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

Experience over Theory

Written by: on April 15, 2024

Annabel Beerel is a consultant who specializes in leadership and ethics. She has written many books on various subjects and on leadership. Rethinking Leadership is a comprehensive book about leadership’s interdisciplinary and multifaceted requirements and how to attain those capacities to develop effective leaders.[1] As great as this book was, it did not capture my attention like other books in the program.

I related to the practices and was able to see a common thread. Beerel is brilliant and communicates well and effectively. However, I enjoyed some of our previous books on leadership such as:

  • Antifragile[2]
  • Leadersmithing[3]
  • Tempered Resilience[4]
  • Thinking Fast and Slow[5]

Leading through a crisis is a difficult challenge; the crisis often molds, changes, and even breaks you. In that breaking, a new strength is found. In the book of James, we see that God allows tribulation and challenges to bring His leaders into maturity and wholeness. People who withdraw from leading through crises often become your hardest critics and adversaries. Often, they stir up trouble and try to sway people to their side, and you become hated or an enemy for responding to a crisis.

God Prepares His Leaders

I Samuel 17:34-36 “But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear, and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing has defiled the armies of the Living God.”

Through crises, God prepares His leaders for what is coming next. As leaders, we must go through each trial, as each trial prepares us for a greater trial to come. From Deuteronomy 20, we learn that people who suffer from anxiety were not allowed to fight in the Lord’s army because they doubted God. They lacked faith and trust in God and suffered in their own hell of unbelief. Therefore, they could not represent the Lord in battle.


There are many books and theories on leadership. There is probably a major conference on the latest cutting-edge leadership practice that is probably being promoted, and tickets are ready to be purchased. I loved what Eve Poole said in Leadersmithing to let your perils become pearls and wear them around your neck. Rethinking Leadership by Annabel Beerel is a book I will come back to and focus on one chapter at a time.

Experience, especially failure, is the greatest teacher we can have that can change and mold us. Leadership models, practices, theories, and algorithms can aid us, but trials and tribulations mold us into great leaders who overcome the pressures and oppression coming against them.


The icing on the cake is Taking Beerel’s book on Rethinking Leadership and applying it to all the other books in this program. Leadership will always evolve and change because our environments and culture are always changing. Therefore, leaders will always be rethinking practices and theories for the best outcome, most of all for the people they lead.

Through this program, I learned that more education is not going to help me, but rather, I should apply leadership principles in my life and organization and be disciplined with them. I have returned to stewardship and stewarding what the Lord has given me. Through this program, I have used Post-it notes to make a road map for my future. From Failure of nerve leadership in the Age of Quick Fix, I needed to rethink my leadership strategies and make changes:[6]

  1. The church and food ministry are surrounded by high anxiety people.
  2. Anxious people want a reaction from me, so it helps reduce their anxiety and increases my anxiety.
  3. I belong to God and not people. I will have to stand before Jesus Christ and give an account for my ministry.
  4. Fear God and not the crisis, disaster, or black swan event.
  5. Be that self-differentiated leader.
  6. Stay on the rock with Jesus. Don’t let others pull you off the rock in their anxiety or distress
  7. Sabbath recenters me on Jesus and refills my Well so I can have something to give to others
  8. Don’t let the Well go empty

In conclusion, this is a great book and reminder to finish this program with the knowledge that leadership will constantly change due to our environment, economics, cultural trends, and other influences.


[1] Beerel, Annabel. Rethinking Leadership. Routledge, 2021,

[2] Taleb, Nassim Nicholas. Antifragile. Penguin UK, 2012.

[3] Poole, Eve. Leadersmithing. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017

[4] Bolsinger, Tod. Tempered Resilience. InterVarsity Press, 2020
[5] Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking, Fast and Slow. Penguin UK, 2011,
[6] Friedman, Edwin H. A Failure of Nerve. Church Publishing, Inc., 2017,

About the Author


Greg McMullen

Pastor Greg resides in Lake Stevens WA and pastors a small rural church in the Machias area . The Well Church has a large food ministry in which many different cultures come each week to gather food and counsel. The Church has a small school that is bearing good fruit. Pastor Greg has a large family of 10 children and enjoys fishing and hiking.

