partnership

The Home Team: 4 Ways to Win at Home

Nick Roach - Headshot.JPG

Nick Roach

A Guest Post

FIRST, A WORD FROM APRIL:

I’ve known Nick for about 5 years, but the last couple years our lives have connected more. I was privileged to be a part of his coaching certification training nearly 2 years ago, and have since walked with him in his coaching work. Nick is the real deal.

Nick was an NFL linebacker for 8 years and has pivoted since retiring 4 years ago to become a stay-at-home-dad. He knows what winning looks like both in life + leadership. He’s a man of strength in his body, mind, + spirit. He has much to teach us about how to partner better at home.

Listen to his podcast episode on The Global Fringe HERE.


Through the years, whether it’s been sports or family, I’ve seen how owning my cluelessness, supporting the home team, and identifying the opponent are indispensable tools for thriving in one of life’s most complicated arenas — the family unit.

In my experience, home life and sports actually have a lot in common.  For starters, they’re both messy and unpredictable, but also quite beautiful when the core fundamentals are respected and lived out. 

The last decade has been wild for me, mainly because three significant threads in my life managed to collide and become intertwined — my spiritual life, career, and family all began growing around the same time.  I used each area to help make sense of the other, and these are some of the fundamentals I’ve not been able to walk away from thus far.

Nick + Anna-Marie Roach - The Global Fringe

Would you be happy with Jesus if he treated you how you treat your wife?

One morning, maybe four years into our marriage, I remember having this thought roll through my head and it pretty much left me speechless. I was fairly new to my faith when we got married, so the whole Jesus, church-bride, marriage thing was a strong picture for me to hold onto. When that thought smacked me over the head, it immediately highlighted some areas of my partnership as her husband that needed attention.  

My Submission = Her Trust

Trust is not about self-confidence. I’ve noticed that Anna-Marie (my Ezer, MVP, superwoman) is so much more confident to partner with me when she sees that I’m modeling my actions and perspective off Jesus’ example, rather than my own opinions or beliefs. Trusting me feels so much safer when she sees that I’ve taken the steps to align and submit myself. Submission seems to have some supernatural domino effect.

Also, for our relationship, this includes me being honest when I don’t know something, being open when I am in need or struggling, and apologizing when necessary. (Look out for her blog about “the oversharing husband”).

Teamwork makes the dream work!

Coming from a sports background, I do my best to avoid corny cliches about teams and achievement, but sometimes they just work!  

We genuinely work to create a family culture that says we are all with each other and for each other. Even our 4 year old son knows that when it comes to relationships, his highest priority is making people feel loved, while doing what he can to make their load a little lighter. (The reason he knows this is because of how many times we’ve had to revisit that discussion.)

Since Anna-Marie and I are the head of our home together, we frequently talk about the direction of our family for the sake of alignment about our mutually desired future. What are our routines? Who do we need to speak to? Where do we need to go? Along with that, we’ve made a habit of keeping each other up-to-date on what is happening inside us individually. As a husband and father, I’m excited by the privilege to invest my best energy in helping my family know the truth of themselves and have the courage to be that everywhere they go. Our default posture toward each other is to encourage and equip.

Finally, it’s hard to discuss any relationships, much less our home team, without touching on conflict resolution. This final thought has saved us from so many wasted or potentially regretful words.

Fight like teammates.

Early in our relationship, I argued with Anna-Marie in order to win. I was right; she was wrong.  The only problem is, those types of interactions left us hurt and even further apart than before the disagreement. Later when we learned that we are not enemies, we still had to figure out how that changed our posture during conflict.  

One day, it struck me that during any competition, you see heated interactions between just as many teammates as opposing team members. However, there are some key differences that are important to note. Opponents desire to derail each other, discourage, and demoralize.  Whereas, when good teams get after each other, it’s for the sake of their common goal. It’s for progress and positive motion. Teammates call each other out when the team values or desired future is at risk. We embrace conflict as a way to get back into alignment. The tone and objective of those two types of conflict are totally different from one another.  

