Category Archives: motivational

Calling All Black Men…It’s Conference Time!!!

Lucinda Cross, Cheryl Wood, Tiana Von Johnson, Camara Aunique, Kela Walker, Renae Bluitt, Tonya Rapley, Tiffany O Aliche, Janvieve Naemani Fogle, Kimberly Ferguson, Regina Robinson, Shaniece Wise Armstrong, Tricia Lee, Cameeka Smith, Dr. Tamarrah Tarver

You may say, your topic is about men so why are you listing all these women. Simply because these women are killing, and killing it big time. And this is just some of the women that I either know personally or follow who are making a tremendous impact in their respective fields. Not only are they doing it individually but corporately as well. Among them you have conferences like Tiana’s WOMEN DOING IT BIG, Lucinda’s ACTIVATE 2016, Dr. T’s PRETTY GIRL WEEKEND, Cameeka’s BOSS NETWORK and Cheryl’s PLAY TIME IS OVER 2016 to name a few. I have found that very admirable about women, how they group together and have events and pack the house. That is awesome as it displays unity, support, teamwork and dedication. Now I am quite sure that they have issues, challenges and setbacks in putting these events on but nonetheless they go forward with them and bless so many individuals.

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I have only found only a few of these events for men and not nearly at the rate the women have them. One of the reasons is that black women are growing at the fastest rate in reference to entrepreneurship, which is amazing. Even with that being true, we still should be seeing more of these events involving our black men.  With have some awesome black men doing some great work and conferences would be a great way to share that information and to inspire more black males. Women are coming away from those women conferences I mentioned on fire, and determined to build their dreams and vision. That is what can happen for the next generation of men once we start having our own conferences. The knowledge and wisdom that is gained from sitting under today’s great leaders and having that up close and intimate time of dialogue is simply priceless. I appreciate the efforts BLACK ENTERPRISE have put forth with their BE MODERN MAN campaign, that I am fortunate to be a part of. They have taken the opportunity to change today’s narrative and have highlighted the accomplishments of black men across the country. We need more of that.

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I was having this discussion with another gentlemen and his reasons that there aren’t as many conferences for black men as there are for black women are financial and lack of support. He basically felt that unlike women, men will not flock to see great black entrepreneurial leaders, so events will not be packed out. Also while women go to their events 3, 4 and even 10 deep with their girlfriends, men may go alone or maybe with 1 additional person. While women will travel from across the country to come to conferences men will not. And lastly most men believe that they do not need to hear what they can learn on their own. Basically putting the crib together without reading the instructions, I can wing it. Now while some points may be valid I believe that based on the success of these women’s conferences we can learn to cater to what men need to put on some real successful events. If you have the right speakers, in the right venue it can be a great opportunity. I have decided to speak to some great brothers here in NYC to do some great events. I believe the time is now and we have to take advantage of it. I have also started a Facebook group BLACK PROFESSIONAL MENtors to celebrate and highlight black men so have all the guys you know join us and let’s get busy. Come on guys we can’t let the ladies have all the fun!!!

Don’t hide your network, share it!!!

My beliefs are that if I have a connection that can benefit a friend of mine, I will make an introduction to see if there is any synergy and build from there. I mean, why not? Isn’t that the right thing to do? Isn’t that how all business minded individuals think?

Unfortunately the answer to the last question is a resounding no. From my discussions with entrepreneurs one of the biggest shocks they have faced is when their friends or close associates refuse or do not offer their network as a resource to them. Now I have to admit that sharing netoworks can be tricky, for various reasons so its not as cut and dry as one may think.

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Some reasons people do not share their networks are:

  1. Fear of people ruining relationships- Some people feel that I am not going to introduce you to someone who I have worked hard to build a relationship with and have you destroy that relationship because you do something bad. That is a very real concern. I in no way meant to imply that you share your network with everyone because that can definitely happen. Some people are not ready for some of your introductions yet. They will in fact destroy your connections if you introduce them, but there are some people who can handle it and who are ready. You know exactly who those people are, just choose wisely.
  2. Fear of people building a better and stronger relationship with YOUR connections-Yes, this is a very real concern. They feel if I make this introduction and they have nice chemistry they may connect and do great things and succeed without me. This comes from a sense of insecurity. I have noticed that when you get so consumed with your purpose, vision and business, you have no time to worry about others success or to fear it as well.
  3. Some people don’t like to mix their friends. They have work friends, childhood friends, business friends, and family friends. They keep them all separate and love it that way. Nothing you can say or do will convince them to change this behavior.
  4. Lastly, they are only focused on themselves and can careless about how others succeed or if they do. They believe, listen I made these connections and I am doing what I have to do, let them do what they have to do as well. Yes, there are plenty of individuals like this believe it or not. They feel in every relationship they have they are the ones to be supported, praised, looked up to, cheered on, given to, looked at in awe. They don’t know you to support you, they know you so that you can give all you have to them and them alone.
Group of Business people networking
Group of Business people networking

The key to being successful is building strong relationships, nurturing them and supporting each other. When people show you who they are the first time believe them and learn from it. I always say, its not lonely at the top if you bring people with you.

How To Build a Business Empire While Not Destroying Your Family

How To Build A Business Empire While Not Destroying Your Family 

by PK Kersey

 

New businesses are popping up all over. Entrepreneurs are fulfilling their dreams. Men and women all over are no longer working for companies for 40-50 years and then retiring. So many individuals are launching out into the arena of entrepreneurism to test the waters and building their empire.  The reason being, some people are fed up with their 9-5, others are curious to see if they can do it and lastly some because that is all they can think about. But, whatever the reason people all over are making that shift.

One of the biggest surprises many find out when they make this shift is the time factor. Many people are really not prepared for the dramatic shift in time and effort it takes to really build a business. As stated earlier, many people are coming from a 9 to 5 where it was just that 9 to 5. Punch in at 9am leave at 5pm. Now I have been a government worker for years so let me examine that a little closer. 9 to 5 is not really 9 to 5. There is the occasional late days, long break days, extended lunch days, and don’t forget leave early days. Then also there is conversing with co-workers during the day, surfing the internet, and especially wasted time spent on social media. So if a person tries to bring this type of work experience with them when they start a business they are destined to fail. When you are the boss EVERYTHING changes.

This means there can be no more lateness for meetings, which is a reflection of you and your brand. No more long breaks, playing around, delays could cost you money. Every minute has to be accounted for and planned. The 9 to 5 aspect is over, building a brand becomes a 24 hour 7 day a week mission. That is a real culture shock for some people. What can happen is the passion that they have for their “Brand” is not matched by their passion to do the “work” of the brand. No matter how good the product is, the work has to be far better. I know so many individuals that have awesome ideas, products, inventions, however their work ethic lacks in so many areas. They are always tired, they can’t make it to this event which will really help them, because they are sleepy. Their body hurts, they need rest, they have a cold, and they don’t feel well. So many excuses because their “work” doesn’t match their “passion”.

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Now putting in this work will have some effect on your family life. For those of us that are married, this mission can put a strain on a marriage, now add kids, and maybe your spouse has a job or is also building a brand, wow, that is a lot of variables going on. Now I am not saying that singles have it easy as they also have issues. But as a married man I know that if communication isn’t prioritized then frustration will be maximized. If I don’t communicate and plan with my wife about events to let her know, then I could be expecting to go to a college to speak to 1000 students about image and she could be expecting me to go to art class with 2 boys (my sons). Conversations have to be made up front that this brand is going to take up a lot of time but family time must still be made. It would be terrible to build a strong successful brand that makes millions at the expense of an awesome family. But equally as bad would be having a strong family unit but not have any finances to pay bills or to live. Some people may not like that last sentence but I believe that strongly.

I believe that sometimes we settle for less because it is challenging. We settle for not building that dream because it isn’t a simple process. However, when that happens not only do we suffer but our next generation suffers as well. Our children are depending on us to live our best life so that we can help them to live their best life as well!!

So building that business will be demanding,  it will mean long days, and no sleep. But it should not mean that your family life is ruined. In fact it should be enhanced but only with maximizing communication and being committed to make both family and business successful.

How To USE People!

