UD Turns Three
Not everyone is aware, but Urban Disciple has been up and running for three years now. On January 27th, 2013, I created this blog. I was not sure what it would be used for, but God knew. I ran the blog singlehandedly for two years, but last year I ran the blog with a full blown team. In 2014, through small talk here and there, a team was being formed for Urban Disciple. I shared the vision with some people, and soon they, too, wanted to be apart of what God was doing.
I learned a lot last year, more than I experienced in the first two years of the blog. The same can be said for the rest of the team. As #UDTurns3, we wanted to reflect on the highs and lows of 2015, and glorify the Father in His faithfulness to this blog. Prepare your hearts, it’s about to get real.
The last year taught me many things about myself, I can legit write a blog post on it, but some things should remain unknown. You know, I need material for my autobiography *winks*.
My High: The Trials and Tribulations That Came With Working With A Team
“If You Want To Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want To Go Far, Go Together”
-Your African Uncle Visiting You in America
I love my team. With no benefit of a doubt, I am grateful to serve with them. But it took some time for me to say this statement. Most of us just knew each other by name, but weren’t close friends. We were five individuals, who came together because we each saw the vision with a unique way we could contribute to it. Although, we all weren’t closest of friends, we were definitely a strong team. Through them, I learned how to work with others, as well as to trust them with the blog. At the end of the day, this wasn't my blog anymore, but ours. With our different personalities, I learned the culture of honor had to be established amongst us in order for everyone to feel apart of the team and vision. Even to this day, I am still learning ways to communicate to them and ways to honor their ideas and suggestions.
Low: The Lack of Support.
God is faithful to His word and His promises. His words don't return back to Him void, but fulfilled. This blog was fully funded on my 24th birthday by my awesome friends, who believed in the blog and I. I honestly can’t thank them enough. But regardless of that, I learned that ‘friends’ is not synonymous for ‘supporters’. I was so accustomed to people supporting UD back when it was ran by me, I assumed it would continue with the new blog. However, that wasn't the case. I reflected back on the night where I had one guest visit the former blog. Someone from Saudi Arabia, a predominantly Islamic country, who probably didn't know Jesus or had ever been to a church, read MY blog. That fueled me. That’s who I write for and desire “support” from - people who don’t know Jesus. God helped me realize that this blog wasn't for my friends, but the individuals who I will probably never meet, yet I could impact their relationship with Jesus.
Low: The “Illusion of Competition”
*insert cliche quote about a flower blooming and not competing* Blazay blazay blah. I don’t like competition, even though I tend to be an overachiever at times. I don’t think I will go into details with this “low.” But I believed when I came out with the relaunching of the blog, there were other Christians bloggers on the scene as well. Instead of it being mutual support for all parties, it was more so of an environment of competition. It made it hard to run a blog in freedom because every move was cloudy by the thought of imitating the style and ways of another blog. We have one common goal - to proclaim the Kingdom until the glorious return of Jesus Christ. We are on the same team. Can a house divided stand?
Working with Olamide and the whole UD team has been a very fun and challenging experience since the very beginning. When I was initially asked to join, I was so nervous and felt inadequate to take on a role of writing on Christian topics in areas I was struggling with myself, never mind being Editor-in-Chief! But still I said yes, and I haven’t looked back since.
High: Working with a Team
Working with a team has helped me find the confidence I needed to put my skills to use and learn more skills that I would not have been able to learn on my own. They are very supportive and encouraging, and if the content of our work does not make sense we will not only let each other know, but we will work collectively to make each article that gets published is clear, concise, and accurate. They continue to inspire and help me grow in my walk with God because I see Him working through them. I am always amazed by the stuff we are learning individually just from reading the articles. We are a family, and I enjoy doing life virtually with them :)
Low: Finding my Niche
When I first started out at UD, I had a hard time understanding my role in the team. I was not sure what an ‘Editor-in-Chief’ was supposed to do or how to act, so I can admit that I was a bit aggressive. Aside from that, I felt like I was not being heard or taken seriously, but most of it was all in my head. All I needed to do was speak up! I would ask the group so often if I should just change the title of my role, but they of course encouraged me to keep it. As time went on we all became comfortable with each other and sharing our ideas, and we fell into our roles soon enough.
I love my team. Jume Bug is my favorite. Toy Toy is always random, but hilarious and stern. Gabe is bae of life. Lamz is actually annoying great. I don’t know how God made her, but He’s lit for doing so. I always wanted to have a blog and share my life foreal, because we all have powerful testimonies and I knew that if nothing else, God would receive the glory for all that He’s done in my life. So to be apart of a very lit lit litttttt group of people who desire the same thing? I couldn’t ask for any better.
