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

Ending the day on a joyful note~

Written by: on February 8, 2023

RARE Leadership is a leadership development book written by Marcus Warner and Jim Wilder. Dr. Marcus Warner received his seminary education from Trinity Evangelical Divinity, and he is the president of Deeper Walk International, an organization that focuses on equipping ministry leaders to help them grow in their identity and leadership. Dr. Jim Wilder has been training leaders and counselors all over the world in his experience as a clinical psychologist and as a theologian from Fuller seminary. Marcus and Jim stated that they wrote this book with a clear purpose to help ministry leaders in two ways: “1) We want you to understand the fast-track brain mechanism that learns and distributes leadership skills, and 2) We want to help you train the leadership system in your brain using four core habits of effective leaders.”[1] The book is written in two main sections as it unpacks the four-letter acronym – RARE: Remain Relational, Act Like Yourself, Return to Joy, and Endure Hardship Well in inspiring the readers to go beyond management. These disciplines of cultivating the RARE habits will increase leadership.

One of the principles I found to be helpful was their description of how RARE leadership is built upon and powered by joy. They described joy as a “delight in our relationships with God and others…Many leadership failures can be traced to declining joy levels in leadership teams, marriages, and families…RARE leadership is powered by joy.”[2] I believe in our 21st-century lifestyle, everyone, including ministers, struggles to find joy in our daily routines. And yes, of course, everyone is aware that digital and electronic usage has skyrocketed since the 90s as we see other human beings always looking into our small little cellphone screens, constantly checking for emails, news, texts, music, videos, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Will the use of digital electronics and machines decrease in usage in the coming years? I don’t think so. I believe the future is headed into greater use of virtual reality and the fusing of machines into our physical bodies and brains. As Kahneman explained, “respondents who see only one version of this problem reach different conclusions, depending on the frame,”[3] I believe learning to posture in the right frame of the mind and asking the right questions will lead the emerging NextGen to find greater joy in their life. Also, the right framing will naturally lead to the right posture of remembering that leads to our vivid memory. Kahneman describes more in detail a correlation between the two selves within our mind: “The experiencing self and the remembering self. The experiencing self is the one that answers the question: Does it hurt now? The remembering self is the one that answers the question: How was it, on the whole? Memories are all we get to keep from our experience of living, and the only perspective that we can adopt as we think about our lives is, therefore, that of the remembering self.”[4] We have to be mindful of what we remember on a daily basis. When painful memory becomes greater and more permanent than joyful memories, people will make a decision to throw in the towel to end marriages, ministries, and even their own life.

Marcus and Jim mentioned that they have found in their studies of Scripture and brain science that “joy, that feeling of well-being in the deepest part of our soul, is primarily relations. To the human brain, joy is always relational.”[5] Why do so many young adults and youths wrestle with loneliness and joylessness these days? I think one of the ways we can explain it is in this connection between digital media usage vs. physical interaction in relationships with other humans. In the digital age, people have been replacing real human interactions with technological interactions, and I would point out that the absence of real and physical communication with others humans are making people feel more and more lonely and joyless. I went out for a run yesterday evening, and my twelve-year-old son wanted to tag along because his soccer practice got canceled. I run because I want to keep myself in shape, but running alone isn’t something I enjoy. My brain is wired to remember running as a lonely and painful process. Usually, I try to go jog for about an hour, but never push myself beyond the limits of my aging body these days. I walk, then I jog, or sometimes I just walk fast and tell myself that I jogged. As we went on a jog around our neighborhood, my son kept on challenging me and taunting me. At the very last turn around back to our house, my son challenged me to a race, and I accepted it. It was about 200 meters, and in the first half of the race, I was ahead, and I was running beyond my full capacity. It was painful because my heart was racing faster and faster, and after about halfway, my heart couldn’t keep up, and I saw my twelve-year-old son flying past me. I had to stop and let my heart slow down because I felt like my heart was gonna blow up. I was in pain because I hadn’t run that fast for that long in four years. Even though my body was experiencing pain, my brain and my soul remembered the time as joyful. I was joyful because I got to spend quality time with my son. I was joyful because my son beat me in the race for the first time in his life, and he probably will remember this moment for the rest of his life. Max Lucado suggests the cure for the common life comes from worship – “worship that God gives honor, offers him standing ovations. Worship can happen every day in every deed.”[6] When we worship God, it helps us to take the focus and frame of mind away from self-centeredness. But worshipping God alone doesn’t restore our joy. We need to be intentional and invest in spending time with God-given family and spiritual community on a daily basis. Escaping the boredom of common life takes intention, and I have found over the years that applauding and celebrating small things in common life with other human beings brings joy to our souls. I didn’t get angry at my son for beating me in the race, I gave him a high-five, and I praised him for helping me to push myself beyond my limits. I ended the day on a very joyful note.


[1] Warner, Marcus, and Jim Wilder. Rare Leadership: 4 Uncommon Habits For Increasing Trust, Joy, and Engagement in the People You Lead. (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2016), 19.

[2] Ibid, 24.

[3] Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking, Fast and Slow. 1st edition. (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013), 371.

[4] Ibid, 381.

[5] Warner, Rare Leadership, 24.

[6] Lucado, Max. Cure for the Common Life. Reprint edition. (Thomas Nelson, 2011), 73.

About the Author


Jonathan Lee

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

8 responses to “Ending the day on a joyful note~”

  1. mm Henry Gwani says:

    Jonathan thanks for your joy-filled post and great passion for the younger generation. You write, “learning to posture in the right frame of the mind and asking the right questions will lead the emerging NextGen to find greater joy in their life.” What are some ways in which we can help the emerging generation embrace ” the right frame of the mind?”

    • mm Jonathan Lee says:

      hi, I would try to present and discuss a different frames that I see in them as I engage in conversations with them and asking them what they think about a different frame. Also, I try to explain and teach about different frameworks that exist in our world today. A right frame for Asian American context is to ask more questions and learn to think more critically.

  2. mm Roy Gruber says:

    Jonathan, thanks for this personal post. I appreciate the way you not only made the connection to Kahneman, but expounded on it in detail. Great job. I also like the connection to the theme of “joy.” What do you make of the authors emphasis on overcoming negative emotions to return to joy? We are all in process, so how do we return to joy when we all still deal with some of our negative emotional “junk?” Can someone return to joy if they are in denial about their own “stuff?”

    • mm Jonathan Lee says:

      for me, I have been practicing this habit of reflecting upon the day as I wrap up the day. It helps me to reflect and think deeper about “junks” and “our own stuff” and try to end the day on a joyful note by ending the day on a positive reflection and prayer time. It has been helping me to find a small yet daily joy that restores my soul to the right place.

  3. mm Troy Rappold says:

    Jonathan: Their idea of joy captured my attention too. There doesn’t seme to be a lot of it right now. People are scared for the future, stressed about work and money, etc….Joy has the ability to cut through all that and despite all the worries of this life, allows us to be thankful for every day. The book at least tries to teach leaders how to cultivate it.

  4. mm Eric Basye says:

    Henry, excellent blog! First, your summary was tight. Well done. And then the story of you running with your son! I loved it! You told it in a way that I felt like I was right there!

  5. Kayli Hillebrand says:

    Jonathan: With social media being something that we likely will not be able to avoid, especially with youth, in the foreseeable future, do you think there are any ways to to utilize/leverage it for real or joy-filled connection?

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