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

The Right Book at the Right Time

Written by: on November 4, 2023

Books find me. It’s happened since I was a child. Whether it’s a book I stumble upon at a library, a recommendation by a friend, or in this case, a book assigned for a weekly doctoral reading, I often find that a book I’m reading will speak to a specific problem I’m facing in a way that seems tailor-designed for me. It happens so often, it no longer surprises me—I simply smile, nod my head, and say, Thanks, God! I see You, too!

The Sound of Leadership by Jules Glanzer was one such book.  Dr. Glanzer, former president of Tabor College and former dean of Portland Seminary, uses sound as a powerful metaphor for leadership. He invites the reader to consider the following question, “If a musical piece was composed of your leadership, what would it sound like?” [1]   Chapter by chapter, Glanzer expands this metaphor using examples from his personal experience as college president and unpacking the various tones of his leadership scale (listen, see, learn, do and love).[2] Through his own hero’s journey[3] and the metaphor of sound, Glanzer shares critical insights that leaders of all levels can begin using immediately. However, it was chapter 13 that hit the bullseye of my leadership journey. Allow me to share how this chapter impacted a stumbling block I’ve been experiencing.

Getting Stuck

As the final days of my doctoral journey pass by (just over one semester left to go), I’ve been increasingly anxious as I consider what happens next? In the past week alone, three separate people have asked me about my plans when I graduate in May. It’s a natural question, of course, and one that I’ve been pondering for the past two years, myself. When I embarked on this journey, I guess I expected that earning a terminal degree and gaining all this wisdom would somehow make it easier to make a commitment to doing “a new thing.” Alas lead mentor, Dr. Jason Clark was correct when he told us that first day of class that as our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance. [4]

For years, I’ve had an idea to create a short, daily audio message on my Seeking The Still platform[5] to help people begin their day centered on the hope of Jesus and find the still in the chaos of life. Sixty years ago, before technical advancement, my grandfather Rev. Dr. Frederick Harm[6] pioneered this idea to his congregation with “Dial a Devotion.” Anyone could call the number and hear him read his daily devotion voice recording—an audio version of something to similar to Jesus Calling,[7] you might say. In the past several years, as podcasting became popular and phone apps ubiquitous, many others began offering the very thing of which I dreamed of creating. How can I compete with apps like Lectio 365 and Youversion, I asked myself? Yet, I have not been able to let the idea go.

Fast forward to this past week and that question, What are you going to do after you graduate? I wanted to tell them my idea. In fact, I’ve almost launched it a dozen times over the years, but three things have kept me stuck: 1) Others have already launched similar resources and are way more qualified 2) I need to find a way to make it profitable to keep my family from going further into debt with my Seeking The Still platform and that feels icky because it’s really supposed to be all about Jesus 3) How am I going to add another huge effort to my already full plate without burning out?

Then I opened Chapter 13 of The Sound of Leadership.

Motivation is Everything

In this chapter, Glanzer answers the question, What is the difference between marketplace leadership and kingdom-seeking, God-honoring, biblically rooted leadership?[8] He answers that question with one word—motivation. Glanzer explains that there are three leadership frequencies (or motivations) that make all the difference: 1) Kingdom leaders seek God’s kingdom rather than build their own empire 2) Kingdom leaders influence rather than control and 3) Kingdom leaders work from inside out rather than outside in. Allow me to explain how each of these motivations helped me get unstuck from those fears holding me back on pursuing my idea.

Seeking God’s Kingdom

Glanzer helped me realize that if I am seeking God Kingdom through my pursuit rather than focusing on my own worldly definitions of success, it does not matter if other organizations have produced similar resources. A variety of voices and perspectives helping others experienced God’s Kingdom is needed! There is no competition in God’s Kingdom, only community and compassion.

Influence Rather Than Control

I was worried about my lack of Biblical expertise being a barrier, but then I realized that I am not wanting to teach, I simply want to share using the unique voice and perspective that God has already given me about the importance of starting each day with a focus on body, mind and spirit. In fact, what I want to create is different from YouVersion and Lectio 365 because these 10 minute day-starters will have components that the others do not:

  1. Story (imagination & creativity)
  2. Truth (from Jesus’ red letter words)
  3. Wisdom (from psychology & neuroscience)
  4. Somatic (breathing, vagus nerve strengthening or stretching)

God has given me the gift of being able to take complex concepts and communicate them clearly. Through mentoring and leading my church team, I have a great understanding of people and relational skills. Through my doctoral research and weekly blog readings, I have a weatlth of content about how our minds and bodies work. And because of my personal journey and deep work recovering from a clinical anxiety diagnosis, I have the tools, stories and wisdom to share with others who are overwhelmed by the daily chaos of their own lives. Add that to the daily work I do to live in step with Jesus and all the components are right there.

