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

Community of Practice for every youth

Written by: on December 2, 2021

Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey coauthored An Everyone Culture – Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization. This book explores a new model for reaching everyone’s full potential as an organization by introducing what the authors call a DDO (Deliberately Developmental Organizations) to promote and value adult development as the highest culture in the company. It examined and showcased many examples from Next Jump, Decurion, and Bridgewater to demonstrate that when employees are growing, the company will ultimately profit. The book is divided into seven chapters and an epilogue to show and explain what DDOs do and practice. The book points to a qualitatively “new model for people development – the single most powerful way we know of, as developmental psychologists, for an organization to unleash the potential of its people.”[1] The book uses illustrations from real people who work in a real company to challenge all the current organizations to embody a breakthrough in their company culture, organization structures, and communication and evaluations to be creative in their strategy to develop everyone in the organization.


In chapters 3 and 4, the book identifies the importance of creating a developing and growing culture within the company. The three core elements that bring adult development are founded upon elements of three dimensions: Edge – Developmental aspirations, Home – Developmental communities, and Groove – Developmental practices. Then in chapter 4, the most practical and applicable directives were given to build an organization that will include everyone to grow. The authors said, “simply copying DDO practices doesn’t work, therefore, because it’s not sufficient to give people time and space and rules for practicing. You must also pay attention to creating a culture of practice, helping people adopt the spirit, intentions, and mindset of practice, rather than those of performances.”[2] As I reflected upon youth ministries in Korean American immigrant churches, this concept of creating a culture of practice became very relatable and applicable. Do our youths get to practice their faith? From my observations in the past, typical KAIC youth ministries have not changed much in how we minister to our new Gen-Z. I would categorize the youth ministry as a performance-based culture rather than a practice-based culture. Simply learning about the Bible and stories in the Bible will not grow youths to own their faith. In order to own Hokma (the proverbs model of applying God’s truth into our cognitive head knowledge, experiential hand knowledge, and spiritual heart knowledge), the youths need to have more opportunity and challenge in growing up practicing what is being taught week to week.


The author’s challenge in creating an everyone growth model system is truly needed in the youth ministry. But instead of giving a spiritual community where everyone is encouraged and challenged to grow in their faith, identity, personalities, communication, working together, strengths, and weaknesses, the KAIC have been stuck in their thinking towards their youth ministry. For any change and growth to occur in any organization, the leadership has to be very intentional in creating a ‘culture of practice, helping people adopt the spirit, intentions, and mindset of practice.’ Every youth in KAIC needs to know that there is room to grow, room to fail, room to depend on one another, room to be a kid, room to try new things, and room to practice their spirituality. Unless the youths are rooted deeper in Christ and have ample opportunity to practice their living faith before entering college, the KAIC will continue to lose our NextGen during the chaos of our generation.

[1] Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey. An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization. (Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business Review Press, 2016), 1.

[2] Kegan and Lahey, An Everyone Culture, 124.

About the Author


Jonathan Lee

President of Streamside Ministry Lead Pastor of EM @ San Jose Korean Presbyterian Church in Sunnyvale, CA

7 responses to “Community of Practice for every youth”

  1. Kayli Hillebrand says:

    Jonathan – I love the emphasis you have on the youth really having the space a freedom to practice their faith, which inevitably will include the room to make mistakes and fail along the way. This book and Leadersmithing seem like they would have some tangible impacts on your NPO and how to help structure and youth discipleship model that will equip, empower, and provide freedom for them to truly take ownership of their relationship with Christ.

  2. mm Roy Gruber says:

    Jonathan, I agree with your desire to engage the younger generations in new ways. I believe that is a global need, not just with any one culture. I believe social media has made us a global community. You mention practice-based needs for spiritual formation. Are there specific actions you have in mind for that?

  3. mm Troy Rappold says:

    Jonathan: Nice insights about the application towards youth ministry. Creating a culture is a difficult thing to do and it certainly helps when the people involved are deeply rooted in Christ. Becoming a DDO is perhaps more challenging for Christian Ministries than it is for the business world. Many dynamics to navigate.

  4. mm Henry Gwani says:

    Jonathan – much thanks for looking at the KAIC and your youth through the lens of a DDO. Similarly, those of us who work within low-income communities in South Africa have to also examine ourselves and question whether we’re being deliberately developmental. Obviously it will be unwise to be vulnerable to just anyone, yet it is clear that unless we find the right people to be vulnerable to, and the means to transform our organizations – corporate and nonprofit alike – into DDOs, the possibility of making lasting impact, and maximizing people’s potential, will be limited. May God help us all

  5. Elmarie Parker says:

    Jonathan, thank you so very much for your thoughtful engagement with Kegan and Lahey’s book. Like our other colleagues, I really appreciated your application to youth ministry in the KAIC context. Kegan and Lahey’s emphasis on vulnerability and trust really stood out to me. I’m curious to learn more about how you envision the practice of vulnerability and trust in the shift of model that you propose? What is the KAIC cultural view on vulnerability and trust and how is that different or similar from one generation to another?

  6. mm Denise Johnson says:

    Jonathan, I loved your questions about the development of the youth. I don’t think that it is only the Korean Youth culture that is mostly performance based. I have observed that much of our Bible Study materials or sermons seldom have much of an accountability for aspects that God is challenging the individual to do. Even tools like reading through the Bible in a Year are about volume more that personal change. It makes me wonder if the ease of quantitative behaviors have driven us to not look at the qualitative aspect of being disciples.

  7. mm Eric Basye says:

    Jonathan, it sounds like you have identified a potential place for further investment and adaptation in the youth ministry culture. Do you think your situation is unique to Korean American youth? Regardless, I like the way you are thinking and challenging the “old ways” of doing things. Maybe some of those systems work well, but perhaps there is some room for new approaches as well.

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