DMIN728 Year-in-Review Story Blog Post
The purpose of this post is to reflect on the past year as a George Fox University (GFU) Leadership and Global Perspective (LGP) student and review, summarize, and analyze how my academic experience integrated into my area of research and impacted my personal ministry. The following questions serve as the reflective framework for my Year-in-Review Story.
- What surprised me? I was amazed at how well the LGP8 cohort came together during the Cape Town Advance and successfully continued over the next year during our Zoom face-to-face meetings and asynchronous chats. It was encouraging to see how well a diverse group of ministry servants united and focused on GFU’s strategic initiative and academic theme to improve global Christian leadership.
- How have I been changed? My perspective about how I perceive Christian leaders has changed the most in the past year. I have always respected and even revered ministry leaders as bigger than life spiritual figures who are called by the Holy Spirit to represent the image and presence of Christ and speak the infallible word of God. While that assessment is what I believe Christian leaders are called to personify, the reality is that most of these leaders are just like me; broken by sin, needy for love, and selfish to gain more knowledge of God.
- How do I lead differently? I use the same situational-transformational-servant leader approach that I have been using for the past 30 years. However, the difference in my leadership praxis is that I ask better questions and exercise more critical thinking skills. The past year of academic study, instruction, and interaction with my lead mentor, academic advisor, GFU professors, and my cohort family of 14 other ministry leaders helped improve my personalized leadership model.
- How have the following areas impacted and shaped my research and ministry:
o Assigned readings- Out of all the authors reviewed in the past year I think Bayard and Elder had the most significant influence in my academic research and ministry outlook. Bayard helped release me from the traditional bonds of reading for content and assessing ideas while Elder helped me expand my critical thinking skills. My threshold for knowledge went from book(s) and idea(s) to absorbing libraries and analyzing entire fields of knowledge. I really appreciate the insights and freedom to think multidimensionally, work from the periphery of ideas, and engage knowledge streams from concrete research principles to abstract spiritual perceptions.
o International Advance- The 2017 Cape Town Advance was fantastic! I was academically informed, culturally inspired, and spiritually challenged by the schedule of events for the GFU Advance. Getting to meet, hear from, and interact with the cohort, guest speakers, professors, tour guides, field trip presenters, and local nationals was outstanding. Having the opportunity to share the Armor of God challenge coin ministry with cohort members, GFU staff and professors, and local nationals was spiritually fulfilling. Hearing that the armor of God “coin” could be part of an artifact for my future research and dissertation was both a revelation and an answer to prayer.
o PLDP process- I completed two Personal Leadership Development Plans (PLDP) during the past year. The first one helped me discover my leadership practice by answering the questions: who am I, where am I going, how and who will help me get there, and how am I doing? The second PLDP improved my reflection by helping me focus on my life stories and values. Personal reflection was by far the most difficult part for me to accomplish out of the entire process. Yet, as I look back, it was probably one of the most needed personal breakthroughs to accomplish.
In conclusion, I believe the past year helped me participate in the rigorous process of learning, following, and leading within the global context of human pain and brokenness that the GFU LGP program asked us to navigate. As such, my personal struggle to escape a type of theological cocoon helped me grow new wings that are changing the direction of my theological flight plan. I see more rough air and turbulence coming in the next two years, but at present I am satisfied with my academic airmanship to safely approach and land on my dissertation topic. I also feel more confident and confirmed with my call to market-place ministry. I pray that my LGP8 cohort members and I will be the future laborers for the harvest as prepared by a Holy Spirit. Finally, last year was a tremendous blessing and brilliant journey in self-discovery, academic engagement, theological advancement, and relationship building. Praise the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, who lives in me through the person of the Holy Spirit.