Bakke Graduate University - Overture I
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Bakke Graduate University - Overture I Bakke Graduate University - Overture I Document Transcript

  • ii ii
  • CHAPTER 1 BOOK REVIEWS I verify that the following list represents all of the books I have read for this course, the page on which you will find my book review, and the number of pages read for each book. BookTitle Page#of book review #ofpages read Transforming Power 6 204 Sub-Merge 7 280 A Theology as Big as the City 8 221 Orthodox Alaska 9 252 The Call 10 249 Globalizing Theology 11 382 Street Signs 12 285 The Lexus and the Olive Tree 13 490 Transforming Mission 14 587 Missional Church 15 280 Reclaiming Our Prodigal Sons and Daughters 16 200 Stewardship 17 264 Renewing the city 18 240 TOTAL PAGES READ 3934 4
  • 5 Transforming Power: Biblical Strategies for Making a Difference in Your Community Robert C. Linthicum Inter Varsity Press (2003) The main idea of this book is relational power, especially as it relates to the engagement of Christians in urban ministry and community development. The first part of the book provides a foundation for a theology of power through such Biblical examples as the lives of Nehemiah and Jesus. The second part of the book is more practical with strategies clearly outlined for people who want to make a difference in developing their communities. The author argues that Christians must engage in the proper understanding and usage of power through relationships, although many evangelical Christians have tended to shy away from the use of power in the world over the past century. The first couple of chapters present the various dynamics of healthy and dysfunctional communities. The next section focuses on specific ways that Christians utilize relational power to engage broken systems, with Jesus and Paul serving as guides. Linthicum says that Paul was “very sophisticated in his understanding of and use of power, and that use of power was built upon a highly developed theology of public life.” (113) From the material that is presented, the reader gathers that Christians have a crucial role to play in public life in our modern society. In fact, many aspects of a healthy community, or what the author describes as shalom in the city, become broken when Christians fail to engage in the use of power. The remaining chapters in the book focus on the exchange of relational power through individual meetings, which lead to the mobilization of the broader church, or body of Christ, en mass in the engagement of relational power. The author also presents strategies for strengths and weaknesses that can occur when the church becomes powerful. For instance, Linthicum cites accountability, confrontation, civil disobedience, negotiation, and agitation as five biblically-based strategies that the church can use to take on corrupt systems. Of all of these actions, the author argues that confrontation is the most difficult for the church to utilize because they “believe it to be inconsistent with a loving, Christ-like faith. But… you can’t hope to bring about change – in a church or in a Christian organization or the world – and avoid confrontation.” (171) Linthicum’s main points are very timely in a modern climate in America where Christians are disengaging from systematic power issues in order to pursue a more individualized brand of spirituality apart from the inconveniences and messiness of power struggles. I believe that this generates a huge void that many government and social service agencies are more than willing to fill. Unfortunately, a healthy society will never be fully restored if the church disengages. However, one common misconception that I hear from people is that the church, defined by some as the people located in a building on Sunday mornings, must be the only source of power to rise up in order for communities to be transformed. I’m learning about the power of a theology of work, which outlines the need to build relational power with Christians who are leaders in the business world, politics, and other “secular” systems in society. These leaders also must be considered in the mobilization of the church toward issues of systemic change.
  • 6 Sub-Merge: Living Deep in a Shallow World John B. Hayes Regal (2006) This book is a call to serve God by working with the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized people of society. The author goes into detail about several missions strategies that are currently being utilized throughout the urban world, with a special emphasis on incarnational living as a key to transformational leadership. He points out that “nearly 1 in 10 verses in the Bible speaks of the poor in some way.” (101) The author does a good job describing the needs of the poor around the world, but that is not really the major theme of the book. The focus is on mobilizing people to join in community with other incarnational leaders in order to connect more effectively with people in need. Great joy can be found in discovering shared experiences within a missional community. The author suggests that the Western church is obsessed with process, and not necessarily solutions. We are also driven to succeed according to Western norms. This modern culture of performance and outcomes presents an enormous obstacle for those that choose to sub-merge into inner city ministry. Innovative and creative strategies are outlined in the book to equip leaders who are interested in moving counter-culturally to work amongst the poor. At first impression, an observer might think that the author is advocating for everyone to move to inner cities around the world in order to become effective Christians by living incarnationally among the poor. Actually, while the author presents a good case for living purposefully as a Christian among the poor, he also presents a unique perspective on the advantages and disadvantages of this aspect of purposeful living. The stories in the book are very inspirational, and good stories move people to action. The author throws out a tremendous challenge to the body of Christ in the first part of the book, but then he seems to let up toward the end by describing in detail all of the many challenges and difficulties associated with sub-merging. So, the strategies about incarnational living are a strong point of the book, but the difficulties outlined can be perceived by the reader as discouraging. I must admit that I have considered living incarnationally prior to reading this book. Ray Bakke and Robert Linthicum introduced this idea in books I had previously read on urban ministry. After reading this book, I really took a step back from everything to consider incarnational ministry as a calling. I have been equally torn between developing the property I live on as a mentoring center for LAMP, or moving to the east end of Pittsburgh to live incarnationally with the children and families that I am mentoring. I have actually delayed making a decision on this matter because I wanted to read books like this and spend time in Seattle for Overture I to gain a broader perspective on God’s calling for my life. The incarnational strategies really resonated with me, and I can see myself living in the city. On the other hand, I am now more interested in developing relationships with others who might want to sub-merge with me instead of obsessing over real estate. This book taught me that community is the key to incarnational ministry, although the actual location needs to be we well thought out.
