As I reflect on the past year, the. Greatest thing that is happened is being part of the doctoral program which has so far enriched my leadership in very significant ways. It’s been a great addition to my circle of friends to have the cohort members and to know them. Our first face to face cohort in Hong Kong was a great experience to meet the cohort members and to know them personally. I started this program at a time in my life when there’re many transitions in my leadership roles and at a time when our ministry organization is on a rapid growth path. I took over the overall Executive leadership of ministry in January 2019 as we embarked on growth into new territories and as we started registering the ministry in the US as a corporate entity. This plus my other church responsibilities have not made my workload lighter in addition to the doctorate program.
It’s was great for me to understand my enneagram personality type 3 as an achiever which helped me to understand myself more and helps me to figure out how to navigate through this season in my life. It was very easy to agree with this assessment of my personality because I have always been driven by the need for accomplishment and value external validation based on my success achievements. This combined with being an introvert is an interesting combination and my understanding my enneagram personality type has helped me a great deal to appreciate who I am as a person and not be stressed up by my low profile participation in public forums.
The books that we have read and blogged on have been such a great resource for me to have a greater picture of leadership and have enriched me as a person. Key among these books was Chasing The Dragon by Jackie Pullinger which was a challenge to follow the leading of God in pursuit His calling in my life. Jackie’s persistence in fighting the spiritual darkness in Hong Kong and her dependence on The Holy Spirit’s leading was for me both inspiring but also a reminder that what I do is God’s work and I can only success by relying totally on Him. Other books that have had a remarkable impact on me include: Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools (Thinkers Guide Library) by Richard Paul and critical thinking can help me make better decisions; The Dark Side of Transformational Leadership by Dennis Tourish helped me to see the dangers of too much power and dependence being vested in the overall leader but also the importance of a leadership model that allows and values feedback from the followers; Simple Habits for Complex Times by Jenniffer Gerber helped me to appreciate the need to allow for the possible opportunities by using the right questions as opposed to restricting myself and the organization to only the probable solutions, Jenniffer also helped me to appreciate the power of taking the humble posture through questions to allow others to come on the table with ideas that enrich the solutions; and Dare to Lead by Brene Brown on the need for courage as a leader but also to be vulnerable. I really appreciate the selection of the course text books and take the opportunity to thank the faculty for putting together a great Doctoral program.
As I grow in my leadership this program is also significant Spiritually. I am on a growth path and this program has enriched my journey of faith with my Lord Jesus Christ. The emphasis on developing and continually reviewing the Personal Leadership Development Plan (PLDP) has served to help me reflect on my relationship with God, my spiritual discipline, the important people in my life and the importance stories/events in shaping my value system which have all been helpful in my spiritual journey. The discussions in our Monday zoom classes are enriching and the interaction with a such a diversity of church and ministry leaders enriched the spiritual and learning experience. I look forward to another year with great expectation for more growth in my leadership and spiritual transformation process.
