LGP Stories

Personal Stories from DLGP

Going Deeper to Go Further through Learning, Reflection and Practice

Written by: on June 8, 2017

[Note about the clip]: This music medley are a collective of snippets I selected taken from An Oxford Evensong (Featuring University Composers). In addition, it ends with the collective voices from the program singing the Doxology.

Over the course of the 10 + years I have been in the corporate world I have been fortunate to be able to travel to various cities and countries around the world. Although I had been to London on a few occasions for business, this Advance trip felt very different. I honestly had no clue what to expect. Here I am in a familiar city but walking into an unfamiliar environment. The irony of reflecting on that notion was both scary and exciting.

I was amazed at how quickly our cohort bonded during the first few days learning together. It was authentic and real. Something that most of us in our group were longing and praying for and had not yet received. It was bigger than the program. It was as if it was a divine moment destined for each of us to have our paths cross and connect.  Collectively we are driven by a need or ministry problem that we desire to speak into and solve. For many of us it is a part of our inner narrative. Steve Chalke, founder of Oasis Global, so thoughtfully conveyed this notion is his talk with us when he said “we have two narratives an inner and outer. Our inner narrative is what drives us but it is that same narrative that defines our identity and self-worth.”[1] Our inner narrative is what brought us here. Although it is the basis of how we see ourselves, our experiences through our face to face and in our engagement with each other will allow for us to reexamine our perspective and transform that way we see ourselves and the world around us.

David Male, founder of the Centre of Pioneer Learning, posed a very thought provoking question “What do we allow to die so that we can allow something [else] to live?[2] Change and transition is difficult. As leaders we confront challenges from every side. He went on to say “You can’t have resurrection without death!”[3] Death in order to see new life is not a new theological paradigm but it is one that denotes deep reflection and sacrifice. It was clear to me throughout each lecture that we must evolve and be transformative in our leadership. Holding on to old or even dead ideals because they are comfortable or safe only keep us stagnant and ineffective. As leaders seeking to find solutions to our problems we must rethink and shape the way that we lead. The old way of leading by control has not only been ineffective but it has also destroyed our ability to discover solutions. Professor Peter Tufano, Dean of Said Business School said “we lose the opportunity to solve some problems because we choose to act territorial”[4] It can be stated that everyone has the ability to lead. While we may have the position we cannot negate the talents and abilities of those that we lead. Chris Lowney in his book Heroic Leadership writes “Leadership is not reserved for a few Pooh-Bahs sitting atop large companies, nor do leadership opportunities arise only “on stage” at work. We can be leaders in everything we do—in our work and in our daily lives, when teaching others or learning from others. And most of us do all those things in the course of any given day”[5].

In my reflective practice I am discovering the importance of innovative practices in leadership. How do I re-frame and reshape the way that I lead? Being in Corporate America for 10+ years, I do not want to be jaded by my past management experiences. I want to make sure that I am leading in a way that is effective within my leadership context. Managing an aligned team as a platform manager it is so important that I empower my team members. They need to see their role as critical to the success of our products/platforms in the financial marketplace. Collectively, we can use our diversity to be innovative and transformative within our company and industry. As a leader, I need to trust the gifts and talents of all my team members and not just a few of them.  “We need leaders who see their principal role as creating a world or work environment in which others can share their diverse talents and realize their potential for the well-being of the team or organization. It is an acknowledgement that leadership, like the co-design process, is a collective and fluid activity in which different people at different times-depending on their particular slice of genius or “nimbleness”-come forward to move the group in the direction it needs to go”[6]

My time spent at the advance was amazing! With all the information that I have taken in and began to practice in my daily work, I still ask myself “how do I continue to apply what I am learning, reflecting and practicing?” Dr. Chuck Conniry, Dean of George Fox Evangelical Seminary, said “If we want to exam our theology we must look at our actions. How do we practice? You can’t have good theology in abstract”[7]. As I embark on this Doctoral journey, I am learning how to relearn and even unlearn things in order to make room for innovative thinking and problem solving. Every day I have to choose to allow my theology to be examined through my daily actions. The encounters that I face within our society, my surrounding culture and work environment allow for me to look at the world around me through a theological lens. It makes way for refinement as I grow and develop as a leader. “Our life experiences, in turn, bring our theological convictions into the picture and cause us to reexamine, reevaluate and even revise our convictions about God, ourselves and our world“[8]

David Male said “we must go deeper to go further”[9]. The question I ask myself now every morning is “how far do I want to go?” The leadership challenges that myself and others face are not futile by any means but as we continue to dedicate our lives to learning, reflecting and practicing we will continue to dive deeper. Our depth will be a launching pad that only propels us further into our purpose and destiny.



[1] Steve Chalk Founder of Oasis Global and leader of with Church is____. London, England. September 23, 2016.

[2] The Revd David Male, “Changing the landscape or seeing with new eyes”. London, England. September 23, 2016.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Professor Peter Tufano, “Leadership Conversation with Martyn Percy”. Christ Church Oxford. September 26, 2016.

[5] Chris Lowney, Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-year-old Company That Changed the World (Chicago: Loyola Press, 2003), 5.

[6] Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana, Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice: An HBS Centennial Colloquium on Advancing Leadership (Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press, 2010), Kindle, 7802.

[7] Dr. Chuck Conniry, “Navigating a New Normal: Theological Education in a Post Millenial World” Christ Church Oxford. September 27, 2016.

[8] Stanley J. Grenz and Roger E. Olson, Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God     (Downers Grove, IL, USA: InterVarsity Press, 1996), Kindle, Location 1400.

[9] The Revd David Male, “Changing the landscape or seeing with new eyes”. London, England. September 23, 2016.


About the Author

Christal Jenkins Tanks

Leave a Reply