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Welcome to the Fit Fundraising Podcast, where we bring you game-changing fundraising topics, direct from our meetings with major donors and nonprofits nationwide. While most consultants are busy giving advice, fit fundraising stays on the front lines with nonprofits and major donors. This podcast is a glimpse into our world of work with non profits, as we get on the field with them and successfully model fundraising. Get ready to get fit with the hottest show in fund development, Fit Fundraising.

Roy Jones: Welcome to the Fit Fundraising Podcast, we’re going to have some fun today, we’re going to talk about an issue that I think you’re going to like. Something’s happening across our industry and it’s really a very important. We’ve got a lot of people that have been plugged into the nonprofit industry and it’s happened originally because some very dire circumstances, but many organizations of the 2 million nonprofits across the United States, thousands and thousands of them have adopted diversity and inclusion guidelines, thousands and thousands of them have brought people of color on their boards of directors and that has led to thousands of people who normally weren’t plugged into a nonprofit organization now getting involved, it’s really exciting. Hiring is changing, staffing is changing, people of color being plugged into nonprofit organizations all across the country. And you know what? For all the wrong reasons, they haven’t been trained. And I really feel, and I don’t know other, any other way to describe it, a God calling to get into this space, to help people that need training, that need to know how to run nonprofit organizations that need to learn development firsthand, that need to roll up their sleeves and get to work with us as we build the kingdom and do great things for God.

Today I’ve got two brothers in Christ that have just mentored me, loved me, spent some time with me. I’ve worked with them over the years and I want to take it just a minute and introduced you. We’re going to have a little panel discussion today, but I want to introduce, first of all, Reverend Michael Woods and Michael first joined the Western Carolina rescue ministries team in 2007. In 2010, he was promoted to CEO and executive director and Michael’s been an advocate for the homeless and underserved he’s viewed by many in that Asheville, North Carolina area as the advocate providing hope and restoration to people that are underserved and need the help. Michael truly is the voice for so many.

Most recently, he even expanded his ministry and reached out to his hometown of Shelby, North Carolina. And he’s providing counsel and oversight and direction and board governance to the Cleveland County rescue mission. Reverend Woods has, multiple degrees in finance and business, he left a career in finance and in real estate to enter the ministry. He lives in Asheville with his wife and two children and now two grandchildren. I got your beat, Michael. I got seven, but you got two. So here they come. But again, and if you couldn’t tell the Western Carolina rescue ministries are a client of fit fundraising, Michael, thanks for joining us today.

Reverend Michael Woods: Man, I’m so glad to be a part of this. I’m really excited, I’m grateful. I’m grateful for your relationship and to be on here with Dr. Loggins is,

Roy Jones: the legend.

Reverend Michael Woods: And I’ma go starstruck. 

Roy Jones: And you introduced me to Dr. Loggins and Robert is president and CEO of RF Loggins Ministries. He was born and raised in Mississippi where he came to know, love, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. He graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Pillsbury Scarborough Bible College and Seminary. He also studied at Covenant Theological Seminary, Midwestern Theological Seminary. He was an MBT Oxford University Scholar. He and his wife, Cassandra, or as he likes to tell me, my queen are parents of two grown sons. They have four grown grandchildren, so even Dr. Loggins has your beat with those grandbabies, Michael. 

Reverend Michael Woods: Yea he did. 

Roy Jones: They have served the Lord together for more than 40 years through many churches, organizations, communities. He’s the former minister at large at city gate network and that’s how Michael and I first met him. But he is now serving as an advisor to Fit Fundraising, and Dr. Loggins, thank you so much for joining us today. 

Dr. Loggins: I am so honored my brother, I could say the same things that my brother Michael said about you. He told me about you and he was explaining you’ve got to meet this gentleman. He is absolutely incredible. When I finally called and you knew who I was at the time you answered me, responded. And it was awesome, I knew it was on there. Thank you so much, Roy. What a blessing. 