Nothing moved me during our trip to Hong Kong as profoundly as our visit to the Wong Tai Sin Temple. We boarded a large bus, drove through the vast urban, modern metropolis, a maze of triple decked highways and traffic, and then got off the bus in front of a series of stunning towers. They went up and up and up. These apartment buildings full of 200 square foot apartments are what most Hong Kong residents live in. Standing in that location before we made our way to the Temple on foot, I almost felt as if I were in a futuristic society, one that has been even further removed from nature and the spiritual connection we have to the elements. All I saw were towers. (more…)
When I was just a boy, I came up with the unusual idea of writing letters to all the embassies in Ottawa requesting they mail me a copy of their country’s map. Who could refuse the request of a 10-year-old? Soon, my bedroom wall became a patchwork of oceans and mountains, roads and rail lines from places like the Netherlands, India, and Ghana. At our Hong Kong Advance, when Jason brought up the metaphor of mapmaking, my ears perked up. (more…)
I start with this short clip because the fast-paced, city look and feel with its 8,000+ skyscrapers made the biggest impression on me more than anything else. There were plenty of times during my stay in Hong Kong when I felt the need to retreat and collect my thoughts and process the experiences of the days gone by and the days ahead. Ironically enough the place I sought sanctuary was at the local McDonalds which was a few blocks away from Panda Hotel, the hotel where our cohort stayed. Back home, a McDonalds would be the furthest thing from anyone’s mind to find peace and quiet. But in Hong Kong, where everyone is constantly on the move, McDonalds was the closest any place I could find in Hong Kong where some respite was found. Surprisingly, Starbucks was not even an option since the interior design was meant for people on the go. The tables and chairs, sans walls were empty; meant for passersby. (more…)
If South Africa was magical, then Hong Kong was insane. Literally insane. The city of Hong Kong should not exist. All of the elements that had to come together to make Hong Kong what it is, is truly bizarre. Witnessing the different parts of Hong Kong as a westerner was a demanding task. More than once a day I would be hit with the strange sensation of having your mind blown. The trip was barely walking the shore of a new land while of waves after waves of revelation and eye-opening experiences were crashing over us. After so much of this, at my biggest revelation began to to be how much safety and amazement I could have when I finally encountered something familiar. (more…)
“Turn yourself upside-down and look in a different manner.” The advice offered by Dr. Stephen Miller, Regional Director of East Asia Mission to Seafarers, intrigued me. As a child, I loved standing on my hands and seeing the world from a different perspective. Grown-ups rarely turn themselves upside-down on purpose. We wobble and weaken when flipped head to toe, and adults prefer to take stances that are stable and strong. But travel into a different culture–if you really choose to enter in–will turn you upside-down. You can either fight to find your equilibrium or choose, instead, to take in the view. (more…)
As I reflect on this past year, probably the most surprising part of this journey has been the amazing friendships I have developed with the wonderful people in my LGP8 cohort. I didn’t realize I would gain this extra benefit from pursuing my Doctor of Ministry, but it has definitely been a pleasant surprise. I can confidently say that my first advance to Cape Town, South Africa changed me. I will never look at apartheid the same or forget the tragic stories of how the extreme discrimination affected the people of South Africa. I have also changed in the way I look at my topic of research. As I have read and researched my topic of gender-balanced leadership, I have become even more passionate about making a difference in closing this long-standing gender-leadership gap in top leadership positions around the country and in almost every sector of life. I also see myself leading differently and being more deliberate in advocating for female leaders and educating others about the gender-balanced leadership crisis. I also feel more confident in my leadership as I read materials from the experts and discuss leadership principles with my colleagues over Zoom chats and blog discussions. (more…)
Since I first visited Asia when I was fifteen, I have been smitten. My time in Hong Kong only deepened it. What I mean is that I like the people, the places and the culture I experienced. There was a warmth that felt familiar but a pervasive drive, efficiency and sharpness of mind that was distinct.
Culture can be experienced many ways and food is one of my favorites. Eating good, local food and walking the streets of Hong Kong was of personal interest to me. And I got the feeling I was just scratching the surface. (more…)
Eight days of intense immersion into the Hong Kong culture had left me exhausted and even frustrated. It had been nonstop with six speaking engagements, meetings, touring, and that was before the cohort arrived. The environment of small spaces in the hotel room, elevators, buses and trains with so many people in extremely close proximity constantly in a flurry of activity was draining for this introvert.
