When it comes to marriage… love, learning, communication and spirituality all come into play. This is where author, preacher and marriage coach Cornelius Lindsey comes to help couples in need! Whether you’re half of an excited newlywed couple, or have gone through trials of tribulations of being married with children, he uses his own experiences, as well as the word of God, to help you get you’re marriage where you want it to be! Cornelius Lindsey spoke with LuxeLifeATL to talk about his own marriage, what he does to help other couples, and the importance of men embracing leadership roles.
At what point did you realize you wanted to preach the word of god?
It was October 2009 when the lord started pressing on my heart. I tried to run for political office for the third time and things didn’t work out. I knew I just needed to submit to what the lord wanted me to do.
When you were running for office, did you gain skills or lessons that you carried over into your writing, preaching and life in general?
Well, whenever I tried to run, it was always an obstacle. For example, one time when I tried to run, my house was one mile outside of the district. Even though everyone wanted me to run, I wasn’t eligible. That opportunity taught me integrity and character. It taught me that even though the public, or majority of people, may not know what I know that may be wrong, I still need to make sure I’m consistently doing what is right. I honestly believe that how you start is ultimately how you finish, and having that integrity carried over into ministry. Another important skill that carried over was being able to put a team together and communicate a vision to people that may not agree with you. As a pastor, it important for me to know how to communicate the gospel to people who may not agree with me, while still communicating with them effectively.
What inspired you to start writing, more specifically, you’re books dealing with marriage?
People would always ask my wife and I about our marriage. I figured “Hey, why not put it in a book” and see if other people could be helped and inspired by it. I like to tell people that while me and my wife are not perfect and do not have the perfect marriage. However, we work to perfectly proficient in our marriage. We’re both flexible in the sense of recognizing that we need to extend grace and mercy to each other. That’s the message we send to other couples. We’re not just trying to create a formula. What may have worked for grandma and grandpa may not have worked for our marriage. But we keep foundations of a godly home, such as me teaching my children and leading my wife in teachings. Knowing that I can set aside time for my family, letting me know that when it’s time for teaching, my wife knows that I’m fighting alongside her, not against her. What else inspires me is the fact that I see a lot of marriages around us crumbling. The enemy working hard against our marriages, and I want to be on the front lines fighting for our marriages. Divorce does not have to be an option, and the person you’re married to can be the person you stay married to until the lord calls you home or comes back!
Out of the books you have written so far, which of them do you think are best for those looking to get married soon, newly married couples, and which is best for the couples that already has some years in?
My first book, So You Want To Be Married?, focused on the journey to the alter. What happens when you’re walking there, what does courtship look like, the vows and engagements and other helpful topics. My second book, I’m Married, Now What?, which I feel can help all, talks about moving forward after you say “I do”. What is your marriage supposed to look like? What is your honeymoon supposed to look like? Are you frustrated? Parents don’t agree with the marriage? What about having children? How do I answer those who have questions about those issues? In that book, I talk about my personal experience in my marriage with me and my wife both getting out of our selfishness. For couples who have been in it for a few years, have children and trying to understand what their lives and marriage looks like, I wrote the book titled The Imperfect Family Man. In that book, I detail my personal encounters as a family man, from spending time with the children to spending time with my wife. I didn’t write it for people to make the book a “law” in their house, but to be able to choose from my personal experiences to implement and possibly create a more godly environment as well as a more edifying environment for their spouse and children.
You and you’re wife seem like a great team together, both being published authors on the topic of marriage. How much of an inspiration has she been to you, and how does she motivate you on a daily basis?
I love to say that we inspire each other. My wife is an awesome woman! Seeing how graceful she is with our children and myself, as well as her organization of women that spans the world is amazing! On top of that, she’s still a daughter and sister to her family. She has so many different hats that she wears, but she still does everything so gracefully, rarely getting flustered under all of the pressure. Seeing her everyday actions inspires me to do more. When you have a woman that consistently pushes ahead, a husband doesn’t just want to sit back and watch her do it all on her own. Also as the preacher and leader of the household, I want to make sure I am leading from ahead and not behind. As my wife continues to grow, I want to grow with her!
Can you tell me how the Man Cave conference began and everything that goes on with it?
Well there are so many things for women. You have the Breakfast Lounge, Black Girls Rock, etc. When you think about the material and programs used to edify and empower our women, it spans the world, it’s on every newspaper stand. However, when look at the things we have for our men and boys, it’s very minimal. We’re empowering our women and young girls, but what about our young men? We keep saying over and over again, we have a crisis when it comes to the young men of our community. Many young men are lethargic, lacking passion and energy. They feel lost, they feel abandoned. I don’t just want to sit on the sidelines and be a contributor to the criticism. I stepped out and wanted to create an environment for men to come together, learn what leadership looks like in our community and households in a Christ centered manner. The conference started in 2014, and continues annually. With a strong man, you have a strong household, then a strong community, then a strong nation. So in order to have a strong nation, we must first make our men strong. That’s why my heart is behind it and why I started it.
What do you believe is one of the toughest topics you tackle in these conferences for black men?
I would say it’s indifference. Many times we don’t care, so to speak. It’s like if it’s not happening in our own house, then we don’t care about it. In many cases, it’s almost a sense of ignorance. People say what we don’t know what hurt us. That’s not true, what we don’t know can kill us! Alot of us don’t go out to get the information that we need, so we remain ignorant to what we don’t know. Since we don’t know, we remain indifferent. If something happens within our nation and community, we have the “I still have my stuff, so it’s ok” mentality. With that, we become very indifferent, cold hardened to what happens around us, never realizing that we have a part to play in our community, our world. Getting men to understand that and become leaders is a huge challenge.
You recently went to AZ to work a marriage retreat? What are some of the most important lessons taught at your retreats?
This was our 3rd annual marriage retreat, and it was held in Scottsdale, AZ. Next year we will be holding it in Dallas, TX. There we like to create real, transparent environments where my wife and I are able to share stories of our marriage, what works and may work for others. The other couples are able to share their experiences as well. Even though my wife and I have not had the perfect marriage, couples there are able to relate to us and take away from us. At the retreats, we use this transparent environment tackle the main issues instead of glossing over them. Instead of looking at the glitz and glamor of marriage, looking at it from an aerial view, we dive deep to the root of these issues, such as why you’re angry and dealing with your past. We also keep the retreats fairly small so that my wife and I are able to show each couple special attention and ultimately save their marriage.
Be sure to check out Cornelius Lindsey’s books, The Imperfect Family Man, So You Want To Be Married? and I’m Married, Now What?. If you’re looking for a great place of worship, Cornelius Lindsey is the head pastor of The Gathering Oasis Church, located in Lithonia, GA. For more information on his books, marriage retreats, conferences and events associated The Gathering Oasis Church, you can go to his main site (http://corneliuslindsey.com/) as well as the church’s website (http://thegatheringoasis.com/).