DLGP

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

Sit and Listen

Written by: on November 15, 2023

In September 2022 I sat in the hospital two days before heading out for Cape Town for our advance. I made the decision to withdraw from the program and to be with my daughter as she fought to breathe. I thought to myself, what kind of husband would leave his wife and child in this situation. My father had just passed away, I closed down a small church in a logging town, buried a board member, and lost a couple financial supporters from our church. Everything had fallen apart in a matter of months. The Lord spoke to me, to go to Cape Town, to trust Him. I came into the hospital room with my wife where our daughter was struggling to breathe. My wife said to go, if needed, she would keep it together if our daughter passed and we could have the funeral after I got back from Cape Town.

Cape Town was a struggle for me. I was struggling to stay focused. I could not hear Dr. Clark clearly in the room we were in. I did not pack well. I just wanted to be alone. Often, I would leave the hotel and go to the poor areas and minister and pray for people to be healed and some were. As we went and toured other churches, Dr. Clark came back to the end of the bus and sat with me. He shared with me that he has had some hard seasons in ministry. He shared with me a little about his daughter. I looked at him and said I was kind of hoping he would let me prophecy over each person in the program and heal some people and in return he would give me my doctoral degree and let me go home. He smiled, like only Dr. Clark can smile. Dr. Clark could have had many different responses towards me, but in his smile and gentleness he said “Greg no doubt God has anointed you, but you are going to learn some other things in this program and develop your soul to go along with your anointing (spirit).” I wanted to say to him, I have lost everyone in my circle, I’m hurting, would you be my spiritual father. I still want to ask him to be my spiritual father, but I made a decision to trust Dr. Clark.

Trusting Dr. Clark

In trusting Dr. Clark, I looked for the gold in Lieberman’s book Spellbound.[1] After spending some time in this book I disagreed with a great deal, especially towards the end of the book and how the Apostle Paul would interpret this book. I believe Paul would use 2nd Corinthians 5:8 “to be absent with the body is to be present with the Lord” as the foundation of his argument. But Dr. Clark mentioned last week with Peterson, he is actually helping a great amount of people return to their faith. Because of Dr. Clark and his example and his constant patience and grace as we come into a deeper knowledge and form, and also learn to defend our thoughts, I think how could I sit with Daniel Lieberman and share about my faith in Jesus Christ.

Lieberman’s book, turned into a training manual on how to communicate the gospel, spiritual gifts, anointings, and more to a psychologist. Most of all, how can I be a Dr. Clark and sit with someone and be so gentle and loving. Most of all to be a differentiated leader, to lead (not react) that other person into truth. I have come to believe that Psychology is man’s attempt to help people without the aid of Jesus Christ. In Acts 3 we have the story of Peter and John at the temple gate. Peter does not ask the person about his childhood, but simply says in the name of Jesus be healed.[2] Counseling should lead to the cross and being healed through the cross. I believe many of the problems we face in our society today is because people are not getting healed and spending a lifetime trying to cope with their pain.[3]

Conclusion

Henri Nouwen said that “true compassion always begins right where we are.”[4] When we see, recognize, and sit with another in their pain compassion emerges. Lord help me be more still and just sit with people, let them truly see you in me. Dr. Clark sat with me, he did not tell me about Friedman and Failure of Nerve and how I was open to sabotage.[5] In the moment, Dr. Clark was a pastor, a man of God. The man I needed at that time.

In my experience as a father, pastor, and construction management, I have come to trust God and his process. To not be so quick to rescue people but allow them to go through the process. To use my prophetic gifting to create a story, a story of self-discovery and eventually a new found identity. In Romans 5 we see the process of growth by going through the process of tribulation, in fact we are to glory in it. We see that tribulation, produces perseverance, and perseverance character, and character hope. We see in the end of this process we are to give hope. I believe most people seek out a psychologist because they just need someone to sit with them and listen. Someone to say I am listening and I care.

[1] Daniel Z. Lieberman, Spellbound: Modern Science, Ancient Magic, and the Hidden Potential of the Unconscious Mind, Dallas: Ben Bella Books, 2022.

[2] Acts 3:1-10 NKJV

[3] Shirl, Debay PhD. Crisis Counseling Seattle Bible College 2012.

[4] Henri J.M. Nouwen, Donald P. McNeill, Douglas A. Morrison: Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life: Darton, Longman and Todd. 2010.

[5] Edwin H. Friedman. A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix. Revised Editon, Church Publishing. 2017

 

 

 

About the Author

mm

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.

14 responses to “Sit and Listen”

  1. Alana Hayes says:

    Greg! You are so wise! Trust Dr. Clark, and trust the process! You should be so proud of where are you are and how far you have come!

  2. Greg – You are a rare jewel in my eyes. Thank you for allowing us this insight into your pain, your journey and your redemption. As I have traveled (and still continue) my own healing journey, I have found that it’s been most helpful to have a variety of people on my team. I have a pastor, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, coach and spiritual director. All of them help me heal parts of me, but I see God as the leader of this team. I know that all help really comes through Him as He works through these others. Perhaps this is another way to look at the role of psychologists through a spiritual lens…I’m so glad you persevered through the program with Jesus being your guide.