Mong Kok was a fast paced, densely populated area of diverse stories. As we walked the streets I attempted to look into the eyes of those I passed. In most of the adults there was a somber expression and I realized I was reflecting the expression I was seeing. The only souls that were uniquely set apart were the children. Every group we passed going to and from school still had a face of wonder and laughter. This was in stark contrast to the countenance of most of the elders I observed. (more…)
Arrival in Hong Kong brought both a sense of relief and renewed expectation. Relief because I was finally able to begin the Doctor of Ministry programme, and renewed hope because I was supposed to be in Portland, Oregon doing Semiotics. The Lord works in mysterious ways. (more…)
I’m sitting in my stark white condo tower in Toronto calling the electric company and internet provider to cancel service beginning Sunday. We have a U-Haul truck lined up for Friday to cart the remainder of our possessions 14 hours east to the Maritimes. It’s the end of a long, slow, and sometimes painful 18-month transition from big city action to rural peace. And this DMin course and colleagues have accompanied me and unknowingly influenced me through this change of letting go, moving to obscurity, and being ok with less busyness. (more…)
Not often does one get the privilege to enter into the inner sanctum of another culture. To be able to see inside the way the people go about their daily lives and embracing the world through their eyes. The East Meets West Advance 2018 with George Fox University provided just that experience.
Before attending the advance, your thoughts and heart engage with the lives of the people through readings that connect you to the heartbeat of the culture. Though the texts are great nothing prepares you for the moment when the pages come to life before your eyes. The moment with the familiar is relevantly unfamiliar, and everything you thought of Hong Kong tantalizes your senses.
The sounds of the people in the marketplace, children in the schoolyards, and the hush sounds in the crowded subways. Extra moments are taken to breathe in the bountiful city landscapes and intentionality design beautiful architecture in the high rise building. Slower strides are made as you pass the parks filled with people of multiple nationalities, Indian, African, Chinese, Norweign, and the thought comes to mind of how similar our cultures are yet different. We all have different ways of thinking, religious, family traditions, socio-economic statuses but we are all also God’s creations. Created different with our individual paths.
Your horizons widen as you embrace the vision of a people of strength and hope facing a future yet unknown to them. A struggle to balance the haves and have-nots, the Chinese or Hong Kongers, the future or now, meet them every day. However, when they speak wisdom flows from deep places of experience and grit. From the young people in the Umbrella Revolution to the asylum seekers from South Africa, Sir Lanka and more, their stories force the challenger to arise in all that hear them.
You will leave the advance fully aware of who you are and the part you play in this big beautiful world. You will understand that culture does not divide us, it unites us.
As we continue on this journey of life we will see things from a different of view; a different view of looking beyond the lens, if you would.
Visiting Hong Kong in 2018 with my wife, after Cape Town in 2017 and previously being missionaries in Botswana and Zambia 2009-2011, was something I always hoped we could accomplish. I enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells of the Hongkonger culture. This ethnographic post is my story from the 2018 Face-to-Face Advance with my Leadership and Global Perspectives (LGP) class. Personal interest, new knowledge, practice, and application are the key themes I will reflect on and show examples of learning synthesis. (more…)
Glo and I had arrived for the Hong Kong advance a day early to get on local time and rest up. This picture was taken on Tuesday evening, September 25th, during our first advance activity (a meet-and-greet at a restaurant within the Panda Hotel complex). Not wanting to be late (as always) we were some of the first ones to arrive. We were tired and exhausted. Glo is always sweet and gracious when she is tired; I am not. We desperately wanted to find someone to talk to who was friendly and kind. We met Chris Roush who was one of the faculty advisors (not knowing anyone, we initially thought she might be a fellow cohort participant). We immediately connected and became fast friends. Chris may never know how she helped launch this life-changing experience for us. Thank you, Lord, for Chris! (more…)
When friends or family have asked about this new doctoral program that I started this year, I have explained it all to them again and again. And as I describe it to other people, I realize again: if I were going to make up a DMin program that fits for me and my interests, this is it! People constantly say things to me like, “yea, that sounds exactly like your kind of program.”
Looking back, I have been pleasantly surprised to see how my DMin work has fit into the rest of my life. There have been some intense periods when it felt like everything was due at the same time or where there are more assignments than I had wanted to do, but in general it has become part of the flow of my week. (more…)