I know that time doesn’t move faster and can’t move faster, but these two years have gone by very quickly. While the schedule has been intense, it has not been burdensome. As a full-time lead pastor with a family and all the responsibilities that both require, this LGP program has been grafted into my life, enriching, expanding and enhancing at every turn of a page and a calendar.
The lead mentor, Jason Clark, provides an excellent framework for learning, particularly from the readings assigned. The readings forced me to learn in areas that I would not norm . There are times when the challenge of reading a book in a week seems daunting, however learning to read through the lens of our research interest provides necessary incentive. Additionally the weekly chats allow dissemination of the subject matter and a mutual learning environment that is shared by all members of the cohort.
From my experience the weekly readings and blogposts contributed significantly to the Academic Essays that were required each semester. In turn the academic essays have provided the building blocks for my dissertation to come. While this was one of the key selling features of the program (for me), it is a joy and a relief to realize that the experience has been better than advertised, as each step has allowed a refining of my research interest with challenges to consider alternative perspectives.
The international advances have allowed me the opportunity to learn from seasoned leaders in their respective global contexts. In as much as the time spent in those countries allowed surface first-hand exposure, it was the diverse excellence of the presenters who provided the depth of insight that I pray will not leave me too soon. Understanding their history, their perspective and hearing their passionate commitment to follow God has provided an inspirational education in its own right.
The other benefit of the international advances has been the personal connections and relationships developed with others in my cohort as well as the other cohorts. Learning from their educational and life pursuits has enriched and expanded my thinking. Through the formal and informal conversations their encouragement, friendship and prayer have provided a type of mentorship that I didn’t anticipate would be possible. The connections from the advances gave life to our weekly chats and enabled us to be open to learning from each other through our blogs and the comments and input we receive.
I’m not sure how time could have moved so quickly over the last two years. However, the biggest benefit has been learning the importance of being diligent and disciplined with my schedule. Honouring the Lord with a regular Sabbath and trusting Him for the energy and efficiency in my family life, ministry schedule and research responsibilities has not been easy. However because of these last two years, I feel better equipped, to learn from the perspectives of others. Particularly, learning to integrate the experiences and perspectives of our brothers and sisters in Christ from other parts of the world into my life and local ministry context, continues to be transformational.