Candie and Michelle: Tell us a little about “Shelley Hendrix Ministries” and “Church 4 Chicks!”
Shelley Hendrix: Church 4 Chicks actually started after I began to get invites to speak at events and had been leading a women's Bible Study at my home church. A friend asked me, "If you could do anything, what would you want to do?" And the answer came so quickly, I think it surprised us both, actually! I said, "I wish we could create an environment for women that would allow discipleship to take place relationally--like an on-going class or Bible study--but with the energy and excellence of a special event." That conversation in August of 2007 sparked what is now known as Church 4 Chicks.
Candie and Michelle: I hope Candie and I can attend Church 4 Chicks one day in the future. How did it get started?
Shelley Hendrix: It all started with that idea in 2007, but took about a year to launch. We started meeting in a local church on a weekly basis. That first season was about 8 of the hardest weeks of my life. Birth is painful!
Candie and Michelle: Yes, we have definitely been learning that since we launched on August 1st of this year. Also, tell us a little about your talk show. What inspired you to go down this path?
Shelley Hendrix: In the summer of 2008, I was invited to be a guest on Atlanta Live at WATC TV57 to discuss Church 4 Chicks and my first book, "On Purpose for a Purpose." It was my first real TV experience and I loved it! That same week, the producer called and invited me to be a host on the show. I started that next month and did that for six years.
Candie and Michelle: I'm sure that is a chapter in your life that you will cherish. Have you always known you wanted to be a writer? Did anything happen to push you in that direction?
Shelley Hendrix: I've always been a writer, but never saw myself doing it professionally. It was just how I best "process" life--through written expression mostly in my private journals. I call this "Ink Therapy" because, for me, even as a child, this therapy tends to work really well! Once I sensed God calling me to "public" ministry--teaching in particular--a friend told me about a writer who was compiling stories for a devotional book called "Secrets of Confidence" for Barbour Publishing. I figured, "Why not?" and sent in a little something. The author loved it, included it, and encouraged me to put more in writing. One thing led to another, and I have been fortunate enough to get published in various different publications and with some great publishing houses.
Candie and Michelle: I can completely relate. One of my dreams is that "My Heart Thoughts" get published. I think they could really help people. How has life changed since your career has taken off?
Shelley Hendrix: Honestly, I still don't feel like it has taken off. Ministry is not for the faint of heart, and God has had to (and still has to) take me through some "skin thickening" circumstances to help me learn to trust Him for daily bread. Life is really a process of continual change--hardly anything stays the same for very long; so I try to be intentional and engaged in each season so that I don't let life pass me by on the way to where God is taking me.
Candie and Michelle: I understand. Is it hard to juggle having a family and being a writer at the same time? How do you do it?
Shelley Hendrix: God taught me early on in ministry that I needed to stop trying to juggle everything. Picture it: a juggler has several balls or plates or rings of fire (scary!) in the air at any given time. If they're really good at juggling, they're able to add into the mix whatever someone else throws their way. But they all eventually drop something. I didn't want to drop anything--or more importantly, anyONE. As I prayed through this, I adopted what I call the 5 M's to help me stay balanced. Imagine a scale--if either side gets off balance, you'll definitely notice!
The 5 M's --in order: My Master --relationship with Christ, My Marriage--relationship with my man--at the end of the day, it's him and me. He needs my best, not what's left. Motherhood--relationship with the only three people in the whole world who call me Mom. They don't deserve my leftovers. Me--Self care is so important! You've got to put the oxygen mask over your own mouth and nose before you're of any help to the person next to you. Ministry-- relationship with those outside of my immediate family. My pastor, Andy Stanley, wisely teaches that we are all going to have to "cheat" someone or some area of our lives. Since we can't be all things to all people, and therefore we'll have to disappoint someone, it's important to pre-decide who/what will have to be disappointed when a choice has to be made. In reading the biographies and autobiographies of men and women who finished well and those who did not, I found it astonishing to see that those who prioritized their most important relationships experienced the most longevity of influence--even beyond their graves.
I don't always get this right--especially if I try the "juggle" approach; but balance is beautiful. When I can tell (or someone close to me can tell) that things aren't balanced, it's easier to set things straight than it would be if I were just adding one more thing in my juggle inventory.
Candie and Michelle: That is wonderful advice that I feel like I need to apply to my life because I know I've been trying to do the balancing act lately. Have you always lived in Atlanta?
Shelley Hendrix: Almost always. My family moved to Atlanta in 1983 when I was 9 years old, so I definitely feel like a Georgia Girl! We actually just relocated to St. Simons Island, Georgia and, although I'm exhausted from this move and in need of some re-balancing, I'm ecstatic to now be a Coastal Georgia Girl!
