lasting words would you give that person reading this interview. They are pursuing their dreams (that which is in their control), but they are disappointed, dismayed, and disheartened. They feel like they’re not making forward progress. What would you say to them?

AR: Quitting — is not an option! If you were born to do it, you were born to do it. That doesn’t change because others don’t see it in this moment. You were born to do it. You have to be creative — how to value your time until someone sees it — because they will. When I started working at Metro, I was on the road with The Color Purple for two years. I had been in the business for a while but when I came back, I couldn’t get a job for a whole year. This has never happened. Metro offered me a job and I took it. I was able to do arts and still audition. But, I found something to do in the meantime. After taking the Metro role, doors began to open.

I love Philippians 4 where it says, “I’ve learned to be content in whatever state I’m in.” As artists and individuals-at-large, we must be content where we are because it can be up and down. In this business, you fail more than you win. The key is what you do with the wins. When you are winning, what are you doing with that time? Make use of your time. Keep pursuing and don’t give up because it will be seen eventually. Don’t give up before you get the YES! Hold on to what God promised you and it will come to pass!

 

To Dreamers: Quitting is not an option! – Angela Robinson

 

Angela Robinson Website: http://www.arobinsonartist.com

Angela Robinson Facebook Pagehttps://www.facebook.com/AngelaRobinsons4

HAHN

 

OPRAH IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF HARPO, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2015 HARPO PRODUCTIONS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Read more: http://www.oprah.com/app/the-haves-and-the-have-nots.html#ixzz3dlXBtYkv

 

The Power of Consistency: Interview with Ken Hester

KenHesterInterview

 

As a part of the REFlections Interview Series, I’m honored to present an interview that speaks to the successes and challenges of ministry and our life of faith in Christ. As one of the emerging voices in our generation, Ken Hester has proven through word and deed that his faith in God is real! Ken is the campus pastor at Elevation Church, overseeing the Gaston campus in Gastonia, North Carolina. I became acquainted with Ken about 6 years ago when he was the College Pastor at Crossroads Fellowship in Raleigh, North Carolina. Presently, as an Elevation Church campus pastor, Ken shared some of the lessons he’s learned along the way.

It’s my prayer that this interview blesses you like it blessed me. Thank you Ken for sharing!

KEY – RF: Ryan Faison | KH: Ken Hester

 

RF: If I had to describe Ken Hester, how would you want me to describe you?

KH: A passionate leader. I’m not afraid of change (and I could be accused of embracing too much of it)! I like fun stuff and I’m certainly a thrill seeker. I’m a husband. This year on June 2nd, my wife and I will celebrate 8 years of marriage. I’m a coach. I’ve enjoyed my experiences as a basketball coach over the years and even thought it would be my career. I’m a pastor. As a thrill-seeker, it is awesome that every weekend, GOD WINS! Jesus is #1 on the scoreboard! There’s salvations and baptisms every week. This is my greatest joy.

 

RF: In this season of your life, what is the most rewarding?

KH: Rewarding for me is that my staff, leaders and volunteers feel cared for. I find my reward in the great consistency rather than the great moments. We often times celebrate the moment rather than the consistency. Christ celebrates the consistency. In the NBA Playoffs, Derrick Rose hit a major shot but lost the playoffs. It may be SportsCenter moment, but we may dismiss the team’s consistent effort. The same thing applies to our spiritual life. When I see a congregation consistent in giving, serving and loving, this is my greatest reward.

 

“Christ celebrates the consistency!”

– Pastor Ken Hester

 

RF: Consistency is important to you. How do you value this in your life?

KH: I value it but working on the discipline of consistency. I tried to find a formula for devotion before God. What I realized that for me its one Scripture (maybe two), praying specifically that God reveals Himself in that Scripture, worship in my car (blasting worship in my car for 20-30 minutes), praying on my way home. I realized over the years that it’s not about a formula, but a relationship. I desire to be consistent in that area of my life.

 

RF: What would you say to someone who is focused on “formulas”?

KH: It’s about how God is stretching your faith, not a set formula. Too often, our culture is focused on calculated risk. Faith is “I’m jumping out an airplane and I don’t have a parachute but I know God will catch me!” I’m encouraged by a couple of folks in our apprenticeship program. One apprentice moved from South Africa to serve in Gastonia, North Carolina to be a part of what God is doing. That faith inspires my faith. Another couple just recently got married and moved from Sacramento, California to serve here at Elevation. This is the faith that is demonstrated in the Bible. I need to be challenged in faith. I encourage others to look for everyday faith. If God did it before, He can do it again! 

