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Conversations with the Inspiring Mikala Janse van Rensburg

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mikala Janse van Rensburg.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My story started as a young girl in a small town in TX. Small towns aren’t always the greatest at challenging people to go do something great in the world, but I was so blessed to have a mom who always did that. No matter what our circumstances, she always told me I could do or be anything I ever wanted to if I put my mind to it. I took that sentiment to heart and have spent my life doing and being everything my heart considers. I have taken on many roles throughout my life but today my greatest accomplishments are as a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister and a friend. I am one of the lucky few people who wake up every day so excited to go to work. I wasn’t always sure what I wanted to do when I grew up. I changed my major 6 times in college and ended up getting a business degree just to finish. I took a variety of jobs before I accidentally landed in my forever vocation. I was staying home with my first son wondering what I was going to do next when I decided to start volunteering at my local church. It wasn’t long before I realized why I was created on this earth. It was to share a love with a broken world and participate in heart restoration in our city one soul at a time. I have since spent the last 8 years as a pastor at my local church where I get to love and serve people in my community every day.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Haha, I am curious if anyone says yes to this, especially women. Even the “traditional” roles, you see women filling like stay at home moms are bombarded with judgment and hatred at times. So, yes, I have had lots of hiccups and bumps along the way BUT I would say that all of us can also dig deep and see the joys in the struggle all along the way. One of my favorite Bible verses is Romans 5:3-5, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame. I love it because it reminds me that suffering isn’t all bad. Every difficult moment will give birth to some of the core defining characteristics of a person and set them on a course to change the world. Being an executive at any company as a woman usually means being in a room with mostly men, but at a church, it is even more so. Traditionally, the local church hasn’t been a place passionately pursuing to grow and develop women as pastors and leaders – however, I have had amazing support at my church along the way and I plan to spend the rest of my career supporting and championing every woman who wants to grow as a leader in their faith community. My biggest advice would be to stay positive when you look for the ugly, you’ll find it, but when you go out to discover the treasure of joy, you will find it too. Also, when other people go low, don’t get down with them, rise higher and watch love win.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Existence Church story. Tell us more about the business.
I am a pastor at my local church. This just means that I get to share Gods love, truth, grace and mercy with people. I am our Executive Director which means I do a lot of the not so sexy “business” work of the church. Funny thing is so many people think a church is only run on a Sunday but we work full-time hours and a church runs pretty much like a normal business. We pay bills, have staff, planning meetings and lunch breaks. I make sure our organization runs well and that budgets line up. I get to teach, brainstorm, plan out our weekly series and so much more. The most fun thing about my job is that I get to help people learn how to lead, how to grow and develop their skills and I get to help them succeed at everything they do by helping them with strategy. My greatest joy is watching other people become something they only had inklings of dreams of.

Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
This is MY JAM! I love to meet other people who have been doing what I am doing but better and longer, or doing what I want to be doing in the future. To me, there is nothing greater than the wisdom and knowledge from someone who has lived to tell the tales of failure and success. When I first decided to work for a church and become a pastor, I knew I had to learn what that even meant. I made a list of everyone I knew – the “famous” Christian leaders. Then I used google to find anyone locally that was a woman working at a church. Then I did something people don’t seem to do much anymore – I picked up the phone and called every single one of them and asked for a 30-minute phone call or a coffee date. Would you believe that every single one of them said yes! I spoke on the phone to my heroes. I had coffee with some of the best Christian women leaders in the country and maybe the world. I made a very simple and short list of questions and I set out to learn everything I could. I have learned that being bold, brave and remember that everyone was once in my shoes have gotten me almost everywhere I have wanted to go. The best part is everyone has always said that they were so happy to pour into me too. I love taking those phone calls now myself and sharing my own wisdom I have learned over the years to the younger women who are looking to become great leaders too.

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