10624493464?profile=RESIZE_400xPhil Miglioratti Interviewed Dr. Dee Stokes for a Reimagine.Network Coaching Session


PHIL >>> Dee, what does this reveal about what motivates you?

  • Meet Dee Stokes: "She is a dedicated and devoted follower of Jesus and wishes everyone to experience intimacy with the Lord, and live out the Gospel practically!


DEE >>> I gave up everything materialistic to follow Jesus...6-figure salary, 2 cars in the garage, 4.5 bedroom house...and it is the best thing I ever did. I am devoted and dedicated to Jesus and His cause. I don't care if I have friends or family that join me. I am all in. I don't think everyone who wears the badge of Christian (that word has been attacked much) can actually say that they are all in. What do you think Pastor Phil? Is everyone all in? Does everyone give up their lives to follow Jesus? Does everyone try their hardest to love their neighbor and display the fruit of the Spirit? I sure try hard and fail often, but I am in love with Jesus and everyone who knows me, knows that! 

Living out the gospel practically is simpler than we think. I believe in relational discipleship first of all. That means that organic relationships can be fruitful for the kingdom. I think being an everyday person in everyday spaces, can influence culture for Christ. We don't have to talk Christianize or wear a collar...why can't we just be nice to folks when we go to work? Can we smile and bless people every once in a while? We may be having coffee at a local coffee shop and without a Bible or a Scripture, we can engage people and be practical in our approach and love people and tell them about our relationship with the Lord all in the same conversation. The Word is hidden in our heart, so we can use it anytime!



PHIL >>> What does your mission statement tell us about how you are driven in ministry?

  • "Building influential people who change the world and live out the Gospel practically."

DEE >>> I have always worked with leaders and feel called to do so. Now, we are all leaders, but I am referring to those who work out front. Those who are in the C-Suite, head coaches, senior pastors, etc. The anointing flows from the top or the head, down. If the top leader is right with God and has the fruit of the Spirit showing as evidence in their lives, then it is much easier for everyone else to display it as well. Leadership matters! Leaders matter! So, I build leaders and as I mentioned before, I want them to live out the Gospel practically. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal. The first weapon is love! We are commanded to love and we can do that in a variety of ways by showing compassion toward or fellowman…by putting a smile on our face at work…by being nice to folks…by re-presenting Jesus in the earth. Let’s live the Gospel practically.


PHIL >>> How has your experience as a "basketball coach" shaped the way you approach making disciples?

DEE >>> Coaching is sort of disciple-making…

I have understood more since I retired from coaching than I knew then (wish I knew more then)and I have not maintained as many of the relationships I had with my players as I would have liked to. They hate you when they play for you, but years later, they realize that the things you did as their coach really helped them to succeed. I prided myself on my graduation rate and was serious about academics and helping my kids get a start in life. We were successful in that area. So, as they looked at me and up to me, I might have failed in some other areas, but I pushed them to be the best student-athletes they could be and I think that helped them in the long run!

Discipleship is apprenticeship and I didn’t always live the way I should have when coaching. If I had to do it all over again, I would have changed much, honestly. I know now that people are always watching you and often want to emulate what you do. I pay a lot more attention to that now than I ever did before.



PHIL >>> What can Christ-serving leaders learn from your "focus on innovative ministry, purposeful leadership, and Kingdom education."

DEE >>> Innovative Ministry: 

Many times, when one thinks of innovation they go directly to technology. When I speak of innovation, it is doing things differently in proclaiming the Gospel and living it out. For instance, when I was a director with Fresh Expressions US, we would use the analogy of music and how it has changed over the years. I remember 8 tracks (aging myself now), then we listened to cassettes and along came CDs and walk mans, and MP3s, etc., and now we can listen to music on our phones all over the world through the internet. Although the WAYS we listened to music changed, our love for music did not! This is innovation to me. The Gospel has not changed, but the ways in which we deliver it, must change. One thing I love about my local church is that all of our pastors do things outside the church in unique ways. Our senior pastor is a former wrestling coach and just recently he preached at a wrestling camp and 30 guys got saved. Another pastor (retired senior pastor) who serves with me on our teaching team, led someone to Christ in his living room when he and his wife had entertained the man and his wife over several weeks. Two of our other teaching team pastors are great evangelists. One does so while driving Uber. I myself, am involved in multiple apostolic ways of doing ministry. It is time out for us to think that we can reach a dying world or even or community, but staying within the walls of the church. Innovative ministry happens within AND outside!

Purposeful Leadership: Leadership matters. I have studied and been a part of leadership my entire life. I learned most of my leadership inside the church. When I was growing up, the youth in our church were taught how to lead. We did everything but preach. We learned the inside of the church and we even built our own church from scratch. I see now that this influence and experience helped me be the leader that I am. Leaders must be purposeful and lead by example and sacrifice. We must be role models spiritually, mentally, and in every way. Leadership matters!

