The people of London were of all races and nationalities, all cultures like a Cajun dish named Jum-Ba-li and when thrown in the same pot and seasoned correctly (with the nourishment of mental food), they see the opportunities awaiting them in the job market and in ministries where they can serve and are being served well. The London/Oxford Advance was the perfect place for a cultural experience; it was like no other place. I was even told on several occasions, “I like your accent.” This caused me to laugh because I always like the way the British sound, in their natural form. Then it hit me , this is what “The Advances” are all about: the global perspective of ministry, learning and working with people of many differed cultures. Well, my experience is that most people from all countries are pretty similar and interesting. But if we’re talking about the differences, I would classify Brits as more cynical and critical than most people, but they do have a great sense of humor. My thought is that most Brits are extremely funny and interesting. They know how to tell a good joke and have a good time.However, there were more cultures in the pot beside British, which makes London like the Cajun dish JUM-BA-LI.
God has a world-sized role for every Christian in His global purpose, according Matthew 28:19–20 (NIV) “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” When we reflect and focus on the mission, it should always include the Biblical, historical, cultural, and strategic. Each one highlights different aspects of God’s global purpose. However, going to distant countries or staying at home is a secondary issue. The primary issue is most people are hungry to discover their vision and to live a life of purpose. As a part of the Doctor of Ministry Leadership Global Perspective program, I am discovering that vision makes this course valuable, and perhaps crucial; we must travel to other nations and have new culture experiences. This is our “Hands-on Experience”; it gives the students an advantage by having a “Advance” each year within different cultures, an opportunity to experience the leadership of different cultures wherein we discover leadership and business challenges, analyze goals, develop strategies, and prepare for our own endeavors.
Steve Chalke Gives a Global Perspective
First Meeting … Steve Chalke was our guest lecturer, founder of Oasis, also known around the world today as a prominent broadcaster. Chalke gave a stimulating presentation. His comments were especially helpful to those doing research in leadership and organization building. Some of the cohort may have been at a standstill in their progress, and Chalke’s talk seemed to provide much-needed help. It was very interesting to hear about his experience as a leading Christian thinker and social activist, and how he laid the first foundation of Oasis in 1985 and remains at the heart of the movement today. His stories about his life and business ventures were fascinating. We all can agree that his lecture was the most interesting and set the pace for the 2016 Advance.
Our 2016 Advance has enabled us to develop and expand a global mindset, which impacts the way our organizations are leading. One definition of leading offered suggests “it is the ability to influence individuals, groups, organizations, and systems that have different intellectual, social, and psychological knowledge or intelligence from your own.” The global leadership picture by Steve Chalke was an accurate perspective of his interest, concerns, and current level of cultural literacy. It was about learning how an organization does business in other parts of the world. As we listened to Chalke, it was more than the old adage, “think globally and act locally,” it’s now “think and act both globally and locally” at the same time. This means not only recognize when it is beneficial to create a consistent global standard, but also deepen the understanding of local and cultural differences, crossing cultures and changing contexts. It requires simultaneously recognizing situations in which demands from both global and local elements are compelling, while combining openness to and awareness of diversity across cultures and markets with a willingness and ability to synthesize across this diversity.
Steve gave us the means, having reference points of people and mentors, including himself, who have “been there, done that,” which is critical to assimilating properly and quickly. However, in my endeavor of building the Restoration Christian Outreach Community (RCOC), our leadership needs to understand the facts about different countries and cultures, business procedures, and local information about customs and practices, from both a social and a business perspective. We were being educated to be able to readily transport this information across all borders within our organizations.
The Doctor of Ministry cohort’s experience was now about being involved, acting or doing … it focuses on the organization and the context. It is said to be the best teacher because it is guided and intentional learning from meaningful Advance experiences, relevant and applied. The 2016 Advance exposed us to being involved and interacting by focusing on the people and roles of other cultures.
What is London?
London is royalty and celebrity. London is high society and grunge. London is British and multicultural. London says, “This is London” by Ben Judah and “The Inklings of Oxford” by Harry Lee Poe.
A tribute to their sorrow and fate
At the famous Harrods department store, look for the spectacular Egyptian escalator, go all the way down to the lower ground floor and you’ll be right in front of the Princess Diana/Dodi Fayed Memorial. This Memorial is a tribute to their sorrow and fate. You may find it somehow tacky or kitschy, displaying the last wine glasses used by them at that tragic night of August 31, 1997, in Paris, as well as the engagement ring Dodi Fayed bought her the day before the tragedy. At the same time, it is not easy visiting it: Dozens of tourists, all with their cameras and cell phones, are eager to take photos at the memorial and grab some fond souvenirs to take home. I couldn’t even get very close to it. I wouldn’t tell you to go to Harrods only to visit the memorial, but if you are already there, reach the lower ground floor and visit it … quietly.
Memories of Oxford
Prof Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church of Oxford University was our host, for they 2016 Advance three days in Oxford, England. It was an exciting, stimulating, memorable, and historic event for all cohort.
The presentations were worth more than endless hours of reading. They were brilliant and thought provoking. History was made in those short days, and I don’t know how another one could come close to the breadth and depth of this “Advance” and the intellectual excitement it generated. I was so elated with all the talks that I felt I could sit through more days of such impressive presentations even though I should have been exhausted from the traveling and jet lag. Our leadership was at the top of their game and even posted notes from the speakers for the cohorts, which are valuable for our dissertations and also may be of tremendous interest to future prospective students interesting in joining the DMin program.
Memories of Pembroke
My time at Pembroke was incredibly stimulating and enriching surrounded by so much history, because Pembroke College is a place known for housing students from a huge range of disciplines and backgrounds, who came to learn and live together – could there be a more appropriate venue for our 2016 Advance?
However, most of our activities were scheduled to be just a walk through Christ church. Frankly speaking, my knowledge of Christ Church was limited, but I learned that, “Almost everyone who visits Oxford finds themselves at Christ Church (the “Harry Potter College”) at some point, and with good reason. The college has its own Picture Gallery; its entrance is one of the most spectacular towers in the University; its Chapel actually doubles as the city’s cathedral and it owns a magnificent public Meadow that somehow manages to remain secluded in spite of its ultra-central location.”
The trip was reminder that UK’s full name is The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the UK is made up of the countries of England, Scotland, Wales (on the island of Great Britain) and Northern Ireland (on the island of Ireland). I learn a few words by talking to sales ladies: Such as “Ta” – “Thank you” lift = elevator, Cheers” thank you” or “goodbye