This is the first blog in a series of coworkers who have since become like brothers in ministry. You can read the introduction here.
Carlos Antonio was the communications director for Every Nation Philippines. Since I serve in the campus ministry national office, we worked together often.
We had been friends for years. He was an older kid in the church and he was also the leader at my university discipleship group.
So you would think that a lot of history would mean a conflict-free working relationship, right?
It’s one thing to be friends. It’s another thing to work together.
One major difference between us was our personalities. I tend to charge ahead without thinking. While Carlos can see the land mines and prefers to navigate carefully, sometimes too slowly for someone like me.
We had a number of meetings that drove both of us crazy, but we decided to work through them. Eventually, we learned to trust each other’s strengths. And we really needed that trust in 2011.
In 2011, we had the assignment of running our first student conference. We were involved in conferences in the past, but never as the main sponsor (me) or conference director (him). And never this big (or expensive!).
I still remember our first meeting in his office. We had no clue where to begin. But Carlos threw himself into the task of learning how to run a major event. He showed me a binder of print-outs from the internet that he had been reading to familiarize.
Since we didn’t know most of it, we had to learn by experience – all kinds of auditions, rehearsals, and conversations about things that we had no clue about. We faked our way through most of it, but we were blessed by a great team who followed anyway.
It seemed like we were learning just in time, like those cartoons where someone is laying down tracks in front of a runaway train.
Our Every Nation Campus Conference that year, Ignite 2011, was a huge success. God showed up and did amazing things.
Two years later, Ignite 2013, did the seemingly impossible and topped that. By then, our faith in God and trust in one another had grown so much that while it was a bigger project in every way, it seemed lighter.
He’s since transitioned to head of Communications globally in Every Nation, passing on a huge body of work and a great team that he grew from scratch. I’m excited to see how we’ll work together across the ocean now.
Here are some lessons I learned:
- There’s no such thing as irreconcilable differences. There is no conflict-free team. There are only those who give up on each other. And those who make it work.
- Our differences only make us stronger. If Carlos and I had been the same, we wouldn’t have been successful. I passed jobs he excelled at to him, and vice versa. This kept both of us in our strong zones, while covering our weaknesses.
- Strong teams learn together. When trust is high, there’s openness. When there’s openness, it’s easy to learn. We can learn together and we can learn from one another.