LaTan Roland Murphy
Leading with Jesus: Ministry Outside the Walls of a Church - Author Jennifer Smith
Hey, Friend! I'm so excited you met me here, today! I can't wait to share Jennifer Smith's book interview with you!
When Jennifer asked for my endorsement, I had to say: YES! As a small business owner, I immediately saw the 'felt need' for a book like this. And...what a fantastic book title: Leading with Jesus: Ministry Outside the Walls of a Church, (order here)
In this unprecedented Covid-19 season we are not allowed to gather in Church, but faced with the sweet privilege and great responsibility to BE the Church, right where we are!
Read ON, Friends!
What inspired you to write this particular book?
I have loved words and writing from an early age. A goal of mine since I was very young was to one day write a book. And not just any book, but I wanted to write a book with purpose and meaning. I wanted it to be a book that helped other people encouraging them through the messy and difficult season in life and in leadership. I wanted to pen a book pointing readers to Jesus. Thus, Leading with Jesus, was born. And it was born during a very difficult season of my life, but that’s how I know it’s a God thing and not a Jennifer thing. I also wanted people to realize we can all work for Jesus in our world without having a churchy title or a church job. I want to see people living out their faith everywhere they go.
Would you say your motives for writing a book have always been pure?
I can honestly say there have been times in my life where I wrote for accolades and man’s applause. But about five years ago, my prayer life changed, and I began to ask God to use me however he saw fit. I also told him to get me out of the way so He could shine. I told Him, “God, don’t let me write a book if it’s going to be about me. Only give me the words when it can be about you.” So I have gone through a pruning process within the past few years, and the end result is God giving me the words you see today. I can absolutely say it’s about Him.
What is your writing quirk?
I don’t know if it’s a quirk or what you would call it, but a lot of the time, I write like I talk. I know that can be frowned upon, but I love a good book where I feel like I am having a conversation with the author over a cup of coffee. It helps me feel more connected to the author, and connecting is so important in our walks as Christians. We were created for connection.
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
I had to experience some tough situations and tough circumstances in order to glean the stories and the wisdom found within the pages of the book. My husband and I were going through one of the hardest things in our life---when our businesses flooded—and I didn’t have any extra time. We suffered half a million dollars of loss on our building and merchandise. We didn’t know if we would make it. However, God supernaturally gave me the time and the words to say. I can honestly give Him all the glory and claim none for myself. It was indeed my Father who just used a willing vessel to get a message out to those who need it.
Is your book only for business owners?
No, my book focuses on business owners, but there are so many applicable life lessons interlaced no matter if you are a parent, college student, business owner, teacher, or church leader. Our company, David Christopher’s, is a wholesaler and retailer, so we sell to companies all over the world. In the beginning, my primary focus was to help our customers, who run their own businesses, have a resource to help impact their organization in a positive way. But more and more people are picking up the book who don’t own a business, but they find it relatable.
How long did it take you to write the book?
I wrote the book in about six months, burning the midnight oil between being a mom to two boys, working full time plus hours renovating our businesses from the flood, and serving in my church and community. But it took a total of about 16 months to edit, complete cover art, formatting, and finally publishing.
Tell us about the people who helped you with this project.
So many people have contributed to the success this project. My husband inspired me to write the book. I always thought I would write a book about being a mom, or a book about marriage, but my husband encouraged me to write a book I would have wanted someone to give me my first day on the job at a small business. God put on my heart to include Emily Garcia, who contributed the beautiful water color painting on the book’s cover and Dede Simmons who designed my cover art. I am also grateful for my editors Sara Moseley and Kay Wammack. And I feel honored to have endorsements from amazing writers like Bobby Gourley, LaTan Murphy and Rachel Wammack. It’s very humbling to know I couldn’t have completed this project on my own. And I will always be grateful for those who believed in me and helped me through—even when I didn’t believe in myself and wanted to give up.
What kinds of books do you like to read?
Oh wow! I read a lot of different genres of books. But I do love a good Bible Study or a book where a Biblical character is covered in depth whether fiction or non-fiction. I also like to unwind with a good mystery or romance novel. Francine Rivers is one of my favorites. I read everything she writes.
What do you hope people take away after reading Leading with Jesus?
I hope those who read this book are able to experience a deeper connection with their Creator. I hope they are able to view him as their true Savior who is still in the business of miracles and redemption. I hope they feel less alone in their daily walks as they tackle obstacles. And since I see myself as a practical girl, I hope they are able to find practical approaches to facing challenges, making decisions, mentoring employees and leading other people to Jesus in their marketplaces.
Author’s Bio: Jennifer Smith is wife to David and mom to two boys. A handful of employees call her “Momma,” too. She owns, along with David, a seasonal design import company and retail boutique store, David Christopher’s, located in Sheffield, Alabama. She specializes in social media marketing, human resources, and creating an atmosphere where employees love to come to work and customers love to shop, because they experience the presence of Jesus there. Connect with her at www.davidchristophers.com, www.sharingloveandlife.com, or on social media @jensmith1421