Kingdom Education: As an educator for over 25 years, I believe in education that has a wholistic approach: Body, mind, and spirit. I have worked in secular and Christian institutions and sometimes, have had a greater influence in the secular places. Just having Christian attached to the name of an institution does not actually make it Christian and because one thinks of an institution as secular, does not mean it is not a fertile ground where people are starving for love and answers. I have found both of these scenarios to be true and the Gospel is needed everywhere.



PHIL >>> These descriptors from your published writings, unpack how they engage and equip us to reimagine/rethink ministry in our own context:

DEE >>> 

21st Century Leadership is Transformational Leadership: This small brochure encapsulates my thoughts on Cultural Intelligence, Transformational Leadership, Burnout, and Emotional Intelligence. Effective 21st Century leaders need all of these. When I speak of leadership, I speak of it being effective or ineffective, not good or bad. Hitler was an effective leader, but we know he was not a good person. Again, leadership matters.

There are differences in leadership styles, and to truly be effective, one actually utilizes many styles. The transformational leader knows this and incorporates these different styles in their leadership while also being an open-door person who cares not only about tasks, but about relationships. We need more transformational leaders in the 21st Century.

Cultural Intelligence: Cultural Intelligence is the ability to manage effectively in multicultural settings. I tell folks all the time that churches may not be multiethnic, but they are multicultural. There are so many cultures within churches. Even people within the same ethnic group can be different culturally. We need to open our eyes to this. This is why I wrote my recent workout on cultural competence. It is designed for folks to work in small groups and teams over an 8-10-week period, fill out the workbook together, get to know one another, and love one another. Cultural Competence Workbook

Burnout: Burnout is a syndrome of exhaustion, depersonalization, and low or reduced personal accomplishment. I have found in my research that each one can lead to the other. One becomes exhausted in settings where they are helpers of people, then they depersonalize the very people they are helping by treating them less than human, and finally the helper feels helpless themselves and worthless in their assignment. Pastors experience burnout a lot as well as nurses, doctors, and teachers. This phenomenon has crept into our society in a big way since the Pandemic. Recognizing the signs of exhaustion, depersonalization, and low or reduced personal accomplishment is key to helping those experiencing burnout.


PHIL >>> I really like #CHURCHUNUSUAL...What does it mean and how do we implement this mind-shift? 

  • "The Church in America has become one of isolation, country clubish, and ineffective in doing the thing Jesus instructed us to do-MAKE DISCIPLES! There MUST be a shift!"

DEE >>> See comment on innovative ministry…we must reach outside ourselves to be effective and use different methods to do so. I have a friend who has a church in the Metaverse. How can we utilize all of the things people explore to reach them with the Gospel? What does 21st Century evangelism look like? It does not look like just a 1 hour gathering on a Sunday morning without ever reaching outside the walls of the church.



PHIL >>> I value your perspective on racial issues. Some of us in the "white" Church understand there is much we do not understand about systemic racism; some are confused by emerging movements (such as Black Lives Matter); many lament ongoing racial prejudice...help us reassess our perspective in order to build a mind-set that is biblically, not politically or socially, driven. 

DEE >>> We are commanded to love. We should just stop right there and ask ourselves, do we love? Do we see the Imago Dei in others? If we do, then we love them no matter who they are. I hate the word “woke!” Why can’t we just empathize with the plight of others and love them? That sounds “woke” to me. We care too much about money in the U.S. That is what we are about. We never cared about other people…only how we could use them for money. Slavery proved that. When will we actually love one another? It is not a black or white issue…it is a love issue. You will treat me right if you love me. I am a Black female and the most hated person in America. BUT, if you see me in the Imago Dei, you will value and love me. I can’t put it any simpler than that!



PHIL >>> Dee, please write a prayer for those who want to rethink how to build influential people who change the world by living out the Gospel...

DEE >>> Lord, Jehovah Ebenezer, HELP us! Build us up when we are weak. Give us Your compassion, Your lovingkindness, Your patience, Your humility, Your strength. Help us to love our fellowman like You love us. Help us to give sacrificially of ourselves to make our neighbor great! Help us to pray for and love our neighbor as we would ourselves and the people we care most about in our lives. Help us God! We need You. We are desperate for You and for a major move of Your Spirit. Come Lord Jesus, COME! Deliver us from ourselves and help us to be the men and women of God You would be proud of. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!


Dee Stokes, Ed.D.
Dir of Multicultural Ministry | NC East District of The Wesleyan Church
To schedule a meeting, click HERE
2022: Living in the YET / Habakkuk 3.17-19
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