In the midst of political turmoil, religious upheaval and economic uncertainty, I’m brought before the presence of God – I’m brought to a place of identity – a place of surrender. As the world spins and my generation convenes on the steps of cathedrals and coffee shops, I’m challenged to lean into the cries of my culture and understand their heartbeat. Steven Bevans, author of Models of Contextual Theology, reveals, “Christianity, if it is to be faithful to its deepest roots and to its most basic instinct, must continue God’s incarnation in Jesus by becoming contextual.” In the midst of societal degeneration, leadership deterioration and church failure, I have been challenged to be the contextual incarnation of Christ.
This past year, I’ve delved into countless books, articles and interviews in order to engage and understand my audience’s perception of life, church, management and leadership. As I entered into this program, my goal was to gain a higher understanding of my research and delve into academic challenges. However, as the first year has come to a close, I have been pleasantly surprised to find that this program not only provided intellectual conversation, but indispensable friendships. I have found solace and sanctuary amongst my cohort contemporaries. My age and gender have always been held against me, both in church and the business sector. Therefore, finding comradery and colleague-related friendship has been difficult. However, George Fox has renewed my ideals in egalitarian leadership and aided to shape my perceptions of equality within the church and corporate management structure.
Jason, Cliff, Loren, Roger and Debbie have been the sentinels of my academic experience and spiritual growth. They’ve challenged my understanding of gentrification, capitalism, racism, contextual theology and social theory. These leaders have given me the ability to see ministry from a globalized perspective. It is because of these mentors, that my life has been changed.
The DMin in Leadership and Global Perspectives has given me the opportunity to question perceptions and understand culture through the lens of academic research, professional interviews and peer-related interaction. It has caused me to lead differently. The International Advance, Customized Courses and PLDP Assignments have allowed me to see Millennial controversy from the perceptive of inter-generational communication struggle and expanded my understanding of cultural assimilation.
This past year, has birthed LOUD Magazine, LOUD Summit, and LOUD Conversations Consulting Company. It has also served to terminate Recklessly Abandoned Ministry and place my organizations under a LLC structure. The DMin program has enabled me to hear the questions of my generation and formulate a response that meet their demands. Each assignment, interaction and text has challenged my ministry to evolve in order to answer the doubts of my audience. Each moment of this program has shaped my convictions and challenged my presentation of the gospel.
George Fox Evangelical Seminary has brought me before the faces of humanity and invited me to know their story – they’ve challenged me to lean down my ear to the voice of civilization and lend my hands and feet to their cause – they’ve opened my eyes and my soul to a globalized understanding of Christan ministry.
Stephen B. Bevans, Models of Contextual Theology, Faith and Cultures Series (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1992), 12.