  • 7 A Theology as Big as the City Ray Bakke Inter Varsity Press (1997) The main concept of this book is to present both the need for an urban theology and also Ray Bakke’s search for a theology of the city based on his life experiences. God values cities, although most systematic theologies are developed through a rural lens. After an overview of the need for an urban theology, the author addresses urban theology from Genesis all of the way through the Bible to Revelation. The author argues that the primary challenge to effective urban ministry in the 21st century is theological, although other challenges are demographic, missiological, ecclesiastical, and financial. Christian leaders will not be effective in addressing global urban issues unless they are solidly grounded and equipped with an urban theological base. An important aspect of urban theology is a sense of place, a concept that has been lost on many Protestant churches in recent years. Power is also a theme often addressed by the author. The chapters of this book actually present the information along the lines of the chapters in the Bible. For instance, the second chapter entitled “God’s Hands Are in the Mud” presents an overview of the urban theological concepts found in the book of Genesis. God demonstrates in Genesis that He values His creation, and that He partners with us to steward its resources. From an urban perspective, many Christians “throw away” deteriorated city neighborhoods even though God values their redemption. Bakke identifies Philippians and Colossians as two different and unique perspectives on community development and spiritual transformation. He presents insight into the public spirituality of Colossians and the personal spirituality of Philippians. The author argues that both forms of spirituality are crucial to the fabric of a healthy urban community. He writes, “Of this I am sure: we will never have healthy ministry in our largest cities until we can affirm both Philippian and Colossian Christologies and the spiritualities they embody and then bring them together in the ministry of the church.” (162) This concept is great, but one limitation of this book is that much more could have been written about each of the concepts covered in the chapters. A great foundation has been put in place by this book, and perhaps future authors will expand on Bakke’s arguments which would expand the field of urban theology. This book was most valuable to my work in the area of urban and suburban partnerships. The ideas also carried over very well to the LAMP partnerships between churches and schools. Although the social gospel concepts were emphasized, I also gleaned a great deal of practical application toward my personal spirituality. I was forced to ask myself, “What biases do I have toward reading and understanding the Bible?” Because of my life experiences, I would definitely say that I have always read the Bible through a rural, white, middle class, American lens. Reading this book encouraged me to expand my view of scripture.
  • 8 Orthodox Alaska: A Theology of Mission Michael Oleska SVS Press (1992) The author wrote this book because two centuries of Christian mission in Alaska have produced unique truths and principles that are significant, not only locally in relation to Alaskan societal issues, but also globally for the universal body of Christ. He presents a unique historical overview of issues that have many distinctive applications to contemporary missional contexts. Oleska says about the book, “There is much history in this volume, however its focus is not the past but the future. Its primary purpose is to remind the Church that her mission extends beyond human concerns and issues, beyond politics, economics and even beyond “religion,” as the subject is popularly understood.” (12) Context is an important theme in this book. In the Alaskan history of mission efforts, early Orthodox mission leaders understood that the Holy Spirit was moving in the region before they arrived. They were careful to maintain the integrity of local values, traditions, and symbols in seeking a common understanding through valuable relationships with the indigenous population. In more years, the author argues, Protestant missionaries and the U.S. government have caused tremendous harm to the people in the Alaskan region through their lack of cultural sensitivity and overbearing impositions of religion and law. Many programs and missionary efforts in recent years have been well intentioned, but they have actually created a cycle of oppression for many Alaskan people. As Oleska puts it, “Indigenous peoples whose cultures have been disrupted and denigrated by technologically superior societies inevitably suffer traumatic demoralization and almost irreparable spiritual damage.” (194) Other chapters in this book focus on the value of creation and relationships. The indigenous Alaskan population has traditionally valued these things as inseparable from their spirituality. However, the author argues that the rise of modernism and its secular fragmentation or compartmentalization have proven to be detrimental to their spirituality which places such a high value on creation and relationships. Thus, assimilation to the mainstream American modern society (and many Western religious norms) is counterintuitive to native Alaskan spirituality. The church has a crucial role to play in the world. The body of Christ “must condemn and renounce all cultural imperialism, within itself first of all, and then in society.” (214) This book really gets to the heart of many things that are wrong in the Church today. People all over the world with good intentions are causing great harm, both in the church and in broader societies, through what Oleska describes very well in this book as cultural imperialism. Sometimes when I am in church or having discussions with other Christians, I get a check in my spirit about certain ideas or suggestions that are culturally insensitive. I operate in a world of urban/suburban partnerships. I also operate in a world of racial tension and misunderstandings related to class perspectives. A great deal of my time is spent helping well-meaning Christians navigate through these issues. On a personal level, an important aspect of this program at BGU is the focus on equipping me to understand context in engaging culture as a Christian leader.
