LGP Stories

Personal Stories from DLGP


Written by: on July 13, 2018

“A year from now you will wish you had started today.”[1] This phrase, etched on a piece of wood for some kitschy church art, caught my eye every month when our leadership board met. I would occasionally consider what things I might be putting off or pondering that needed to be initiated in my life. Possibly a new workout program or reading through the Bible in a year or revamping our finances. Never on my list was a doctoral program. Yet, a year ago, in response to a growing hunger to steward my voice through writing and contribute to my fellow pastors the work for which I have invested myself on leadership and disciple-making, I applied and began the journey of the Leadership and Global Perspectives track at Portland Seminary.

As much as I was ready for the road ahead, I had little expectation of what I would receive beyond working hard to develop my knowledge and skillset, and their integration with my ministry praxis.


I was surprised by the breadth of experiences in our advance and in our readings throughout the year and the way our lead mentor would push and pull (or sometimes ‘probe’ as he put it) to facilitate our health and growth as leaders. I did not expect the feelings of being overwhelmed in an airport after ten days of listening and engaging with people across the world. I was unexpectedly frustrated by my sudden personal need to rise to meet the challenges of blog posts on books that felt beyond my mental aptitude and caused me hours and days of pouring over them to produce a thousand words of coherent thought.

Finally, I did not expect to find writing and processing in an academic way to be cathartic and good for my soul. This past year was incredibly challenging personally. Being expected to think about subjects outside my daily life alongside beginning to research my dissertation caused me to look beyond my own pain to the world around me and continue to contribute. With the aid of the personal leadership development plan, I once again leaned into my community in addition to finding a spiritual director for the first time.


As much as I feel like I am still the same person with the same goals, I look back and see how my writing, research, thinking, and actions have come into focus. Weekly readings have transformed from attempting to read an entire book as fast as possible to deliver a clever synopsis to reading around a book, assessing the theme and primary content and choosing one nugget to extract in connection to my own ministerial research.

The idea of honing in is also true when considering my dissertation research. As I began the year my topic was discipleship with the energy being around mentoring toward leadership. But between current events such as #MeToo and DACA, conversations with cohort members and colleagues, the advance to Cape Town and my personal experience as a female and with minority leaders, I have grown in my hunger to not just raise up leaders but to embody a leadership more reflective of the kingdom of God in its diversity. This change looks like developing leaders within the Wesleyan tradition to go back to our theological roots to practice inclusive leadership development of the Other, encompassing both gender and ethnicity in this scope.

Leadership Impact

So how has a globally focused doctoral program impacted my leadership in my local context? Let’s begin to count the ways:

First, the DMIN LGP has caused me to make different decisions on the examples I use when preaching or facilitating a gathering, pulling from more reputable and varied sources.

Second, I have often been compelled by the Spirit to speak for injustice but this year I have had more courage based on the insight of the texts and experiences I have encountered to speak out when in a group discussion that does not encourage value of those not in the room. In addition, this has brought a more comprehensive perspective to our church staff meetings and my varied leadership roles with George Fox and the Wesleyan Holiness communities I serve.

And third, but certainly not lastly, I am more confident in my choice of a research topic and the need for it to be presented for the growth of my and other denominations. Thus, I am advocating for myself and others in new and creative ways.

“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” And today, a year later, I am glad I began when I did.


[1] Lamb, Karen.


About the Author

Trisha Welstad

Trisha is passionate about investing in leaders to see them become all God has created them to be. As an ordained Free Methodist elder, Trisha has served with churches in LA and Oregon, leading as a pastor of youth and spiritual formation, a church planter, and as a co-pastor of a church restart. Trisha currently serves as leadership development pastor at Northside Community Church in Newberg, OR. Over the last five years Trisha has directed the Leadership Center, partnering with George Fox and the Free Methodist and Wesleyan Holiness churches. The Leadership Center is a network facilitating the development of new and current Wesleyan leaders, churches and disciples through internships, equipping, mentoring and scholarship. In collaboration with the Leadership Center, Trisha serves as the director of the Institute for Pastoral Thriving at Portland Seminary and with Theologia: George Fox Summer Theology Institute. She is also adjunct faculty at George Fox University. Trisha enjoys throwing parties, growing food, listening to the latest musical creations by Troy Welstad and laughing with her two children.

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