Segun Aiyegbusi

Segun Aiyegbusi is the pastor of young adult ministries at Grace Church on the Mount in Netcong, New Jersey. He has a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from William Paterson University, New Jersey, and a Masters of Divinity in Theology from Nyack Alliance Theological Seminary in New York. Segun leads a weekly young adult ministry Bible study called, THE REMIX. He is the primary Bible teacher at Grace Church’s Sunday night service, head of Social Media technologies, and overseer of the International Ministries team. Segun is a passionate Bible teacher and is married to Modupe. They have 2 little boys, Nathaniel & Ethan. Segun blogs weekly on www.shegznstuff.com

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There are a few areas of leadership I feel quite competent in, and others I’d dub as, “Seriously Needing Growth” (which is a nice churchy-way of saying, I suck at em’). So, along with reading books on leadership, engaging with strong leaders, and looking for every opportunity to implement what I’m learning from both, I’ve also been praying.

But not in the manner you’d expect.

Rather than ask solely for improvements or an upgrade in the areas of needed growth in my life, I’ve been asking the Great Resourcer to raise up around me a godly team of men and women who excel in those specific areas of leadership I’m lacking in. Here are three things I’ve prayed for:

  • “Lord, allow me the privilege of meeting and working alongside godly men and women in whom you’ve placed similar passions and dreams.”
  • “Lord, grant them great competence in the areas of leadership that cause me to break into a sweat.”
  • “Lord, grant us as a team a burning passion for your plans and a joyful camaraderie even when conflict is a necessary path we have to travel.

As if reading my mind, my good friend and bro-in-ministry-trenches, Ryan Faison, recently posted a similar sentiment on Facebook.

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How awesome is that? Your dreams DO need a team, and frankly, the level of talent and skills of people around you will determine how far you’ll go. Consider these men: Michael Jordan was outstanding, but having Scottie Pippen, Steve Kerr, and even Dennis Rodman came in handy during multiple NBA championships. Even with his dictatorial style of leadership at Apple, Steve Jobs is noted as having credited Jonathan Ive and his team for a lot of innovative products the company has put out.

Heck, even Jesus had a team!

Calm down heresy-hunters. I am well aware that Christ is all-sufficient God in Himself, and needs no one to complete Him. However, in His wisdom, He not only saw it fit to surround Himself with 12 dudes to advance His cause, but entrusted them with His vision (after His ascension) to redeem humanity to Himself.

All that to say, your dream needs a team, preferably a team made up of people smarter than you who share similar values, passions, and endgame.

Don’t have a team yet? (or even a dream to start with?). Then start where I started. Ask Christ in prayer, to birth in you a vision for your life and infuse you with a passion to pursue it. Then pray for the three things listed above and GO impact your world.

The truth of the matter is, people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world or put a dent in the universe, crazy enough to humble themselves and surround themselves with men and women more brilliant than they, are usually the ones who do! (à la Steve Jobs).

segun - punch rejection in the face

Ever been told your efforts aren’t good enough? Or, “Your idea is not quite what we’re looking for?”

Those conversations can be very demotivating. In fact, rejection downright sucks, and can sometimes cause you to abandon your dreams.

But did you know that some pop-culture stars we look up to today were once thought as “not good enough”? Check out these rejection letters photo lists from distractify.com. Among them is a 1979 letter from RSO records to the newly emerging group, U2. The letter states, “…we have listened with careful consideration, but feel it is not suitable for us at the present moment.”

Really.

Too bad for RSO because that “little” group they rejected has gone on to sell over 150 million records, win 22 Grammy Awards, (most of any band ever), and performed in the highest grossing concert tour in history.

A few more noteworthy rejections include:

Walt Disney – Fired from the Kansas City Star in 1919 because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”

JK Rowling – Rejected by dozens, including HarperCollins, when a small publisher in London took a chance on Harry Potter.

Oprah Winfrey – Fired as an evening news reporter of Baltimore’s WJZ-TV because she couldn’t separate her emotions from her stories.

Steve Jobs – Fired from the company he started, Apple, but was desperately brought back in 1997 to save it. Apple is now the most valuable company in the world.

Abraham Lincoln – Demoted from Captain to Private during war, failed as a businessman, and lost several times as a political candidate before becoming President.