  • 9 The Call Os Guinness W Publishing Group (1998) This is a powerful book about the purpose of life and discovering God’s call. The author first gives a foundation of the reason for pursuing meaning to life through a relationship with God. He gives an overview of the many different aspects of calling which are often confused or misrepresented in modern society. The author argues that we can only find our purpose in life by responding to the call of Jesus Christ. This is the only way that we will ever find our true selves. He argues that most of everything that our modern, Western culture directs us to in the area of life purpose is false. He also argues that this is true amongst secular and Christian movements in our modern culture such as the prosperity gospel that is being preached in many American churches. He also goes into great detail about what he calls the Catholic distortion and the Protestant distortion. He asserts that both of these distortions are crippling followers of Christ from fulfilling the roles that they were meant to fill in a society. Followers of Christ must first and foremost be called into life purpose for the Audience of One (God). Most of the chapters in the body of the book cover the aspects of calling such as listening to God, giftedness, passion, heroism, morality, personal calling, corporate calling, journeying, vision, embracing the ordinary, gratitude, suffering, rejection, timing, and finishing well as a follower of Christ. Also, the chapters cover the various pitfalls of the pursuit of calling such as the temptations of conceit, envy, greed, sloth, secularization, privatization, and pluralization. This book is strong in the deep insights that the author gives to the subject of calling. The stories at the beginning of each chapter are very interesting, and they provide a solid foundation for the main points. I honestly found no limitations in the content. Many profound points are clearly presented on each topic in each chapter, and seemingly in each paragraph. I actually had to reread much of this book over and over again. It seems at the first read as though the author is presenting fundamental information that should be relatively basic. However, the fundamental information is presented in such a profound way, and with such unique anecdotes, that I was forced to wrestle with my own calling and worldview during the reading of each chapter. It took me a long time to read this book because I really slowed down to process everything that the author was trying to say. My favorite chapter was about how calling impacts vision. Guinness provided a quote from T. E. Lawrence that I will never forget. Lawrence wrote about vision, “All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did.” (175) I would absolutely love to life a life with that kind of vision and purpose!
  • 10 Globalizing Theology Craig Ott and Harold Netland Baker Academic (2006) These essays examine the impact of globalization on Christianity, and more specifically, various aspects of Christian theology. The editors of this book argue that “globalization and the emergence of world Christianity have profound implications on how we do theology.” (15) The essays were written to develop an understanding of the fusion between local trends in Christianity and universal perspectives that may transcend cultural norms. The chapters in the book are grouped into three sections. The first section outlines the significant challenges to theology brought about by the process of globalization and a new, worldwide Christianity. The second section focuses on several key methods utilized to understand globalizing theology. The third section presents more comprehensive viewpoints into a range of issues connected to the church, theology, and globalization. All of the sections work well together in the construction of a foundation in which to examine global theological concepts, from both a historical and a modern perspective. Andrew Walls argued that the “Christian life and thought, taking as its norm the incarnation of the divine Word, requires incarnation, embodiment in the cultural specifics of a particular time and place. Generations may be utterly diverse, therefore, in their understanding and experience of the grace of God and yet belong together in the ultimate purpose of God.” (76) This was great insight into the seemingly complicated realm of context in the spread of worldwide Christianity. I thought Kevin Vanhoozer made some great points when he described in depth the importance of embracing context during the process of theological study. He argued that “the most insidious effect of globalization is homogenization – of culture, of religion.” (101) Many forms of Christianity in America are a homogenous blend of culture and religion, or beliefism. Christian theologians must be careful to avoid the negative factors associated with globalization. In the section on methodology, Lois McKinney Douglas argued that “in doing global theologizing, it is important for committed Christian theologians from around the world to develop a metatheological framework that enables them to understand, compare, and evaluate local theologies, the questions each is seeking to answer, and the sociocultural contexts in which each must define the gospel.” (302) Christians can be easily led astray as a result of globalization if they are unable or unwilling to develop a solid framework with which to study scripture. This book had some major impact on the perspectives I take into my work on a daily basis. I often feel terribly ill-equipped to navigate through cross-cultural issues related to LAMP’s suburban/urban relationships, church/state partnerships, and racial reconciliation. The material presented in these essays has helped me to build a foundation to be confident in understanding globalization and cross-cultural issues related to Christianity. Many of the authors provided historical overviews of the nature of the relationship between theology and many differing global worldviews. A major takeaway for me was the importance of understanding context as I work with LAMP families and their mentees.
  • 11 Street Signs: A New Direction in Urban Ministry Ray Bakke and Jon Sharpe New Hope Publishers (2006) Ray Bakke has said that people seem to be more interested in how he learns than in what he has actually learned over a lifetime of urban ministry involvement. In this book, the authors present many of the tangible strategies they have utilized in city consultations all over the world so that modern Christian leaders might be more equipped to lead in a global environment that is rapidly urbanizing and globalizing. The authors break this book up into two sections. In the first section, Ray Bakke gives an overview of his journey in urban ministry over the past fifty years. He also provides some basic urban ministry concepts that will surely guide contemporary Christian leaders in areas such as the processes of urbanization, embracing the city as a parish, the importance of searching for signs of hope in modern cities, and a basic overview of the urban consultation process in community development. Jon Sharpe briefly describes his journey of involvement in urban ministry, followed by an overview of the leadership style of Barnabas and the process of completing effective consultations applicable to urban environments all over the world. Ray Bakke argues that “fundamentally, for Christians, especially for church and mission leaders, we need a new way of thinking about missions, a new worldview or paradigm, if you please.” (83) He goes on to state that “missions is no longer across the ocean and geographically distant: it is across the street and is culturally distant, in our cities and in cities on all six continents.” (83) Christian leaders need to adjust their worldview to “incorporate thinking globally while living locally.” (83) Jon Sharpe describes a powerful process of city consultations, in which “the best consultations come as a result of a long-term networking effort by trusted facilitators and the input of an outsider. The outsider brings a listening ear, a desire to learn from the city, and his or her power to convene the leadership of a city – social, political, and religious.” (216) In essence, Christian leaders in cities all over the world need to understand who needs to be at the table, what will be consulted upon, and how will the strategies be implemented. The whole process is very clearly articulated. I was very encouraged by this book. One of the things I have learned about urban ministry in Pittsburgh is that many leaders are willing to partner for the betterment of the city. Organizations from all over the city, including the Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation, the Pittsburgh Board of Education, nonprofit organizations, and churches have displayed a willingness to work together for positive outcomes on the overall development of the city. With so many people willing to partner, including organizations that are non- Christian, there are many opportunities for city consultations. I have been intimidated by this process at times, in which I often find myself in the position of building relationships in order to partner more effectively for the common good of the city. Inevitably, this process from which I often shy away is actually the process which might end up having the most impact in terms of community development and empowerment of the folks who are benefiting from services and support.