15 responses to “Experience over Theory”

  1. Michael O'Neill says:

    Great post, Greg. Way to weave all of these books into your blog, especially my favorite book, the Bible. David was a stud and his confidence is what we all need sometimes in our leadership. I love that he was a man after God’s own heart but still a man with issues, temptations, and failures. He along with Beerel and many others have really helped us “rethink” leadership. Thank you for your post.

  2. Michael,
    Thank you for reading my post and commenting. Thank you for your friendship through this program and hope to come visit you in the future. Keep fighting the good fight and keep the faith!

  3. mm Becca Hald says:

    Dr. Greg, you continue to inspire me. I know this has been a rough road for you, but I can see how God has changed you through this program and continues to draw you deeper to Himself. I love what you said, “Leading through a crisis is a difficult challenge; the crisis often molds, changes, and even breaks you. In that breaking, a new strength is found.” I used to say that I would not wish my challenges on anyone, but I have learned just how much of a blessing they are. It is in our challenges that we grow, strengthen, find out where are roots truly are. I pray that God continues to bless you and continues to provide for your every need. You are such a blessing an encouragement to me and to so many others.

  4. mm David Beavis says:

    Great final word Greg. May these words be ever before you as you continue on in your specific leadership journey. You have learned much and grown as a leader. Keep up the good work Greg. Stay differentiated, and stay connected and rooted in Jesus.

  5. Greg – I can always count on you to bring our leadership learnings back to Christ and I appreciate that so much. Thank you for vulnerably sharing your insights and take-aways. I will miss hearing your contributions each week!

  6. Dr. Fleetwood,
    Thank you for your insight experience and wisdom. I appreciate you being so courageous in this program to share your expertise. Thank you for enriching my life. Peace and blessings.

  7. Kristy Newport says:

    I agree with Laura.
    Thank you for encouraging us to look at tribulation as the path to gaining good leadership skills.
    You will be missed on May 2nd
    Asking God-
    Thank you for your hand on Greg. I ask that you would continue to lead and guide him. Please restore health and energy to this man who desires to serve you well.

  8. Kristy,

    Thank you. I finished the four commitment with the food ministry. We have scaled back considerably and just taking care of our little community and feeding 4,000 families a month.

    Im doing a 2,200 mile challenge over the next four months.

    Walking 1,200 miles
    Rowing 500 miles
    Biking 500 miles.

    God is good to us and worthy of our praise. Walk proud at graduation, you deserve it. Way to go DLGP01.

    Victory over Chaos. Well done everyone!

  9. Thanks for a well-done post Greg,
    Wow, I love how the learning has been applied to your leadership throughout the program. I can’t agree more, “Through this program, I learned that more education is not going to help me, but rather, I should apply leadership principles in my life and organization and be disciplined with them.” Looking forward to continuing to learn from you, my friend. You always remind me Matt. 9:36., keep up the good work.

  10. Caleb Lu says:

    Greg, I think sometimes people can make leadership complicated, but through your post, I think you demonstrated something that Beerel and others we have read have talked about. You just keep learning and growing. Thank you for that powerful example and reminder!

    • Dr. Lu,

      Thank you for your friendship through this program, most of all sharing with me. I have learned a great deal from just listening you. Thank you for blessing me with your knowledge and take on things. Bless you my friend.

  11. mm Daron George says:


    I enjoy how drawing on biblical examples and personal experience, you emphasize the importance of leadership through crises. What stood out the most was when you highlighted the idea that God prepares leaders through challenges and trials, shaping them for greater responsibilities ahead. To that I say amen!

    • Dr. George,

      Thank you for your vulnerability and letting me ask you questions or race and oppression. You have been so kind to me in that area offering grace and understanding for me learn some of the underlying problems I was naive to.

      Thank you and bless you my friend.

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