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Season 3 | EPISODE 10

Ministry Burnout and Gospel Renewal

1:00:35 · June 18, 2024

In this episode, Jim and ministry leaders Howard and Kellie Brown uncover the real-life struggles and triumphs of ministry burnout. This candid conversation isn’t just for pastors—it’s for anyone feeling weighed down by life’s relentless responsibilities. Amid discouraging statistics on ministry burnout, there is hope and healing in the gospel. Discover what it means to stop proving, stop striving to impress, and start resting in the liberating truth of your identity as God’s beloved child. Whether you’re in ministry or simply navigating daily stress, this episode offers a refreshing perspective on finding true rest and joy in God’s unwavering love.

In this episode, Jim and ministry leaders Howard and Kellie Brown uncover the real-life struggles and triumphs of ministry burnout. This candid conversation isn’t just for pastors—it’s for anyone feeling weighed down by life’s relentless responsibilities. Amid discouraging statistics on ministry burnout, there is hope and healing in the gospel. Discover what it means to stop proving, stop striving to impress, and start resting in the liberating truth of your identity as God’s beloved child. Whether you’re in ministry or simply navigating daily stress, this episode offers a refreshing perspective on finding true rest and joy in God’s unwavering love.

In this episode, they discuss...

  • Vulnerability and healing at Sonship Week (4:00)
  • The challenges of church planting (8:30)
  • Balancing family and ministry responsibilities (14:20)
  • The value of sabbaticals for pastors (22:37)
  • Spiritual physical therapy and the journey to true healing (31:15)
  • The role of joy in worship (40:03)

Thank you for listening! If you found this conversation encouraging or helpful, please share this episode with your friends and loved ones. Or please leave us a review—it really helps!

Referenced in the episode...

Credits

Our guests for this episode were Howard & Kellie Brown, who have served in ministry together for more than two decades. Howard currently serves as church-planting pastor of Kindred Hope Church in Atlanta, and Kellie is the Operations Director for African American Ministries (AAM) of Mission to North America (MNA). Howard is a contributing author in the books Heal Us Emmanuel: A Call for Racial Reconciliation, Representation, and Unity in the Church and Why Black Lives Matter: African American Thriving for the Twenty-First Century. This episode was hosted by Jim Lovelady. Production by Evan Mader, Anna Madsen, and Grace Chang. Music by Tommy Leahy.

𝑮𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒆 𝒂𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑭𝒓𝒂𝒚 𝑷𝒐𝒅𝒄𝒂𝒔𝒕 is produced by SERGE, an international missions agency that sends and cares for missionaries and develops gospel-centered programs and resources for ongoing spiritual renewal. Learn more and get involved at serge.org.

Connect with us!

Get in touch:
Questions or comments? Feel free to reach out to Serge’s Renewal Team anytime at podcast@serge.org

 

[Music]

Welcome to Grace at the Fray, a podcast that explores the many dimensions of God’s grace that we find at the frayed edges of life. Come explore how God’s grace works to renew your life and send you on mission in his kingdom.

[music]

0:00:23.1 Jim Lovelady: Hello, beloved. Welcome to another episode of Grace at the Fray. This is season 3, episode 10. If you’re keeping track. And if you’re new here, hey, I’m glad you’re here after this episode, I hope you subscribe to this podcast and check out previous episodes. This episode today is especially for pastors and I suppose, anybody who knows a pastor, it’s on the topic of ministry burnout. And really, burnout isn’t just something for folks in ministry. It’s a risk for everyone. And it may be a risk for you, too. So let me ask you a few diagnostic questions that honestly might be a bit uncomfortable. Are you ready? Here we go. Do you know how to stop working? What’s at stake if you stop working? Do you know how to be silent and just do nothing? Do you believe that in God’s eyes without you doing anything, he’s well pleased with you? Can God delight in one such as you and be well pleased? Over the last few years, the statistics on pastoral and ministry burnout have been pretty discouraging and wanting to help burned out pastors and missionaries in and through and out of and away from that burnout is a big reason why I joined Serge. I have my own experience of ministry burnout that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, but at the same time, I’m really thankful for because of how Jesus met me during that time. But I’ll say that story, for another day. Today, I want to share with you a conversation I had with Howard and Kellie Brown. Howard and Kellie have served in ministry together for more than two decades in many locations. Howard currently serves as church planting pastor of Kindred Hope Church in Atlanta. And Kellie as the operations director for African American Ministries, AAM of Mission to North America. And the co-host for the podcast, Between the Pew.

Howard and Kellie have two college age sons. And in this conversation you’re going to hear Howard and Kellie refer to their involvement in something called Kinship. So I want to help orient you to what they’re talking about. Since 2018, Serge has been in conversations with African American leaders who are convinced that minority leaders need a fresh, contextually appropriate application of the gospel to the unique challenges of their work and the congregations that they serve. Since that time, Serge has been working to help them develop these resources through an initiative called Kinship. It’s still very much in development, but some of that content has been presented in a conference format, very similar to Serge’s Sonship Week. In fact, I was with Howard and Kellie in Hollywood, Florida last fall, where they were speakers for Sonship Week. And in this conversation, you’re really going to get a sense of the atmosphere of a typical Sonship Week, this vivid awareness that the Holy Spirit is moving and a freedom to be vulnerable and raw, knowing that Jesus brings healing, rest and joy. So come sit with us as we explore what it means to slow down, stop working, stop proving, stop drowning under the expectations of others. Stop impressing, stop living under condemnation, and really find rest knowing that you are his beloved and in you, he’s well pleased.

[music]

0:04:00.9 Jim Lovelady: Well, Kellie, Howard, welcome to Grace at the Fray.

0:04:03.5 Kellie Brown: Thank you.

0:04:04.3 Jim Lovelady: Welcome to Sonship Week. We aren’t even halfway through but yesterday was like a really intense day. And today’s been a really intense day. And so it’s really interesting. I haven’t done a Sonship Week since 2012.

0:04:23.6 Kellie Brown: Okay.

0:04:24.6 Jim Lovelady: And so it’s been this wonderful reminder of this dense time of exploring our own hearts and exploring Jesus’ love in community. And so tell me what y’all have thought so far about Sonship Week.

0:04:44.6 Kellie Brown: This is my first time too, I did Sonship just the, I guess it’s the regular one where you meet once a week or something like that. And virtually ’cause it was during COVID. I didn’t get to finish it. But I feel like Sonship is something you always need. Like, these conversations never expire and you really have to just keep going back to the well and drinking. So this week has been… I’m resisting saying really good because that’s bland.

0:05:29.8 Jim Lovelady: My daughter comes home from school. How was school? 

0:05:31.7 Kellie Brown: Really good.

0:05:32.3 Jim Lovelady: Really good? 

0:05:32.9 Kellie Brown: Yeah.

0:05:33.4 Jim Lovelady: But she says it like that. Really good.

0:05:35.4 Kellie Brown: Yes. That’s it. Any other adjectives? You got some verbs going on? Nope.

0:05:40.3 Jim Lovelady: Yeah, you want to be more specific? 