Roy Jones: I am so excited to have you both on this broadcast and it’s really been interesting, I was working for another nonprofit when some of those traumatic activities happened across our country where African Americans were come to light police officer killed somebody led to riots in the streets. Our whole country was turned upside down. It really brought this whole. issue of diversity to the forefront. And a lot of nonprofits responded. I don’t think I’m overstating the case by saying that probably more than a million nonprofits out of the 2 million in the United States added people of color to their boards of directors, and that meant that they added people of color to their staff. And that meant that they brought people of color into the development program. And now we’re faced with a situation, I compare it to where the industry was 30, 40 years ago, when it came to women in development. It’s really interesting. And again, 30, 40 years ago, they’re just big, bald, white guys like me in development but, they reached out, they started to involve women and they created training programs and over the next decade, women became trained and wonderful leaders in nonprofit world. And some of the best fundraisers, I hired 23 major gift officers when I was at Mercy Ships International, 18 of them were women because they were the best qualified for the job. It’s really interesting. I compare where we’re at as a movement today to where we were with women’s rights 30, 40 years ago, and we’ve got to embrace this calling. It is a calling. We’ve got to understand that there are people that are now involved in nonprofit organizations. And again, for all the wrong reasons, haven’t been trained, haven’t been ministered to, haven’t been mentored, haven’t been equipped, but yet they’re stepping up and they’re standing in the gap and they’re wanting to serve. And I really think we have a God calling to reach out. And I know that there’s political issues involved here. Diversity, equity, inclusion is a popular in some sectors, not so popular in others. But you know what? I just feel like right now, this is not about politics. This is about doing the right thing.

Michael, let’s begin with you. Take just a minute and talk, first of all, give big picture about your ministry, what you do, and then talk about how you serve people of color in your community and how you staff, with people of color in the organization itself but take just a minute and talk about Western Carolina rescue ministries.

Reverend Michael Woods: Yeah to sum us up in a nutshell, we’re going to love the least the most. That’s what we are and what we’re going to do and everything that we do. We’re going to do it in love. My staff, is committed to starting with love, loving in the middle, and ending with love. And so we get to touch people in their lowest points and we create community there. And in creating community we want to get into those muddy areas with you. So many of our people have been traumatized and carry large buckets of trauma and they’ve lost hope. So we believe that Jesus is the answer. We want to see transformation take place. We have the opportunity to serve a marginalized population, and so many of our people in our area that have been marginalized, a large percentage of those are people of color. They look just like me or in that a lot of non profits when they’re serving people in a marginalized community they take the approach that they know what’s best for them, instead of actually getting into those communities and finding the diamonds in the rough. 

Roy Jones: That should be the name of your book, michael diamonds in the rough brother. I have seen some diamonds you have made and I have seen the kind of pressure you put on your staff and your team and the people you serve, man, when I go there and I hear you preach, I am like, I always leave convicted. Diamonds in the rough.

Reverend Michael Woods: The thing is that. For a very long time in the nonprofit sector and even corporately. People in marginalized communities and situations have never felt that they were included in it. So it had, so it was always a far reach for them. So even though there’s talent, even though their skill sets and everything there, nobody’s there to build relationship to be able to see that and develop that and bring that forward. One of the things that I have always pride myself in, even when I was a basketball coach, was that I could very quickly, figure out someone’s strength and their weakness and I could coach them to coach up their strengths and I could coach them in a way that allowed them to avoid putting them in a bad spot, so that their weakness came forward and I think and for me in hiring I truly look for people that want to love people. Okay, that’s the key skill for me. I’ve looked for people that have a desire to love people. And at that point, then it’s about coaching people up and believing in them and telling them what I actually see. I asked God years ago, God allow me to see people the way that you see them, not the way that they see themselves, not the way that not even the way that I would perceive when I see them. I want to see them how you see them. And God sees in each of us, so much further and so much greater, then what we can ever imagine. And I believe God has allowed me to do that. Have a diverse staff. And we have a lot of fun with it and we deal with issues and we’ll talk about that.

Roy Jones: We’re going to come back and I want to pick up on finding that weakness and coaching and building it up and turning it into a strength, so I want to come back to that. Michael, Dr. Loggins, take just a minute, talk about your ministry, and then make the connection to what you did with city gate ministries and helping men like Michael men and women all across the country that are working in the helping the underserved community and not just homeless shelters, they do so much more than shelter, but take just a minute and talk about your ministry. Dr. Loggins. 

Dr. Robert Loggins: Roy the strength of my ministry that God has given to me. It came through a vision that God gave me when I scared my wife to death. I was passing a little small church in Pelham, Mississippi. We had rebuilt the church. Did not know I had the abilities to help raise money and raise funds. We took this small church and we raised several about 70, 000 dollars and built it with our own hands ground up and just really took the church to the next level, mount Belco. Missionary Baptist Church in Pelham, Mississippi, outside of Hattiesburg. But what God did for me that transformed my life, that scared my wife to death, was when he called me to make disciples. To be a disciple, Matthew 28:16 – 20. And when the great commission stopped becoming the great suggestion in my life, God expanded my life in a way that I look at people as people and its opportunities to bring them to a closer walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.

