LGP Stories

Personal Stories from DMINLGP

HOLD MY MULE

October 23, 2017 | no responses

AMERICA the home of the free! All people are equal! Justice for All!  The leader of the World!

PERSONAL INTEREST

My eighth grade English class was a life changer for me. My English teacher told us that we were black and the white man viewed us as low class and ignorant. She told us that we were not ignorant and we had the ability to be great leaders, business owners, and even President of the United States of America. I have shared this with my Co-Horts in previous chats. That class year was the pivotal point in my life that sparked my need to get what I desired from this world. So I set my mind to be the first Negro to attend a White high school near my area. Well, I was among the second group of Negros to attend, because integration took effect the year before my high school year. I was aware of the Civil Rights Movement with Dr. Martin Luther King and the Black Panther Movement.  My Founding Pastor, Rev. Dr. William A. Lawson, was involved with King and ministered to the Black Panthers. (more…)

Prospective: Living in light of the pain & the beauty of Cape Town

October 23, 2017 | no responses

Insight on perspective from a cartoon found in the Commodore hotel men’s room

(more…)

Cape Town in Black and White

October 23, 2017 | no responses

The “Cape Town Advance” was a requirement for students in Portland Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry in Leadership and Global Perspectives program.  A group of more than 60 gathered together in South Africa for a wide variety of cross-cultural experiences and seminars.

Photography is a powerful communication tool.  Below are 19 black and white images that are a window into the 2017 Cape Town Advance. (more…)

Chip Stapleton Bio Story

June 8, 2017 | no responses

Chip Stapleton is many things: a husband, a father, a pastor, a coach, a collaborator and an encourager. A native of Western Pennsylvania, he has lived with his wife, Traci,  in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and for the past 7+ years have lived, with their 4 boys (Charlie, Jack, Ian & Henry) in Mansfield, MA where he is the pastor of the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church.

Chip’s life and work are defined by his passions:

  • As a loving and supportive husband and father who strives to encourage, support and empower his family to laugh often, love well, and both work and play hard as they seek to fully utilize all the gifts that God has given them.
  • As an adoptive parent, he has a heart to help the people he encounters know, understand and experience the saving love of our adoptive heavenly father.
    • This passion has developed into a desire to see Christians individually and as churches move adoption from the periphery into the center of our thinking, theology, teaching and reflection so that we may more fully respond to God’s adoptive love for us by reaching out to those children in need of that earthly parental care – as churches and as individual families.
      • Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)
  • As a pastor, he works diligently so that those entrusted to his care might grow to see and believe in their gifts and abilities and understand how God is calling them to use those gifts and abilities to glorify God, serve others and bring justice.  He is particularly interested in pursuing social justice concerns around clean water, hunger and equality
    • He is passionate about his own engagement with scripture and encouraging and empowering others to engage and explore scripture and deepen their relationship with God through both ancient spiritual practices and new and creative ways of interacting with scripture.
      •  He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
  • As a soccer coach for all four of his sons – and lots of their friends – he enjoys the energy, fun and pure joy that is found on the soccer field.  He gets great enjoyment from helping the boys develop their skills and learn how to be better players, better teammates and eventually to become better young men.  He also does his best to not be the most competitive one on the field!

In his spare time (when not on a soccer field) he can usually be found watching and rooting on Arsenal, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New England Revolution; playing games with his family; piling on the couch and watching a movie or a show.

Told Her Way- Katy Drage Lines’ Bio Story

June 8, 2017 | no responses

In God’s good Kingdom, some people minister like trees, long-standing, rooted in a community. They embody words of Wendell Berry, “stay years if you would know… the genius of the place.” Others, however, are called to go. Katy is one of those pilgrims. A global nomad, Katy grew up as a fifth generation Colorado native, attended college and seminary and was ordained in Tennessee, met and married a guy from Pennsylvania, ministered for ten years and birthed a child in Kenya, served as a children’s pastor in a small church in Kentucky, and currently ministers to college students in a university library in Orange County, California, where she’s also the neighborhood engagement team leader for her local church. She is preparing to make another move this summer; this time to the heart of America, Indianapolis, and hoping to root long-term there. She and her husband, Kip, have two delightful boys, a college sophomore and high school sophomore.