0:05:42.6 Kellie Brown: Okay, okay. It’s been a great reminder for me. We’re in-between state, we’re in a transition from a church we were at for 20 years to planting a church. And just moved to Atlanta, Georgia a year and two months ago. So we don’t have a church. This is the first time we’ve been kind of, not really in the fray of full-time pastoral ministry. And Sonship’s hitting me different this time. I think I was in a different place when it happened for me last time. And now I feel like there’s a lot less noise in my life. And so I’m able to hear and be more introspective and kind of comb through my life as I’m hearing these truths about my sense of self-generated righteousness and where is that and what that is different, what’s different for me now than it was a few years back. And the Lord… It is a journey, right? And new things are revealed. And then it’s like, oh, look, Lord, I think you put me on a path to healing about this one. I’m doing a lot better here. But yeah, I got some new stuff.

[laughter]

0:07:12.8 Jim Lovelady: Right. That I didn’t even see.

0:07:14.3 Kellie Brown: Nope. Didn’t even see.

0:07:17.0 Jim Lovelady: At least to this degree.

0:07:18.2 Kellie Brown: At least to this degree.

0:07:18.4 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:07:18.4 Kellie Brown: And so I think it’s been revealing for me, particularly the self-generated righteousness talk was just kind of like, okay, I got a lot to wrestle with here. So it’s transformative if you let it be. And so, I feel like I’m poised for that.

0:07:43.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. You bring to Sonship Week what you have and to the degree that you want to work those things out. Is the degree that…

0:07:52.1 Kellie Brown: That’s right.

0:07:54.4 Jim Lovelady: The Lord does it. Yeah. How about you, Howard? 

0:07:56.7 Howard Brown: Yeah, so this is my second Sonship Week. First time being on the staff side of things, but both times heart wrenching, heart grabbing and challenging. And so it’s real interesting, regardless of what side you’re on, you’re having to grapple with the material. Even the stuff that you are speaking, the stuff you are saying is getting you.

0:08:30.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:08:30.8 Howard Brown: I think it’s hard for people to know that, like, oh, there’s the expert up there. No, here’s the fellow struggler up here. I cannot emphasize that enough.

0:08:42.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:08:42.7 Howard Brown: That as we go through it from the front, we are going through it just like anybody in the audience. And praying and hoping and believing by faith that it’s true. I would say that it’s funny how the move to do this church plant that we’re in now, we’ve only been there a year and two months has had somewhat of an opposite effect on me.

0:09:16.9 Jim Lovelady: Oh, really? 

0:09:17.3 Howard Brown: Yeah.

0:09:18.0 Jim Lovelady: So it feels more of a fray.

0:09:21.0 Howard Brown: Yeah. And I’ve shared this a few times already this week, especially on orphan talk. When you have a church that’s running and you’re in your place and position you are… It’s a lot easier to perform and sort of act out for your keep, like an orphan, if you will, it can thrive there. But since being removed, I mean, on a Sunday morning, there’s nothing for me to do because I don’t have a congregation yet.

0:10:00.7 Jim Lovelady: Oh, yeah.

0:10:01.9 Howard Brown: There’s nobody waiting to see me. I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t know where my sense of worth comes from when you’re doing all the behind the scenes stuff, meeting people one-on-one, which I enjoy, but still it doesn’t feed the same thing. And so I’m coming to another level, a different depth, new terms coming to new terms with stuff I obviously had not dealt with, because I don’t have a platform for people to accept me or like me.

0:10:46.1 Jim Lovelady: Right.

0:10:48.2 Howard Brown: It’s really difficult. So Sonship Week comes at a really critical time for me to be able to really share from the heart what God’s doing. And the desperate need for it right now.

0:11:07.7 Jim Lovelady: I love that that’s the reality. I mean, I know that you don’t necessarily love that that’s…

0:11:12.7 Howard Brown: No, it’s very difficult.

0:11:14.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah.

0:11:14.7 Howard Brown: Because if you’re not secure in Christ and you’re out there on your own scratch planting, it’s just, it’s difficult. And I explained this, I think in a meeting earlier, that it’s circumstantial orphaning. Everything around you is treating you like a orphan.

0:11:37.2 Jim Lovelady: The architecture has changed.

0:11:39.9 Howard Brown: Yeah. We don’t have a church looking for us.

0:11:42.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:11:42.7 Howard Brown: The community group we have, we don’t have right now. Everything is saying you’re alone.

0:11:50.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah. All the places that were so much a part of the architecture of your life that were kind of lifting up the… Supporting the fantasy that we can build this as… I love how you put that, of becoming functional real high functioning orphans. When you have the architecture around you that kind of stabilizes that facade, that fantasy life, world, it’s like, oh, okay. So I’ve proven that I can make it because the small group, there’s the small group. Ah, I have a sermon to work on next Sunday. I have this to navigate. So all of these things, when the Lord removes them, it’s like, well, what? That’s disorienting, I guess.

0:12:41.2 Howard Brown: Yeah. Where’s my real delight? Where’s my real joy? And I don’t think we mentioned that both boys went to college last year.

0:12:52.6 Jim Lovelady: Oh, so you got the empty nest.

0:12:53.9 Howard Brown: So we have two boys, empty nest, new community, new house, new city, new ministry.

0:13:00.9 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Okay.

0:13:01.1 Howard Brown: And so even if we were getting a sense…

0:13:05.9 Jim Lovelady: So you’re alone.

[laughter]

0:13:06.6 Howard Brown: Yeah. So if we got a sense of righteousness from being with our boys, they gone and they’re kind of doing their own thing. And that can be challenging. And so it’s really been a lot of changes for me and it’s challenged my faith. What do I really believe, now that I’m out here in the proverbial desert? What am I going to fill it with? 

0:13:40.2 Jim Lovelady: That’s good.

0:13:41.0 Howard Brown: So it’s been a challenging and difficult time.

0:13:44.2 Jim Lovelady: I resonate with when you decided to leave your ministry to start this new one. A year and a half ago, I left being a full-time music director, worship pastor at a church, my whole adult, my children never knew a Sunday where I wasn’t up on stage, you know? And so now working at Serge, it’s a… For the most part, a Monday through Friday job, and now I’m standing next to my children and they’re like, oh dad…

0:14:20.4 Kellie Brown: What’s this dude doing here? 

0:14:20.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. What’s this dude doing here? And my wife loves it because for the longest time she was a single wife.

0:14:26.2 Kellie Brown: That’s right.

0:14:26.4 Jim Lovelady: She was a single mother on Sundays. Talk about that.

0:14:30.2 Kellie Brown: Oh my. Yeah. That’s exactly what it feels like. It feels like you got married and I could go really deep here. I’m not going to, but I think my story is, evangelicalism says you have to be married because marriage is the pinnacle of God’s favor towards people. And so you got to get married. And I did that and now I had these kids and it feels like I’m not married. On one hand it feels like I’m not married. He’s literally not here.

0:15:09.2 Jim Lovelady: Right.

0:15:10.7 Kellie Brown: And then at the same time, I have to be mother, sister, all these things to all these folk I didn’t necessarily signed up to be [laughter], you know? 

0:15:27.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah.

