There was a moment when things drastically changed for Pastor Charles Jenkins. In that moment, life became more than just a mandate to minister. For Jenkins, the need to completely embody the message of Christ instead of just delivering it became paramount.
Don’t just give the example … be the example.
It sounds simple enough, until you actually have to walk a mile in those shoes. That metaphorical shoe hasn’t always proven to be a perfect fit for Jenkins (or any man of God), but it’s a responsibility that he approaches with a zeal that we should all want from our spiritual leaders — and political ones if we’re really interested in going there.
In this exclusive interview with rolling out, the Chicago native reflected on a number of topics ranging from his personal evolution, to the powerful messages in his latest release, Think About These Things. What you’re about to read is unfiltered, unadulterated Charles Jenkins … in retrospect, we were all better for having experienced this moment in time.
Change and evolution are topics that people never seem to tire of discussing. How do you handle your continued evolution as a man?
I actually wrote a book about it, Change Management. I think helping people understand the inevitability of it and in knowing that pragmatically whether you embrace [change or not], it’s going to embrace you. If you don’t believe me, look in the mirror. I also wrote a book called Thriving in Change. Most people either survive, barely survive or crash. But this concept of what it means to thrive in change is there are two forms of change: There is basic change, which is change for change’s sake — just changing for no reason at all, just because I feel like [it] or because I want to. Then there is applied change, and that’s change with results in mind. And I think helping people to understand being relevant, helping people understand being progressive, helping people understand that as much as we like to make it about us, it needs to be bigger than us and about other people; [it needs to] be about outcomes, and be about impact. And I think in embracing all of those varying ideas and concepts personally and professionally I’m able to adapt to change and help other people adapt.
Why do you think that topic resonated so much with you that you chose to write a book about it?
It was my first Sunday inheriting one of the most historic churches in the city of Chicago. My predecessor, a guy named Reverence Clay Evans: iconic guy, 22 albums, friends with Martin Luther King, pioneer in the civil rights movement, ordained Jesse Jackson, Minister Louis Farrakhan calls him father … he is legendary on so many levels. When I got there, 75 percent of the church was 70 or older. So I had to transition this historic institution that was holistically Grand Central Station in Chicago. But at the time, the church’s membership was on 5 by 7 cards; there wasn’t a computer system so to speak, and nothing was networked. We had a monitor, and we still had typewriters in the building. So the journey of bringing change — applied change, meaningful change — became the story of my life. And so I was trying to be progressive while not being a bull in a china shop. As with a woman’s hair, if there is going to be new growth, you have to cut the dead ends off. And so [I was] strategically trying to tell people that growth is not going to happen unless we adjust something that you love. So out of all the scars and stars, I wanted to help other people — whether you’re transitioning professionally or personally. I wanted to help people work through what those processes looked like and what those mindsets needed to look like if you’re going to be effective.
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SOURCE: Rolling Out