So. Some of your BIG IDEAS been rejected lately? Cry it off. Get back up. Make a better version of your original plan. PUNCH REJECTION IN THE FACE, and give it another shot. If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, throw in a few days of prayer and fasting, then PUNCH rejection in the face again with some Jesus-power!

Maybe years from now, some young kid who has just been rejected will go online, google your story and go, “You know what? If he/she could punch rejection in the face, then I’m giving this another shot!”

segun aiyegbusi - deadlines

I had a vision 9 years ago.

The vision was of a full-on dramatic production where I told the story of my first encounter meeting Jesus Christ. I was so jazzed about the idea that I told friends about it, wrote down a bunch of key scenes, and went to see some live productions to generate some inspiration.

Every month and every year, I kept saying excitedly, “Man! This is gonna be sooo huge!” and every month and every year I kept imagining it would come to fruition the following month and the following year. For 9 years!!!

Then one day, I met a friend named Cindy TeNieck. Cindy is not only a creative who has actual stage production experience, but Cindy is a time-management totalitarian. One of the first things she did was set a DEADLINE for when this production would take place, then we worked backwards. She set deadlines for when my 9-year-old script had to be finished, deadlines for when we had to have figured out a budget, cast the play, run rehearsals, secure a location, and advertise the event. We wrote it all down on paper, because in the words of Dave Ramsey, “when you force your thought process through another layer and verbalize your thoughts, you reach a higher level of understanding. This escalation of your thought process happens yet again when you WRITE out your problem.”

Almost immediately, something awesome began to happen.

I began to see with amazing clarity my 9-years-ago-dream slowly take shape. As we worked hard to meet all our target dates (which we did), I developed a close new relationship with Mr. deadline. Turns out, he’s not too shabby! He actually cares about my hopes and dreams and is just as invested in my future as I am.

I’m telling you, he’s the real deal! Some might say he restricts creativity. True. But most creative people will probably tell you that without deadlines, we’re almost content to just keep dreaming!

So, my point? Start a new relationship with deadlines. Heck, impose a (realistic) deadline on yourself if there isn’t one already built into a goal you have. Write it down on paper and place it where you can see it daily as a motivator. You’ll probably be a little afraid about setting a date on paper because it suddenly means you need to start working harder, but trust me, deadlines will get you to your desired destination faster. In the words of the ever-hilarious, ever-awesome Jon Acuff, “if there’s one thing fear fears, it’s paper.” In that same light, you know what procrastination fears more than anything else? Yup. DEADLINES!

Lemme get all spiritual on you for a moment. Did you know that God also has deadlines? Yeah. For real. Acts 17:31 says, “For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man [Jesus Christ] he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” Here’s another one in Matthew 24:14, “And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.” So as it turns out, God is not just in heaven twiddling His thumbs. He’s on the move to and fro throughout the earth, rallying men and women to Himself through faith in Christ. When the last soul gets saved, (God’s DEADLINE) then the veil between heaven and earth will be removed and God’s plan for eternity will begin to unfold.

So if the creator of heaven and earth finds it necessary to have deadlines for His sovereign plans, then guess what? “Arise O Sleeper and set a deadline for your dreams!”

If you happen to work at a job where deadlines are a dreaded way of life, rather than allow it to work against you, consider turning it into an ally. So, your boss says a project is due on the 31st? Break it down into manageable pieces. Set smaller goals like coming up with 3 things that you can easily knock out by the 15th (that will make the end goal more reachable). Once you hit those 3, set 2 more you can knock by the 25th, and so on. I realize it isn’t always that easy, but you kinda don’t have any options!

I leave you with this quote from Adam Savage (the not-so-bearded dude from Myth Busters), “Deadlines refine the mind. They remove variables like exotic materials and processes that take too long. The closer the deadline, the more likely you’ll start thinking waaay outside the box.”

I repeat, DEADLINES ARE YOUR FRIEND! (Oh, by the way, that dramatic production from 9 years ago? Totally nailed it! It resulted in a 2 weekend showing (packed house at all 4 shows) titled, “ON THAT DAY” – CHECK OUT THE VIDEO HERE – Starts at 03:24)