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

Uncomfortable Growth

Written by: on November 22, 2022

We are extremely blessed in the culture we live in the U.S. We have incredible homes, furnishings, comforts that many cultures or ethnicities never face or understand. We work and provide so are children can have it a little easier than we had it. But we must ask, are we hurting our children rather than helping them.

I had a head pastor challenge me in my first years of ministry, he asked me if I rescue everyone how will they learn? That suffering helps us to bring change.

Drawing Wisdom

Tempered Resilience draws wisdom from a variety of sources, Moses, Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Heifitz, Edwin Friedman, Brene Brown, Angela Duckworth, and more. Tempered Resilience is grounded in church leadership and helps us in external and internal challenges. To summarize this book into one sentence, “resilience for faith based leaders who wisely persevere toward the mission God has put before them amid both external challenges and internal resistance of the leader’s followers.”


Boslinger narrows the forging process of being a resilient leader into six steps:

  1. Working
  2. Heating
  3. Holding
  4. Hammering
  5. Hewing
  6. Tempering

1. Working-Healthy Leadership comes from experience through engaging in the trials and tribulations of this life.

2. Heating-Those who are healthy and resilient leaders will lean into the process of “heating.” This is through honest self reflection.

3. Holding-Don’t go al0ne. “The vulnerability of leadership needs the security of many relationships.”

4. Hammering-refers to the process of spiritual formation. “Leaders are forging the strength and character.”

5. Hewing-this stage is all about hope. How do we hew hope from despair? Not only in our own lives, but also for the lives in our care.

6. Tempering-focuses on developing a rhythm of work and rest.

Personal Application

In my own time of living out Tempered Resilience through Covid, I lived each of these stages in my ministry in Lake Stevens, WA. In the beginning of Covid, our church was threatened to be permenently closed by the County and Health Department, I made a personal decision to not abandon Jesus Christ in this time. I chose to be a soldier of Jesus Christ and did I ever pay the price for that decision.

The food ministry at the Well Church exploded in a few weeks. We went from a church of 100 souls of primarily youth to feeding the 5,000. Every week we had over 5,000 people coming for food, prayer, ministry, baptisms, bibles, and healings. It seemed the more persecution happened, the more God moved at our little church.

The attacks escalated on to our own personal property and vehicles. In this time I received my first death threat in ministry. That if I did not close down the church and food ministry, the attacks would get worse, and one day, I would never come back home again.

In this time, the biggest mistake I made, was isolating myself in protecting myself and family. In fact I still struggle with this, when people approach me I look for a weapon, body language, how do I put this person into submission. Rather than praying, loving, and hugging people. I was in defensive mode, worse my church and volunteers moved into protection mode as well. Through this time, the hammering process was great. But God, was after something deep inside of me, God wanted His pastor to be tempered. To stand in the fire no matter how hot or cold it got and minister.


In this present time, I am in stage 6 of the steps. I am trying to find that new rhythm of work and rest. I will have  to let some things go such as the food ministry so our school of Diligence can thrive at the Well. Through all of this, I feel like I have been through a war. But in all of this, I am a better leader.


I am curious, what step are you possibly in at this present time?

About the Author

Greg McMullen

Pastor Greg resides in Lake Stevens WA and pastors a small rural church in Machias WA. The Well Church has a large food ministry in which many different cultures come each week to get food and counsel. The Church has a small school that immigrants attend, the school is a ministry of mercy. Pastor Greg has a large family of 10 children and enjoys fishing, hiking, and nature.

5 responses to “Uncomfortable Growth”

  1. Kristy Newport says:

    Thank you for sharing personally. It sounds like there has been a lot of hammering in your life. I am sad to hear that someone has threatened you. I am praying for your safety and freedom to continue to do the work and ministry that God puts before you.
    I pray this holiday season presents itself as safe.

  2. Kristy,
    It was definitely a learning and growing experience. But through all the hammering, I believe God was after something deep inside of me. Like Peter, I have a hard time keeping my sword in its sheath. That old boxer in my wants to fight back a little rather than be obedient, take the lashings for His glory.

  3. Michael O'Neill says:

    Great post, Greg. I was inspired by our comment “In the beginning of Covid, our church was threatened to be permenently closed by the County and Health Department, I made a personal decision to not abandon Jesus Christ in this time. I chose to be a soldier of Jesus Christ and did I ever pay the price for that decision.” This along with many other comments you have made to me keep me going and your resistance through many things you have shared is something God is extremely proud of. Continue the fight, my friend. You are moving the Kingdom forward!

  4. Michael,

    Thank you. In leadership, it’s not so much one problem or incident that takes causes you to lose hope. Often a leader bleeds to death from many knife wounds, worse your hard can become hard and lose your original purpose.

    I am thankful for what I have learned in this semester. Friedmen’s book was life giving to me, to recognize people who can potentially sabotage your vision and ministry.

    Even though the food ministry has changed, I have found something special with our small school with the food ministry. The school is slowly setting up the food ministry and serving in the food ministry. I am able to disciple in this process. I am truly thankful. These kids are growing in Christ and serving others.

    I have found a new purpose with the food ministry. I get to shape future leaders, missionaries, and pastors.

    I appreciate your encouragement and prayers. You are a great friend and colleague. Bless you!

    Merry Christmas!


  5. Tonette Kellett says:


    I love reading the story of your church and its ministry. You are doing an incredible work for the Lord! Of course there will be hammering. Keep pressing on! Richest blessings on you and your family!

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