Tag Archives: Interviews

A Model of Unity


That’s me, second from the right, in front of the new campus for TCCTC. (Credit: SociallyLoved)

The following article was first posted on OneChristianVoice and their subsidiary, TallyChristianVoice. Check out their site for more inspiring stories as well as news that impacts Christians around the world.


Imagine, if you can, a place where Christians of all colors and creeds gather together. Every believer is welcome, regardless of his or her denomination, background, education level, or socio-economic status. Together, they spend hours poring over the Bible in various translations and ancient languages. They focus on God and the Scriptures. They pray together, learn from one another, and encourage one another in their walk with the Lord.

You may think this kind of unity only existed in the first century church. (See Acts 2.) At least, that’s what I thought…until I saw it first hand at the Tallahassee Christian College and Training Center (TCCTC).



Over the past 12 years, I’ve been connected with TCCTC as a student, volunteer, board member, and faculty member. With each passing year, I become more amazed that such a spirit of unity exists—and even thrives!—within this small college. In a world full of segregated churches, of discord and confusion, TCCTC stands out as a model of unity.

I sat down recently with Jo Anne Arnett, the president and co-founder of TCCTC, and asked her an important question: How does the college achieve such unity?

Below, I’ve compiled a short list of Jo Anne’s responses, as well as suggestions on how we can apply the model of TCCTC to our own churches, youth groups, small groups, and Bible studies. While I’m sure there are more elements we could include, these few items are sufficient to challenge even the most established group of believers. 


1 – Diversify – Seek “unity at every level.”

Since its inception in 1990, TCCTC has embraced all manner of diversification (including age, color, background, and denomination) among the board of directors, faculty, and student body. Each semester, the faculty represent 15-20 denominations, while the total student body has come from over 400 congregations. Jo Anne puts it simply: “Everybody’s welcome.”

Application: Unity does not mean sameness. Encourage diversification in your group, then seek unity. 


2 – Focus – “We focus on Jesus and the Scriptures.”

Jo Anne is careful to point out that TCCTC focuses on Jesus and the Scriptures. True Christianity includes the study of both, for we are directed to “worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23 NAS).

Over the years, I’ve heard Jo Anne say, “We major in the majors…but we don’t avoid the minors, either.” In other words, the majority of classes are focused on the major topics, such as the books of the Bible, hermeneutics (how to interpret Scripture), and Church history. There are numerous other classes students can explore for personal growth or continuing education, but they are not the major focus of the college.

Application: Focus on Jesus and the Scriptures. However, don’t get sidetracked or bogged down in details to the point that you miss the overarching message of God’s love and redemption.


3 – Concentrate – Unity is “not about watering down” the truth.

Too often, we feel that we have to dilute the Gospel to make it more acceptable for a wider audience. However, TCCTC takes a different approach: they face difficult Scriptures or topics head-on. They trust that God’s Word is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness,” and so they search the Scriptures for clarity. (See 2 Timothy 3:16 NAS.)

As for doctrinal conflicts, Jo Anne said there are only a few areas in which real differences of interpretations may appear. For those rare instances, teachers agree up front to give “equal voice and weight” to alternative interpretations. The students can then lean on the Word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to interpret the meaning of the passage. Even if students disagree on the interpretation, they can be unified in their whole-hearted approach to seeking God and learning more about His Word.

Application: Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and clarity as you dig into the Scriptures. Concentrate on the Word and don’t shy away from difficult subjects. When differences arise within your group, retain unity as you explore other interpretations of the Word.


4 – Appreciate – Unity involves “appreciating each other’s different gifts.”

Most of us are familiar with the metaphor of a single Church Body with many members, as seen in 1 Corinthians 12. During our talk, Jo Anne used the same Scripture in reference to the various denominations within the Church—an analogy I had never considered before.

She said that TCCTC appreciates the different roles of each denomination and the value they bring to the Church Body. Instead of trying to break down denominational walls, the college seeks to “train and equip congregations to better fulfill their purpose within the Body.”

Application: Appreciate the various roles of individuals as well as denominations and congregations within the Church. When you do, you’ll begin to build bridges and spread unity within the Body.


5 – Serve – “Every follower of Jesus Christ is in full-time ministry.”

According to Jo Anne, the goal of TCCTC is to “train and equip believers to fulfill their various roles as followers of Jesus, and to do so in love with a biblical basis.” They believe every Christian—not just pastors—is in full-time ministry, so those roles could be within the home, church, workplace, or community.

Application: Acknowledge that every believer has an important role within the Church Body. Encourage one another to discover that role and develop it. Don’t go it alone, though. Seek appropriate training and equipping from knowledgeable, mature believers.


New Semester Fall Ad

(Credit: SociallyLoved)

If you’re in the Tallahassee region, I encourage you to check out TCCTC in person. But, regardless of your location, I challenge you to seek unity in your church, youth group, and Bible study. As Paul said, “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3 NAS).

