DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

If you want to make the world a better place…Deep Change

Written by: on June 28, 2018

This week I have the honor of being part of a team facilitating a camp for rising high school juniors and seniors. Our camp is titled Theologia and our focus is to invite a group of twenty-five young scholars to consider God and the world through new lenses, with the intention of giving them a greater depth of theological insight as they engage the world. Our theme for the week is shalom. Each day we explore a specific aspect of shalom: shalom and the environment, shalom and poverty, shalom and racial reconciliation, shalom and the soul. As we are nearing the end of our week, I have been impressed with the level of engagement around the topics. The scholars are deeply reflecting on each conversation. They are doing the work to grow into healthy new perspectives and ways of living.

In my observations and dialogue with our scholars I have seen they are doing the work of Robert Quinn’s Deep Change Field Guide. They are spending time receiving content, evaluating it, trying it out, communicating and questioning, critiquing their own assumptions, and making adjustments to their thinking and behavior in incremental ways. They are being given space to do these things and they are encouraged to do so in community and independently. Essentially, they are living Quinn’s thesis of doing the work of deep change in themselves so that they may help others in their deep change.

Quinn recognizes that change begins with self-leadership. “The argument at the heart of my work is that self-change is crucial to leadership. For the organization to become a more adaptive system that is learning, the leader must become a more adaptive system who is learning.”[1]  As important and relevant as Quinn’s assessment of change is, it requires a level of internal or external motivation to encourage change within a leader. With our scholars, we are creating a safe space for them to process and find new avenues for leading themselves and others. For most, the need for deep change is great but the fears faced and the disciplines required can be stumbling blocks to growth.

Quinn sites “The King’s Speech” as a reference for deep change in a dramatic depiction of King George VI. The king had a speech impediment, causing him to stammer every time he had to deliver an important message, or any message, to his people. His position required him to be a voice for the people yet he was unable to fulfill his duty without undergoing a long and painful process of change. It is important to note that he did so in community, with his therapist and his wife, and eventually involved the very people he led in his transformation. From the necessity of his role, he was both internally and externally motivated to change, even when he was certain he could not be healed.

Not always are we moved out of painful circumstances to make a great change. At times, such change can come from a conviction, a movement of God, a revelation. But for it to be deep it must be practiced over time with an investment in ourselves before we can deeply influence others. As Quinn mentions, “Deep change is adaptive work. It requires that we learn to do things we do not know how to do.”[2] Change requires risk and may involve failure. Change also causes us to live in tension points that may be uncomfortable. Those are the places of learning and growth.

Quinn also cited the levels of change from Otto Scharmer, which are worth noting and remembering. From easiest to most challenging:

  • Re-acting: A challenge confronts us and we try to resolve it.
  • Re-structuring: We define current reality and decide to create new structures and processes.
  • Re-designing: We recognize other ways of perceiving the challenge and we create new core activities and processes that incorporate our changed perspective.
  • Re-framing: We engage in dialogue with the key actors, and the process reveals many of our own deep assumptions. Understanding our assumptions helps us create new thinking and new principles of action.
  • Re-generating: We reexamine our purpose and discover where our commitment comes from. We draw strength from understanding why we do what we do.[3]

Reading Quinn’s text continually reminded me of Michael Jackson’s 1987 hit song, ‘Man in the Mirror’.  A pop song, Jackson recognized that change had to begin with himself, moving from the internal to the external. His knowledge of the problems in the world compelled him toward active compassion. I am not sure if it is possible (or necessary) to rank Jackson’s level of change. Was it reactive, redesigned, regenerative? All we know is that he has learned enough to know that he needs to make change in his life.

“Learning is the engine of deep change; as we put ourselves into uncertain places, our assumptions change and we grow. We increase our capacity best by being fully challenged. But challenge is not enough. For us to turn uncertainty into personal transformation, we must be supported and encouraged in the process of engagement and learning.[4]

After a full day on the topic of shalom and racial reconciliation, one of our Theologia scholars recognized that they had grown up with racism in their family in some pretty overt ways. As the scholar processed with their leader and peer group, they were convicted to break the cycle. Instead of confronting their family they decided they would live and speak differently, modeling the change God was doing in their life through their actions. For many it would have been easier to just approach their family or talk it through. Yet this scholar realized that the change needed to begin internally. This scholar is choosing to the more complex and regenerative path of deep change. And in so doing they are finding they are ushering in the shalom of God.


[1] Quinn, Robert. Deep Change Field Guide: A Personal Course to Discovering the Leader Within. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, 2012, 49.