As I was looking over my shoulder and listen to my brother to Mike talk immediately I have so many sons in the ministry. So many dollars in the ministry of all races and colors. The whole spectrum from all across this country, from the Philippines to Africa, I got people from all different ethnicities, from the islands folks from Mississippi who know how to say Mississippi and not Mississippi. Great country that from any area in the country, God has brought people into my life of all ethnicities. I coach them, train them, I’ve got sons in the ministry now that have grown great churches that are all white, the members say, Dr. Loggins, I really love our pastor. He preaches just like you. I said what do you mean? He really be smoking. So God has really done an incredible work in my life and showing to me that the ingredient that Michael alluded to, is the aspect of love. When we get into love and really caring about people, caring about expanding their capacity, growing their ministries, helping them to understand the joy of the Lord is their strength. Then color disappears. It just disappears. It goes away. It’s not about race, it’s about relationships. It’s not about running, it’s about being right with God. It’s not about passion without purpose. It’s about passion with purpose that brings power. And that power comes from the inner Gael, the inner working power of the Holy Spirit of God that creates in us what happened in Acts 1: 8, and ye shall receive power. When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. And what I am, I’m just a witness. And what has happened in my ministry from the Stanford and my staff. I just brought aboard a young lady who is incredible, Reba, she’s our fundraiser and boy, she is knocking it out the park and she has that light complexion like my brother Roy has, and she’s slightly

Roy Jones: I hope she’s got better hair than I got. I’ll say that

Dr. Robert Loggins: my sons have hair like yours. Okay.

Roy Jones: Dr. Loggins take just a minute. One of the things that you said to me in one of our mentoring sessions after Michael introduced us. And it just broke my heart. But you shared how there were people out there that you’d met. Working with at risk populations that just didn’t have the training they needed. And the sad fact is they didn’t have it for all the wrong reasons. People marginalized because they were black or Asian or Hispanic. And I had never thought about that before, before you brought that to my mind and my heart. Take a minute and talk about that. 

Dr. Robert Loggins: I witnessed that Roy, even when I was in seminary and had a great seminary experience. And I witnessed that even in my academic career. And I think the reason for that is we do not take enough time to get to know the person. We’re so busy getting to know the color that we missed the character. If we were to spend more time in getting to know the character, we get to know the person. And this is the thing that I see that is happening in the ministry that you, that God has put in your heart, the ministry that God has put in Michael’s heart. And there are many others in CityGate that possess that heart. And that is they are willing to take a risk at people who have different perspectives of colors and ethnicities. And they come into that space and they provide the tools for them to get the job done. And I have seen God do incredible things through that. So the key is get to know the person, get to know the individual, take time out to really build a relationship, and you will be amazed the treasure you’ll find in earthen vessels.

Roy Jones: Michael, what’s the most challenging aspect you have? When it comes to working with a diverse staff and you really do, you live it, a lot of people have to set policies to make DEI happen. You live it, brother. You come in there and whites, blacks, different ethnicities are all working together for a common goal. But talk to me about the challenges you had and you referenced some of it’s fun. You guys have a good time, but give me an example of a tough situation you had to deal with on a cultural level as it related to diversity on your team.

Reverend Michael Woods: I think when it comes to the whole DEI thing that has been politicized and has been hijacked by the world, I think for those of us in the body of Christ that we should push back, because DEI is a term are the definition of DEI comes straight from the Bible. And we need to push back on the world from that standpoint. If we go to Galatians chapter three verse 26 and 28 is literally says this. It says, for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus for as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, that’s diversity, for you are all one in Christ. That’s inclusion. And if you are Christ, then you are Abraham seed and heirs, according to the promise. That’s equity. And so for those of us in the body of Christ, this should not become. Some bad word out there. We shouldn’t allow this politically correct thing in society to hijack what that is. It was actually defined for us in the Bible. And so the way we do this and you ask what are the most challenging aspects of working in a diverse environment in a nonprofit, the world wants to use our differences to cause us to separate, and cultural differences are not accepted to the point to where we see those are been trained are been manipulated by society into, instead of celebrating someone’s cultural difference. We see that as, because it’s not like ours. We then see that as a negative.

Roy Jones: Right? And so we marginalize it. 

