7 Questions with Dr. Jon Wallace
Name: Dr. Jon Wallace
Current title: Production Director
Current organisation: First Church of God
Dr. Wallace has served First Church of God in St. Joseph Michigan for over 20 years as an adult bible study teacher, audio producer, and volunteer in multiple capacities. Currently Jon directs the audio production of multiple services and online video streaming on Sunday mornings. He has also served with United Way, Boy Scouts, and many other non-profit organizations.
1. What have you found most challenging as a church leader?
The conflict that arises between faith, doctrine and human nature which in the current political environment prevents many from hearing God's calling that falls outside of their paradigms. As has existed throughout humanity, greed and power are in direct conflict with the command to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and bring light to the darkness. It is far too easy to just condemn the "other" than it is to love as Christ loved.
2. How did you become a church leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
From the first service I attended at this church in particular, the Holy Spirit grabbed a hold of my heart in ways more profound and life changing than I had previously known. I have served and will continue to serve as He leads wherever He calls me for the remainder of my time on this earth.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
There is always some agenda, appointments and plans for each day . . . which begins and ends in grateful prayer. At the same time remaining open to where the Spirit is moving and those God puts in front of us that were not on our agenda remains a willingness to adjust my plans for His throughout the day. I also take time to meditate and listen throughout the day for short (relative term) periods as I feel His urging.
4. What's one book apart from the Bible that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Irresistible: Reclaiming the New that Jesus Unleashed for the World from Andy Stanley. Completely changed my perspective on a lifetime of biblical teachings and study and opened my heart to be more accepting of where the walk of others may be as God puts them before me. There is much more forgiveness for ignorance and/or misunderstood interpretations/judgments that we find throughout the "church". Particularly in America.
5. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
In counseling, in leading teams, in mentoring individuals, we may know in our hearts and minds that those we're working with can solve or will solve the opportunity in front of them by doing "A, B, C" and D". However, just telling them that (giving orders for example) doesn't allow them the chance to move through that order to get to "D" within their hearts and minds. It is better to lead open discussions and help them come to a belief and understanding that is their choice...the resistance becomes less and the success rate higher. That presupposes that it is not a life threatening decision where critical leadership is required to prevent harm to others.
6. How do you develop a healthy leadership pipeline in a church?
Engagement. Prayer. Observation. In 20+ years I have found that God is always raising up new leaders and has replacements ready for us as He calls current staff/volunteers to other positions. We always have to be observing, listening and mentoring though to overcome the self-doubts or unwillingness to sacrifice that some He calls will have before they commit to serving.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a church leader so far?
When a member of the congregation had lunch without the head pastor and handed over an extraordinary certified check because the Lord had told him to share it so that the church could be debt free. That's unique among the thousands of individuals who have given their hearts to Christ, and that we see nearly every day (Praise God) which is our purpose in serving both the Lord and all of His children. That level of obedience and self-sacrifice is again extraordinary.