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7 Questions with Jackelyn Viera Iloff
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7 Questions with Jackelyn Viera Iloff
Name: Jackelyn Viera Iloff
Current title: Senior Advisor, Special Projects
Current organisation: Lakewood Church / Joel Osteen Ministries
Jackelyn Viera Iloff is an ordained minister/senior advisor at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, where she leads church community outreach and develops and implements special projects. She is also a recognized author, producer, and consultant. Her credits include award-winning History Channel series Jesus: His Life, the film Walking with Herb, NFL Super Bowl Gospel Concert, Clay Walker and Friends Relief Concert, and Paramount Pictures’ Ben Hur Premiere. In the past, she has served as a marketing and communications executive at the United States Department of Transportation, the Virginia Governor’s office of Economic Development, and at KPMG Global Audit, Tax, and Advisory services firm working on tort reform and crisis communications, among other branding communications for the firm.
1. What have you found most challenging as a church leader?
The biggest challenge as a church leader often requires that we maximize impact in a community within the framework of a limited budget. Budget resources in non-profit ministries especially are finite, and the need usually outweighs the ability to raise adequate funds. Church and ministry leaders could do so much more in the community, if we had the same ample resources and flexibility of the private sector, but nevertheless we see over and over the miracle of God taking what we have and multiplying it beyond our expectations.
2. How did you become a church leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I sensed a call to leadership at an early age. And so I have always sought to impact the world I live in. Along with having been in public and private sector leadership positions in Washington DC, and while raising my family, I had my own consulting and public relations business, as God was preparing me for the wonderful opportunity to serve Him more directly. When my husband decided to move our family to Houston, we began attending Lakewood Church, where his sister was part of a vibrant ministry. My husband was asked to come on staff in an executive position, and then a few years later as the ministry expanded our Pastor asked me to join the team as community relations and special projects advisor.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I generally start my day off with prayer and in contemplation of what lies ahead and what needs to be accomplished. I enjoy my devotional time with the Lord and prepare my thoughts for the day’s schedule believing the Holy Spirit will guide my direction. After that my day usually unfolds quickly multi-tasking between goals and tasks to reach out to community and business leaders and to strengthen and create community-based relationships for the ministry. Often I consult with and help develop faith-based entertainment offerings with the hope of impacting the culture for the better. In the evening, I like to wind down by cooking a gourmet meal, sometimes painting or gardening, and spending time with my family.
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?
Understanding the Purpose and Power of Prayer by Dr. Myles Munroe, helped me to understand more fully that God, in all His power and all His majesty, stops and listens when you pray. All that God is––and all that God has––may be received through speaking faith in prayer. Everything you need to fulfill your purpose on earth, to love God and to love one another, is available to you through your faith and in prayer.
5. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
All we do is impacted by relationships, whether it be network, friend, family, or our relationship with God. We need to stay in constant relationship with God and with each other because that is His purpose for our being... to love God and to love one another. Matt 22:36-39 (ESV) says, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
6. How do you develop a healthy leadership pipeline in a church?
Vision-casting is very important. So is communication from the top leaders. If all share an understanding of the vision of the Pastor, and everyone has a clear understanding of their role within that vision, it is easier to implement the goals at all levels. Vision-casting allows staff to invest in the organization's future by achieving long-term goals and advancing the health of the ministry. Vision-casting also provides staff with the opportunity to succeed in their own roles within the organization.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a church leader so far?
Our ability to have implemented Lakewood Church MovieNight and Generation Hope Project® with Joel Osteen Ministries has been one of the most meaningful and fulfilling seasons for me as a church leader. When we can create outlets for service for local individuals who want to work together with others from around the world to make a collective impact in a community, it is powerful. It has been a joy to witness how God unifies dedicated volunteers, community organizations, and our ministry leaders in multiple service projects that make a real difference in local communities and in turn, cause positive ripples in the major cities we have served. And with MovieNight, the ability to minister to hurting people through storytelling is a calling straight from Jesus’ playbook. So many individuals who have attended the film previews we provide have told me what a difference a story they watched has made to their families’ well-being and mental health, especially when families were shut in during this last year.