In this day and age the importance of building relationships is more important than ever.  As more and more people are becoming entrepreneurs the need to partner with individuals increases. Linking yourself and your brand to others can be a key in whether or not your business succeeds or fails. Or maybe you don’t necessarily want to partner with them but you want to make an inquiry to get some wisdom and direction. Better yet this particular individual has tons of followers or connections and you just need them to give you a SHARE on Facebook, or a reTWEET on Twitter, that shouldn’t be too much trouble. As innocent as that request or expectation may seem there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to connect with individuals to make these request known.

 

Two businessmen smiling and shaking hands. Shot in studio over white.

Here are 4 keys to USING people….

 

  1. Don’t be so aggressive– Aggression is a key characteristic for most entrepreneurs which helps them to be effective in what they do. Taking charge, taking risk and being pushy helps them achieve plenty of their goals. However when trying to build relationships and connecting with new individuals being too aggressive can be a major no-no. Remember most of the people that you are trying to reach are business owners like yourself. Aggression can be taken as rude, which is a characteristic most people do not want to deal with.
  2. Don’t be selfish– I have people that I have never met  in person (only social media) or have just recently met, ask me:  How did I get on ABC? How did you get in Black Enterprise? How do you get a vendors license? How do you get your 501c3? Now I am all for sharing information and helping people to make solid connections and build relationships. However, I am not for people selfishly taking everything they can from me and not reciprocating the effort. Before I generally ask someone for their information I make sure that I am prepared to do the same. In no bank can you make withdrawals without first making some deposits!
  3. Don’t be a bug-If you have reached out to someone and they said they would get back to you, give them that opportunity. No one likes a person constantly bugging them about anything. Give them some space. If they haven’t gotten back to you after the initial contact,  reach out at a later time, (as sometimes people forget) and say I am just following up on our previous email. That is it, if they still don’t respond, then drop it and move on to someone else.
  4. Nurture the connection–If I give someone some excellent information or solid connection and I never hear anything at all from that person again then that speaks volumes about their motive. When people assist me I make sure to let them know that I truly appreciated it. Hey, Thanks for that information, it was really great and helped me alot. That makes a world of difference. Also later on I would follow up and ask them how they are doing? It is small talk but people remember little things like that.                                                                                                                                                                             It is nothing wrong with using people if you use them the right way. However it is everything wrong with abusing people. Use these keys to make connections and to build solid relationships and grow your brand!

I am at a Networking Event…. Now what?

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As an entrepreneur you have most likely heard how important it is for you to “GET OUT AND NETWORK”. If you are on social media (and I strongly recommend that you are), you have without a doubt seen numerous flyers, invites or post about networking events. Network, network, network, is being shouted all over the place. So as an upcoming business person you decide to go and see what the hype is all about.

Now coming from someone who attends networking events regularly I can definitely share a few tips that I have learned. First, let me start off by saying that like anything else, networking is what you get out of it. Meaning, just by listening to some, they would give the impression that simply attending a networking event would guarantee you an increase in clients or knowledge. No, being successful at these events requires you to master the 3 S’s; Selective, Strategy and Smart.

Selective: Being selective in regards to the events you go to, and the people you spend time engaging with. Like I mentioned earlier there are network events going on several times each week. The most popular days seem to be Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. So knowing this you have to plan accordingly and be very selective to which events you believe would be most beneficial to your brand and business. Attending too many events can be counterproductive as you may meet more people but not necessarily the right people for you. Also the travel and hours of attending too many events will definitely cause fatigue.

Strategy: Strategy is displayed by seeing where the event will be held, who is attending the event and how many people are they anticipating.  All of these are very important and will help you in being strategic about attending or not. If the event is far away but they are anticipating some key people in your field attending, you would make the decision that it will be worth the travel. However, if they are expecting a large turnout to an event near your home but not one person attending fits your brand you might decide to sit this one out.

Smart: Perhaps the most important S is be smart. After being selective and strategic, when you arrive at the event, be smart. Dress the part. A good networking experience is like having several mini interviews throughout the night. The rule; make a good first impression stands, so always dress to impress. It would be foolish to do all this work preparing for the NETWORK event and then simply stand against the wall and make it a NOWORK event. Be smart and work the room, listen to different conversations, use a firm handshake when meeting people and be very specific and brief when introducing yourself. If there is a connection with people, there will be time to get deeper into your business. Be smart, always have several business cards. To many times I am at these events and people say , “I don’t have anymore”. Not smart at all.