  • 12 The Lexus and the Olive Tree Thomas Friedman Anchor Books (2000) This book is about understanding globalization as an international system that is shaping the modern world. Although globalization is not new to humanity, this modern version is much more essential to understand than in the past because technology has accelerated it at a pace never before witnessed in human history. Friedman argues that globalization also has a wider societal impact now than ever before in the major facets of life such as economics, geography, politics, and the environment. The early chapters of the book focus on introducing globalization as the major global system replacing the Cold War system. The remaining sections of the book focus on the major systems in society and how they have been impacted, for better or worse, by globalization. One of the key arguments of the author is that nobody is in charge of the globalization system, so accountability and influence over the system are difficult to achieve. For instance, Friedman gives examples of economic collapses in remote, third world countries that now send huge shock waves throughout the entire global economic community via the connectedness of what he calls the Electronic Herd. The complexities of globalization generate many questions, which are clearly outlined by the author. However, concrete solutions are presented to many of the questions. Friedman asserts that countries can compete in the modern globalization by implementing what he calls the Golden Straitjacket, which has many different pieces that are clearly outlined in the content of this book. In basic terms, when a country “puts on the Golden Straitjacket, two things tend to happen: your economy grows and your politics shrinks.” (105) Countries need to see the globalization system, plug into the system, and continually deal with the backlash of the system. Friedman argues that “if there is a common denominator that runs through this book it is the notion that globalization is everything and its opposite. It can be incredibly empowering and incredibly coercive.” (406) Globalization as a system has the power to destroy itself or do great good for humanity. He published this book about ten years ago, but the concepts are remarkably applicable to the global economic crisis that is plaguing the world today. The globalization system has caused great economic harm recently, but it may also be just the thing that lifts the world out of the current troubles. Leaders in all sectors of life must seek to understand globalization. That is the only way that we will recover. I was appreciative of the understanding that I gained from reading this book on globalization. I believe it has profound implications for the local and universal church, in particular mission efforts. Church leaders must learn to understand systems, but unfortunately many Christian leaders today are shying away from systematic justice issues. When the church fails to fulfill her societal role, the world suffers. When Christians sink back from involvement in the complex issues, it creates a huge void in any society. I have conversations with Christians all of the time who throw their hands up in the air and say things like, “This whole world is going down the drain, I’ve lost all hope, and I’m just biding my time until Jesus comes back.” Although I hope for Jesus to come back just as much as the next person, I am amazed at how people disengage at complex systematic injustices. Our society needs Christian leaders to engage!
  • 13 Transforming Mission David J. Bosch Orbis Books (1993) In this book the author describes a major paradigm shift that is needed in the context of the current state of Christian missionary efforts. He argues that the Christian church is experiencing a major crisis that is not reversible, and it is one that is also reflective of the challenges of postmodern society. This book examines the contemporary missional crisis through the lens of two thousand years of missionary history in the church. The author of the book is David Bosch, an expert on Christian missionary efforts from South Africa who died tragically in an automobile accident in 1992. He broke the thirteen chapters of the book up into three sections. In the first section he clearly outlines the mission models found in the New Testament. Churches in the New Testament era are often held up as model versions of effective church activity, but the churches from that time period did not employ one specific type of missional model. They utilized a wide variety of models based on the context of the geographic regions and the movements of the Holy Spirit. In this sense, the author argues that “the New Testament witnesses to a fundamental shift when compared with the Old Testament. In surveying the paradigm shifts in missionary thinking I wish to suggest that the first and cardinal paradigm change took place with the advent of Jesus of Nazareth and what followed after that.” (15) In the second section, Bosch describes several historical paradigms of mission. He describes many reasons for Christian leaders to be creative in bringing the message of the gospel to the modern context. He says that “one of the basic reasons for having to do this, lies in the fact that the Christian faith is a historical faith. God communicates his revelation to people through human beings and through events, not by means of abstract propositions. This is another way of saying that the biblical faith, both Old and New Testament, is ‘incarnational’, the reality of God entering into human affairs.” (181) In the third section the author presents various aspects of relevant missiology including the paradigms of postmodernism, ecumenical missions, and the contemporary diversity in missional approaches within the church. Most importantly, all previous attempts at Christian missiology, especially those attempted during the Enlightenment period of human history, will not be influential anymore. The modern pitfalls such as purposeless individualism and overconfidence in one’s self have given way to what Bosch describes as the need to “reaffirm the indispensableness of conviction and commitment.” (362) We need to connect with other humans relationally for survival. God is moving anew in today’s modern society, and I feel that He has placed me uniquely in this situation at North Way Christian Community for the purpose that He has called me to. In many ways, the externally focused efforts at North Way are not understood as anything new in terms of the historical context of the church and the body of Christ. However, this book has taught me that while God may have moved in many different forms missionally in the past, He is up to something new in the postmodern context of history. This new form of missiology will require me to be multifaceted and multidimensional in my leadership approaches. The postmodern era is complex, and as Bosch put it, “our mission has to be multidimensional in order to be credible and faithful to its origins and character.” (512) As I see it, I need to lead with diverse strategies because I live and lead in a diverse world.