Throughout her twenty-odd years of ministry, she searches for what makes each place unique, its heartbeat, stories, and people. As a pilgrim, she brings a wider view of the Kingdom of God to those who are rooted. When she moves into a new place—whether Kenya or Kentucky or California—she’s worked hard to learn the language and culture of the new place. She learned to love chai tea and farmers’ markets and sushi. She seeks to fit in and understand the good news of the Kingdom in whatever context she finds herself. But she also brings those contextual perspectives of the Kingdom to new places in her journey. Love of, and active engagement with, “the Other” has been a theme in her faith and ministry in new places.

Passions

Bread

Creation

Well-crafted words

Openness to the Other

The church being the Church

Thoughtful worship

Long conversations

Eating together

Collaboration

Refugees

 

Quirks

Shopping makes her tense, as does traffic. Bugs and snakes, however, do not.

She prefers finding creative ways to live the ethics of her faith within her community and world

The ideal day, for her, could be enjoyed in a few different ways:

  • Walking through a windy rain storm with her husband
  • Late night conversations and card games around a dinner table with a small group of friends
  • Exploring a new place, including its food, smells, sounds, art, and history (preferably, again, with friends)

Expectations and Reality: Thoughts on Leadership and Church from London Town (and Oxford)

June 8, 2017 | no responses

 

‘My First Sermon’ (above) by Sir John Everett Millais

When we happened upon the Guildhall Art Gallery during a break one afternoon from our meetings in London – ‘happening upon’ an gallery containing both famous works of Art and an Roman archaeological site, is the kind of thing that you see in movies or hear in other people’s stories, but it really happened to us this day – I was immediately drawn to the above painting, My First Sermon by Sir John Everett Millais.

I am not what you would call an ‘art lover’, I can’t tell a Monet from a Rembrandt and I certainly don’t know what makes a painting ‘good’, but I do enjoy art and a stroll through a gallery as a great diversion on cool London afternoon.  As we walked through the gallery, my companions – all with more ‘refined’ artistic palates than me – peeled off to pursue one interest or another, and I found myself standing and staring at this girl in a red cape and a black hat.   I chuckled when I looked down and saw the title of the painting – I really am a sucker for church, I thought.  Then, when a small guided tour moved away, the paintings companion was revealed and I actually laughed out loud.

My Second Sermon

Another way to encapsulate the issue at hand is this: Lot’s of people like the idea of church and even want to go to church, but too many people can’t wait to leave once they are there.  Not many of us have fallen asleep during worship recently (it hasn’t happened to me since an unfortunate incident with some cough medicine on Christmas Eve, 2008…), but we all immediately identify with the feeling and circumstance conveyed in the two paintings: Excitement for church – or even just interest – quickly fades to boredom, indifference and disconnection.

As I stood in the Guildhall gallery, it struck me that these two paintings – and the issue for the church that they illustrate so well – was a major reason why I was here, in this place and part of this program.   Simply put, I believe that the mission and work of the church is as vital as ever, but that we are in the midst of a culture that is changing so completely and so quickly that our old methods of leadership, of outreach and evangelism, of worshiping and being the church are no longer up to the task.The adage goes that admitting that there is a problem is the first step in finding a solution – and I have, as many of us are, been aware of this disconnect between culture and the church and between expectation and experience of worship and church community.

But my awareness of the issue hasn’t produced different results.  You must look closely, over his left shoulder, but the selfie of my son (Ian, 6) to the left, was taken in the middle of a worship service – while I was saying the words of institution for communion no less!    If even communion isn’t dramatic and engaging, then we are – I am – clearly doing something wrong, or at the very least not well enough.

This is, at least in part I believe, because I was brought up and trained in a church and an academy that was preparing me to lead in a world that no longer exists.  In response, led by the Holy Spirit (I hope…) I embarked on this LGP DMIN journey… seeking the understanding and the tools to be a different kind of leader to lead a different kind of church.