Finally, although there most likely will be food, music and drinks and it may seem like a party, it isn’t. You are at work, building your brand. Sure, have fun but the priority is to make connections and spread the word about your business.

Follow Gerard Kersey

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@thatsuitsyou (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Periscope)

@pksesquire  (Facebook, Twitter)

CAN YOU RELATE TO YOUR RELATIONSHIPS?

 

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This is an interesting question that I have to ask because I found that a lot of people really can not. In this impersonal social media and email era, the skill of dealing with humans is being lost in a lot of ways.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a HUGE social media junkie, I also prefer email and text over speaking on the phone as well, however I still know the importance and skill it takes to deal with people face to face and one on one. Seems like a contradiction but it really isn’t. I believe to be truly successful in today’s world you must be able to be efficient at both.

How many times have you received horrible customer service from a store or business? How many supervisors do you know that know their job but have zero people skills? Or How many people do you know that can only think about themselves? They want you to help them, support them, come to their event,  but don’t even for a second think about reciprocating for you. Yes, true people skills really seems to be lacking today. More importantly the people guilty of these actions seem totally oblivious to their actions. They are the same ones going to social media to say how crazy everyone else is!

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Despite this deterioration, don’t allow this to deter you from still displaying your excellent people skills and nurturing your relationships.  The  reason being, those with great people skills still seem to go further in life and have healthier relationships. But what if you are one of those people who we are talking about who walks around with a frown but  swears to everyone you are really smiling.  There are many people who are destroying critical relationships and they have no clue that they are doing it.

What do you do to repair or maintain your relationships?

  • Ask a close friend. Ask someone who will give you honest feedback.  They can tell you if you come off selfish, or inconsiderate of others. If so don’t be offended, make adjustments.
  • Speak to people how you would like to be spoken to. Sounds simple, but if we really heard how we speak to people sometimes we would be shocked. No one likes to be spoken to like a child even when they are in the wrong.
  • Look in the mirror. There are times when we know we are wrong but at the moment really don’t care because we are so focused on ourselves. Take a good look at yourself and realize when you are at fault. If you are be responsible and change your approach.

I can’t stress enough how important relationships are in  today’s society. So often we think money is our number one resource, when in actuality our number resource is people. Remember it is not always WHAT you know, but WHO you know!

I DON’T HAVE TIME TO DO SOCIAL MEDIA FOR MY SMALL BUSINESS

Kiev, Ukraine - August 26, 2013 - A collection of well-known social media brands printed on paper and placed on plastic signs. Include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram and Tumblr logos.

So often when I come across an interesting small business I immediately run to Twitter,  Instagram or Facebook to get more information or just to make a quick connection with them. I can’t tell you how disappointing it is to find out that many of these small businesses do not have a social media presence.  I am not talking about 2 or 3 but from my studying more than 60 percent of the small businesses I came across did not have an active social media presence. Not only businesses but so many churches across the country have totally ignored this opportunity to reach the masses.

Make no mistake plenty of people are like me and would much rather link up with a business on social media before going to their website. So when business neglect to add this vital feature to their profile they are missing out on customers, exposure and more importantly income.

Now I’ve had small business owners tell me, yes I am all over social media; Facebook,  Instagram and Twitter. However, when I go to the page the profile is incomplete,  it contains an old logo and they haven’t posted anything in 24 weeks. Now to social media pros this is a no-no. This is worse than not having any accounts at all. People will not follow your accounts if they see that you are not active and will have questions about your business as a whole.

Also business owners will say, “well I don’t have the time”. They would rather function on the part of the business that they are good at, which is understandable, but not acceptable.  Being a business owner will require you to wear many different hats and some of the hats are not as comfortable as others, but all are needed. Like you would do with any other part of your business if you are not qualified to do it, you hire someone who is.

As for the churches, from the several I have contacted many have some mystery person who I could never reach who “runs” their social media department.  Again another missed opportunity.  In today’s world,  social media is a monster and must be tapped into with just as much tenacity as any other area of your business.

