Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

складні проблеми

Written by: on February 15, 2024

складні проблеми – Wicked Problems (in Ukrainian)


Part 1 GoodSports Ukraine

Part 2 Immigration



Joseph Bentley and Michael Toth, Exploring Wicked Problem: What They are and Why They are Important.[1] Casts a simple framework over a world filled with problems.  The use of the term WICKED (like the witch?) brings initial confusion when one considers the complex issues of today.

Today my daughter is recovering from eye surgery (this too shall pass) and this weekend I visit my ailing mother that may prove to be the last time I see her. Sigh, perhaps the term wicked is a better description than I originally thought.

Part 1 – GoodSports Ukraine

Two problems haunt my mind. One is starting up GoodSports Ukraine, and the second in the polarization of the church on immigration.

Founded by the Navigators in Bratislava, Slovakia, GoodSports has survived 28 years on Slovakia and 26 years in Hungary.  In 2023, however, new legislation in both Slovakia and Hungary may now prevent Hungarian NGOs from receiving funds from overseas.  A return to socialism? Certainly, the rise of a Hungarian Oligarch, Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a friend of Putin and an enemy of Ukraine.

But wait there is more.

Recently, the GSI International Board voted to stop efforts to expand to supporting ministries in Ukraine.  Their argument, “there needs to be boots on the ground,” before GoodSports can move into Ukraine. While the method has served us in the past, asking someone to move into a war zone is unrealistic.

The words of Bentley and Toth, seem to ring true. “Every wicked problem should be considered a symptom of another problem. One wicked problem inevitably leads to or us implicated in at least one equally wicked problem.[2]

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine creates a deadly environment for Christian ministries (problem #1).  This has led to a second problem – the difference between managers and leaders (problem #2).  Both are needed for organizations to survive, but leadership skills are needed for effort in Ukraine.   According to Peter Northouse, [3] managers keep organizations running but leaders are needed to forge into unknown territory.

Leaving GoodSports Ukraine for the moment, my second wicked problem emerges, U.S. Immigration

Part 2 – US Immigration

On March 9th, I am hosting an Immigration Symposium at Dallas Baptist University.  The “wicked problem” is the polarization of the church over U.S. Immigration Policy.  Dr. Stu Cocanougher (a graduate of the program and mentor) asked the question, “Is the church influencing politics, or is politics influencing the church.”

While Congress has been unable to make any headway on revising immigration policy for the last decade, the fact that former President Trump desires to make immigration part of his election platform has raised the national consciousness on this topic.

Alas, a wicked problem.  Guiding my thoughts on managing the audience are steps provided by Petrusik.[4]   He writes,

  1. Try to avoid attacking “bad people” and focus on attacking bad ideas instead.” (p.464)
  2. Employ the Socratic method to engage in debate. “This position is completely incoherent.” He writes, will likely shut down the conversation before it can even get started.   He instructs…”the Socratic method Is usually the best technique for engaging in a conversation that you hope will lead to an agreement.  The Socratic method entails asking sincere questions and looking for sincere answers with the goal of attaining both definitional and logical clarity.
  3. Seek Clarity, not simplicity (p. 467)
  4. Be disposed to learn something new. (p. 467)
  5. Be a happy warrior. (p.469)
  6. Don’t be afraid of courage. (p. 470)
  7. Don’t compromise the faith to gain a (temporary) ally. (p.472)
  8. Be ready to make strategic retreats and take shelter (p.474)
  9. For God’s sake, don’t make everything about politics.


While I am warned by Bentley and Toth about wicked problems being unsolvable. Steps have emerged that are ongoing in Ukraine.  While “boots on the ground” was the initial problem, a response has emerged – “must they be U.S. boots?”  Currently, there is a wonderful supply of Ukrainian and American Christians who are currently ministering in Ukraine.  The list of Ukrainian ministry grows.

  1. Penuel – Kryiyi Rih, Christian Soccer league 300 children
  2. Tree of Life – Kyiv, Children’s ministry
  3. Redemption Church –Kharkiv, Relief work to the elderly near the Russian Border
  4. Launch International – Odessa, Widows and Seniors
  5. Open Door Ukraine – Zdorvika, wounded soldiers clinic

The Immigration Symposium has been revised in concept.  Rather than a potential arena for conflict, it has become a THINK TANK, where new ideas for refugee resettlement will shared and refined.  Petrusik, suggests, “The Socratic method entails asking sincere questions and looking for sincere answers with the goal of attaining both definitional and logical clarity.”

Following five subject matter experts, five questions will be given to the students and pastors there.  The goal is to coach them into becoming advocates for immigration when they return to their spaces.

The questions:

  1. Immigration question #1- What are the major concerns of U.S. citizens regar immigration? Relevant Link: Dignity Act Summary, https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/118/hr3599/summary
  2. Immigration Question #2 – What are the biblical mandates for welcoming the stranger?  Are these directives relevant to today’s immigration topic. Relevant Link: Evangelical Views on Immigration Study   https://research.lifeway.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Evangelical-Views-on-Immigration-2022.pdf
  1. Immigration Question #3 – How can we serve as bridge builders between the polarized immigration debate? Relevant Link: Tooley, Mark. “America’s Walls & Biblical Walls.” Providence, January 16, 2019. https://providencemag.com/2019/01/americas-walls-biblical-walls/.
  1. Immigration Question #4 – What programs have you observed or participated in, that assist newcomer resettlement. Relevant link: To explore church leader resources, ranging from developing leaders, teaching on immigration, video stories, and advocacy resources, visit https://worldrelief.org/church-hub/
  2. Immigration Question #5 – When you leave today, will you serve as an advocate for helping churches accept resettling refugees? How can we help you? Reach out to rchun22@georgefox.edu or rchun8715@dbu.edu for assistance.



[1] Joseph Bentley and Michael Toth, Exploring Wicked Problem: What They are and Why They are Important (Bloomington, IN: Archway Publishing, 2020)

[2] Ibid, 22.

[3] Northouse also describes the difference between leadership and management.  The graphs helps me see what are my strengths and weakness.  I clearly am weaker on Management Skills.

[4] Matthew R. Petrusik’s, Evangelization and Ideology: How to Understand and Respond to the Political Culture

About the Author


Russell Chun

interlinkt.org is now ready for your Refugee Resettlement needs. 15 tasks, languages ESL plans coming

3 responses to “складні проблеми”

  1. Scott Dickie says:

    Thanks for your post Russell….two great examples of continued adaption to address ‘wicked problems’. You likely won’t solve either issue (as you rightfully pointed out in your response to my post), but you WILL make a positive difference as you identify problems out of the mess and solve that part. May you, together with many others who are addressing the same mess (but perhaps different problems within the mess)…make positive progress towards the flourishing of people in both the Ukraine and the USA.

  2. Cathy Glei says:

    Thanks for your post. How is the interlinkt app going?

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