Well, my first calendar year of this doctoral program is complete. Each semester was a little different but strategic in preparing us for the next semester. I knew so much about Hong Kong (theoretically) before visiting, and as I write this blog, I feel like I have already visited London. Everyone is qualified to be in the program because of our previous graduate degree or degrees. However, we quickly learned that the more we learn, the more we realize that we do not know.
This is a ministry degree, but it is not a church degree program. This doctoral program embraces global leadership with ministry context in every facet in that my mentor lives in London, and my advisor lives in Australia, while the program directors live in Oregan. Most blended programs (online and face-to-face) limit their writings to discussion boards, but George Fox used a combination of blogs to help us create an online social community without the academic jargon. Writing blogs gave us an opportunity to develop our confidence as leaders, while exposing us to a world of public critique and preparedness to defend our writing.
There are a few things that have changed since enrolling in this doctoral program:
- One of the things this program has done is to allow me to become more culturally aware, culturally conscious and an intentional leader As a Jamaican native and staff of a multiethnic church, I often rely on shared experiences to lead without considering the consequences. After enrolling at George Fox, engaging culture took on a new meaning as I lead culturally with intentionality.
- Throughout my previous college years, assignments had specific instructions with a standardized approach. While there’s structure in this program, the energy is directed towards my dissertation. Turabian is not easiest style when writing but the challenge to conform to this writing style has inspired creativity and independence. There’s a warm feeling as I continue to develop my ideas into a writing solution over the next year. While I have guidance and support, it is my responsibility be proactive and take the initiative to become a global leader.
Throughout the different facets of this program, I have noticed the subtle personal transformation from an inattentive leader to a more intentional and culturally aware…developing leader. I made a decision to take each instruction from the leaders of this program so I can make an immediate impact in any academic, professional and cultural setting. When I started this program, I served on the music of my church. Now, I serve on the church planting team as the music ministry developer and church leadership. Also, I have been tasked with the responsibility to be the liaison between my senior pastor and the network churches. Hence, I am using my George Fox skills to connect with all the churches in our county by engaging diverse denominations and cultures.
I have used the BRAVE approach to highlight how George Fox has helped me lead differently.
- Behavior – I cannot take it for granted that because I enroll in a leadership program, people will automatically follow me. Now, I try to model qualities that create lasting impressions on others and influence them to follow, which leads to implementation.
- Relationships – This is the heartbeat of leadership. It is impossible to lead without connecting with people, so I am building and nurturing healthy relationships throughout my
- Attitudes – I have become more strategic with choices to determine how I am going to win and where I am going to focus my
- Values – Since my enrollment in this program, I have become more intentional in defining the values I intend to create and the principles needed to get me there. It is important for me to be clear on what matters; that is how we fulfill our purpose.
- Environment – When we visited Hong Kong, each site we visited required a different approach, so I have learned the importance of understanding the context in which to
The George Fox Melting Pot
America has a diverse population that started with waves of immigrants. When we consider the DMin program at George Fox, people are welcomed from different countries, race, and religions with a desire to develop their cultural awareness and leadership. With such diversity, Jase said his intent was to challenge our thinking as doctoral students. Each reading prepares us for each international advance (theoretically). The readings are supported by asynchronous discussions that help with our engagement with the books. As we begin our research projects, we can find relevance based on the books we read and the quality discussions. I had not changed much in my research topic from when I initially started this class.
It is very easy to see this program as an iceberg and only observing the tip (application, tuition, and the program overview). However, you would miss the chunk of ice below the surface (values, cohort, tradition, experiences, and behaviors). While each student enters the program from diverse backgrounds with different goals, we assimilate into one cohesive group; a cohort, a family, LGP6. This cohesive is not automatic; we continue to create our community gradually through the advance, weekly chats, emails, blogs and sometimes text. One of the uniqueness is that although we have diverse denominations (tribe), George Fox somehow managed to create a program without the denominational biases. We are not stripped of our identity, but we are challenged to become intentional in how we engage culture. We are now doing things the George Fox way through “Personal Leadership Development” with an “Expanded Perspective” while creating an “Innovative Ministry” through the many experiences.