0:15:27.7 Kellie Brown: Having to deal with and I have to lose him again ’cause he’s off taking care of them. And it can be very resentful and disorienting, confusing. I do think there was a lot of imbalance. You know, so again, we’re planting again, and I’ve said all along, out loud and in private, I will not sacrifice myself for ministry ever again. I just am not going to do it. I’m not going to sacrifice my kids. I’m not going to sacrifice my spiritual health, my emotional mental health for church. I don’t think that’s what God calls us to do. But the people want that. And if I have to piss some people off, sorry if I said a word, you have to bleep, [laughter], if I have to upset some folks along the way, I’m willing to do that in a way that I wasn’t before.

0:16:24.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:16:24.7 Kellie Brown: Because Jesus loves the church. It’s his church.

0:16:30.0 Jim Lovelady: It’s his church. Yeah.

0:16:31.0 Kellie Brown: And so he can do everything that needs to be done without us adding some extra sacrifice or some extra rules that he never asked us for. And so I’m willing to say, hey, time out, I’m not doing that.

0:16:48.9 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah. I loved how you were talking about as the gospel’s working itself into your heart in a new way, you’re going, no, I’m not going to do that anymore. And it pisses some people off.

[laughter]

0:17:03.1 Jim Lovelady: And you’re like… Well, and so that’s really hard.

0:17:05.5 Kellie Brown: Yeah.

0:17:05.6 Jim Lovelady: You know, it’s really hard when you start pissing the church off. Because it’s like, well, Jesus… Like this is your bride and all the metaphors of intimacy with God.

0:17:19.9 Kellie Brown: Right.

0:17:20.3 Jim Lovelady: And what the church is in terms of how it cultivates for us in a community and intimacy with God. And then suddenly you’ve pissed the church off and it’s kind of like, well, Jesus, how do I find your voice in the midst of all this? 

0:17:36.0 Kellie Brown: Right. In the middle of all of this.

0:17:37.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:17:37.1 Kellie Brown: Talk about grace at the fray. And what’s always fascinated me and been the most difficult thing is the hardest spaces have been the church for me. It has not been outside the church. It has been the expectations. It has been the demands, the financial demands and expectations, the parenting demands and expectations. And so I found more grace sometimes outside the church.

0:18:14.6 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:18:15.1 Kellie Brown: And then that just hurts. That’s just sad to me that these are my… this is supposed to be my community, but it feels like a mob in a lot of ways. And he doesn’t know whether to protect me or to get control of the mob.

0:18:35.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. That’s a good way of putting it.

0:18:36.6 Kellie Brown: Yeah. And it’s tough. It is really tough. But I have also grown to understand that some of the ways I frame things up, just aren’t helpful. And so I said I don’t want to piss people off at the church. But the truth is, sometimes you just have to be secure enough and understand who you are enough to say what you will and won’t do, and be willing to let folks work it out however you need to. [laughter]

0:19:06.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:19:07.3 Kellie Brown: Like, I’ll pray for you, and I don’t mean that in a pat sort of way, but I can’t rescue you here.

0:19:16.2 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:19:17.9 Kellie Brown: And what I’m asking for is really within my bounds of as a child of God, which is who I am more than anything.

0:19:26.2 Jim Lovelady: Right. Right.

0:19:28.0 Kellie Brown: And so if that’s a place where it’s hard for you, then it’s going to have to be hard for you. And maybe we can talk about it, but here’s the move I need to make.

0:19:36.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:19:37.1 Kellie Brown: Here’s the way I need to step back right now. Here’s the time I need to be done. I need to be done. I need to be outta here. I don’t want to be rushing around with my children. I don’t want to be so exhausted I can’t be present for the next day or the next thing. I can’t be sitting here without any time to really go before the Lord and have my own time with the Lord because I’ve given it all away.

0:20:02.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:20:03.3 Kellie Brown: I am called to Him first. That’s it. And this church that I love that he’s called me to is his. He already loves it. He already died for it. It’s already done.

0:20:17.3 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:20:17.9 Kellie Brown: And so I can go and do what I need to do, and you can go and do what you need to do. And it should be okay. And then people have responses and reactions and faces, and it’s easy to just want to throw the whole thing up and throw it away and just throw my hands up and walk away. But even that, I’m called to. Right? 

0:20:43.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:20:43.5 Kellie Brown: Even that I’m called to in community and I’ve had younger women and sometimes older women come back and say, “Hey, do you remember when you did or said this? I had no idea what you were talking about. Now we’re doing RUF, or now my husband’s in the pastorate, or now he, I get it. Thank you for giving me a model of what freedom looks like.”

0:21:05.6 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:21:07.9 Kellie Brown: So you don’t know what you’re doing in the moment. And I’ve had friends say they would… A good friend of mine just doing all this stuff. And she said her husband told her she had to do it. And I said, “No, you don’t. You don’t have to do all that.”

0:21:23.6 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah.

0:21:24.5 Kellie Brown: And she was like, “I don’t?” [laughter]

0:21:25.9 Jim Lovelady: She needed somebody to come along and say, Hey, it is for freedom that Christ set you free.

0:21:34.3 Kellie Brown: That’s for freedom.

0:21:34.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:21:34.5 Kellie Brown: Freedom.

0:21:34.6 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. I love that you use that word.

0:21:35.7 Kellie Brown: Yeah.

0:21:36.1 Jim Lovelady: There’s a priestly nature to the pastoral ministry. And the priestly nature is, Hey, I’m going to go first. Hey, is this water cold? I’m going to jump in first. And yeah, this is freezing. Or whatever metaphor of like I’m going to go first.

0:21:52.4 Kellie Brown: Yeah.

0:21:52.6 Jim Lovelady: You know? And so just the way that you’re… Just the way that all week you guys have been embodying a sense of authenticity where it’s like, this is… Every time you get up there and talk, it’s like, look, I’m wrestling with this. You have no idea how every word I’m saying is actually preached as much to me as it is to all y’all sitting down, you know? And I appreciate that. So what does it look like to grapple with the truth that for freedom, Christ has set us free? Like, how have you been grappling with… No, no, no. My identity is in Christ. I didn’t, I knew that. You knew that.

0:22:37.0 Kellie Brown: Yeah. You know it.

0:22:37.1 Jim Lovelady: We would say that.

0:22:38.0 Kellie Brown: But you don’t know it.

0:22:39.1 Jim Lovelady: But how have you been like exploring that in new ways? 

0:22:42.3 Howard Brown: Yeah. So for me, it took taking time away. I had a sabbatical. And had somebody who was willing to walk with me. I really found it helpful to have a spiritual director who helped me, I want to say, reenter my relationship with the Lord where it wasn’t work, it wasn’t functional. It wasn’t transactional.

0:23:18.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:23:20.4 Howard Brown: Delighting in the Lord. And you know, stuff like, all right, go for a walk. And I’m like, do you want me to do a prayer walk? No.

[laughter]

0:23:31.8 Jim Lovelady: Yes, exactly.

0:23:33.3 Howard Brown: Have you noticed the trees? I mean, but that’s not God. Yeah. It is. Just want you to chill and enjoy the benefits of God’s goodness. And as you do that, His praise will be on your lips.

0:23:50.9 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:23:52.5 Howard Brown: You’ll say he’s good.

0:23:53.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:23:54.9 Howard Brown: You’ll seek him.

0:23:55.7 Kellie Brown: Yeah.