High: Sharing stories
I think my biggest triumph was being able to share stories about struggles and really offer advice. Hebrews 10 talks about never failing to meet up and fellowship with one another, and I felt like Urban Disciple kind of acted as that. It can be very easy to feel isolated from the Christian community as if we aren’t all thinking, living, or experiencing the same thing. So I think just having a place where we can talk about the awkwardness of being intentional, dealing with sexual sin, and struggling with our walks is what God calls us to. We need to know we are not alone, that there is hope, and that there is comfort in God through people. There is a power in our stories and I just want to share them with people so they know they are not alone.
Low: NOT Being Able to Share Stories..and Life Happening & Finding My Worth
So, my life just decided to change in 2015. I graduated, got a new job, and moved back home….things got real. Because things got real, I wasn’t able to write as much and share as much with people. Writing is my outlet, I have endless journals and I’m super pressed for the perfect ones to write my thoughts and prayers to God. It’s my love language so not being able to do it as much and sharing my thoughts and heart with people really sucks. So I don’t like real life….my team even clowned me for being on sabbatical longer than God was after Malachi (shoutout to Olamide)...but I wanna get back, and I hope to soon. I miss y’all.
My other low was feeling was the feeling of unworthiness and comparison. God has gifted all of us on the team with different skills to reach different people, but when you don’t receive feedback or comments on what a great blog you wrote and someone else does, it was like my articles weren’t as impacting. But that’s exactly how the devil works. He wants to discourage and divide the body of Christ, and as Olamide mentioned earlier, there is no competition in the Kingdom. Toyin could be an ear, Gabe a leg, Jummy a foot, Lamz, a hand, and I the eyes. We all serve different roles in the body and thus, we serve different roles on this team. We won’t look the same OR impact the same people. All I need to be concerned about is ensuring my heart is to glorify and honor God.
These four right here need me (1 Corinthians 12:21). And I need them. It’s been an interesting year, nevertheless, with this Urban Disciple body. Since I internally determined to become a writer, I knew having a blog, whether a sports blog or a lifestyle blog, was something I had to incept in my everyday living. Just being able to share what God did for me, to me, and through me, while He inspired and wrote with me, became one of the greatest feelings I could ever have, and I knew I had to have, and do more. I knew this was to be a part of my life forever. Personally, this has been the hardest group I’ve had to work with because they never take my crap. It’s almost as if they beat me with rods to get what they wanted out of me. But it works….and I’m mad grateful for that.
We thank God, that through all that I’ve endured... I’m not dead. I kid, but I think the high for me, as cliche as it may be, is that we’ve been, and continue to be, bound together in love. I’ve come to learn that there are very few things more beautiful than unison, unity, and cohesiveness--oneness within the body--within one body. And I believe that’s where we’ve come to. Throughout everything: from the weeks were our producing was outstanding and we were dropping posts almost daily, to those dry, dry, dry times where nothing seemed to be produced---God still grew us as a family, and He’ll continue to grow us in Jesus name. Take note, this is one of those moments where I’m not being complicatedly deep...I think. :).
“They keep bullying me...where’s my lawyer?” Jesus is my refuge, shield and buckler. I think the low for me last year, in more forms than one, was insecurity. I don’t know how it happened, I don’t know why it happened, but my heart became very tender and overly apt to absorbing pain. I foolishly took everything to heart. I was prideful, bitter, and indifferent at various moments in the year towards the UD team and myself. But I realized, thanks to Debbie being led by God, that I did a lot of self-condemning. I was very quick to scoff at myself for my shortcomings, not meeting a bar, or just not getting something done, that I wouldn’t tolerate advice, rebuke, and even encouragement from the team. I think this is where I say, ‘I’m my biggest critic.’ It’s true, I take everything I do personally and passionately. I think that understanding that aspect of myself and revealing it to the team, has helped us grow in understanding and patience. These guys have been ever so patient with me, and I love them for that. #UDtheBest #HashtagsArentMyThing #ImeanMyFirstBlogPostWasALongHashtag #WhyDidTheyLetMePostThatThingWithThatTitle
Oh man this team, there are so many things that I can say really. We are cohesive, but it’s a strange cohesive like double sided tape. Its annoying sometimes, but when you get to use it, it is clutch and can patch up many things. Everyone one on this team is valuable to me, including Jummy, whom I both love and don’t like. He can probably tell you why. He’s still great though. I know we have the potential for something big here.
Low: Having Heavy Hitters
Our team is full of people who do many things in life, so when it comes to doing things for Urban Disciple, we’re not able to bring our full energy to the table a lot of times. It just really stinks because we have great folks here, but we’re not as dedicated as we can be and it is because we are kind of spread thin. Not only do we do a lot, but we probably have 2 to 3 things to do for Urban Disciple. I pray that God adds more people to use so that our energies can be more direct and focused.
High: Diversely Like Minded
We all kind of think the same way, but we don’t. It is really cool actually like we have a variety of thoughts and ideas and they work because we are able to compliment each other well. It makes bringing ideas to the table much easier because you can trust that someone will assist and add to what you have to bring to the table.
Despite the highs and lows we all may have experienced collectively or individually, God is definitely doing something at UD. We can't wait to see what this year has in store for us. Stay tuned!