(Photo courtesy of Rogers & Cowan)
Q&A: Jon Gordon
By Mike and Sarah Komisky
What’s in the making of a good team? Success? For LA Rams Team Building Coach, Jon Gordon, the power lies in an ingredient you might not expect. Love. God’s love. And the proof as they say, is in the pudding. Today, he is the best-selling author whose clients have included The Los Angeles Dodgers, The Atlanta Falcons, Miami Heat, Pittsburgh Pirates, and many more. In turn, along with the college and professional sports world, the renowned speaker has partnered up with various Fortune 500 companies, school districts, hospitals, and non-profits to share his principles. As sports fans, my dad and I at Marked Ministry decided to team up for a special daddy-daughter interview with our friend Jon on the fringe of The Superbowl and his latest book release (“The Power of a Positive Team”). So, stick around as we talk faith, God’s love, teamwork, and of course, football. Enjoy!
Sarah: Since football season just ended and we just had the Super Bowl, let’s kick things off talking about the Rams. You’ve been able to be a team building coach to this team who have found much success this season. How has strong teamwork played a huge role in the success of the team this year?
Jon: Teamwork played a huge success. They wouldn’t have made it to the Super Bowl without being a connected and committed team. Their bonds created relationships that caused them to play for each other instead of fight against each other.
Sarah: Currently in the world, we are pretty divided. Relationally, we are divided. As human beings, we are divided in our hearts and minds. You’ve been quoted to say, “It’s happening because evil exists and it uses the 5 D’s to attack our marriages, families, teams and our country.” Expand on your heart for this generation at this time.
Jon: The enemy is using the 5 D’s to attack us. Division, Discouragement, Distraction, Distortion (lies) and Doubt. We have to understand that this is the game plan the enemy uses, and once we know the game plan, we can counter it. We know that love wins, and in Jesus, we unite instead of divide, stay encouraged, believe the best is yet to come, focus on what matters most (which is to love God and love your neighbor as yourself), speak truth to the lies, live the truth, and trust in God. The enemy knows that if he can get us to doubt God, we will believe his lies, and this doubt and discouragement and distraction will lead to division. But, if we trust in God, stay united, focus on what matters most, and stay encouraged through the battle, we will move towards our destiny. If we allow the 5 D’s to take hold (which is what is happening in this country), then that leads to defeat, destruction, and in the case of marriages, divorce.
Sarah: What strategies do you implement to conquer the attacks of the enemy to bring victory and do both the offense and defense work together?
Jon: I speak truth to the lies. When negative thoughts come in, I see them for what they are, and speak God’s truth to them. I also know that perfect love casts out fear, so I surrender my life to God and His perfect love, and in that perfect love I am fearless. It’s not complicated. The key is to surrender and give your life to God and trust in Him.
Mike: This will be going in our “Note to Guys” section. What tools can young guys use to live a victorious life?
Jon: Talk to yourself instead of listen to yourself. Dr. James Gills completed six double ironman triathlons by doing this. The last time he did one he was 59 and he said his secret was talking to himself. He would memorize and recite scripture and this fueled him when negative thoughts would come in and say he was too old, too tired, and there was no way he would finish the race.
Sarah: This month at Marked Ministry, our issue theme is on the love of God. Do you feel that the love of God is an ingredient in winning the war against our dividedness?
Jon: The love of God is everything. God’s love unites. The problem is that many don’t understand or feel God’s love. They have never had an encounter with Him. People have hurt them, so they don’t feel they can trust anything or anyone, never mind a God they can’t see. But, if they truly understand who they are and that God loves them, and made them with love, then I believe they will see the world differently and act accordingly. My friend Erwin McManus says, “When God is filling you up with His love, there is no room for hate.”
Sarah: Being an amazing team means having cohesiveness and strength. A lot of relationships are suffering and broken down. How can God’s love be restorative in a relationship that’s been broken?
Jon: I believe we need to put God at the center of our relationships. My wife and I say this prayer each night: “God we invite You into our marriage to love us, unite us, heal us and strengthen us, so we can grow strong together and serve You together.”
Mike: Personally, how have you developed God’s love in your relationships and seen victory? How has God’s love been transformative to your life?
Jon: I have developed God’s love in my marriage and with my children. My children have not been easy to raise, but it’s God’s love that has given me unconditional love for them. I never give up on them because God never gave up on me.
Sarah: As the old adage says, trust must be earned. In having a team, you must have trust. How would you say we as individuals can build trust when trust has been broken?
Jon: It’s hard when it’s been broken. The key is to have difficult conversations, get to the core of the issues, talk about what it will take to earn trust again, and then deliver on that promise every day.
Mike: You have worked with so many teams in sports. How have you been able to communicate God’s love to others by your example?
Jon: For me, it’s about doing what I wrote about in “The Carpenter.” Love, Serve, Care. Love the people and teams I get to work with. Serve them. Help them grow and get better. If they have a challenge, be there for them to help them through it. Show I care. Coaches and players will often call or text me and I respond to them and encourage them. I know it’s my calling.
Mike: Additionally, you’ve worked with tons of professionals, non-profits, athletes, etc. There are a lot of motivational speakers out there. How do you want to leave your mark as a Christian?
Jon: I don’t consider myself a motivational speaker. For me, it’s about sharing the principles that make leaders and teams the best they can be. To leave my mark as a Christian, I want to point people to Christ by showing them how a follower of Christ lives and how they lead. With the platform I’ve been given, I want to make sure I am honoring God and that I take a stand for Him. And when someone asks where I find my inspiration, or how faith has impacted my life (which often happens in my talks), I then have a great opportunity to share.
Sarah: As a fun closing question as we have wrapped up the Super Bowl…what has been your highlight this 2018/2019 season working with the Rams and why?
Jon: My highlight has been to see the way the team came together and truly connected and committed to one another. It has been the relationship Sean McVay and I have developed and the opportunity to encourage him and be there for him as a friend. It’s always about relationships. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.
For more on Jon visit www.jongordon.com