When I shared my thought process and the details of the LGP program with my wife and some close friends and colleagues, one question came up multiple times, ‘So you are going to London?  Is this all just so you can go see an Arsenal game?’

Outside of my faith, my family and friends and the church, one of my biggest interests is following the Arsenal football Club, ‘the pride of North London’.  While it (really!) wasn’t why I chose the LPG DMIN program, once I found that Arsenal would be hosting arch rivals Chelsea on the Saturday afternoon that we were to be in London, I resolved to find a way to get to that game.

As you can see from the animation on the right, I was able to get to the game. What an amazing experience it was. The 3-0 Arsenal win certainly helped, but even before the first ball was kicked, the day had already exceeded all of my expectations: the atmosphere at the pub before the game; the energy from the supporters in and around the stadium; the sight of the pristine, picture perfect pitch waiting expectantly; the ‘Aaron Lambsley’ pie from Piebury Corner…. All of it was even better than I had imagined.

Having already had my epiphany at the Guildhall, the experience of the Arsenal game provided a stark contrast to the disappointment of ‘My Second Sermon’ and the distraction of my 6 year old.   This contrast has provided me the vision for what I want to be working for as I move through this process over the next three years.  To be clear, I am not seeking to become an entertainer – the analogy between the church and soccer experiences isn’t perfect – but rather how to connect more meaningfully and engage more fully those that I encounter as a pastor and those that we are reaching out to as a church community.

Later during our England Advance, we were provided an excellent example of what I am striving for as a leader in relation to our culture as we visited the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford, meeting place of the Inklings (Lewis, Tolkien, etc.).    We sat where they sat and talked where they talked.

These brilliant minds figured out a way to put their faith front and center in their lives, in their writing and in their work – and yet not be boring or staid.  How many people have come to know Jesus or get a better understanding of who God is and how God loves us through the work of these faithful leaders?

What does that look like – not to be the ‘neoinklings’ (Katy’s term), but rather to shine and share God’s light and love like them and engage the world around us for Christ as they did?  At least in part, I think it has to do with a new understanding of leadership and authority.

Like many of us, I was brought up in a church and cultural context where the pastor was respected, revered and listened to because – well, because he (or she, but almost always he) was the pastor.  Though remnants of this culture exist, particularly in the Southeastern and Midwestern U.S., we don’t live in that world any more.

This connected for me as we looked at the various styles of leadership and the forms of authority that our leadership relies on to be effective.  The Weberian forms of authority (personal, traditional, legal-rational) that almost all our churches conform with are simply no longer adequate.   At this point the relational school of the sociological study of leadership can provide for us a way forward. [2]

In a culture where respect and authority are not simply given, but rather ‘earned’ the ‘right, power and authority’ to lead is derived from the relationships that you cultivate.  The first step to that authority is simply the forming of the relationship, the willingness to engage in a personal way being an important piece of this ‘earning’.  The second step is showing authenticity – a buzzword to be sure, but a critical aspect of authentic leadership in our current context.

In the recently completed election Hillary Clinton received enormous criticism for comments she made about being and saying ‘one thing in public, and another in private’.  Political feelings aside, in context, the comments are completely logical – but they drew sharp rebuke because they fed into the (already existing) perception of inauthenticity.

In a church context, pastors – myself included – were once strongly advised to never talk about themselves or their personal lives in their preaching and teaching.  In essence, we were told to ‘put on the mask’ of a teacher or theologian or disseminator of gospel truth – disconnected from any experience that might be truly or deeply personal.
We have always been keen to listen to and learn from story: Jesus taught in parables for a reason!  If we want to be leaders in the church today, we must be willing to share our stories with each other.

This was modeled wonderfully for us during our advance by the many leaders that came and spoke to us.  All of them had nuggets of wisdom and guidance for us, but I was particularly struck by MaryKate Morse walking us through an incredibly difficult passage of scripture – honestly and soberly, in a way that connected directly to who she is and her personal experience – finding the light of the gospel through a difficult passage and personal and societal pain.

