Please Help Get This Book Published
When I was eleven years old, I started writing a book. Like most eleven-year-old boys, I lost interest, put the draft away, and lost track of it. But the desire to write a book lingered in the back of my mind. In 1999 I began writing another book, but daily life took over and that one also fell by the wayside.
Finally, in February 2018 I sat down and began writing the leadership book that had been on my heart for years. With the support and mentorship of a friend, I was able to write Practical Leadership: Lessons from an Average Leader. I spent hours writing, editing, rewriting, and having the book read by others to get critical feedback. I am very happy with this book. I am excited because I believe leaders will be able to improve their craft by reading this book and internalizing the lessons within. My goal is to get the book published early in the new year.
One thing I did not know when I began this process was how expensive it is to publish a book. This is where you come in. With your help, this book will see the light of day. Please join me on this journey by giving whatever you can to help with the cost of editing and publishing this book.
To say thank you for your donation, we have created incentive levels ranging from Copper, which is for $25 donations to Agape, our highest level of a $5000 donation. Each level has varying incentives of appreciation. However, donations of any amount will be greatly appreciated.
Any funds raised above what is needed to publish this book will be used for Agape Leaders or donated to four different scholarship funds: the Jang-Kim Scholarship, the Juanita Mays Scholarship, the Miss Lakeland Scholarship Competition, and the Miss Florida Outstanding Teen Scholarship Competition.
Again, thank you for taking the time to read this and seriously consider donating to this project. Click the GoFundMe logo below to be taken to our page!
Meet Bailey Rodgers
This month’s guest writer is Bailey Rodgers. She is a friend of Agape Leaders, who Dr. Mays first met as a member of The Rock Community Church youth ministry. As a sophomore in high school, Bailey joined a group of students at George Jenkins High School who committed to pray for their school and community once a week throughout the school year. She was faithful to the group and Dr. Mays has been blessed to watch her grow from a somewhat shy tenth grader to an amazing woman of God who is a force.
An undergraduate of Southeastern University, Bailey now works for SEU. She is also working towards a post-graduate degree as she follows the call God has on her life.
She is married to the love of her life, Mitchell Rodgers. The two form a dynamic duo of ministry that we are all fortunate that God uses them to strengthen our daily walk with Christ.
We are overjoyed to have Bailey Rodgers write this month’s featured article in Agape Letters.
Let It Go
Sometimes when I sit down to have a quiet time or read scripture, I have this subconscious mindset that nothing that I am about to read could really apply to me that much. I mean this all did take place thousands and thousands of years ago, right? How could it relate to me?
I don’t really know why I still find myself in this mindset sometimes. God has proven to me over and over again just how wrong I am. In the moments when I find myself in this state of mind is when He always steps in and shows me just how relatable, how essential, and how applicable His Word is to my life here in 2020. How years and years after Jesus’ death and resurrection, and years and years after the events of the Old Testament took place, the Word of God is consistent, and a firm truth to build my life on.
Truly meditating on the Word of God and asking Him to allow me to read and comprehend it with new eyes is when I find that God brings passages of scripture to life. Even if I have read them before, He gives them a new meaning and brings a fresh viewpoint, a new application. All of that to say, when God gives me those little kisses by, what sometimes seems like Him, screaming passages of scripture at me, my mind is blown by just how much I do relate to the lives and circumstances of the people in the Bible. And even more so, I am blown away by how God’s teachings then are the same as they are now.
I previously read a book called “The Best Yes,” by Lysa Terkeurst. Life changing. If you are a female and have not read this book, I would highly encourage you to. It is packed full of God’s truth and encouragement on how to live a life with a best yes mindset, making the best decisions in the big and small circumstances of life. Towards the end of the book, there is a chapter where Lysa touches on a passage of scripture in Exodus. It is a passage I have read multiple times (it seems to keep presenting itself to me), and every time I read it, I find myself thinking, “Wow, Moses’ life has some serious truth to offer us!” I mean Moses was a pretty great, Godly man, but again, it is so easy to believe that you could not possibly relate to him because he walked through life so long ago in a much different time that you and I are walking through. But in steps God. I want you all to read the passage of scripture I am talking about so you can get a better picture of where I am coming from. It’s a little lengthy, so I am not going to type it all in this blog post, but you can find it in Exodus 18:13-25.
A little background for you, Jethro, Moses’s father-in-law, has come to visit Moses. It is a sweet reunion among two men with a great relationship. They sit and chat, catch up on life, and on all that God is doing in and through Moses. Jethro is delighted, they offer some sacrifices, and we arrive at verse 13. These next 12 verses have spoken to me and challenged me greatly since I read them back in January of this year. The first time I read this body of scripture, I found myself using it to point fingers. I kept thinking of all of the people that I knew that I thought needed to read this and really consider applying it to their lives. When I read it again in “The Best Yes,” I realized that I needed to probably stop pointing fingers at others and maybe start pointing fingers at myself. As much as I believe this passage of scripture would be beneficial for others to read, I realized I needed to stop and understand just how much I needed to read it and apply it to my own life.
