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Don’t take it personal, but make it personal (w/ Pastor Quovadis Marshall)

(coach) quovadis marshall podcast Mar 24, 2022

Pastor Q always knew— since he was first called— he would plant a church in his hometown.

The church has just completed its sixth year.

In his own words, “It’s been both better than I thought AND harder than I thought…”


The unexpected twist about leadership

Here’s one of the unexpected hard parts: people are impressed by our strengths, but they connect with our weaknesses. And leading well while ALSO sharing your weaknesses can be difficult. 

“You have to give them of yourself,” he says. “You can just give them information. You need to be vulnerable, show them where your own hurt is, and lead with a limp.”

He reminds us that God’s power is made perfect— that is, complete— in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9).


The pandemic highlighted the pain points

Over the past two years, our nation walked through a medical emergency (Covid) and a relational emergency (race relations). This is one of the areas in which Pastor Q found himself needing to walk with vulnerability, to show the weak areas.

His church is in Iowa, a state that’s 4% Black. 

His church is 50% White, 35% Black, 15% Asian + Hispanic.

He’s married to a White woman.

These factors converged, resulting in many “courageous conversations.”


Three ways to "come in close"

Throughout these discussions, Q learned three ideas…

When we have differences, we need to: 

👉 Remove space

👉 Remove time

👉 Remove the illusion of our own innocence

The first two, space and time, occur naturally through the course of relationships. As we spend more TIME together in closer proximity (read: SPACE) we learn more about each other.

This all helps tremendously.

The third, the illusion of our own innocence, is a bit more difficult. 

For instance, when we say that “diversity” means “more people of color” are present, we’re automatically making the assumption that “to be white is normal” and to be anything else is not…

(People of every race use this same definition of diversity, however, showing that none of are are immune to the illusion of innocence.)

Contrast this to John’s assertion that Jesus calls forth— and redeems— a people of every tribe, race, and tongue (Revelation 7:9-17).

Or Paul’s declaration that Jesus has brought people who were once different from— and even hostile to— one another and reconciled them in one body (see Ephesians 2:16).

Despite this, we tend to segregate. Perhaps you’ve heard the mantra, “Sunday worship is the most segregated hour of the week.”

Homogeneous ministry is what’s taught in seminary, even. You grow by finding people who are alike. 

And, we naturally tend to gather with people who are like us, EVEN WHEN  there’s no malicious or evil intent to segregate. The statement stands, “Birds of a feather…”


Don't be surprised when you see sin

The cross invites us to be honest about our sinfulness, because we know reconciliation— to God and to each other— comes because of the Cross. That is, we no longer live from our past pain (or failure) but from the overflow of what Jesus achieves in and for each of us. 

“Make Jesus the main thing,” Q says.

“We shouldn’t,” he adds, “be surprised by the fallenness we see in the world— particularly if we believe that what the Bible says about sin is true.”

And, he continues, “We should be surprised by the capacity to reconcile, either.”


You might not have been the problem, but you can be the solution

Q tells us that many white pastors reached out to him over the course of the pandemic, particularly as racial tensions peaked after the George Floyd tragedy. 

He told them, “Don’t take it personal, but make it personal.”

That is, “I know YOU are not a bigot— so don’t take it personal. But other people have been bigots. So make it personal. Understand that a brother is hurting— even if you weren’t the cause of it.”

His words are powerful. 

And they offer a third alternative to merely overlooking the pain of the past or owning the sins of others. We can, instead, acknowledge that sin has happened— and realize a major hurt has occurred. 

In the end, Q encourages us to remember— even when facing opposition— that YOU are the answer to someone else’s prayers. And you are the solution to some of the problems that have plagued our society for generations. 



Schedule a free Strategy Session here.

Organizational Gears of Growth assessment and videos here.

Learn more about Q at-- 


Hope City Church in Waterloo, Indiana = 

Book her referenced = The Third Option Miles McPherson 

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