How do you find your voice and tell your story as a leader? How do your faith and personality intersect so that you can become the leader God created you to be? Today’s podcast dives into how we can embrace how God wired us with the story He’s woven into us to share.

telling your story, storytelling, Abbey Jo Bailey

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In this episode, Holly and I talk with Abbey Jo Bailey about the importance of listening, understanding your personality, and taking risks. Abbey is a wife, mom of two small children, and the director of communications at her church.

If you’ve ever experienced an abrupt career change, shifted how you’ve viewed leadership,  or wondered how to embrace your identity in Christ, this interview is for you.

Abbey’s Leadership Journey

A self-described “bossy big sister,” Abbey’s leadership journey went from leading with an authoritative style to allowing God to lead. Abbey started her career as a physical therapist in Ohio and transitioned into leading a rehabilitation facility in California. At the time, she felt that leadership looked like knowing more than most and having the authority of a title.  

After building up her own career for 10 years, she felt the need to step aside for her husband’s career to take off. Now she works as communications director at her church, where she works part-time.

How Faith and Leadership Intersect

Abbey grew up knowing of God, but it wasn’t until she was in her 20s that she started attending church regularly that she realized she could experience God on a personal level. The process of getting to know God and Christian life has been slow.

In the past, she felt the pressure to know all the answers as a leader, but several years ago she started experiencing leadership in a different way.

She’s learned that leadership doesn’t mean being above everyone, but knowing that God created each of us with a unique voice and perspective. Just leading and letting God be a part of the process of leading people has been a major mindset shift. She’s learning to put people over process and to bring her own voice to the conversation.

“Leadership is so much fun and so hard and so exhausting and so much fun.” - Abbey Jo BaileyClick To Tweet

Ways You Can Embrace Your Identity in Christ

Here are ways that Abbey is learning to embrace her identity in Christ and they apply to you too:

  • Have people in your life that remind you your identity is in Christ
  • Get to know Christ on your own
  • Ask God to show you that leadership isn’t just about image, title, or pay.
  • Remember that sometimes part of God’s path for your leadership journey may include getting pushed off a ladder you’ve built your identity on.
  • Ask God to show you who you are.
  • Take some time to learn about who you are, what you want, and what matters to you.

Resources to Learn about how God has Wired You:

The two personality typing systems Abbey has used are:

No matter your personality type, you can lead with confidence.

“Leadership is using your voice, listening to others, and taking risks.” - Abbey BaileyClick To Tweet

Tips for Telling Your Story as a Leader

Abbey believes that there is power in storytelling and using story to lead people toward Christ. Abbey is leading her church and team through a storytelling process.

We discuss how Abbey has taken on the communications role at her church, and how she has experienced different seasons in her life and leadership.

Here are her best practices for telling your story:

  1. Know where you want people to go. You need to be aware of where you’d like to take people in the journey.
  2. Read Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller. As this book indicates, the hero is never you in the story; you are simply the guide in the story.
  3. Submit the outcome to God.

Abbey shares how submitting the outcome of her work to God has helped her to stay focused on people rather than the process being her primary focus. We chat about how this requires surrender and acknowledging that we are not in control of how things turn out.

Every person involved in ministry should read Building a StoryBrand.Click To Tweet

Managing Multiple Roles

Abbey works part-time at her church and is a mom of young children. Abbey has a few things she does to help herself manage these roles:

  1. Reflecting on what’s going on at work and at home, and asking God where her focus should be each week or each day.
  2. Taking the time to check in internally and identify her feelings. Abbey reflects whether she needs time with a friend, needs alone time, or something different.
  3. Figuring out what she actually enjoys outside of work and doing that. For Abbey, those things are reading, getting outside, and hiking. This allows her to disconnect from her work.

Advice for Younger Leaders

Abbey offers these tips for up-and-coming leaders:

  • Surround yourself with good people — trustworthy people who you can be yourself around and who you look up to.
  • Get to know your voice and what matters to you.
  • Take risks.

We chat with Abbey about the value of mentors. Abbey notes that some of her mentors are people whose podcasts she listens to. She also shares that her current pastor is one of her mentors.

Leaders Are Learners:

Abbey loves learning through podcasts and she also enjoys attending conferences.

Here are some of her favorite podcasts:

Abbey reminds us of these simple truths: Trust God in the process. Show up and be yourself.

Other Episodes Mentioned:

Episode 17: How the Enneagram Can Help You Nurture Healthy Relationships with Beth McCord

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Connect with Abbey:


Starting out as Bossy Big Sister, turned driven student and success-seeking professional, Abbey’s leadership path has been ever-changing. It was a steady rise up the corporate ladder until an abrupt change of plans led to a season of redefinition. As she became a wife and mother her professional motivations began to change and with that, her view of leadership.

In her current role as Communications Director, Abbey collaborates with ministry leaders to tell the story of their Church and to encourage the Church to care about the stories of people who may be disconnected from or not yet know God.

She is a self-described social media scroller, aspiring yogi or runner depending on the day, fueled by coffee and Jesus, and repeatedly saved by grace. Outside of work Abbey is spending time with her family, including her four year old “dinosaur trainer” son, nine month old blue-eyed beauty, and her 30-something fitness-focused husband.

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