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

Greater than where I started…

Written by: on September 13, 2018

First of all, I am embarrassed to reveal that this reading has been the totality of my encounter with the history and culture of Hong Kong. After this reading, I feel I have a greater understanding of why this advance is so important. I have used the reading of A Modern History of Hong Kong as an opportunity to prepare for the upcoming trip and have not been disappointed as my anticipation has certainly grown.

Hong Kong is an excellent example of East meets West. Unfortunately, I knew so little of Hong Kong that I did not realize it was once a British colony. Tsang describes Hong Kong rejoining China in this way: “it had indeed acquired a sense of identity, way of life and value system in its British period that set it apart from those prevailing in mainland China.[1]” While the development of the city throughout its history was closely linked to China, its culture was still British. Essentially, Hong Kong embodies “east meets west.” I can’t imagine what it was like to live in Hong Kong when it was returned to China…one country merging two cultures.

I am still working to assimilate my reading, but there are several leadership questions I have as I read through this colorful history. For instance, how would history be different if the leadership of British Hong Kong had been more sympathetic to Chinese culture and context? What would have happened if the people had been represented at the transfer of power back to China?[2] Is it possible that a bridge of trust could have been built from the very beginning that would have allowed for mutual respect and understanding?

How does this translate to our missional efforts around the globe? From missionaries who bring the culture of their country of origin with them into global efforts to urban pastors attempting to lead a rural church revitalization effort, perhaps we could all learn from Hong Kong and be more intentional as we listen to people while we attempt to lead them in a particular direction.

Just as Hong Kong grew from a collection of fishing villages to a thriving metropolis, it is possible for the organizations we lead to grow from fledgling ideas to healthy, missional outposts. If we are willing to learn from the tapestry of culture that makes up our ministries and organizations, we will certainly be stronger than when we started.

It seems I am left with more questions than answers, but my knowledge is greater than when I started and I am excited to add the Advance experience to my own tapestry!


[1] Steve Yui-Sang Tsang, A Modern History of Hong Kong (London: I.B. Tauris, 2011), 268.

[2] Ibid.

About the Author

Rhonda Davis

Rhonda is passionate about loving her Creator, her wonderful husband, and her three amazing sons. She serves as VP of Enrollment Management & Student Development at The King's University in Southlake, TX.

6 responses to “Greater than where I started…”

  1. I agree, Hong Kong is a great example of the melding of two cultures into one. It took awhile, which was not unexpected, for Hong Kong to develop its own identity. But it did.

    I was having lunch with a friend the other day and I learned that he was born and raised in Hong Kong. What were the chances of that? That I’d be connecting with a old friend I hadn’t seen in years only to find out he grew up in Hong Kong, and connect all that to my writing deadline. He said in a sort of bewildered way that he still remembers the night of the hand-over. He said, “one day we were British, the next day we were Chinese.” What’s even remarkable is that he is Korean by descent. I actually could imagine his situation, being bi-cultural myself.

    But the abruptness of the change in identity really didn’t mean anything, except that it left him searching for one. I said earlier that I can relate to his experience. It could get confusing not knowing to whom you belong. What I finally settled on, by God’s grace, that the only way I can be secure in myself is that if I attach my identity to Christ.

    Easier said than done, of course. But that is the only way. What an amazing gift we have in Christ. We don’t ever lose our identity, culture, etc., but it’s great to know that these things are ultimately redeemed in the end.

  2. Mario Hood says:

    You’re not alone, I didn’t know much about the history of Hong Kong either before the book and the videos that were posted in the Facebook group. It made me realize 1) how small minded I can be as it relates to world affairs 2) how small minded I can be as it relates to God and the Church and 3) how big the world really is.

    You posed some great questions and it looks like you are following the methods lined out in the Alder book and as my pastor says, learning the art of asking the right questions is the sign of a great leader.

    I love the question of having the people represented at the transition of power. It has me thinking about my local setting and how usually we (the leaders) make all the decision and often, the people’s voice is not represented. It seems that there is a suitable medium between only leaders making a decision and getting stuck between church committees (or only congregational votes) making all the decisions. Thanks again, now I have more questions than answers!

    • Rhonda Davis says:

      It is true, Mario, that the world is so much bigger than we often acknowledge, and God is doing some amazing things in it! I am thankful for the challenge to expand my view. I will certainly be better for it, as will those I lead.

      Leadership and decision-making is such a fascinating topic. Like you, I believe there must be a way to strike a balance between providing visionary leadership and allowing people to “lead up.” Perhaps this balance lies in the security of the leaders at the top, and their willingness to listen and create safe opportunities for dialogue prior to the decision. In times of transition, people will fill the gaps of information…my desire is to create a culture that makes it easy to fill those gaps with trust. How does your church nurture trust?

  3. Harry Fritzenschaft says:

    Thanks so much for your unique questions and applications. Thanks for focusing your questions on leadership scenarios. What will the leaders of the PRC do with Hong Kong in the coming years? How can Hong Kong become a “blessing” to the PRC? What role will the Church play in this? What are our takeaways for cross-cultural missional opportunities at home and abroad?

    Thank you for raising more questions! Blessings, H

  4. Digby Wilkinson says:

    Hi Rhonda. Great questions from the book. An alternative question worth asking is, “Did the British possibly get it right?” Hong Kong has been a melting pot of culture, employment, prosperity and even refuge for people fleeing persecution in China. Given that every country has a dark corner of poverty and because corruption follows urbanisation, has Hong Kong actually done rather well? Something to consider at the Advance.

    • Rhonda Davis says:

      This is a great question, Digby. I wonder if we rush to conclusions, and ignore what the alternatives could be. It is very interesting to consider all the ways Hong Kong is better off because of its colorful history with Britain. I am certainly looking forward to learning more with you in just a few days.

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