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

Keep Moving Up

Written by: on April 16, 2024

My last blog post. We are getting close my friends. What an incredible journey this has been. As I look back over the past three years, I am so very grateful. I know I am biased, but I think we have the best cohort ever. I have learned so much from each of you and from this program.

In reading through Annabel Beerel’s Rethinking Leadership, I feel like this is a fitting last book. This book provides a high level analysis of what leadership looks like today. She delves into various aspects of leadership and provides a critique of the pros and cons of them as well as what it will take to lead in a post pandemic world. She writes, “While many will try to return to the old ways, they will fail. The past is gone. A new world is emerging that requires a whole other level of consciousness. In short, new leaders are needed.”[1] Because of my NPO focus, for the purpose of this blog, I am going to focus on her chapter on “Neuroscience, leadership, and mindfulness.”

Neuroplasticity of the Brain

I grew up under the understanding that “you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.” I often heard from my mother, “This is just the way I am; I cannot change.” I can remember when I first heard about the neuroplasticity of the brain. I was in a one day class in graduate school and we had a guest speaker sharing on the impact of meditation. One of the class requirements was to participate in a three week guided meditation through specific scriptures. I found it fascinating. As Beerel writes, “Contrary to what scientists have been telling us for years, the brain is highly plastic. New neural connections can be formed, and new behaviors learned throughout our lives.”[2] It is so encouraging to know that I can change the neuropathways of my brain, that I can be different. I am not defined by my past, by my faulty thought processes.

I am amazed at how scripture revealed this truth to us thousands of years ago. Joshua 1:8, Romans 12:2, and Philippians 4:8 are just some examples of where the Bible speaks to the impact of our thoughts and how we can change our brain. Science has barely scraped the surface of neuroscience. There is so much still to learn about the brain.

Neuroscience in Leadership

When it comes to neuroscience, Beerel cautions leaders in falling into the latest fad. She writes, “From a leadership perspective, we must be wary of the McLeadership syndrome, which takes every new fad and links it to leadership.”[3] How often do leaders chase after the latest trend, thinking this will be the key? The studies on neuroscience are still in their infancy. “The neuroscience research studies should be read carefully and discriminately.”[4] However, there is much we can learn and apply to leadership from this growing science.

Simply knowing that we can change is a starting point. I am in a bible study with a gentleman in his 70s. I have found it so helpful in the course of this bible study to share about the neuroplasticity of the brain and encourage this man to lean into what God is teaching him in this season of his life. “There is value in our having a better understanding of our neurophysiology, especially if it helps us to take better care of ourselves and be more empathetic with others.”[5] Beerel describes a growing use of meditation practices in the workplace. “An increasing number of corporations and executives are supporting mindfulness practices within their companies.”[6]

Leading in a Post Pandemic World

We are leaders in a world forever changed by the pandemic. When we started this degree, we were just beginning to come out of the lockdowns. We graduate in a post pandemic world, and we must look to a new way of doing things.

“In this radically uncertain world, as it transitions from the old to the new, we need leaders who have great cognitive and emotional capacities. They need a broad mental bandwidth with which to engage in systemic thinking, and they need to be open and engaged in vertical learning (see later in this chapter). They need to be courageous and self-determining while they are also able to be vulnerable and exercise humility.”[7]

Beerel describes the idea of vertical learning. She writes, “Vertical learning is the transformation of how one thinks, feels and makes sense of the world.”[8] She describes it as an upward spiral of growth and change. “Each new level attained contains the previous ones as subsets as people who evolve move to ever more complex meaning systems.”[9]


I think she is on the right track with the idea of vertical learning, but in addition to her definition, I would add that vertical learning involves the transformation of the mind that Paul describes in Romans 12:2. More than ever, we need to look upward to Jesus. We need to keep our eyes and our hearts on Jesus, to continually draw closer to Him. My friends, keep moving up.

[1] Annabel Beerel, Rethinking Leadership: A Critique of Contemporary Theories. (London: Routledge, 2021), 2.

[2] Ibid., 263.

[3] Ibid., 253.

[4] Ibid., 271.

[5] Ibid., 272.

[6] Ibid., 266-267.

[7] Ibid., 372.

[8] Ibid., 379.

[9] Ibid., 372.

About the Author


Becca Hald

Becca is an ordained Foursquare minister, serving as the Online Community Pastor at Shepherd's House Church. She has over twenty-five years of leadership experience both inside and outside the church. Becca has served her community in many capacities ranging from Administrative Assistant and Children’s Ministry Director to Secretary and President of multiple school organizations. She and her husband, Andrew have been married for over 25 years. They have two adult children, Drew and Evelyn. Her great passion is to equip others, to raise awareness about mental health, and to help reduce the negative stigma surrounding mental health issues. In her free time, she loves going to Disneyland, reading, sewing, and making cards.

11 responses to “Keep Moving Up”

  1. Becca,

    Great Post and I say Amen! Thank you for your insight and perspectives in this time together.

  2. mm David Beavis says:

    I am so glad you brought up Romans 12:2! Leadership transformation starts with the leader (“Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed…”). And Paul was ahead of his time when it came to neuroplasticity.

    What a joy it has been to be in this cohort with you Becca! May we continue to grow and transform (from the inside out) into the leaders God is calling us to be.

    • mm Becca Hald says:

      Thank you David. I love how science just proves what God told us millennia ago! It is so amazing to see how these scriptures encourage us to do the things that will help our minds grow and be healthy. I have enjoyed getting to know you and look forward to seeing what God does with your work in the future.

  3. Becca – I, too, enjoyed Beerel’s chapter on Neuroscience, leadership, and mindfulness. I’m glad that modern leadership theory and practice are recognizing that leading people is about so much more than getting things done. It’s also about devloping holistic individuals: body, mind, and spirit. I’m going to miss our weekly conversations so much!

  4. Kristy Newport says:

    Great post
    Im curious if you have a meditation practice?
    “Beerel describes a growing use of meditation practices.”

    I like the Scriptures you highlight. These are always so refreshing!

    Couldn’t agree more:
    “Romans 12:2. More than ever, we need to look upward to Jesus.”

    See you May 2nd!

    • mm Becca Hald says:

      Thank you Kristy! I have had different meditation practices off and on over the years. Currently, what I enjoy most is listening to worship music. I have a specific playlist that I listen to each night before bed. How about you? Do you have any meditation practices?

  5. Jenny Steinbrenner Hale says:

    Becca, I love your post! You had such a great summary of Beerel and then leaned into applying her message to our particular context. I like your quote here: “We are leaders in a world forever changed by the pandemic. When we started this degree, we were just beginning to come out of the lockdowns. We graduate in a post pandemic world, and we must look to a new way of doing things.” Your post inspires me to continued vertical learning and growth, eyes forever on Jesus. Thank you for your words! Awesome post.

    • mm Becca Hald says:

      Thank you Jenny! We are truly graduating in a changed world. I am so encouraged by the work that everyone is doing to make an impact in this world and I look forward to seeing how God uses each of our projects in the future. Bless you my friend!

  6. mm Daron George says:

    Dr. Hald,

    I enjoy that while you were reflecting on leadership in light of neuroscience, you warned against falling into the trap of blindly adopting every new trend, cautioning leaders to approach neuroscience research with discernment. Such a great post.

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