Similarly, Dominic Erdozain’s presentation was particularly meaningful to me.  It was the kind of humorous, self-effacing, yet deep and thorough discourse that I really enjoy and that I strive to deliver.  His words and insights, as well as MaryKate’s, only became more valuable to me as they devoted time into building relationships over meals and walks and long conversations at the pub.  What a witness these women and men are and what a privilege it is to learn from them and to actually get to know them and call them friends.

Perhaps the most meaningful insight I gained from the lectures we heard and the relationships I formed with those that gave them was that the wisdom and insight that they shared didn’t change as I got to know them, but my appreciation of it – and even my memory of it – did.

Stephen Garner gave some wonderful insight and understanding into our popular culture and how it handles faith and spirituality, but I wonder, would I remember it if we had not shared a conversation about rugby and football (real, not American) and our children as we walked to go punting?  So, leadership requires certain abilities and knowledge, but possibly just as important is the willingness to invest liberally in the lives of those you are hoping to lead.

In many ways, as we learned in looking at the book Heroic Leadership by Chis Lowney that this type of leadership isn’t exactly a ‘new’ idea.  In tracing the practice and positions of the Jesuits, we found a model of leadership that matches up will with the ideas authenticity and relationship, highlighting four key components: self-awareness, ingenuity, love and heroism.[3]

These are not easy traits to live up to or into, but a new understanding of their importance and of the importance of the relationship with those I am hoping to lead has lead me to pay more attention to certain aspects of my leadership as I seek to initiate change as I work to lead the church into an uncertain future.  I have begun to take time to ensure that I don’t only connect with people when I need something from them; I have made a habit of asking myself if I am being completely honest in my dialog with parishioners or am I giving in to the temptation of telling people what they want to hear – and keeping in mind the careful balance of pastoral care and the prophetic voice.

Finally, my time in London and Oxford awakened in me an appreciation for the importance of place.  All of the lectures, experiences and discussions we had during our London/Oxford Advance would have been excellent and meaningful if they were had anywhere: Christchurch Oxford, a utilitarian classroom on a seminary campus, a friends living room or the table where Lewis and Tolkien sat….. but how we experience and process the information, how we attach ourselves to it is connected in a powerful way to where we are when we encounter them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am still working out how to put that into practice in my current context, but I have already begun working with our worship and education committees at the church to take a more holistic approach to worship planning, our education offerings and our special events so that the environment we create (while not quite up to the standard of the pictures above and below) contributes to the experience and enhances the worship or the learning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I am coming to the end of my first semester of this DMIN journey, I am struck not by how much further I have to go (probably best not to think about it…..) or even how far we have already come (further than you would think, not just in miles) but instead who I get to be on this journey with: the ‘Sevens’ – the cohort that is already setting new standards, but more importantly supporting, encouraging and lifting each other up; our mentors – Jason, MaryKate, Dominic, Loren, Cliff and so many others; the Holy Spirit – our true guide on this great adventure we call life.

The relationships that have already formed and the wisdom that has been born out of the connections and discussions that arose from these relationships have already changed who I am, what I think and how I lead.  And that, my friends, it the lesson I have learned and am still trying to apply: it is through our relationships, the people, places and causes that we invest our time, effort, money and ourselves in that we lead and share and grow – and it is through that investment and those relationships that we participate in God’s mission in the world and share the good news of God’s love.

 

[1] John Guille Millais, “My Second Sermon Sir John Everett Millais Bt PRA (1829-96),” Victorianweb.org, February 16, 2015, accessed November 30, 2016, http://www.victorianweb.org/painting/millais/paintings/43.jpg.

[2] Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana, eds., Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice: An Hbs Centennial Colloquium On Advancing Leadership (Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business Press, ©2010), 2571, Electronic Format.

[3] Chris Lowney, Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-year-old Company That Changed the World (Chicago: Loyola Press, ©2003), 82

 

 

London Wanderings

June 8, 2017 | no responses

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As I wandered around London, suitcase in tow, sleep deprived and trying to find my hotel, I was intrigued by the culture.  In my wanderings: I wondered at the homes crammed together, marveled at the ancient architecture, and bantered with the 4 taxi drivers who encouraged me to walk instead of taxi since it was “just around the corner.”