Reverend Michael Woods: We marginalize it. And so one of the things for us is that I’m really big on overcoming preconceived stereotypes. And so we hire people. One of the biggest things that I’ve had to deal with and being a black CEO in the South of a large nonprofit that raises funds. And the majority of our givers are white. But one of the biggest problems I’ve had in staffing has been finding white men that love the Lord to be able to come and to work for me. And I say this way because it takes a ton of courage for a white man in the South to go work for a black man. And I didn’t realize that when I first started. 

Roy Jones: Very interesting. 

Reverend Michael Woods: Did not realize that at all. But the way that other white Christian men, view him, and I have some on my staff and they are phenomenal. And we have these conversations because they’ll get questions like, what is it like working for it? Where it really said, what is it like working for a black man? As if because of the color of my skin that did changes my leadership. That changes my character, that changes the life on the inside of me, and so those are the type of things that I deal with from a staffing standpoint. Now, the other part of it is that in the black community. I have people who have always had a desire to be able to work in an environment like this, and to be a part of something like this. But they never saw opportunities. So they see the opportunity here, and so I deal with having to adjust their way of thinking that just because I’m black, that’s not why I’m hiring you. I’m not hiring you based on the melon in your skin, I’m looking for people that will love people, not people that will love people that look like you. Or, I’m looking for people that love people and so I’ve been able to find people, that want to love people and then have to peel back the layers of the stereotypes and the things that have been culturally just literally discipled into them over the years, both white and black. I’ll give one quick example of something that we dealt with. So I have a very diverse staff. And you’re familiar with Roy, you’re familiar with almost every one of my staff. And so my development director was meeting with our program staff and we had an opportunity for a large group who wanted to come and to do a picnic for our clients. And they were trying to set all of that up, everything there and she was talking about what this picnic could be and everything else. And then I had a program staff person who happened to be a black female. She stopped and said, would you stop using the word picnic? And all of a sudden the room froze. And she says, because that is a racially insensitive word. There was no harm. There was no intent or anything there. And but what ended up happening in the midst of that was, she goes on to say why this was there. For most of us, we know that during a time when some of the darkest times in our nation’s history, when they were lynching not only black men and black women, those became events.

Roy Jones: Yes. 

Reverend Michael Woods: Where white people would literally bring out food and everything and said, and they would pick someone and hang them, lynch them. And that’s where the word picnic came from. So that was the thing, how I dealt with that within that was that from a staff standpoint we have to lead this way. We have to know that at the very core, you mean me no harm. Okay. I’m not going to be perfect, but if I know you mean me no harm, I’m not going to stand in a place of offense. I’m not gonna allow myself to become offended because I know you mean me no harm. And so they hear me say this all the time, I don’t need you to just get along for the sake of getting along in order to get a paycheck. I need you to understand that for us to be able to affect the lives that God is bringing here to us. We can allow the diversities and the experiences of our past. To cause us to separate and to cause us to keep from being able to be one together and move forward, and so as we walked through that it became a very healing time within our staff and I watched people grow and now I joke about picnics almost in every meeting but one because i’m not willing to allow that word that may have meant one thing, but if you know a heart that’s not what we mean.

Roy Jones: Right?

Reverend Michael Woods: And it’s not even your 10. 

Roy Jones: It is about seeing each other’s heart in the Dr. Logginss take a minute and I don’t know and again, I realize your ministry as a pastor and as a Mentor and coach to other pastors. I know there’s certain things you can’t share and that kind of thing. I don’t want you to reveal any confidences, but are there patterns? Do you see this kind of thing when you’re out there working with churches and how do you coach in dealing with these kinds of problems? I just love Michael’s heart and that’s how he can get through and deal with some of those tough situations because of how he loves his staff. Take a minute are there mentoring? Are there techniques? Are there any words you can give us in addition to the emotion of loving one another?