0:23:56.3 Howard Brown: And so there’s a give and take about that, where scripture definitely gives you the words, right? It gives you the language and story of praise and intimacy. But learning to actually experience the Lord in real time and space in all that I do, that was revealing to me. And I learned, how one of the Psalms tells us that, sometimes going through a place like a desert how you can make a well there and how the rain comes and fills the well. And so even in those desperate places, I think I just learned to take time to dig wells and wait for the Lord to fill them…

0:24:50.9 Jim Lovelady: And wait for the rain.

0:24:53.5 Howard Brown: Instead of me filling them. And that’s been helpful. And again, it’s phases, it’s place to place, there’s a new well to dig. And so in between there’s desert, there’s desperate times. So I don’t want to give this illusion that that, wait, he got it. He figured it out. He’s going and walking every morning. And he’s got a perfect quiet time experience. No.

0:25:25.2 Jim Lovelady: Right.

0:25:26.4 Howard Brown: I’m kind of falling off a little bit lately, but I feel the Lord calling me back and I’m excited, and I’m not the same as I was before. I’m not the same as I was before.

0:25:40.2 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:25:40.3 Howard Brown: And so, even going back to it after some desperate time, it’s a different kind of renewal. And so there’s nothing lost because God kept it for me.

0:25:53.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:25:53.8 Howard Brown: It’s kept in His promises and His love for me, even though mine sometimes wanes for Him. So I think that’s been helpful in kind of seeing the empty spaces. I think we should take… I think pastors should have… Not just pastors, I want to be clear. That we experience, what we experience believers should experience in every week, experiencing every walk of life, whether they’re out there performing in their regular job, corporate world. All these things are true there too.

0:26:28.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:26:29.2 Howard Brown: This is not a special experience because I’m a pastor. I think that the difference is people look at me and expect to have something that they don’t have in their regular lives. And I need to let people know that’s not true. Yes. I feel like I have a priestly function in the body, but I’m still part of the body.

0:26:53.2 Jim Lovelady: Right.

0:26:53.5 Howard Brown: And I want them to be free to, hey, I’m going through the same thing too, you know? 

0:27:00.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:27:00.2 Howard Brown: I’m feeling like a orphan. I’m up there performing too, and for the wives to feel very similar if they’re in situations like my wife is. And so I just think it’s a helpful thing for me to be a struggling part of the body.

0:27:17.2 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah. The uppercase S, Shepherd has called you to be a lowercase s, shepherd. And the way that you spell lowercase shepherd his S-H-E-E-P.

[laughter]

0:27:31.0 Howard Brown: Yeah. Oh yeah, Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

0:27:34.6 Jim Lovelady: And so it’s an interesting vocation. But yeah, we… She laughs.

[laughter]

0:27:42.3 Howard Brown: It’s kind of dangerous.

0:27:43.4 Jim Lovelady: It’s dangerous.

0:27:45.4 Howard Brown: ‘Cause it breeds familiarity where there really isn’t… You may be familiar with the things of God. But are you filled and joyful in the person, God? 

0:27:58.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:28:00.1 Howard Brown: You know, I think that that’s dangerous, because you can fool other folk.

0:28:06.0 Kellie Brown: You can’t fool Him.

0:28:07.5 Howard Brown: But then sometimes you can fool yourself.

0:28:09.3 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:28:09.5 Howard Brown: But you can’t fool Him.

0:28:12.1 Kellie Brown: I’ll tell you, it was really amazing to witness Howard transform over his sabbatical. At that point, we had been in full-time ministry at that church, 18 years and over the 25 years, never had a sabbatical.

0:28:31.9 Jim Lovelady: Wow. Yeah.

0:28:32.9 Kellie Brown: Never had more than a six, maybe an eight week break which you’ll find with kids is like, it doesn’t count the same way. [chuckle] But this was a six month sabbatical, which we highly advocate for.

0:28:49.6 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Amen. Me too.

0:28:51.3 Kellie Brown: Because you know, this position, this occupation, it just takes a long time for pastors, and this is specific I think, to pastors, to decompress…

0:29:05.6 Jim Lovelady: Two months.

0:29:06.2 Kellie Brown: Two months. Right. There’s a whole… I think they’ve done some research around it takes 10 days for them to stop thinking about the church more than a certain number of times. Takes another few days for them to not think about the church at all. Then it takes another series of days for them to really be able to settle into whatever spiritual work they need to do for themselves that’s not related to the church.

0:29:32.3 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:29:33.1 Kellie Brown: Then it takes another few days where they start, when they know it’s about to end.

0:29:37.4 Howard Brown: You automatically ramp back up.

0:29:38.4 Kellie Brown: Automatically start ramping back up. So it takes so long. And I watched Howard even with a spiritual director and she was great because it gave me a place to go when I’m like, he’s not doing well. And she said, what’s going on? I did. I told on him. It was beautiful.

0:30:00.4 Jim Lovelady: Good for you.

0:30:00.5 Kellie Brown: And I’m like, Howard, Howard would get all creative. And so he had this… Not having the kinetic energy of dealing with people and writing a sermon and in and out and the 9-5 day and all of that, all of that physical energy he took and put into his new hobby of carpentry.

0:30:21.4 Jim Lovelady: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

0:30:22.6 Kellie Brown: Which he has no training in.

0:30:23.6 Howard Brown: That’s okay.

0:30:24.5 Jim Lovelady: Did you build a rocking chair? 

0:30:26.9 Howard Brown: Jesus didn’t, he had a training in carpentry? 

0:30:29.9 Kellie Brown: No, we’re not going there. He built… Howard built all kind of stuff.

0:30:33.5 Jim Lovelady: He just wants to be like Jesus that’s what it is. She roll her eyes.

0:30:37.3 Kellie Brown: Yeah. You meant… But it went from being a hobby to a replacement for all that kinetic and mental energy.

0:30:45.8 Howard Brown: That’s what I’m saying. It doesn’t matter what job you have.

0:30:50.0 Kellie Brown: It really doesn’t.

0:30:51.4 Howard Brown: Kind of obsessive performance thing.

0:30:54.2 Jim Lovelady: It’s still there. So she was a… I went to her and she just said, okay. And she went to him and said, Hey, listen, two hours a day, that’s all you got. You do your carpentry stuff, it’s a hobby for you. But she said, be careful not to replace the spiritual work you’re supposed to be doing with this need to be productive.

0:31:15.3 Jim Lovelady: Right.

0:31:16.0 Kellie Brown: To produce a thing. And Jesus is so much about, I don’t need for you to make anything.

[laughter]

0:31:24.6 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:31:24.7 Kellie Brown: I don’t need for you to make a sermon or a church or a marriage work or a baby baptized, I need for you to have… I need to have your full face looking at me.

0:31:34.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. That’s it.

0:31:35.0 Kellie Brown: And so I watched this man fight, resist God, resist his training, resist his instruction, and get mad at me. Get mad at God, get mad at the spiritual director and come to this place of beauty and rest. And go, “oh! I didn’t even know I was doing that.”

0:32:00.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:32:01.4 Kellie Brown: And come to this deep breath I haven’t seen in probably ever. And then to watch him walk in that for the next several months, this place of discovery, of lightness. Not light lights, like.