What to Wear to an Interview


What to Wear to an Interview

It sounds corny, but “dressing for success” really works! I actually nailed a good job once solely because I dressed up. I had on a nice pant suit when I applied in person at a department store. One of the managers saw me turn in my application and raced after me to the elevator. She began to tell me how her sales area paid commission, and I realized she was pitching to me! She asked my name, went back and pulled my resume from the pile (which they’re not supposed to do), and then offered me the position. Later, she told me she wanted me on her team because I looked like a go-getter. I eventually turned that job into a secretary position for the same store, which I did (and loved!) for over a year.

Last week, we looked at how important interviews are personally and professionally. This week, we’re going to start with the obvious – what to wear on a job interview.

First, let me say that it doesn’t matter what the actual dress code is for the job you are applying for. Your main goal is to put your best foot forward. You’re essentially selling yourself, so make it good, whether the job is at Lowe’s or Wal-Mart.

The basics for GUYS:
A simple dark suit, button-down shirt, and a simple coordinating tie (no funny stuff!). The shoe color should match the belt. No matter how cool it is, do NOT wear Adidas shoes with your suit. I shouldn’t have to say this, but jeans are utterly unacceptable.

The basics for GALS:
A simple dark suit is a must, whether it’s a pant suit or a skirt suit with a blazer. Either a button-down shirt or a simple blouse is fine, but it shouldn’t be distracting or low-cut. If you wear a skirt, be sure to wear pantyhose and a slip (yes, seriously!). Shoes should be simple and closed-toed, not too high or too flashy. Jewelry is fine, whatever goes with the outfit.

Hair should be well-kept. That doesn’t mean it needs to be pulled back, but that wind-swept beach look isn’t going to cut it. Wear a little makeup to show you care, but don’t try to look like you work at the MAC counter (unless you’re applying for the MAC counter).

Yes, you want to be distinctive, so a pop of color or a unique necklace is fine. However, the key here is to keep it simple. You want the spotlight on you – your smile, your energy, your confidence.

Next week, I’ll share a funny list of things NOT to wear to an interview (or to work in general, for that matter).

After being interviewed all day at a writers conference, I enjoyed spending time with new friends at a banquet. This is author Kristen Hogrefe who taught one of the classes.

After being interviewed all day at a writers conference, I enjoyed spending time with new friends at a banquet. This is author Kristen Hogrefe who taught one of the classes.

Intro To Interviews


I don’t know about you, but there’s rarely a week that goes by that I don’t learn something new that I wish I had learned in high school. I won’t go into the state of our public education system, but I’m going to assume you feel the same way.

Instead of bemoaning the state of affairs, though, I’ve decided to do something about it. I have a Masters degree, a professional designation, and over a decade working in the business / insurance industry, and I’m going to use all of it to drop some knowledge on you.

One of the most important things for anyone to learn is how to ace……the dreaded interview. I always figured that these were so few and far between that I could basically cram for it like a history test, get the awesome job, and be done with it already. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be farther from the truth! I’ve put some thought into this, and I’ve realized that most memorable moments in life involve an interview of one kind or another. For example:

· When you apply for college, especially for Ivy League schools, you’ll need to write a paper and sell yourself, telling them why they need you at their school. If you pledge a Greek house (fraternity or sorority), they’ll put you through a next-level kind of interview process.

· Of course, when you apply for a job, you’ll need to interview. However, after you get the job, you’ll eventually want to get more out of it, like a better position or more pay. To get that, you’ll need to take on more responsibility. You’ll need to ask for things, such as permission to attend an out-of-state conference or to take continuing education courses, and you’ll have to explain why they should spend more money on you.

· Your actual job may involve interviewing people – mine does! I regularly ask directors and VPs about their projects and initiatives and look for risks that could keep them from achieving their goals.

· As an adult, you end up having to interview people you want to hire, like contractors, lawn care workers, even hair stylists and doctors.

· Even first dates are like interviews – but hopefully more fun! (If all goes well, you’ll have the future-mother-in-law interview. Good luck with that one.)

You’ll also continue to be interviewed by other people. A couple weeks ago, I sat down with six different agents, editors, and authors, pitching my book ideas in 15-minute time blocks. Now, those are straight-up interviews!

To me, an interview is an opportunity to advance yourself, whether personally or professionally. Since it’s that important, and we can’t avoid it anyway, we should embrace it and conquer it! In the next couple blogs, we’ll focus on job interviews and look at how you can put your best foot forward to get that job!

After being interviewed all day by editors and agents, I got to meet journalist and best-selling author Todd Starnes. Glad I dressed nice!

After being interviewed all day by editors and agents, I got to meet journalist and best-selling author Todd Starnes. Glad I dressed nice!