When I finally got to the hotel, my roommate, Mary, and I became engaged in a lively discussion about women in church leadership, which ironically we were both studying for our dissertation.  As I met the rest of the team, I was pleasantly surprised by the friendliness and comradery of the leaders and my teammates. (more…)

London/Oxford Advance 2016 — Signs of Life

June 8, 2017 | no responses

 

“Reflection in its highest form is an oasis from a world filled with noises, voices, colors and distractions.” 

I’ll begin by saying that the advance was a profound and life-changing experience. The lectures were all excellent. Steve Chalk’s concept of being embedded into a community is a compelling idea especially as it relates to the field of church planting. Additionally, Jeremy Crossly exemplified reaching a particular demographic; David Male encouraged that it is possible to work across denominational borders and Dr. Mary Kate Morris’ image of the hand on the door step stirred my heart. It was Dr. Keith Ward’s lecture—actually one small section—that inspired me to look more closely at the signs of life without color and the usual background noises. It is with this in mind that I made my visual ethnographic presentation—Signs of Life.

Before I move on to thoughts about reflection, I would like to highlight Steve Chalk’s lecture in particular and it’s application in my ministry context. The concept of being embedded into a community is not unique in the missions community. It’s what we do. However, I found the idea of purchasing a building, plotting off one and a half mile radius around the building and making that the ministry zone a pragmatic approach to church planting and ministry to a community. When planting a church in a major European city we often state, “We’re asking God to give us the whole city.” In this paradigm, the work can quickly become overwhelming, and the once burning vision can wane under the load of the serving the entire city.

However, To classify a city into one and a half mile zones with a building in the center is more manageable from a financial and logistical perspective. In this way, the total resources and management focus is on a smaller more focused area. From a pastoral/spiritual perspective contextualization becomes more manageable as the ministry and outreach are more local and focused.

For the purpose of application, our AGWM Europe Leadership team could use Chalk’s model and apply Lowney’s Heroic Leadership methodology preinciples—especially the idea of training leaders at every level—and develop a unique church planting model for major European cities. It may be possible to reach an entire city, not by one larger church but by one 1 1/2 mile church at a time.

And no to the subject of reflection.  When I started the DMin program I thought that my journey would be purely academic—or at least mostly academic. But the advance began in me a new understanding of reflection and reflective practice. Within the first week of the Advance, the concept of reflection and becoming a reflective practitioner was mentioned no less than ten times.

I wrestled with the idea of reflection because—I’m sorry to say, the practice of intentional reflection had not been a part of my life, as has prayer, worship, reading the scriptures and ministry. It’s not that my life and ministry were without reflection, but the deliberate practice of reflection was missing.

The atmosphere and the setting of the Advance helped me to take a closer look, and I began to realize that most of what I practiced in the way of worship, prayer, and ministry was rather—in musical terms—fortissimo. Of course, I am Pentecostal and my expression of faith and love for God can lean toward the fortissimo. I am finding, however, that as I practice reflection intentionally, that both styles are complimentary. Fortissimo and pianissimo are to a moving melody as are resounding and reflective to the spiritual song of the believer.

In conclusion, since the Advance I have been practicing reflection on the scriptures, the books we read, the posts we write and the papers we produce. Reflective practice has entered my world of ministry as a welcome tool in strategic planning and implantation. I confess there is a renewed quietness in my spirit and my life. Reflection, like my studies, has become for me an act of worship and I continue to see signs of life.

Once Upon a Time: a visual ethnography

June 8, 2017 | no responses

[click link below, to view]

Liminality: A Poem

As she stepped through the doorway onto the Virgin Atlantic plane, she imagined crossing the wardrobe threshold into Narnia. While she’d travelled internationally, and even lived overseas, she’d never flown across the sea by herself. What was she doing? she asked herself. Why did she dare embark on this adventure? Should she grab a fur coat as she walked through the wardrobe into the forest, as she moved down the aisle to find seat 43E?