Social media was so instrumental to me in running  Www.thatsuitsyou.org, (a non-profit where we provide suits to men for work), I was able to connect with businesses like BLACK ENTERPRISE,  ABC, CBS, MLB and individuals like BILL RITTER, DON CHAMPION and TOM LLAMAS. Also everyday business and individuals from all over the country. I was actually on the cover of a magazine in Hawaii simply based on social media. So I know the value that it can bring. As a result I began managing social media accounts for individuals and churches who realized they needed one but didnt know how to manage one or just didnt have the time to do it.

Whatever you reason may have been for not having a strong social media presence prior to reading this, make every effort to change that as you could be costing yourself customers and money by being ANTI SOCIAL!!!

How do you see me?

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I remember this like it was yesterday. My family went on one of those shopping trips to Reading, PA to take advantage of all the discounted outlets. It was 1985, and I had to be about 14 or 15 years old. I was feeling grown, so a few of my cousins and I went off to do our own shopping. I had about $200 that I earned working during the summer. Within an hour I had a little less than $25 left—I really made the most out of the money I had and I figured I was done shopping. However as we were leaving I noticed a sign by the exit stating “All items under $20”. There were a pair of Polo sneakers that fell in this under $20 category. So I stared at the sign and the sneakers and began to calculate how much money I had left. Should I spend my last dime on these sneakers? Were they damaged? Did I really want them? All of these thoughts were going through my mind, and that’s when I sensed someone staring at me. I turned and saw it was a white woman who I figured was a supervisor or employee in the store. She then proceeded to say out loud to security positioned across the room—“Make sure all these sneakers have security alarms on them!!!”

Now, as a 14 year old boy I didn’t really pay attention to her motives until I got back on the bus and thought about it. I was in the store thinking whether or not I should make a purchase but from her perspective she saw me and assumed I was trying to figure out how to steal the sneakers. I was not dressed inappropriately, I wasn’t loud or menacing, I wasn’t posing a threat to anyone. I was just a regular teenager shopping in an outlet store. However, to her I was a black teenager in a store and that made the world of difference on her skewed perspective of the situation.

This experience has stayed with me for my whole life. My question is—what caused this biased view of me? If I were white or of a different race would she have reacted the same way. As I became an adult, I found out that the situation from years prior was not an isolated one. Time and time again I would experience similar reactions from people in various settings—the culprits were mostly white but other races as well were just as guilty (including black people). I walk down the street and people grab their bags or switch their bags from one side to the other. I walk into stores and security is alerted. Actually when I worked at a department store as a teenager they instructed us to make an announcement to security if 2 or 3 black males came in together.

I thought about it and realized that people spend a great amount of time watching television and surfing the internet. Most people get their information from either one of those sources—whether it is the news, reality TV, social media or some website. People utilize these outlets to educate themselves on many different matters. The images from most of these outlets overwhelmingly depict black people (especially males) as criminals, thieves, drug dealers, unintelligent, and unsuccessful. Thus, this is the image most people have of black men. This is the image people see when black men go into stores. This is the image people see when black men go for interviews. This is the image people see when black men walk down the street. This is the image police have of black men. This is the image the store employee had of me when I was contemplating buying those sneakers.

 

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As I think about it, mostly all of the heroes in movies or TV I watched growing up were not people of color. Blacks were actually the villains, the bad guys, the enemy. No real super heroes, no black men saving the day, no black men being celebrated and praised. They were depicted as the total opposite. Some will say, “well we have a black president now, and things have changed recently”. That is true to a degree but the last 6-8 years cannot erase the previous years so quickly in our minds and our perceptions.

It can be stated that a lot of crimes are committed by blacks so these media outlets are just displaying the reality. However if the only interaction of black people you have comes from what you see on TV or discover on the internet, then your perception of blacks in general will be off. Image plays a tremendous role in life. If a black man goes for a job interview but the person interviewing him has a distorted perception of black men then his chances of getting that job are greatly diminished. If a black man starts a business and his potential clients have a distorted image of blacks then he will suffer because people won’t trust him to run an excellent business.

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10993463_788746271181023_6895259486174446207_oThat is why I am so happy for the work we are doing at That Suits You. We first and foremost try to change the image that black men have of themselves—this is of utmost importance. Once a person has a positive image of themselves they are more prepared to handle the adversities of life. We give presentations and work to encourage men young and old to help each other to achieve greatness in life.