  • 14 Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America Darrell L. Guder Eerdmans Publishing Company (1998) This book examines problems within the North American church from a spiritual and theological perspective. Central to this focus is mission, or sending, which the authors describe as “the central biblical theme describing the purpose of God’s action in human history.” (4) The authors argue that the Western church has lost sight of this missional focus, and the only way it can be rediscovered is through reshaping our theology. While the first chapter gives a general overview of the main thesis, chapters two and three give an absolutely amazing historical portrait of the North American church and Western culture since the Enlightenment period. I would highly recommend this book to any person because these two chapters alone are so significant to understanding the nuances of the make-up of the modern, and now postmodern, church. The authors point out that “the churches in both the United States and Canada have developed a type of functional Christendom in the form of a churched culture… Therefore today we find churches seeking a public voice but finding that they are no longer taken seriously. Their voice in the United States has been marginalized into a highly personalized and privatized practice of faith.” (60) Since the second and third chapters provide such a great context, chapters four through six focus on how the church should express itself in terms of evangelization and missional efforts. The remaining chapters focus on framing this vocation of the church in tangible terms. As such, leadership and structures are listed as important components of a modern missional church. The section on contextual leadership was of particular importance to me. The authors describe how Christendom and modernity have shaped current leadership efforts in the church, and they argue that “the shape of leadership in any particular location is a matter of historical antecedents and deep cultural values.” (190) I feel as though I am unable to describe in words the powerful impact of this book on my worldview. Modern Christian leaders really need to have a solid understanding of historical perspective and a grasp of the modern context. God is always moving, and He really desires for His church to be fully immersed in a missional vocation. The great surprise for many North Americans is that due to the influences of modernism and postmodernism, massive missional efforts are now needed in our own areas. This is a shift away from the sending model of previous generations, which focused on sustaining church health at home while sending missionaries overseas. As a person who is involved in mobilizing a large North American church out into the local community through efforts aimed at impacting troubled youth, orphans, seniors, and the homeless population in Pittsburgh, this book helped me to grasp that the problems faced in these mobilization efforts might have less to due with strategic program planning or implementation and more to do with the spiritual and theological base of our congregation. This is due in part to the larger cultural phenomenon known as postmodernism which has a grip on contemporary culture, but church leaders should be aware and ready to meet this challenge within an effective theological framework.
  • 15 Reclaiming our Prodigal Sons and Daughters Scott Larson and Larry Brendtro National Education Service (2000) Scott Larson and Larry Brendtro present a case for moving away from traditional ineffective approaches used in connecting with at-risk youth in order to implement more appropriate strategies with a particular focus on the spiritual, or heart, level of young people. This book is timely because many books written about programs and philosophies designed to impact troubled youth often bypass the importance of the spiritual development of adolescents. These authors clearly articulate strategies that are appropriately designed to address the multitude of complex youth development issues in our modern society. The book is divided into two sections. The first section focuses on the problem, or what has gone wrong with wayward youth in modern society. The first chapter presents a new type of adolescent. According to the authors, “teenagers of the twenty- first century are worlds apart from the youth of a century earlier or from those being raised in more traditional cultures.” (5) This is because of three major shifts in our modern society: adolescents have become segregated from adults, they are being raised in a spiritual vacuum, and they are being nurtured by the media. In the second chapter the authors turn to the parable of the prodigal son, which “provides us with a fresh understanding of how we can reclaim wayward youth, regardless of the cause of their dilemma.” (11) The third, fourth, and fifth chapters focus on the brokenness in troubled adolescents, and the causes present in families, communities, and broader society which contribute to the brokenness. The second section of the book focuses on fresh strategies that are needed to support the development of adolescents. The authors clearly outline the basic concepts of reclaiming troubled adolescents through reparenting, redirecting, reconciling, and redeeming. The reparenting concept was very strong, defined as “providing a youth who is not closely attached to adults with bonds to a positive adult.” (99) This represents the heart of mentoring, and the authors demonstrate the huge need for this type of mentoring because “contemporary society is faced with scores of underparented kids.” (99) This was probably the most applicable book of any of the assigned readings for Overture I to my work with LAMP. I am a strong advocate for mentoring because I understand the unique power of individual relationships in supporting a wide variety of problems experienced by young people today. The authors outlined the need to develop courage in young people in order for them to thrive in society, and they said that “disadvantaged youths may actually have an advantage when it comes to developing the attribute of courage – as long as they have access to someone who can instill in them some of the essential building blocks for healthy development.” (72) The principles presented by these authors are easily transferable, and I have already begun implementing these solid concepts in mentor training sessions, leadership team meetings, and monthly mentor meetings. I have experienced an overwhelming response to the need for these types of resources in providing ongoing support for mentors involved in working with all types of adolescents.