Working From The Inside Out

Finally, I realized that my fears about burnout and feeling bad about needing to charge money for this resource are based on internal beliefs that I need to surrender. I’m worried about burnout because I’ve experienced it before, but I know my triggers now and am more equipped to handle them. The worry about charging money is an insecurity I need to work out with God. And getting help to produce this resource is something that God will take care of, if it’s His plan. These issues are not insurmountable if I truly feel called to offer this resource to the world and I surrender them to the care of Jesus.

I anticipated learning a great deal about leadership from Dr. Glanzer, but I did not expect to leave it feeling so hopeful about what God has next in store. I’m so grateful for the wisdom he shared and for God not being done with him, yet!

[1] Jules Glanzer, The Sound of Leadership: Kingdom Notes to Fine Tune Your Life and Influence, 1st edition (Invite Press, 2023), 73.

[2] Glanzer, 55.

[3] Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Joseph Campbell Foundation, 2020).

[4] This quote is originally attributed to John Archibald Wheeler.

[5] www.seekingthestill.com

[6] https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/nwherald/name/frederick-harm-obituary?id=1601549

[7] Sarah Young et al., Jesus Calling, n.d.

[8] Glanzer and Sweet, The Sound of Leadership, 118.

About the Author


Laura Fleetwood

Laura Fleetwood is a Christian creative, certified Enneagram Coach, doctoral student at Portland Seminary and Creative Director at her home church, Messiah St. Charles. As a published author, national faith speaker, podcaster and self-described anxiety warrior, Laura uses storytelling to teach you how to seek the S T I L L in the midst of your chaotic life. Find Laura at www.seekingthestill.com

12 responses to “The Right Book at the Right Time”

  1. Caleb Lu says:

    Laura, thanks for sharing something so personal. It feels evident that your project and your feelings about the project are being shaped as you learn, grow, and change. I look forward to when you launch! It’ll be a fun way to continue learning from and being encouraged by you when we’re done with these blogs.

  2. Audrey Robinson says:

    Laura, your post is inspiring. Sharing your inner struggles certainly resonated with me in so many ways. Like Caleb, I look forward to learning from you after you launch.

    Your voice is clear and it provides light comparable to a lighthouse in the darkness to keep ships from crashing onto the shore. Other attributes, it provides guidance through the storm, has a higher vantage point, and the light is stable and continuous.

  3. mm Becca Hald says:

    Thank you for sharing Laura. I can relate to thinking that I cannot compete with what others are already doing. So many times over the course of this program, I have wondered what I have to offer that is not already out there. You wrote, “In fact, what I want to create is different…” This is exactly what I keep reminding myself, and what others have reminded me. We are all unique and God reaches us in unique ways. Just because there is something similar already out there, does not mean that my (or your) project has no value. At one point, God spoke to me and said the reason there are so many different options out there is because the need is so great. You are meeting a need and have a niche that no one else does. I am excited to see where God takes this and praying that He provides the answers for funding.

  4. mm Chad McSwain says:

    Hi Laura

    I resonated with so much of what you wrote. Working o na podcast for my project, I continue to wrestling with the same sort of questions – others have done this and are more qualified, plus I will have to spend money to that I may never earn back. I have chosen to move forward anyway to step into that nudge in my life and now, fulfill the doctoral project. I even reflected that I would not be this far in if I hadn’t made it my doctoral project.

    You have what it takes to step into this new work. As you write, “Through my doctoral research and weekly blog readings, I have a weatlth of content about how our minds and bodies work. And because of my personal journey and deep work recovering from a clinical anxiety diagnosis, I have the tools, stories and wisdom to share with others who are overwhelmed by the daily chaos of their own lives. Add that to the daily work I do to live in step with Jesus and all the components are right there.”

    You have the content and desire to help others out of your own story and journey. That’s what others are looking for and will connect with. You don’t have to be first to this space, just authentic to who you are. That will allow this podcast to be a resource for those who need it most.

    • Thank you for sharing that, Chad. It helps me not feel quite so alone in this struggle! I can’t wait to listen to your podcast and see what you’ve been working on for the past two years! I know God is going to work through it.

  5. Alana Hayes says:

    Thank you for sharing Laura! God is not done with you either!

    Just like a surgeon gets paid for their knowledge in keeping our physical body alive and safe, you should get paid for keeping our internal body alive and safe!

    Proud to know you!

  6. Alana – Thank you for that analogy. I’m going to keep that in the back of my mind when I start feeling insecure. Proud to know you, as well, my friend.

  7. mm Shonell Dillon says:

    Great post. I think that you already know my opinion about anything that concerns advancing the kingdom of God. As we spoke about in our peer session, two things that I like to do is use my voice and speak to the mountains that hinder me. The second but always first thing is to talk to God about. Remember that your gift is your gift and YOU can do all things. (ignore the grammar).

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