Humility and teamwork.  These ideas are priceless in action, but no more than platitudes when they’re not activated. Playing for the home team is such an honor because you know that that place you represent wants nothing but the best for you, which fuels you even more to give everything you have to secure the win.

Baby #5 Coming Valentine’s Day 2020

Baby #5 Coming Valentine’s Day 2020

Leveraging my Power for Her Benefit

Robb Gossen - Ezer + Co.

Robb Gossen

Guest Post

First, a word from April.

Partnership with men is essential if we are going to see more good on earth as it is in heaven. We weren’t created for competition. We were created for shared ruling, governing, filling, and multiplying (Genesis 2). Sharing the voices of allies is important to me. Men who use their power and privilege for the sake of women is vital if we are going to experience true partnership.

Robb is an ally. Recently he called me to talk about his white privilege. He’s doing his work for the sake of those of us who’ve been marginalized and muted. Robb hires women. He uses his budget to provide coaching for women. He invites women onto leadership teams and speaking on stages. He partners with his wife in her work. And he’s raising a daughter to be a warrior. If you’re a women, may you find a Robb in your own life. If you’re a man, may you leverage your own power for her benefit.


Over the years, I have been blessed to take part in a variety of learning collaborations that have stretched me and allowed me to grow into the leader I am today. For this I am grateful. I love being a part of different learning and coaching collaboratives that push me toward being the leader I want to be.

One thing I have learned through these opportunities is that not everyone has had the same advantage, particularly women.

When women in my area of influence are encouraged, even provided the space to flourish, the organization as a whole gets better. Their life experience provides viewpoints and experiences that I lack but bring invaluable insight to me and the rest of the organization.

I love serving in a church denomination that has always been supportive of women in pastoral leadership. Even within this structure, we don’t always do a great job of providing these growing and learning opportunities to women. In my current context, I am honored to serve alongside several women who are mighty preachers, pastors, speakers, and leaders, and yet, at times, they remain limited in their opportunities to learn and grow. This is why when I see opportunities, I need to do my part in making sure these opportunities are both known about and resources are provided to make it happen.

Given my platform and role in our denomination, I have intentionally chosen to invest in these incredible women that I serve alongside. It is encouraging and life-giving for me to use my privilege and power so they can flourish as doors previously closed are now opened to them.

One question that I continually come back to is:

What I am willing to invest so that another might thrive?

When the table expands and more voices join us, our conversation, our dreams, our value becomes more robust. This does not happen, though, when we continue to perpetuate a boys club mentality and scarcity mindset.

This commitment, however, does not come easily or without cost. Resources must be reallocated to help fund the necessary development. When intentionally choosing to invest in the lives of these women, it raises the water level of our organization which, in turn, makes ALL of us better. It requires that I use my position and privilege to make it happen. My leadership does not lessen because I choose to support another both vocally and with the needed resources. On the contrary, my world expands, my leadership grows, and my influence becomes greater but not for the sake of myself. Support women brings a whole new perspective to the table. While our denomination has always seen women as leaders and pastors, we still have a long way to go to continue providing development and growth opportunities for women.

At some point, those of us in leadership positions (which equals power!) must release our grip on this idea that if those on the fringe are provided the opportunities to develop their voice, confidence, leadership skills, then we will lose our ability to lead and influence our worlds. That’s a scarcity mindset. There is enough to go around.

Whether its resources or leadership opportunities, choosing to embrace the truth that there is abundance when all receive the chance to thrive, leads us to a more whole vision. When we choose to leverage our power, our position, our resources, we learn more about ourselves as well as the explosive growth waiting beneath the surface of the women who work alongside us every, single day.

Mahala - Ezer + Co.

Brothers: A Prayer of Confession and Blessing

Dr. Kevin Doi - Ezer + Co.

Dr. Kevin Doi

Guest Post

First, a quick word from April.