We work with programs all over NYC who train men to get back to work or to start their own businesses. Once they have completed their training we provide the icing on the cake by donating suits, shirts and ties to them to assist them with their outer image. The suits are only a reflection of how they feel on the inside. We know that not everyone may not see a man differently because he’s in a suit, but we know that wearing a suits greatly helps men in increasing their confidence, strengthening their inner image, and getting their lives back on track.

We may not be able to change everyone’s perception of black people but we can definitely help men have a better perception of themselves.

 

Church 2015…Do We Still Need IT?

Black-Churches

Growing up my parents made sure that my brother, sister and myself attended church EVERY Sunday. When I say every, I mean every Sunday. Even when my parents didn’t go my aunt Linda was sure to pick up the slack and bring us….by the way, auntie, I meant to thank you for that!! Sheeshhh. It seemed to me like that was the core belief back then. Making sure that children received that basic belief of God, church, etc. Like it or not I do believe that has helped mold me in many ways to be the person I am today. However, it really got me to thinking, Is this still being taught? Is church attendance stressed like before? Is going to church still a priority for people of all ages in 2015?

No way am I saying growing up in the church leads you to have a perfect, no problems, everything about you is on point and you never make bad decisions, kind of life. That is not it at all. However I do believe that it can have some effect and help us in our decision making.

I had a long conversation with a few people about this topic and here are some of their views. I will use fictitious names (they may sound familiar to some of you) to protect the innocent..lol

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Fitz: My view is that I definitely believe that church is crucial to society today. If we look around and see all that is going on it seems obvious to me. If you ride the subways and listen to our youth, 90 percent of what you hear is “this nigga, that nigga, that bitch, this bitch. When you go to social media, it is definitely obvious. I can look at a timeline and see updates that say “PRAISE THE LORD”, “GOD IS GOOD”, and then the very next update is a twerking video, or naked photos from the very same person. I believe 2 reasons for this is a lack of understanding of who God is and the lack of the family structure. No one to show them examples of Godly living and no to take them to church. I am not perfect at all, but I do believe church and the teaching of the Bible have helped me in my life.

Hakeem: My view is on one hand I definitely believe that church can add value to one’s life, however on the other hand I have seen too many hypocrites in the church that it makes it hard for me to go back. I believe it adds value because the principles and teachings that you learn in church are very valuable. Especially if it is a church that teaches the Word. I am not one to be yelled at and condemned for 5 hours on a Sunday, no thank you. But if it is a church that teaches and explains how to make better decisions, then yes. On the other hand time after time I see too many people proclaim one thing and then purposely live in total opposition to that. Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying people who go to church won’t miss it from time to time, but when they purposely gossip about others, have double lives for years, or other judgmental actions, it is contradictory. God will have to heal my heart to return because I know church has value but right now I just can’t get past the people issue. Now I know people say well it is hypocrites at the mall and I still go there but like I said right now I just can’t get past the people thing in the holy place.

Olivia: My view is people have it all wrong, the church is just a building. I am the church. The Bible clearly states that we are the church. The place of worship is just a building. Since I am the church, God is with me everywhere and I don’t have to go to a building to worship him. I know God loves me just the way I am. As a matter of fact I am doing better in life than most of my friends who go to church 3 times a week, which proves my point. Not that I am comparing myself to others but, it is what it is…

Andre: My view is I am God!!!

Maryjane: My view is I love God, I love the church but I really don’t have the time to attend. Although I don’t have any kids, I travel, work, and do more work. I run a few businesses so it leaves me very little time to attend a church. Like I said , I love the Lord and read the Bible every so often but I don’t have time for church.

Cookie: My view is I agree kind of with Hakeem. I keep the love of God in my heart but church just isn’t for me. I love to party, and I can’t lie, I love sex. I have to be real. I just can’t deal with the judgmental folks who would try to condemn me for what I enjoy. I mean, it may be wrong but at this point in my life this is what I enjoy. Maybe my future husband is in the church but until I find him I will continue to enjoy myself. I still pray every day and listen to Creflo Dollar from time to time, and I might occasionally attend a church but just not regularly. You are not going to include my real name right?

Ghost: My view is, I agree totally with Cookie, especially about the sex part.

Tommy: My view is a love God and I love my church. I will continue to go every week and bring my family

Do you see yourself in any of these? What is your view? We want to hear it…..