0:32:22.0 Jim Lovelady: Like a weight lifted.

0:32:23.5 Kellie Brown: Yes.

0:32:24.2 Howard Brown: Just being a child.

0:32:26.2 Kellie Brown: To just being a child.

0:32:28.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:32:28.7 Howard Brown: Just being a child.

0:32:34.1 Howard Brown: Running around and granddaddy’s house, playing trains and Legos and not a care in the world. Nowhere to know when it was time… Didn’t worry about lunch, dinner or breakfast. Just be free. And then to see that applied to his family and the people around him was just… I mean, it was amazing to me. And then it also gave us both, and I think me in a way that frustrates him sometimes, but when we went back and he starts to bog down again.

0:33:07.4 Jim Lovelady: Yeah, it’s so easy.

0:33:08.2 Kellie Brown: And I’ll say, you remember, remember what the Lord taught you? You were different. You enjoyed yourself [laughter] and the world around you better. You getting caught up into… And I probably could have preached the gospel to him a little bit better, but I just wanted to remind him, Hey, you were at a place you’ve never been with the Lord, you can go back there. Now you have the tools and the language and the instruction to do that. So be careful now, ’cause you might be making a choice to not have grace in this fray.

0:33:43.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:33:44.0 Kellie Brown: ‘Cause fray feels comfortable. It feels familiar.

0:33:47.2 Jim Lovelady: It’s like spiritual physical therapy. How do you say? It’s not spiritual therapy. It’s physical… That spiritual, physical therapy where you’ve been… Your life has been living with like, your hips are out of whack.

0:34:04.9 Kellie Brown: That’s a good analogy.

0:34:05.1 Jim Lovelady: And Jesus comes and he goes, bup! And he puts you back. Well, you’ve been a runner. You’ve been a fast runner. You’ve been a… You’re kind of a big deal runner. Everybody knows you, kind of runner. This whole time you’ve been running with a hip out and Jesus comes in and he goes, bup, puts it back, and you’re like, “Hey, put me in coach. I think I’m ready.” And you go back in and bup, pops right back out because…

0:34:36.9 Howard Brown: Oh yeah.

0:34:37.2 Jim Lovelady: There’s a groove there that you’ve figured out.

0:34:40.0 Howard Brown: That’s right.

0:34:41.0 Jim Lovelady: And Jesus goes, you are not going to make it.

0:34:42.2 Kellie Brown: No.

0:34:42.7 Jim Lovelady: So there’s this, like, now put it back. Let’s figure out if we can… How to live life with… We did some physical therapy on your soul. And you’re going to have to figure out how to continue to do that physical therapy, just forever.

0:35:00.0 Howard Brown: Yeah.

0:35:00.1 Jim Lovelady: Your hip is always going to be…

0:35:01.4 Kellie Brown: That’s right. That’s exactly right.

0:35:02.6 Jim Lovelady: Your hip is… It’s almost like…

0:35:02.9 Kellie Brown: Yeah.

0:35:04.9 Howard Brown: Until he comes back.

0:35:05.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:35:05.1 Kellie Brown: Yeah.

[laughter]

0:35:06.2 Kellie Brown: Well, that’s interesting. He’s got a shoulder injury. He’s rehabbing right now. He had shoulder surgery in April. And long story, we moved, all this stuff was going on. He stopped going to physical therapy. And so…

0:35:20.0 Howard Brown: Well, I couldn’t, ’cause I was moving.

[laughter]

0:35:22.9 Howard Brown: Since I’m the only one in house who can lift things.

[laughter]

0:35:26.9 Jim Lovelady: We’re not going to go there.

0:35:28.8 Kellie Brown: Nope.

[laughter]

0:35:28.8 Kellie Brown: And so he was raising his arm, and I said, Howard, gosh, every time you raise your arm, your whole side goes up.

0:35:36.4 Jim Lovelady: Oh, yeah.

0:35:37.1 Kellie Brown: I don’t think that’s supposed to happen. Like, we’re several months from the surgery. And he was like, yeah, I probably need to do my physical therapy. I need to go back. So he went online and he got all his stuff, went on YouTube, looked at videos. He says, “I’m going to do my physical therapy myself.” I was like, “Well, I mean, if that’s what you want to do, okay.”

0:35:55.4 Howard Brown: I knew what I was doing ’cause I’m the YouTube guy. So I went on YouTube, and I’m like, why am I going to a physical therapist and I can do this stuff, I own kind a pulley and all of that. I was ready.

0:36:06.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. This episode is not sponsored by a physical therapist office.

0:36:09.5 Kellie Brown: No, no, no.

[laughter]

0:36:09.9 Howard Brown: No it isn’t. All I know is trying to do it on my own.

0:36:12.9 Kellie Brown: He went back to the doctor.

0:36:14.4 Jim Lovelady: Oh, you did? 

0:36:17.2 Kellie Brown: The doctor said, “Yeah, you should be further along and I’m afraid you are moving towards frozen shoulders syndrome. Where we going to have to put you… “

0:36:24.0 Howard Brown: “But I’ve been doing it on my own.” He was like, “You’re doing it wrong.”

0:36:25.2 Kellie Brown: You’re going to have to have another procedure.

0:36:28.1 Jim Lovelady: Oh my gosh. But I’ve been doing it on my own. You’ve been doing it on your own wrong.

0:36:30.9 Kellie Brown: Doing it on his own. Wrong. And thought you were healed.

0:36:34.9 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:36:35.2 Kellie Brown: Thought you were on a path to healing when you were on a path to actually doing more damage or reversing the damage that we already did. So that illustration transcends.

0:36:45.5 Jim Lovelady: That’s your sermons. That was what you, that’s basically what you…

0:36:47.8 Howard Brown: A lot of it had to do with pain. Avoiding the pain.

0:36:50.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah.

0:36:53.8 Kellie Brown: And so I thought I was healing my pain, getting my strength back and I was causing more issues in other parts of my body that I didn’t realize was going on. And so it’s not a only one part gets hurt. Everybody gets hurt.

0:37:09.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah.

0:37:09.5 Howard Brown: And I think that’s just something to think about. And so Sonship is sort of like that for us this week.

0:37:15.7 Kellie Brown: Physical therapy.

0:37:16.5 Howard Brown: It’s definitely physical therapy. It’s definitely moving the way that you were created to move and the way you were born again to move.

0:37:29.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It’s more human than you ever realized.

0:37:33.9 Howard Brown: Yes.

0:37:34.7 Jim Lovelady: It’s a more truly human.

0:37:35.8 Howard Brown: To live as a son again. And it’s been so helpful, but I’m still in the middle of it.

0:37:45.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:37:46.1 Howard Brown: I’m still looking at all the physical therapists mad.

[laughter]

0:37:50.2 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

[laughter]

0:37:50.8 Howard Brown: For hurting me.

0:37:51.6 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:37:51.9 Howard Brown: And twisting my arm.

0:37:53.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. And like gets up and talks about idolatry and…

0:37:55.3 Howard Brown: Yeah.

0:37:55.3 Jim Lovelady: You know Like…

0:37:56.9 Howard Brown: And I’m like…

0:37:57.6 Jim Lovelady: Stop that, that hurts.