  • 16 Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self Interest Peter Block Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. (1993) Many organizations, as well as the people working within them, are struggling from a lack of purpose and fragmentation. This book presents stewardship as the means to moving past these issues. The author argues that individuals within an organization should learn how to be stewards of resources for the common good of society. Stewardship combats the compartmentalization process that is so rampant in American culture by moving individuals toward reconciliation, and the distribution of power that naturally follows. Through the application of stewardship principles, the leaders in an organization are strengthened and the organization itself is strengthened. The author presents the concepts of this book in three sections. In the first section, the author describes the process by which leadership is replaced by stewardship, patriarchy is replaced by partnership, safety is replaced by adventure and risk-taking, and self-interest is replaced by service. Block argues that “the principles of stewardship bring accountability into each act of governance, while partnership balances responsibility.” (27) In the second section of the book, the author describes the process of redistribution of power, purpose, and wealth. Block opens this section with the concept that “stewardship is a way to use power to serve through the practice of partnership and empowerment. This is the alternative to the conventional notions of ‘strong leadership’ for implementing changes.” (63) A stewardship contract is clearly outlined, and the ramifications for the organizational structure including management, staff, accounting, human resources, compensation, and evaluation are described in detail. This is the logistical part of the author’s ideas for stewardship principles. Part three presents the triumph of hope over experience. One of the major obstacles to stewardship is cosmetic reform. Patriarchy tends to regenerate itself when stewardship principles are implemented in an organization at a surface level. Through cosmetic change, “in a shifting, customer-driven environment, improvement efforts that produce no redistribution of power, purpose, or privilege will produce no real improvement.” (189) Stewardship principles provide an alternative to this approach. Instead of patriarchy, each step in the change process “needs to foster ownership and responsibility with all who touch it.” (204) Each person must own the vision of the organization. In the end, Block views true democracy as the means to implementing stewardship principles in order to change organizations more effectively. This book applies to my current context in that I need to view myself as a steward of the resources God has entrusted to me. A transformational leader is able to build relationships up to the powerful and down to the powerless, in order to give themselves away through the redistribution of resources. A major part of my role in LAMP involves the redistribution of power and resources, whether they involve people, money, or leadership, on behalf of the students and the families who live in the Homewood and East Hills section of the city of Pittsburgh. From this book, I learned it is important for leaders of initiatives to take care that the principles and changes being implemented in a project move beyond the programmatic level.
  • 17 Renewing the City: Reflections on Community Development and Urban Renewal Robert Lupton Inter Varsity Press (2005) In this book Robert Lupton retells the story of Nehemiah through a process called midrash, which is an ancient Jewish teaching method using imagination and imagery to add context to Scriptures. The first part of the book focuses on adding depth to the study of the Biblical book of Nehemiah. The second part of the book draws parallels between Nehemiah’s community development work in Jerusalem and modern day development efforts in American inner cities. Contemporary urban ministry principles are compared to ancient urban ministry principles. The author argues that the dilemmas facing urban ministry leaders long ago are relevant in resolving similar dilemmas today. One highlight of the book was a chapter about gentrification with justice, which argued that what is needed in cities is gentry “who will use their competencies and connections to ensure that their lower-income neighbors have a stake in their revitalizing neighborhood.” (124) Christians are called to care for the poor, and those who move back into the city from the suburbs need to think strategically about also caring for justice for their new neighbors. The book has another great chapter about vision and risk taking. Lupton speaks clearly and with credibility about need for strong visionary leadership from urban leaders. He argues that “Vision that is divinely authored – the kind that extends me far beyond my own abilities – requires a frightful level of risk taking. It is fundamentally different from strategy planning and goal setting. It requires me to let go of the security of predictable outcomes and venture into uncharted waters with little more than an inaudible internal voice as a guide. Such vision is not a product of human creativity; it is divinely conceived and implanted in the spirits of those who are willing to trust miracle over plan.” (151) Nehemiah was a visionary risk taker, and this is what is needed for all urban ministry leaders today. This is one of the author’s strongest points. The final chapters focus on different aspects of incarnational living. Cities may have a romantic appeal on people from an outside perspective (with their violence, noise, and drama), but everything becomes much more meaningful once the inner cities issues begin impacting one’s family and home. Programs are important, but good neighbors are much more important to the renewing of the city. I had been wrestling with many questions directly related to the content in this book before I started reading it. How can I be more effective as an urban ministry leader? Robert Lupton ministered in inner cities without living there for about ten years prior to moving incarnationally to the city. In this book he describes the process of how his ministry became much more effective once he moved to where he was serving. I have been wondering how much more effective I would be as a leader if I moved to inner city Pittsburgh. I also have had many questions about how this would impact my family, and Lupton gives some very unique perspectives on this subject in this book. I am grateful for the principles and stories he outlines in this book, which are in many ways timeless due to the midrash process he utilized to pull out applicable information from events that happened thousands of years ago. The most important principle I learned was that it matters where the people of God choose to locate themselves.