  3. Thank you Laura, I almost became a family counselor. It is amazing how many different avenues the Lord will use to help us. He is truly a God that loves us. Thank you for sharing your story with me. Peace and blessings to you.

  4. Caleb Lu says:

    Greg, thanks for sharing your post! As I was reading about your memory with Dr. Clark, my mind wandered to the story of Job. I wonder how that story would have changed if Job’s friends simply sat with him in his grief and hurt, wrestling with God with Job about his questions, and possibly then confronting the questions they themselves had.

    I’m curious to hear your thoughts, as we see the existing mental health crisis continue to rise, what can we do to address it in a way that brings healing?

  5. Caleb,

    Thank you for reading my post. Your question is very challenging. I believe there is many major contributes to the mental health crises. In 25 years of ministry, I believe some key factors that create a healthy mental/emotional young adult.

    1. Heathy parents who spend time with their children. Especially dads who spend time with their children. One counseling journal stated that when a healthy father is present in the home, 93% of families and grandchildren attend church.

    2.Before God instituted the Church, God instituted family. Family was the training ground or formation of identity and fellowship.

    3. The Word of God. We see that reading the word of God washes us mentally and emotionally. It is very difficult to remain healthy mentally and emotionally without reading God’s Word.

    4. Fellowship with believers. We are instructed to not neglect the gathering of saints. When we gather and focus on Jesus, growth happens.

    5. Self-focus. Often depression, addiction, anxiety, is from the inward focus of self. When we focus on Jesus, we shift our focus off ourselves and on to Him.

    6. Serving. I believe it was the university of Chicago that did a study on dopamine. But when we serve, dopamine is released in our bodies and we are healthier and more immune to disease. This is why many missionaries have been able to serve without getting sick or diseased.

    I believe there is several contributing factors with the mental health crises. I also believe the major challenge is Identity. People don’t know their identity in Christ.

    I was going to become a family counselor, I was introduced to the Identity gifts from Romans 12 and spent the next two years learning about the identity gifts.

    My head pastor I was under in Foursquare along with many other Foursquare pastors created many discipleship programs and books. Dr. Daniel Brown took this teaching world wide in Foursquare. It seemed that in all these Foursquare training manuals it came back to identity as the problem or struggle.

    Hosea 4:6 says my people shall parish from a lack of knowledge. I believe many people are perishing today because of their lack of personal relationship with God and knowledge of God.

    I hope this helps. Bless you Caleb, this is a very complex questions that probably deserves a lot more. But the biggest problem I have seen in ministry, training youth pastors, leaders is identity.

  6. mm Shonell Dillon says:

    Thank God you made it. I have always heard that when you have a valley experience, that you are on the way to your peak. I have learned that God prunes us so we can grow at a greater rate. Consider the growth God has for you. Keep praying and keep pushing.

  7. Michael O'Neill says:

    Amen, Dr. McMullen. Your journey gives us all strength. And we’ve all been blessed by you in many ways. I couldn’t picture this program without you. You are a true testament of faith.

    I love your comments and agree with you regarding Paul’s treatment process. There is no intake, long meetings, uncovering scars, etc. Just… “be healed in the name of Jesus.” Amen!!

  8. Shonell,
    Thank you, it is interesting feeling. I had some areas previous to covid that I was vulnerable and fragile. Through Covid and the program, the Lord has done a work. Thank you and bless you.

  9. Dr. Oneill,

    Bless you my friend. I appreciate you being a rock in my life. Please keep praying for me as I intend to lose more weight so I can physically do the food ministry for a couple more years. You are an inspiration Michael, thank you for praying, encouraging, and supporting me. Bless you my friend.

    Praying for your future ministry, coaching and helping pastors recover their health and personal lives. You have a gift.

    God is Able!

  10. Tonette Kellett says:

    Greg,

    Trust Dr. Clark and trust the process. These are wise words, and I take them to heart as well. When I don’t agree with a book it’s what I do also. You are a wise man with a great future. The road you’ve walked has been an encouragement and an inspiration to us all as we’ve watched and prayed for you. Press on friend!

  11. mm Chad McSwain says:

    Greg,
    Thank you for sharing so transparently. You certainly had a difficult couple of months. I am so glad you trusted Dr. Clark and continued in the program.
    It is fascinating to me to see the different journeys we are all on and how in this challenging program, we find a part of ourselves that we did not know was there or we needed to explore. I have found it challenging to (and still do) sit with those who have different convictions than my own. I have to keep reminding myself that it is Jesus who saves and not me. Which is hard because it is a “both and” as God works through us, yet I don’t know what God is doing in a person’s life or what God is doing in my own. I have found that these times move me to ask better questions of myself and those I am sitting with. I have always found you to be a generous person. I think other people have experienced the same from you. You are a person that other people can trust. Thank you for your authenticity.

  12. Audrey Robinson says:

    Dr. Greg, it bears repeating that you are a special gem in this program and in the eyes of God. So glad I will see you at the finish line.

    One thing you mentioned stood out: “I have come to believe that Psychology is man’s attempt to help people without the aid of Jesus Christ.” This sums up the work perfectly. The only point I might add is the attempt to help without the supernatural work or acknowledgment of the Holy Spirit. We are to be Spirit led followers.

Leave a Reply