0:37:57.7 Howard Brown: That hurts. Leave me alone. I can do it on my own at home.

0:38:01.2 Jim Lovelady: Right. Right.

0:38:02.7 Howard Brown: I have… I can handle my… But I think that’s important that people come to these… And I hate with a passion. I hate conferences.

0:38:12.0 Jim Lovelady: This is a long one too.

0:38:13.4 Howard Brown: I don’t like conferences now, it helps because I’m speaking.

[laughter]

0:38:18.0 Jim Lovelady: You’re like I guess I’ll go they need me to talk.

0:38:21.7 Howard Brown: If I’m talking that’s easier but I can’t stand it. I don’t know. It’s just so difficult for me to sit in here a part of the conference. I don’t like… I hate the worst…

0:38:31.8 Jim Lovelady: Don’t say the singing.

0:38:33.2 Howard Brown: Yes.

[laughter]

0:38:34.7 Howard Brown: I can’t stand singing at conferences.

0:38:36.6 Jim Lovelady: Hey, no offense taken. I get that all the time.

0:38:39.0 Howard Brown: No, no I’m saying it because you’re sitting here and I’m like, I don’t… What’s wrong with me? 

0:38:44.1 Jim Lovelady: I get it, dude.

0:38:44.6 Howard Brown: Why can’t I sit in on the singing? Like, why do I think, oh man, let’s just get to the stuff, man. Why are we singing? It’s just, they just, it’s singing just to fill in time.

0:38:54.7 Jim Lovelady: Oh, right, right.

0:38:55.6 Howard Brown: And I learned something when I was here. I don’t have joy. I don’t have joy.

0:39:04.3 Jim Lovelady: Were you in the room when I said, my job as the worship leader this week is to teach your body how to believe? 

0:39:11.0 Howard Brown: Mm-hmm. That’s gone.

0:39:14.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:39:14.2 Howard Brown: That’s part of the physical therapy.

0:39:15.3 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:39:16.1 Howard Brown: Is the spiritual therapy that I’m experiencing. And I’m like… And it just took time to get to a place where, okay, I’m looking forward to worship. And that has nothing to do with, I don’t like the singing or I don’t like the guitar.

0:39:32.8 Jim Lovelady: Or the songs or whatever.

0:39:34.0 Howard Brown: Or the songs.

0:39:34.9 Jim Lovelady: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

0:39:35.2 Howard Brown: It has everything to do with what’s going on in here.

0:39:40.4 Kellie Brown: The posture of your heart.

0:39:41.3 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah.

0:39:43.6 Howard Brown: And it’s just reflective of your own life. Why aren’t you worshiping? Where’s the joy? 

0:39:50.9 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah.

0:39:50.9 Howard Brown: And joy comes from being in proper relationship with the father. That’s what a joy comes from, knowing how much you’re loved.

0:40:00.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:40:00.7 Howard Brown: And that’s what’s been missing. So keep the singing in there.

0:40:03.4 Kellie Brown: It’s one of my favorite parts.

0:40:05.5 Howard Brown: See, she’s a worshiper.

0:40:07.5 Jim Lovelady: Well, it’s funny how difficult it is when you’re a runner and you’re told “Hey, just sit down. Sit down.” You get fidgety.

0:40:19.4 Howard Brown: Oh yeah. Oh, that’s exactly right.

0:40:20.1 Kellie Brown: Looking at your watch.

0:40:21.6 Jim Lovelady: Yeah, yeah. And maybe you do carpentry for 10 hours a day instead of two. Because you’re fidgety.

0:40:29.9 Howard Brown: That’s it.

0:40:31.4 Jim Lovelady: We get spiritually fidgety. And the really interesting thing is our culture cultivates a…

0:40:37.9 Kellie Brown: It does.

0:40:38.6 Jim Lovelady: Hey you want to…

0:40:39.9 Kellie Brown: Productivity concept.

0:40:40.6 Jim Lovelady: Chill out.

0:40:42.6 Kellie Brown: Constantly doing something.

0:40:43.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. We’re in Florida right now and TJ, the pastor here, he said, “Hey, thanks for visiting Florida. We don’t have sales tax.” Right? Is that what it was? Sales We don’t have sales tax because of all the tourists.

0:40:54.0 Howard Brown: ‘Cause all of it is… Yeah.

0:40:55.6 Jim Lovelady: And so what do people do for vacation? They go run around Florida making themselves busy, and then they come back on a Sunday evening exhausted. And they have school and work on a Monday.

0:41:08.5 Kellie Brown: No much.

0:41:09.2 Jim Lovelady: And they’re just done. And like, what kind of rest was that? Because we don’t know how. And so when Jesus goes “Hey, I want you to take a rest. You’ve been running for 25 years. I want you to take a rest.” You’re like, “I don’t know how. Teach me how.”

0:41:23.2 Kellie Brown: That is the truth.

0:41:26.7 Howard Brown: That is so good. So true.

0:41:29.2 Kellie Brown: That is the truth. Teach me… I would love for more of us to have the attitude of teach me how.

0:41:33.3 Howard Brown: That’s our spiritual director that she taught us how to rest.

0:41:37.3 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:41:38.0 Howard Brown: And rest in our identity in Christ.

0:41:39.7 Jim Lovelady: Right.

0:41:41.1 Howard Brown: And…

0:41:41.1 Kellie Brown: Be still and know that I am God. Be still.

0:41:45.1 Howard Brown: Boy, rest feels good too when you’re in it.

0:41:47.7 Jim Lovelady: Well, yeah. And you talked about it like, I’m a child. in a child… Patric said, or in one of the talks children, the toddlers are just there, they’re playing, just playing.

0:41:57.2 Howard Brown: Yeah.

0:41:58.9 Jim Lovelady: And there it is.

0:42:00.5 Kellie Brown: Not worried about the clock.

0:42:01.2 Howard Brown: And this is…

0:42:02.4 Kellie Brown: Or what comes next.

0:42:03.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:42:04.6 Howard Brown: And I think Kellie said it in her talk about how you feel like you have to be double good. And this leads into another really pressure point for us as black folks in white spaces. And it’s not just to be… It’s not just our denomination or a white organization like Serge, predominantly white organization like Serge. It’s the United States of America.

0:42:35.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:42:37.5 Howard Brown: Where we’re what? 13% of the population.

0:42:38.9 Jim Lovelady: Right.

0:42:41.4 Howard Brown: And accounted for, I don’t know what percentage of foundation building in this country.

0:42:47.2 Jim Lovelady: Right, right.

0:42:50.6 Howard Brown: Our view of rest and work in acceptance is really messed up.

0:42:56.1 Kellie Brown: Yeah.

0:43:00.1 Howard Brown: The mentality of go, you are the prince of the race. You are the golden child. You’re the hope. That we felt from our parents who went through civil rights and… Well, my parents in the south. Going through the things they went through and the way they were treated, I felt driven and I still feel it.

0:43:31.0 Kellie Brown: On top of all the other.

0:43:33.6 Howard Brown: And I just feel like a non-national non-ethnic theology Sonship like we talked about, or Kinship as we call it.

0:43:55.1 Jim Lovelady: I love that term by the way.

0:43:57.0 Howard Brown: It is an answer to some of the lack of rest, the restlessness. That my brothers and sisters according to the flesh according…

0:44:06.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah.