Candie and Michelle: That sounds exciting. You will have to tell us how the two places are different. Who has been your biggest supporter in your career so far?
Shelley Hendrix: No doubt about it: Stephen Hendrix. I honestly could not and would not do this without him.
Candie and Michelle: We are so glad that you have that support. What was the hardest part in getting your writing career started?
Shelley Hendrix: Believing that God would actually want ME to do any of this.
Candie and Michelle: I have been battling with that myself. For those who haven’t read your books yet how would you describe your writing style?
Shelley Hendrix: I have to say that the highest compliment I've ever gotten has come from several different readers, and seems to summarize it well: when you read my writing, you'll feel like you're having a conversation with a good friend or chatty big sister. My direction in writing is to help readers trust God more and experience how much He delights in them. If I can help readers practically apply God's Word to their everyday lives and relationships as well? That's one of the sweetest experiences for me.
Candie and Michelle: Well, we can't wait to read your books this month. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Shelley Hendrix: The one obstacle I tend to deal with more than anything else is ME. I tend to be a perfectionist, so I fret over what I've written or I wonder if what I have to say is really going to make a difference in anyone's life.
Candie and Michelle: I know what you mean. That is me in a nutshell. What is something you do to overcome writer’s block?
Shelley Hendrix: Get away from the computer and do something else for a while. A mind needs to reset and for everyone it's a different process; but for me, it helps to have a job I can do with my hands: gardening, cleaning the house even, or something that doesn't require much mental energy but gets me up, moving and doing something else besides typing or writing.
Candie and Michelle: Great advice. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Shelley Hendrix: Ginger Garrett has been a God-send to me!! Her experience and accolades are so numerous, but she has always taken the time to invest in me--her wisdom, encouragement, and even connections. I am eternally grateful to her!
Candie and Michelle: We will have to check her out. If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Shelley Hendrix: That's a tough one. I'll just stick with the ones I've written for now. ;-) My list of favorites gets a little bit long.
Candie and Michelle: What book are you reading now?
Shelley Hendrix: Actually, right now, I've only been reading blogs, devotionals and short articles since we've been in the process of moving from one part of GA to another. I don't like reading from a screen much. I've got Mark Batterson's "All In" in the queue to begin reading as soon as the dust settles a bit here.
Candie and Michelle: We will have to check out his book. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Shelley Hendrix: These guys aren't all that new, but they aren't as well-known or read as they should be: my all-time favorites are John Lynch, Bruce McNicol and Bill Thrall who write The TrueFaced resources like The Cure, Bo's Cafe, and the original TrueFaced. These guys and their teaching rocked my world in the best way possible in 2003 and continues to do so today. I am confident I would not be in ministry without their influence.
Candie and Michelle: I will be sure to add them on the "to read" list as well. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Shelley Hendrix: It's ironic you ask that: Just this week I posted my Letter to My 18 Year Old Self in honor of my second child's 18th Birthday. http://nblo.gs/1076c4
Candie and Michelle: We will make sure to read that. What advice do you give to other aspiring authors?
Shelley Hendrix: It really comes down to trusting God and obeying His Still, Small Voice. We can attend all the best writer's conferences, retreats, seminars, etc. We can pay coaches and consultants astronomical fees; but when it is all said and done, we live with the consequences of our choices. I'd rather attempt something I sense God calling me to do--and fail in the eyes of man--than find success in my "career" while missing out on what God was trying to do in ME. Comparing our experiences, successes, failures, etc with other writers (or just other people) can be a killer! Watch out and beware of that trap!
Candie and Michelle: Amen. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Shelley Hendrix: God never meant for us to live our lives under all the pressure we tend to place upon ourselves and others. Take the time to tune your ears to His voice and then, with whatever faith you can muster (He'll provide what you lack), take steps--even baby steps--of obedience. What folks have been saying for centuries is true: He is more interested in the journey than the destination. Don't miss out on your own journey!
Candie and Michelle: I have to give another Amen to that too. How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Website: www.ShelleyHendrix.com - www.Church4Chicks.com - www.heartsmartlife.com
Blog: same as above
Twitter: @ShelleyHendrix @Church4Chicks
Amazon Author Page: For On Purpose For a Purpose and Why Can't We Just Get Along?
www.church4chicks.com for "Wisdom: A Girl's Best Friend: 31 Days with the Proverbs" a devotional guide
Thank you so much Shelley for taking the time to sit down with us. We both feel blessed to be featuring you this month.
-Candie and Michelle