 

RF: What’s the most challenging area of your life?

KH: One of the most challenging areas on my life (and my wife) is regarding family. We are beginning to share more and more about it with others. We’re been trying to start a family for five years. To say its been a struggle is an understatement. You get a monthly reminder that God has not chosen you to have a family yet. What have you tried for five years and still not seeing fruit from? Not many things. If you go to school for years, you received a degree. We’ve been trying to have a family for five years and haven’t seen that reward yet. It challenges our faith. We’re mad and hopeful. An array of emotions. What’s challenging for us is to remember that God’s promises never return void. When all you see is void — it can be a direct challenge to your faith. We’re reminded of Abraham. I hope I don’t have to wait 35+ years (lol), but we trust in God’s promise to have a family. We can’t see it now, but it doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

 

“When all you see is void — it can be a direct challenge to your faith.”

– Pastor Ken Hester

 

RF: How do you minister to your wife during this challenging season?

KH: Supporting my wife in the small things makes the difference. It’s not only about extravagant gifts. It’s praying for my wife when she’s not aware I’m doing so. Doing little things around the house that relieve pressure. When we are battling, we are in this together. My wife’s not battling infertility – we are battling infertility. It’s a team effort. We are in this together.

 

RF: In the midst of your own challenge and the challenges your church faces everyday, how do you encourage them not to get discouraged when promises come to pass in someone else’s life but you’re still waiting?

KH: I’m always reminded of Pastor Steven’s (Furtick) words: “Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel!” The highlight reel is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, etc. But, what are others struggling with that they don’t want you to see? They may have a child, or a spouse, or blessed with a job that you think that you want, but they also have behind-the-scenes. They just haven’t told you about it. If you were to go through my social media platform, you would not know the struggles. Even on a campus level — people see the moments, but not the struggles. It’s death by comparison. Don’t be discouraged by a post that doesn’t tell the whole story. If someone receives a blessing, celebrate it! It’s their blessing, not yours. The comparison game is a slippery slope. Focus on what gives you joy and write them out. You’ll be surprised — you have more joys than struggles. We tend to focus more on the struggles than the joys.

 

“Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.”

– Pastor Steven Furtick (quoted by Pastor Ken Hester)

 

RF: What brings you joy being a part of Elevation Church family?

KH: I want to thank Pastor Steven for the opportunity to serve. I appreciate the passion and consistency in pursuing the vision of people far away from God being raised to life in Christ! Pastor Steven has shared with all the campus pastors that this is not his vision, but our vision. As the Gaston campus, it is Elevation but its own feel and identity. It is a joy to see the growth and the love of God shared throughout all the campuses.

 

RF: Where do you see your campus going in a year?

KH: We’re believing God for 3,000 people. Right now, we are averaging 1,100. If God did it once, He can do it again. If I see in Acts 2:41, it can happen now. It is not out of the realm of God’s perspective. It will take work, prep, innovation, creativity, people and prayer. I want our campus to align with God’s will in every way.

 

“If God can do it before, He can do it again!”

– Pastor Ken Hester

 

RF: Last question Ken. If you could talk to younger Ken, what would you say?

KH: I would probably say — don’t make too many plans for yourself because God will change them. I went to school to be a basketball coach. I was one. I won 5 championships. I was successful (or what I thought was successful). As I look back, I learned so much in coaching that informs how I pastor and serve people. I think I would be a bit more generic and leave room for God to change my plans. Let God change your plans! I was stubborn especially since I was up for an Athletic Coordinator job. But, they went in another direction. Three days later, I received a notification from the Senior Pastor of my church inviting me to be the College Pastor. The rest is history. Let God change your plans. It’s my prayer that sharing the struggles helps others see that God has a plan for your life and He will accomplish it through you.

 

ABOUT KEN

Ken Hester is the campus pastor at Elevation Church Gaston. An innovative and proven leader, Pastor Ken leads along with a team of devoted Christ-followers at Elevation Gaston to see people far away from God being raised to life in Christ. Ken studied Sports Administration from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He is married to the love of his life, Ashley Hester.

Just The Basics (The Jonathan Burgio Interview)

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!