0:44:08.3 Howard Brown: Are dealing with.

0:44:09.6 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:44:10.1 Howard Brown: For them to hear they’re fully accepted. It doesn’t matter what America thinks of you and then some of the idols I think that we’ve adopted hard. I think that we think the idols that this country struggles with to have those has become synonymous with equality and acceptance and power.

0:44:40.0 Jim Lovelady: Interesting.

0:44:42.4 Howard Brown: Instead of being controlled, stepped on and oppressed. The problem is we’ve confused… We think if we have those same idols and have the same amount of money and the same power and have the same things.

0:44:55.0 Jim Lovelady: Ah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

0:44:57.9 Howard Brown: Then…

0:44:58.0 Kellie Brown: That’s what equality is.

0:44:58.8 Howard Brown: Then that’s what equality is. So, there’s a lot of backlash and backwash of the American idols that we thought were important. Worked twice as hard to get. Now here’s the hard part. You get them and you realize you still aren’t accepted.

0:45:18.5 Kellie Brown: It didn’t work.

0:45:19.4 Jim Lovelady: It didn’t work.

0:45:21.0 Howard Brown: Wait, I got the top job. Wait, I am a vice president.

0:45:24.2 Kellie Brown: Yeah.

0:45:25.0 Howard Brown: Wait, I do have a 3000, 5000, 6000 square foot house. I do have the two cars and this and the 401k and I’m still not accepted.

0:45:35.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:45:36.9 Howard Brown: Where does my sense of worth come from then? 

0:45:38.3 Kellie Brown: I’m not accepted and I’m empty.

0:45:41.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:45:42.5 Howard Brown: And I’m tired. And what do I do with that? And I think this is a biblical message and method and means to reach the suffering I know I feel.

0:46:02.4 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:46:02.8 Howard Brown: And I know Kellie feels, when you feel like even if you’re called to do something noble, I feel like I’m called to uplift the race. Or help my people.

0:46:13.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:46:14.2 Howard Brown: If your identity is not in the right place, it’s going to be crushing.

0:46:20.5 Jim Lovelady: That’s what I love about what y’all are doing with Kinship. I’d love to hear maybe a little bit more about Kinship and then and your hopes, kinda your hopes and dreams for Kinship. You’ve already spoken a little bit into it. But both from a pastor’s perspective and a pastor’s wife’s perspective.

0:46:36.5 Howard Brown: Yeah. Well, a couple of things with Kinship. Serge is a mission organization. So, as the transformative truth of Sonship hits or Kinship hits, there is a call to go live your life out as a child of God, to reach others. And I want to make clear that when I talk about calling in particular, African Americans in the peculiar situation in this country to rest, it is not an opposition to missional justice.

0:47:16.2 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:47:16.8 Howard Brown: Missional justice…

0:47:18.8 Jim Lovelady: That’s right.

0:47:20.1 Howard Brown: Doesn’t happen because we are burned out.

0:47:23.1 Jim Lovelady: Right.

0:47:24.3 Howard Brown: We get tired or we get diluted or we fall into traps and issues and darkness because we’re exhausted and we’ve never really escaped the orphan mentality.

0:47:41.2 Kellie Brown: Yeah.

0:47:42.4 Howard Brown: We are orphans who’ve become slaves.

0:47:44.5 Jim Lovelady: Right.

0:47:45.5 Howard Brown: And we’ve never escaped the slave mentality.

0:47:47.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:47:48.3 Howard Brown: That doesn’t happen until you really embrace who you are as a child of God. And you’re not seeking to find that acceptance in anything else. Now you talk about missional justice, being driven to make sure others recognize and see who they are in Christ as a child of God, that fuel never ends because that fuel is, it comes from God Himself. That is his desire. And I think that is what we want to see people do in their jobs, in their families. Kellie talked about her family really being able to redeem what’s going on with our fathers and mothers and our past and our history, and of course the future and in our children. And so, we find that as very relevant…

0:48:36.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:48:37.1 Howard Brown: To the missional justice of the gospel.

0:48:41.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah. Amen.

0:48:42.9 Kellie Brown: That’s good. I mean, I don’t know how to follow that up much more than thinking probably a little less about black pastors wives and just thinking about black women in general. And this idea that amongst black women, there’s been a lot of conversation about the strong black woman trope. And is that true? Is that not true? How much of that is true? Mainly that we’re tired of having to be the strong black woman. Why are we the strong black woman? And what does it look like? Slightly different. Right? What does it look like to be weak before a God that can satisfy your entire life? What does it look like to be fragile and needy? It is not the presentation of the world that we have generally, like most of the time we are carrying so very much.

0:50:00.6 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:50:01.6 Kellie Brown: And so, what would it look like to be able to lay your burden down to a Father who doesn’t just have the capacity to bear that, but has the desire to give you rest, to give you relief for your soul. I think, that’s what is exciting to me about Kinship, is kind of reframing this conversation because, I don’t think that I’m a strong black woman by default either. You know, even in the fall, the broken story of humanity, God has done something specific in the black community with the black woman. The civil rights movement is written about the male heroes it isn’t so quietly kept anymore, but you look at some of those books and they start telling you how the women were the ones who were prompting things to happen and making plans, and making arrangements for certain people to cross paths. And hoping and praying, praying like crazy, like covering those meetings in times in prayer, begging the Spirit of God to do something. Really really moving the needle for these things to be set up that we now recognize on these holidays. Well, the foundation of that was the prayers of a lot of black women.

[laughter]

0:51:34.4 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Yeah.

0:51:34.4 Kellie Brown: Not solely, but for sure in large part. And so that strength, and I want my strength to be in weakness.

0:51:44.8 Jim Lovelady: Right.

0:51:44.8 Kellie Brown: I want my strength to be that I can surrender to the Lord, that I don’t have to clench my fist. I want my strength to be that I trust you, Lord, you’re sovereign and you love me, and I will open up my hand towards you, and I will not grab it back.

0:52:02.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:52:03.3 Kellie Brown: That’s real strength. Let’s reshape all of that and without the gaze of what are they going to think. And nowadays it’s…

0:52:12.3 Jim Lovelady: You’re free from that.

0:52:13.8 Kellie Brown: Free from that. Free from that, free from…

0:52:15.5 Howard Brown: My Father sees me.

0:52:17.6 Kellie Brown: That’s exactly right. And or the demands of whether the black people say that I should do. You’re not holding it down hard enough. You’re not… Well, I’m before my Father. That’s all I got.

[laughter]

0:52:31.6 Kellie Brown: So I think, Kinship has you know, with kind of rewriting the context to make it more applicable to our experiences. And therefore just more ability to connect with, oh, this is talking to me about me.

0:52:51.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:52:52.7 Kellie Brown: I matter in this, God is saying, I matter in it. And so, I can find the freedom. I think the Spirit of God can bring me to the freedom to investigate this, dare even say surrender it. And that makes me excited for black women and for black people, and really for whatever the context is, I could say the same thing about young people, right? I’ve got a 19 and a 21-year-old, and I think even then, Sonship, these premises, all of this truth can be contextualized for what they’re going through that I didn’t go through when I was 19 and 21. So I’m grateful that Serge is willing to allow these conversations and this tweaking and these conversations to get this more palatable, more relatable to all kinds of folks. And maybe Kinship is just one of the first iterations of that.