Now, let’s get something straight. I do not have thousands of people coming to me to seek God’s will like Moses did. That is not what I am trying to get at here. I more so want to point out the fact that Moses was doing everything on his own, without the help of anyone else. It had gotten so bad that Moses was worn out, which in turn was not benefitting him or anyone that came to him. His ministry was not as effective as it could have been. I mean maybe I am preaching to myself here, but how often do we find ourselves in situations where we think we can do it all on our own? Where we want to do it all on our own because we don’t think anyone else could possibly do it as good as we do it? That is called control and most all of us have a little bit, if not a lot, of it in us. It comes with our flesh. Now what we do with that desire for control is what can make or break us and our ministry. It is what makes us either like Moses in this story, or not so much like Moses in this story.
Jethro gives Moses some advice and basically tells Moses, “God be with you. Do with it what you will.” He tells Moses that what he is doing is not good. He doesn’t tell him to stop leading the people, but he does tell him how to do it more efficiently and more effectively. Jethro shares some pretty honest words, that if anyone shared with us, my guess would be that we would become immediately defensive. What is so admiring about this story is that Moses accepts Jethro’s words of advice. Jethro explains to Moses that he needs to build other trustworthy men and leaders up under him. That way, Moses isn’t tending to every single one of the thousands of Israelites, wearing himself out, but is building up others to deal with the many so that he only has to deal with the few. Moses leads by leading the leaders, and the leaders have an opportunity to lead the people. Everyone wins. Moses can’t do it all on his own. Moses shouldn’t do it all on his own. And Moses accepts the challenge. That, my friends, is an act of bravery.
It is so hard for us to let go of the things that we have control of or seek control over because we don’t trust others. We don’t trust them to help us and we don’t trust them to carry out “our” tasks as well as we do. We are prideful and arrogant in this way. What we need is an act of bravery like Moses had. Not to set aside our tasks, our responsibilities, our callings, and forget about them, but to carry them out in a way that is glorifying to God and beneficial to all of those involved. To humble ourselves so that we can more effectively carry out God’s will.
When we find ourselves in those situations where we feel like we are doing everything, where we are so stressed and worn out, we need to do a little self-check. Most of us could agree that we never want to get to a place in our ministry (whatever our ministry may look like in our current seasons of life) where we are so selfish that we think that us being in control is better than leading and pointing others to Christ effectively. But it is so easy to find ourselves slipping into that place. We hurt ourselves and we hinder others. Or we hurt ourselves and enable others into complacency or laziness. We become so burdened and heavy laden, but still manage to put on our happy faces at church every Sunday morning. We shut the help and prayers of others out. We become a poor example of a person in relationship, on fire, and dependent on the Lord. We speak a message that we can do everything on our own power. We don’t need others. We can do it all. We are the only ones that can do it best. We don’t need God.
But God doesn’t want us to do this life alone. He wants us to live in community where we are delegating responsibilities instead of stealing them all for ourselves. Where we are leading by enabling others to be leaders. Where we are delegating to empower others and free ourselves. Where we are freeing ourselves so that we can fully devote ourselves to Christ and our calling, our purpose. So that we can demonstrate our need for Jesus, our reliance on Him, and a life sought out after Him.
Now I am the queen of “just doing it myself.” Sometimes that seems like the easier option rather than teaching someone else how to carry something out. Or trusting them to carry it out correctly. However, through experience, I have come to find out that it only exhausts me, takes away from what I really need to be doing, and enables others to not do anything because they know that Bailey will take care of it. She always does. Even if that is true, me “taking care of it” doesn’t come easy. It usually comes with a lot of added, unnecessary stress, and I become a person, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a leader, a co-worker, and a follower of Jesus that I know is not who God called and created me to be. I become someone that is not effectively ministering to myself or to others.
So I want to ask you, what area of your life do you need to allow others in to help you? Where do you need to let go of some control and extend trust? I want to come alongside of you and be brave like Moses was. I want for us to accept the wise counsel that others are giving us, even if it’s not what we want to hear. As cheesy as it sounds, I want us to let go and let God, realizing our need for Him and tapping into the resources that He has blessed us with to relieve us from the control we were never created to have. His yolk is easy and His burden is light. Doesn’t that sound like a much better deal than the heavy burden of control that you are dragging behind you? It’s damaging everything we touch, distorting the path and the impact we are making. I want us to bravely accept that we are beloved, and know that His beloved weren’t meant to do it all on our own. His beloved were meant to bravely depend on God, and trust in His plan, His control, and His provisions. We can’t do it all. We can’t do anything without Him. He can do it all, with or without us. Let Him.
Do an internet search and you will find several definitions for the word “Agape.” According to one site, Agape is a Greco-Christian term referring to love, "the highest form of love, charity" and "the love of God for man and of man for God". This is the definition that we use at Agape Leaders for the way we mean agape. In our lives, many of us long to receive a “love letter” from that special someone. You are our special someone, therefore we are sending you our “Agape Letter,” our love letter to you.