Moving into a temporary time and place, especially for the purpose of re-creation, is known as liminality. Explored by Victor Turner in the 1960s, liminality is a threshold, a place of crossing over. Liminality is that in-between place, a time/place of transition; the place between departure and arrival. Liminal is what happens during camps or retreats (or Advances!), as we’re pulled out of ordinary routines into something temporarily disruptive, in order to return changed to our place. Liminality is transformative rituals– baptisms, weddings, which move us from one reality to a new reality.[1]

What was she hoping for in England? Well, she supposed, maybe a portion of her identity restored. For too long she’d wrestled with losing her identification as a missionary (was it failure? or was it taken from her? or maybe she’d given it away). Self-doubt was a constant companion for her. Maybe she was hoping to shed that demon.

What she discovered, upon making her way from Paddington Station to the hostel that was their first home in England, was a group of strangers who knew neither her nor her demons. What she discovered was fellow students, advisors and mentors who were, secretly, her kin. Who knew? Students who, like her, were seeking something new, reimagining themselves, who discovered they needed each other. And guides who supported, led humbly, encouraged and challenged this new batch of first-years.

As this menagerie of students coalesced, they explored London together, soaking in sights, sounds, and smells of the place. Telling stories, laughing to tears, visiting pubs, walking (and dancing) across bridges and underground, and past bell towers and into theatres and churches. This batch of first-years discovered they’d been transformed into something new, The Sevens.

During the days, they listened to and absorbed concepts from leading practitioners, each working through the question, “how do we re-imagine ‘church’ in a post-Christian context?” So creative were the models! Each practitioner working from a different starting point, explored the current reality, what wasn’t working, and how to be a faithful community who lived the good news of Jesus in a particular place.

Our protagonist was particularly struck by MaryKate Morse’s lecture on the nameless woman clinging to the threshold of Judges 19. The spiral of how Israel lost its way, deteriorating from honoring the authority of named women leaders such as Deborah, to dismembering the voiceless, murdered concubine. Sacrificed and left on the wooden crossbeam of the house, she became a victim of anti-liminality (is that a word?), prevented from crossing the threshold of hospitality. She also became a foreshadowing of Jesus, humiliated, murdered on the beam of a cross. But unlike this nameless woman, Jesus didn’t remain on the threshold. He crossed over into death—a liminal place—and returned transformed and transforming.

The Sevens travelled to Oxford and explored the sights, sounds and smells of this ancient city, which seemed to dwell in a different century. In Oxford, our protagonist roamed in and out of stories, real and imagined. She stepped into Wonderland, Narnia, and Middle Earth. She wore her gown/shawl and carried her wand/pen, sensing that magic was only a veil away. She wandered the gardens, the staircases, the library, seeking to catch a glimpse of the White Rabbit or Harry Potter. And she recognized that part of her role, the role of a DMin student, was to offer a defense of the poetic, the metaphoric, the mythic, as Lester Ruiz dancefully worded it.

And one day, in a thin place, the veil between ordinary and magic was removed. She sat in the chapel of St Frideswide, with a humble and kind man, life coach Curtis Strauss. With St Frideswide looking down on them, he challenged her to voice her vision out loud. To rename herself and allow herself the dignity of a new identity. No longer ‘missionary’, she verbalized the name ‘pastor’; her shoulders lightened, her emotions released, and a demon was vanquished. What a gift to hand somebody.

Like a celebration, gifts continued to be given. Emma Percy contributed a model of mothering pastor. An affirmation that much of ministry is domestic, cyclical and without tangible ends. That pastors and mothers both preserve, foster growth, and encourage acceptability; this includes risk, letting go, and the tension of living in community. This model requires developing relationships of authenticity and trustworthiness. It challenges the pastor to equip people to grow together relationally, and to recognize that “the food is in the fridge,” that they can feed themselves.

She savored gifts given by Martyn Percy as well. Poet, “ecclesiologist” and dean of Christ Church, Oxford, Martyn understands the world through smell and the sensory: “Smells matter. Polycarp, as he was burned at the stake, ‘smelled of freshly baked bread,’ a fragrant offering. Bread is home, is Christ.” Martyn suggests that extraordinary signs of the Kingdom of God include coffee and meals together, that imagination includes spotting the gap and stepping into it, and that being called into ministry means being occupied with God and what God is about.