[2] Quinn, 39.

[3] Ibid., 51.

[4] Ibid., 9.

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.

12 responses to “If you want to make the world a better place…Deep Change”

  1. mm M Webb says:

    I like your shalom theme for your HS Jr-Sr camp. I did an Armor of God boot-camp for Jr High a few years back and wow, what a difference in their spiritual character and development when compared to their peers who did not attend. I’m sure you will see the same results for your attendees.
    Thanks for sharing your church camp experiences. That is very refreshing and encouraging for me working over here in a very austere location without any youth around at all.
    Hope to see you in HK.
    Stand firm,
    M. Webb

    • mm Trisha Welstad says:

      Mike, I am glad to share from this perspective and for the encouragement it brings you. Camps are this amazing microcosm of opportunity for growth and I am so thankful we both have had the ability to facilitate such spaces. I am hopeful for the future of the church when I get to see young people engage God in these spaces.

  2. mm Jay Forseth says:

    Hi Trish,

    Loved your pics on Facebook with the young folk. Thanks for posting those. We are all thinking of you and the the baby’s birth soon. Talk about Deep Change, your family is going through one (grin).

    I appreciate your good work with the grant and future leaders. Keep it up and soak up our summer break if you can.

    • mm Trisha Welstad says:

      Thanks Jay. I appreciate your encouragement and prayers as we near baby due date. Trying to slow the pace and just enjoy what’s happening…and summer too! I pray your conference went well. See you soon.

  3. mm Kyle Chalko says:

    Man we have had quite the ecletic musical references this year within our cohort. shamon…!

    Great job Trish. Developing the leader within is the most important task. This book made we wonder have I over-assumed how much self-leadership I have been taking?

    • mm Trisha Welstad says:

      I agree about the music. It’s great!

      Regarding the perspective on self-leadership, I wonder what kind of balance there is or if it’s a constant tension as we are in a place of service. I know I need more self-leadership in the way of caring for myself at times. That’s one of the hardest things for me when I see others in need. But I am much better at caring for them when I have cared for me.

  4. Thanks for a great post in the midst of you leading an awesome theology camp for our young people. I have first-hand reports of how awesome it really is and how amazing you are as a leader (even being 9mo pregnant…wow) Thank you for investing in them, including my daughter. Also I have to say, “Man in the Mirror” is one of my favorite songs and appreciated you conveniently placing the video there for us!

    • mm Trisha Welstad says:

      Thanks Jake! The last story I shared was shared with me from your daughter. You will have to ask her to give a first-hand account. It was pretty cool!

      I do love the Man in the Mirror song too. I had not seen the video before but wasn’t surprised for the time period. Not too much has changed.

  5. Shawn Hart says:

    Trisha, I remember listening to an old Paul Harvey “The Rest of the Story” radio broadcast that told of a young, broke man who was living and working in a mechanic shop that made an empty offer to a rich man to design his new home. Intrigued by the young man’s offer, the rich man offered to see his designs on his next visit to the shop; only one problem, the young man knew nothing about architecture. Knowing that this could be his big break out of the shop, he went to the library and checked out a bunch of books on the topic, and then at night would sit up on the roof of the shop and read by flashlight. Later the wealthy man returned and the young man offered him the blueprints he had come up with; he got the job. That young man was Harrison Ford; before Star Wars or Indiana Jones, he realized that he had to change himself if he wanted to find success. Even today, the rare celebrity can boast about living in one of his designed homes.

    Trisha, you have touched on the heart of the matter; before we can change the world, we must first learn to change ourselves to fit the mold of Christ. If we can not only instill that in ourselves, but also encourage others to find that same desire, imagine how great the Church could become.

    • mm Trisha Welstad says:

      Shawn, thanks for your insight on Harrison Ford- what a great story! He is pretty talented and I am glad for his willingness to put in the work to get where he’s at. I pray that all those who are part of the church would have the courage and grit to allow themselves to be molded into the image of Christ. I can imagine what a wonderful world it would be with God’s kingdom come through willing and risk-taking servants.

  6. mm Jason Turbeville says:

    I love that you are leading young people into being theological thinkers that interact with their whole life, not just what they are told to believe. Great thing to be a part of.


  7. mm Jean Ollis says:

    You are doing amazing work with this group of young people. It restores hope and faith in the future of Christianity. Now that you’ve poured into this camp, it’s time to prepare for baby girl. Enjoy some quiet time as you embark on this new journey. Can’t wait to connect in the fall!

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