Dr. Robert Loggins: I think Roy and Michael said it so well when he introduced his first words and that is love. I’m amazed at the hunger for love and on both sides of the equation. When I came to St. Louis 30 some years ago. By the grace of God, the whites and blacks were separated and that separation still exists today. There were whites, blacks who did not want whites in their churches and whites didn’t want blacks in their churches. And over the course of time, I’ve seen an erosion of that to begin to dissipate. The relationship is the key ingredient, getting to know each other, getting in each other’s lives spending time with each other. Time is the master of healing. The more time you spend with someone, the more time you get to know them. Don’t try to fix them to make them be black or white or fit your particular ethnic philosophy, but invite them into your space and then listen to them. What we did when I was a missionary, I was worked in the area of racial reconciliation. And I got dropped right down in the midst of the black and white division in Missouri. And I tell you, I got fried so many different ways from both sides of the equation. But the key ingredient that brought us together when people, when the leaders slowed down and really got to know each other. Today, many of those relationships that did not exist, they do exist. They exist because they stopped long enough to get to know the person. They took time out to eat with them, to spend time in their churches and relationships and ministries. They took time to invest in each other. When they began to do that, things began to change. The aspect of spending time with a person over dinner, over lunch, over a meal, over a cup of coffee just to stop long enough and ask questions about things that we don’t really like to ask questions about such as what you’re doing here today. How does it feel to be an African American, a black person in an all right meeting? How does it feel? To be a white person in all black meeting and begin to unpack that and begin to listen and begin to understand that when you do that, you’re opening up a whole new avenue of relationships. And you begin to help people to see that when you boil it all down, we’re basically the same. We need love. We need encouragement. We need training. We don’t need the training that’s on the leftover side of the fence. We need the best training that’s inside of the fence. When we do that, then what we’re doing, we’re building a bridge of genuine relationship. As I was listening to Michael, I do a Bible study on Thursdays with a group of people from different ethnicities many are white in different areas of the country. And I have a whole group of whites in a whole city that want to buy me a house, buy me whatever I want to get, cars, whatever I need. They are begging me to come to X city to be their pastor. And I told him I’ve never had black people to ever do that for me before. I think by all this for me, they don’t even know me that well. Now I had a number of my black brothers and sisters that bought me things of that nature, but they knew me. I said, y’all don’t really know me. No, we do know you. How do we know you? We know you because you preach the truth. The love of Christ is in your heart. You have no distinction between race or color economy or ethnicity or whatever. You are concerned about one thing, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. And I think, Michael, the missing ingredient is the person of Christ. When we get to Christ, something has to change. When that changes, then God elevates our understanding of what it means to be brothers and sisters in the Lord, and color goes out the door, race goes out the door, and then the opportunities, Roy, to open that gate to what you’re speaking about. It opens up and provides people like me and like Michael and other persons of color to walk through that gate with the tools to do excellence, in accomplishing great things for the Lord God Almighty. That’s the key. Just be who you are. The love of Christ opportunity. Relationships be truthful. Sometimes I’ve had some pretty good verbal fistfights. Where you get into some really good arguments. Michael, some really good, talking about mud wrestling. And at the end of the mud wrestling, I’ve seen white brothers and black brothers say, Hey man, you are so right. That was me. Would you forgive me? Hey, brother, you’re so right. That was my attitude. Would you forgive me? It’s amazing what happens when forgiveness shows up in the midst of that confusion. 

Roy Jones: Wow. I’m going to have you both back for another broadcast, which we’ve got to unpack this some more. Learning to live together, learning to love one another, spending time with one another. Listening to one another, brings reconciliation, and then we really can provide top of the line training, mentoring, investing in one another in a way that will so impact our movement as we grow and as we’ve talked about raised resources to build a kingdom.

Dr. Robert Loggins: Roy, let me say this one part you make. We’re trying to have racial relationships without having the knowledge of who that person is. We are omitting the personhood of that individual. You cannot have a relationship until you get to know the person. And what you’re doing today is clearing out a space, where we can be genuinely honest with each other, that we have a problem. And the solution is we’ve to get close enough to each other. And to trust each other, and then begin to invest in each other. And when we do that, I believe we can see transformation in our nation in an incredible way. 

Roy Jones: I want to thank you for being part of the Fit Fundraising Podcast today. I’m going to have these gentlemen back. We’re going to talk some more. I hope you’ll tune in. Remember our goal this year is to help 50 nonprofit organizations, and we’ve got a unique engagement strategy. Are you ready for it? Free. Free. We volunteer last year we helped 41 nonprofits, eight of them, like Michael Woods ended up hiring us. And again, I don’t know if you’re going to end up hiring us or not, but if you need help, we’re here to help and we look forward to serving you. So again, I want you to stay tuned, listen to our next broadcast. We’re so honored that you’ve joined us here at the Fit Fundraising Podcast, while we take on some new things, some new challenges as we reach out and train people to truly raise more resources to build the kingdom.

Thanks so much for joining us. We’ll see you next week.

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