  • CHAPTER 2 JOURNAL Day 1: January 12, 2009 Wow, today was incredible! I have been looking forward to this day for a long time, and it was such a great experience. My first class started this morning, and I am writing this at night from my hotel room in downtown Seattle. About twenty students from around the world are at this class, representing places such as America, India, China, the Philippines, Amsterdam, Kenya, and Nigeria. This morning the academic dean at BGU, Grace Barnes, gave a lecture about being strangers since we are all meeting each other for the first time. She described the nature of transition because this program is a major life transition for all students. She also provided a helpful overview of the Transformational Leadership for the Global City degree. Then, Ray Bakke lectured for about an hour. This was a real treat for me as this was the first time I have heard this amazing urban ministry leader speak. He talked about how God is urbanizing the world. In 1900, only 8 percent of the world’s population lived in cities. Now, over 50 percent of the world’s population lives in cities. Five hundred eight cities in the world have over a million people. Bakke also discussed the need for Christians to plunge into global urban ministry. In 1900, 80 percent of the world’s Christians were white and Western. Now, 80 percent of Christians are outside the West. 18
  • 19 China and India are the largest English speaking countries in the world. Africa is the fastest growing urban continent. Brad Smith, the president of BGU, then lectured about the unique learning environment at BGU. He described it as structured, but also designed to incorporate creativity, stories, and experiences into the learning model. Cities are the labs, and students serve as the practitioners. The faculty will ask tough questions instead of simply providing information. Sometimes even professors disagree on viewpoints, and they see that as a good thing. This program is a pioneering environment for advanced learners. It has an intentionally lower structure and higher dissonance. I had lunch with Ronnie McCowan, an African American pastor from Kansas City. He has a great life story, and it was fun meeting someone new. I am looking forward to meeting many new and interesting people. Brad Smith then lectured about his perspective on the world, and how it has changed over the past century. Technology and a global economy have significantly impacted the world, and especially ministry. Christians need to understand what is going on in the world in order to engage effectively. He also gave an overview of urban ministry 101: relief, development, and advocacy, or justice. He said that in urban ministry while it is important to give someone a fish, it is also important to teach someone how to fish. But, what happens when the lake is contaminated, or there is a fence around the lake that keeps the person from fishing? Christians must also be involved in advocacy and justice. Ray Bakke then led us on a tour of downtown Seattle. Seattle is beautiful, and it has experienced many collective accomplishments. However, it has also been built on
  • 20 injustices, mostly to the Native American people who were here before settlers arrived. We visited Columbia Tower, the tallest building in Seattle. Then, we walked across the city to have dinner at a pizza restaurant in a huge mall. Bakke lectured as we walked, explaining that Seattle is a Pacific Rim city now. It faces west across the Pacific to China and Japan instead of east as it has typically in the past. When the freeway systems were built in America, they were not neutral. Many people were discriminated against when highways were built after World War II. He also discussed the analogy of Colossians and Philippians in relation to urban ministry. Colossians tends to lead the reader to see how Jesus is involved socially and in systems. Philippians tends to lead the reader to see how Jesus is personal. What is needed most is a balance between the social and personal perspectives of Christianity in order for leaders to be effective. I must admit this first day was exciting and overwhelming. This was just the beginning of my learning here, and I can already sense that my urban ministry paradigm is being shifted. This hands-on learning model is a fit for me. Also, I am learning from some amazing leaders. Everyone who lectures here leads from a base of credibility in urban ministry developed over a number of years. All of the leaders were impressive, but I was probably most impacted by the time with Ray Bakke. Having read books about his unique perspectives on Christianity, it was a real pleasure to interact with him for a whole day. I love the diversity represented in my classmates who have traveled here from all over the world. The table I sat at for dinner was representative of this. To my left was a man who directs a mission organization in Kazakhstan. Beside him were two Africans, one who pastors a church in Kenya and another man from Nigeria who attended seminary
  • 21 in London and now serves as a missionary in Houston, Texas. To my right were two women from Hong Kong who shared their experiences in training pastors in rural China. This entire program ties in so well with LAMP and other outreach efforts at North Way Christian Community. The information is practical, and I am so blessed to be mentored by people who are on the cutting edge of innovation in the church and urban ministry. I am very encouraged that the ministry efforts in Pittsburgh are on the right track. Furthermore, I am being resourced and equipped for issues related to mentoring, church and state partnerships, urban and suburban partnerships, cross-cultural relationships, and much more. Day 2: January 13, 2009 Today I spent most of the day in the lab, which is the city of Seattle. Before we left this morning, a geographer named Ron Boyce gave a lecture about the nature of cities. The special emphasis of his talk was on Seattle. He described the importance of avoiding distractions while investigating a city. I should also try to understand the importance of the shaping forces in history while discovering the present. Next, Ray Bakke lectured about the difference between urbanization and urbanism. Urbanization is the city described as a gigantic magnet. It sucks all of the resources out of entire regions. Bakke said that urban people are identified by what they do. Often when an urban man loses his job, it is devastating because he also loses his identity. This is why many urban males do not go to church, and 70 percent of most inner city church members are women. Many urban men do not want to go to a church with a male pastor whose job, or identity, is stable when theirs is not. Emasculation
  • 22 occurs when these men see the pastor’s name all over the bulletins and on the sign entering the church. Urbanism is the city described as a magnifier, or the woofer and tweeter of society. It is the city as a stage prop, a process by which urban ideas and culture are spread throughout the world. Many cities now are building up into airspace trying to draw rich people and young professionals back in from the suburbs. So, taller buildings are being built, which include condos to buy instead of apartments to rent. It is working, and these people are moving back into cities which is forcing poor people out into the suburbs. This trend will be important for the church to understand over the coming years. He also shared about the importance of pastors being for their communities, not just of their communities. It is important for pastors to partner with the police, clergy, school administrators, hospitals, and other organizations that are a part of the fabric of the community. Most of the rest of the day we explored Seattle. We went to First Presbyterian Church, St. James Cathedral, Harborview Medical Center, Skid Row, World Relief, the International District, Waterfall Garden, Occidental Park, Pioneer Square, and Pike Place Market. The two highlights of this tour were World Relief and Pike Place Market. At World Relief we learned about the difference between immigrants and refugees. The organization is a Christian ministry helping to place refugees from around the world in homes and communities in Seattle. Refugees are different from immigrants in that they do not come to America out of choice. They come here because they are forced to come, often as a result of conditions involving intense persecution, rape, violence, or war. Their needs are great, but this is also an amazing opportunity to minister to people in need.