0:53:57.6 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. I love it, I love it. It’s so… Everything that you guys are describing is so upside down. To all of our expectations. Like the just above gut level.

0:54:08.8 Kellie Brown: Yeah.

0:54:09.6 Jim Lovelady: ‘Cause gut level actually, like where the Spirit reigns.

0:54:15.0 Kellie Brown: Yeah.

0:54:15.6 Jim Lovelady: That’s gut level, we belong to Jesus. So that’s, that’s where it’s… That’s the gut level. But just above that we’re kinda of like, nah. Surely. [laughter] Surely the world doesn’t function that way. Surely I have to work. Surely I have to do something.

0:54:30.2 Kellie Brown: Surely, I must have to.

0:54:31.6 Jim Lovelady: Surely. I have to do all those things.

0:54:32.9 Kellie Brown: Absolutely.

0:54:33.4 Jim Lovelady: Just above gut level, we’ve got that, you know? And I love how you’re like, no, no, no. Go a little bit deeper. And see just how upside down this whole thing is, and let’s see if we can reshape something together.

0:54:42.4 Kellie Brown: Absolutely.

0:54:43.3 Jim Lovelady: For some people that need to hear the news of Jesus’ victory in this way.

0:54:47.2 Kellie Brown: Yeah.

0:54:47.6 Jim Lovelady: So, anyway, I just, I’m so thankful that y’all are doing that work.

0:54:51.7 Kellie Brown: Yeah.

0:54:52.4 Jim Lovelady: But even more like, just for me personally, I’ve just really appreciated y’all being here this week and the way that you just jumped in and you’re like, hey, does anybody need to hear an example of how I need to repent or somebody needs to repent? I’ll be the one. [laughter] Hey, let me show you. And I just really appreciate this authentic, raw… You’re like, look, this is how it is. And just the two of you together when you’re up there by yourself doing your thing when you’re up there by yourself doing your thing. And then together. I just have really appreciated it. And the power of that has been so meaningful for me, and I know for all the folks here.

0:55:33.5 Kellie Brown: Thank you.

0:55:33.8 Howard Brown: Well, thank you so much.

0:55:34.9 Jim Lovelady: And of course thanks for being on my podcast.

0:55:36.9 Kellie Brown: Thanks for asking this.

0:55:37.9 Howard Brown: And we’re glad to be here.

0:55:39.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:55:40.2 Kellie Brown: Yeah.

0:55:40.8 Jim Lovelady: I decided to put it Between the Pews.

[laughter]

0:55:42.4 Kellie Brown: Well done. Well done.

0:55:44.5 Howard Brown: I like that. Thank you for the plug.

0:55:48.1 Kellie Brown: That’s a good plug.

0:55:51.4 Jim Lovelady: That’s another good podcast that people should listen to.

0:55:54.1 Howard Brown: Which one is that again? 

0:55:55.0 Jim Lovelady: It’s called Between the Pew.

0:55:56.3 Kellie Brown: And that’s good.

0:55:57.5 Howard Brown: Oh yeah. Here we’re Between the Pews.

0:55:57.8 Jim Lovelady: Look at us, here we’re.

0:55:58.4 Jim Lovelady: This is our Way to Go. [laughter]

0:56:02.0 Kellie Brown: That’s the podcast. African American ministries.

0:56:05.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. That’s why we’re right here.

0:56:09.0 Kellie Brown: I love it. I love it.

0:56:11.3 Jim Lovelady: Well, thanks y’all.

[music]

0:56:18.7 Jim Lovelady: It was such a joy to sit down with Howard and Kellie Brown. I want to encourage you to check out the podcast; Between the Pew. And I want you to know about a book that Howard wrote for our Gospel Center life in the Bible series. This one is a study in the Book of Acts. It comes out this August. I’ll leave a link for that in the show notes, as well as a link for a Serge staff recommended summer vacation reading list. And this isn’t about how many books you can read over the summer, okay? It’s how you can find rest and rejuvenation for your soul as you get away to just do nothing, to relax. So go check out those books and prayerfully share this episode with someone. Leave a rating, a like, and a subscribe on YouTube. It really helps get this podcast and the work of Serge out to more people. And seriously, if you were on the verge of burnout, if you just feel it like your emotions are fried, your patience is thin, if you are ready to quit, we want to know and we want to help you. I mean, the Sonship curriculum was built around helping pastors and missionaries through burnout. And so go to serge.org/renewal and look up the Sonship curriculum and jump into that. We would love to come alongside you and help you through whatever it is that is dragging you down and help you find the joy of your salvation. Now, in the midst of all the challenges of ministry and the threat of burnout and the many reasons that cause it, my conversation with Howard and Kellie reminded me of the story of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. What are some of the lies that ministers are tempted to believe? I can’t be weak. I have to hold it together. I have to keep going. I’m an imposter. I have to outrun my past. I have to fix everyone. These lies are not too dissimilar from the lies that Jesus was tempted with by the accuser, the temptation for power, prestige, the temptation to take control, to make things happen. The temptation of, I’ll give you everything you ever wanted, if you would just… And fill out the blank, it’s all a temptation based on doing things for a false god. But at every temptation, Jesus remembered who he really was and that he depended completely on his Heavenly Father. And what I find fascinating about this story is the order of events. First, Jesus was baptized, the moment where the voice from heaven declared who Jesus was. “This is my beloved son, in whom I’m well pleased.” Then came the temptations in the wilderness. And then Jesus began His ministry. Ministry comes out of our identity in Christ, right? It comes out of us knowing that we are God’s beloved. So here’s what you can expect; as I’m about to send you off into the ministry that the Lord has called you to with the Lord’s blessing. First, the reminder that you are a beloved child of God. That is who you are. And immediately, and I love how the book of Mark, says immediately, you are going to be tempted to not believe that. But the Lord has called you to do amazing things in His kingdom, through your weakness and in His power, through your failure to withstand temptation and in His forgiveness and pleasure. And it’s only the constant reminder of who you really are, that you can live on mission. So beloved child of God, as the Lord sends you out as a minister of His grace, go with His blessing. May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to smile down on you and be gracious to you, and turn His bright eyes on you and give you His peace. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God, life everlasting. Amen.

[music]

Howard and Kellie Brown

Howard and Kellie Brown have served in ministry together for more than two decades in multiple locations. Howard currently serves as church-planting pastor of Kindred Hope Church in Atlanta and Kellie as the Operations Director for African American Ministries (AAM) of Mission to North America (MNA). Howard is a contributing author in the books Heal Us Emmanuel: A Call for Racial Reconciliation, Representation, and Unity in the Church and Keep Your Head Up: Black Lives Matter. Howard and Kellie have two college-aged sons.


THE HOST

Jim Lovelady

Jim Lovelady is a Texas-born pastor, musician, and liturgist, doing ministry in Philadelphia with his wife, Lori, and 3 kids, Lucia, Ephram, and Talitha. He is passionate about the ministry of liberating religious people from the anxieties of religion and liberating secular people from the anxieties of secularism through the story of the gospel.

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