Jason Clark helped our protagonist recognize that we exist in the time between time, the beachhead of now and not yet, that we’re called to engage in everyday activities for the glory of God. Our protagonist felt lightheaded, as if waking from a dream. Knowing and choosing to resist the dread of stepping out of the wardrobe back into the reality of real life. As Jason reminded them, the present is the only time in which things must be done[2]; we must consciously live and work in the present. Determined, she wrapped her wizard’s robe/wings/shawl around her shoulders, hugged her beloved new kin, and bravely[3] stepped freshly formed across the plane’s threshold for the journey home.

[1] See especially Herminia Ibarra, Scott Snook, and Laura Guillen Ramo, “Identity-based Leader Development,” in Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice, ed. Notin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana (Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation, 2010), 657-677).

[2] Kierkegaard said this, too.

[3] I am thinking here especially of the heroic risk-taking bravery of the ordinary, in Chris Lowney, Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-year-old Company that Changed the World. (Chicago: Loyola Press, 2003), 209.

Year-in-Review – Colleen Batchelder

May 8, 2017 | no responses

In the midst of political turmoil, religious upheaval and economic uncertainty, I’m brought before the presence of God – I’m brought to a place of identity – a place of surrender. As the world spins and my generation convenes on the steps of cathedrals and coffee shops, I’m challenged to lean into the cries of my culture and understand their heartbeat. Steven Bevans, author of Models of Contextual Theology, reveals, “Christianity, if it is to be faithful to its deepest roots and to its most basic instinct, must continue God’s incarnation in Jesus by becoming contextual.”[1] In the midst of societal degeneration, leadership deterioration and church failure, I have been challenged to be the contextual incarnation of Christ. (more…)

How a Trip to England Gave Me More Than an Education

March 8, 2017 | no responses

Anticipation. Excitement. Trepidation. Anxiety. These are a few of the things I felt when I boarded the plane headed to London to join my cohort of 10, two previous cohorts, professors, administrators, and our lead mentor for the Doctor of Ministry in Leadership and Global Perspectives England Advance 2016. That’s a huge title, isn’t it? Normally I shorten it to DMin LGP Advance 2016, which makes it a little easier to set aside the future and compartmentalize why we traveled to places like London and Oxford just a few weeks into our program. (more…)

Being in a liminal place…

July 15, 2016 | no responses

We often say that life goes by too quickly. This past year has been a challenge in terms of time and capacity, but it is also an opportunity for growth and discovery. We all enter any program of study to move forward in our life journey. Most of us entered this doctoral journey not knowing how the program would shape us, but understanding that change would be involved. When I began the program, I knew that the Lord was moving in my life and the life of my family. One of my favorite new words that I learned this year is “liminal,” which indicates the state of transition or being both in the old realm and at the threshold of something new.  I know that my doctoral journey is shaping and sharpening me, and I can see that the Lord is molding my skills and knowledge for His work. (more…)

2016 First Year-End Review … “Who Sees”

June 21, 2016 | no responses

He sees every person’s heart and even understands why we live the way we do. El-Roi (You-Are-The-God-Who-Sees)

“The Lord looks from heaven; he sees all the sons of men; from His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works” (Psalm 33: 13-15). (more…)

Year in Review – Phil Goldsberry

May 6, 2016 | no responses

Anticipation” is rather healthy word to describe embarking on a DMin.  “Guarded Anticipation” is more descriptive of the reality of beginning a DMin at a school that you have never visited in person but only spoken to a few of the professors.  “Ecstatic Anticipation” is present reality after one year of being at George Fox Seminary and a part of the LGP6 cohort.

Every time you change institutions you have to “feel out” what the expectations for you as a student and what are the expectations of the staff back to the student.  Will this be experience be strictly academic and sterile or will it seek to embrace a holistic approach to the whole person – spiritually, emotionally, relationally, and educationally? (more…)