As we kick off The Global Fringe series today, these words from Dr. Kevin Doi, an Asian-American leader and chaplain at Fuller Theological Seminary, posture us well as we engage stories about wholeness in body, mind, and spirit and our full partnership with men.

Dr. Doi stood in front of the crowd on May 1, 2019 and led our brothers in a responsive prayer of confession and blessing (35:25 - 37:56).


LEADER: Women of the church, we confess the ways we have hurt you, the ways we have not seen you, the ways we have not heard you. We confess the ways we have ignored you, dismissed you, silenced you, and committed violence against you.


BROTHERS: As men, we grieve what we have done to you and what the world has done to you.


LEADER: Sisters, we affirm your worth, your voice, your gifts, your presence, your being--individually and collectively. We see you, we hear you, we value you. The body of Christ is woefully deficient without you. The church needs you, we need you. As men, we desire to be your partners in the ministry of God in the world.


BROTHERS: We affirm you as seen, chosen, anointed, and beloved of God, who commends your faith. It is your faith that the body of Christ needs to be well.

Amen.

My Partner for Life

Diaz+Wedding+2001

We were basically children when we got married. In 2001, digital cameras were just entering the photography world. Thus, enjoy pictures of our wedding pictures.

We couldn’t even rent a car for our honeymoon; we were so young. On this day, 18 years ago, we said “Yes” to each other forever. Saying “I Do” to Brian is the best “Yes” I’ve ever said. We’ve been partners since day one.

There have been a lot of chapters to our story that we never expected or planned. We’ve had our share of lows - heartbreak, disconnection, disappointment, hope deferred. That’s part of the gig.

Diaz Wedding 2001

But we’ve also shared the greatest of adventures together. We’ve traveled the world. We committed not only to each other, but to living an “only God“ story. We’ve intentionally built a family that reflects our love for the whole world and displays miracles. We’ve been committed to our own transformation and wellness in our unique ways. We’ve moved cross-country. Twice. We have fought big, disagreed, been in stalemates, and consistently worked toward oneness. We have honored each other, forgiven frequently, stood our ground, led each other, and sought to partner in every way. We have worked to figure out how we can each contribute our best to our partnership, leaning on each other in weakness, and pushing each other to grow.

We’re just getting started.

The day you say "I Do" you do so without any clue what you're really committing to. You say "I Do" to whatever is to come. You say "I Do" to the person who's in front of you and to whomever they might become. You say "I Do" to who you are now and who you will become. And you do so in the name of love and hope. 


I was raised in a faith system that taught me from an early age that I was to submit to my husband.

Submission was a one-way street. My husband was to lead me and our family and I was to follow. Through a variety of messages, I absorbed that somehow women were secondary to men. Our voice was less than and our roles were prescribed.

Through a whole bunch of grace, I married a man who didn’t believe in any of that. He believed we were equals. Partners. Better together. Submission was mutual. Gifts, roles, and responsibilities weren’t based on gender. Equality was our posture.

Our goal was partnership.

We’ve flipped a lot of scripts in our marriage. It’s not “traditional”. My gifts are far more leadership and teaching oriented than Brian’s. I’m better with finances. He’s been a stay-at-home dad (most of the time). I’ve been the breadwinner (most of the time). I’m more people-energized. He’s a deep well of wisdom due to the power of his observation and discernment. He’s emotionally intense. As I am. He’s an Enneagram 5w4 and I’m an Enneagram 8w7.

And yet, our partnership works not because we’ve put on “traditional" roles and responsibilities, but because we’ve done the work to figure out how WE work best together. We’ve wrestled through how we best display faith, hope, and love to the world. We have listened to what we each can bring to our marriage, family, and world. We have actively shunned what the world — and church! — have told us we should be. (Can we agree to stop SHOULD-ING all over each other!?!?) We have flexed in different chapters of our story so we can serve each other best and help each other live life to the fullest.

Response to Patriarchy

PS. this may likely be my anniversary card because traveling last week plus a sick child this weekend has been legit. #reallife