  • 23 Pike Place Market is a shopping area in Seattle which happens to be the number one tourist attraction in the area. Ray Bakke challenged us to tour this facility for an hour, and then come back to the group to discuss why a place like this could be so successful and diverse. Most shopping malls are homogenous, just like most churches in America. This area has managed to transcend any class or racial boundaries. What can the church learn from Pike Place Market? How can churches become more multicultural and multigenerational? The biggest question posed for this day was by Randy White. He asked, “Do you love your city as much as Ray Bakke loves Seattle?” I was challenged to really get to know Pittsburgh. I generally know some things about Pittsburgh, but I have not intentionally tried to develop a deep love and understanding of all of its people and places. I am really looking forward to going through this process on my own, or perhaps with some friends, when I return to Pittsburgh. I will now be viewing the city through a new lens. I also need to continue to be intentional about building relationships in Pittsburgh. This applies to relationships that go up to the powerful and down to the powerless. If I am ever going to be an effective leader in LAMP over the coming years, my most important role will be to invest in relationships. Day 3: January 14, 2009
  • 24 Today we had lectures all day from urban ministry leaders. Randy White talked about conceptualizing the city, and specifically, how this applies to transformational leadership. He asked us to imagine, see, hear, and sense what is going on in cities in order to transform them. He presented the apostle Paul as a model of conceptualization. When Paul arrived in Athens he took the time to observe the objects of worship in the city. The city impacted him and he was deeply disturbed. Paul chose to engage in the key sectors of the city, such as markets, synagogues, and political arenas, in order to communicate the gospel. A physical exploration of cities is crucial in order to formulate strategies. Urban leaders should seek to understand to trinity of a city. The Urbs are the infrastructure of systems in the city, Anima is shared knowledge of the residents and their unconscious beliefs and assumptions, and Civitas are the behaviors for which cities are known for. Another type of trinity describes the city as religion, politics, and economics. All cities are products of collective sin, and when things go wrong a religion of control, an economics of exploitation, and a politics of oppression results. H. Spees from Leadership Foundations of America then lectured about connecting the city, or operationalizing unity. He gave a great overview of systems in cities, and pointed out that great transformational leaders seek to understand systems so that they can impact them. Cities are composed of institutions. Public schools, government, and law enforcement make up the public sector. Media, business, and labor make up the private sector. Religious groups, non-profits, and churches make up the social sector. A healthy community sector involves all of these institutions working together for the common good. A major breakdown occurs when these institutions do not work together. The church can engage these institutions by understanding that there are hidden
  • 25 Christians in each sector. Christian leaders can serve as connectors between institutions. Christians with an overly individualized view of the gospel neglect the social aspects of the gospel. Engaging in the city is complex, and it requires leaders who understand the importance of building relationships. Christians seeking an easy or simple answer to city issues are setting themselves up for failure in the long run. David Hillis from Leadership Foundations of America then lectured about concretizing organizations. He believes the way you do something is as important, if not more important, than the thing being done. Many Christians are activity rich and relationally poor. We have a high theology and low anthropology. He said the best organizational leaders are trinitarian, which means they understand that the fundamental truth is relational as represented in the triune Godhead. The trinitarian leader is also incarnational by valuing relationships. Desire is an important aspect of this leadership model, and leaders should also be transparent and give power away freely. Kris Rocke from the Center for Transforming Leaders lectured on contextualizing leadership. He said Jesus listened and reflected well, so good leaders should do likewise. Many of us are conditioned to read scriptures from a position of power, but it is important to learn to understand the Bible from the position of the powerless. Rocke believes scripture is an invitation to a conversation. It is not a blueprint. God is big enough to protect the integrity of the scriptures. He suggests prayer, praise, and pain are the three gateways to transformation. Pain is the widest gateway to transformation, and we can read scripture from the perspective of pain. Most of us have set up our lives to avoid pain, and the greatest disability in the church today is the inability to suffer. We divorce
  • 26 ourselves from painful places, and we become unable to enter effectively into the pain of others. Damian Emetuche, a West African missionary to Seattle, lectured about multicultural interactions and worldviews. He said that the West values time orientation, dichotomistic thinking, crisis orientation, and task orientation. Many other cultures in the world value event orientation, holistic thinking, noncrisis orientation, and person orientation. It is important for American Christians to understand the worldviews, or life philosophies, of other cultures. Relationships are vital, language is critical, a holistic ministry approach is necessary, and people of a different culture can be viewed as a potential ministry force. Skip Li, an influential lawyer from Seattle who is Chinese, defined incarnational leadership as leadership that transforms communities through personal relationships. Jesus chose to come to earth to be one of us, and he transformed the world by the way he did this. Jesus taught us all how to live incarnationally. Good leaders live intelligently. Our culture is powerful, and it makes us conform to its way of thinking. Christians are called to be countercultural. Actions are needed more than words in proclaiming the gospel in this culture. Incarnational leadership tears down stereotypes in culture. Brad Smith then lectured about the body of Christ around the world. He talked about the concept of convergence. For Doctor of Ministry students, three things come together: career, calling, and spirituality. Every 500 years something big happens in the church, and we are due at about this time. Our earth is changing, and Christians need to respond. Leaders understand history in order to be good stewards. Studying church history requires discipline.
  • 27 A lot of the information presented today challenged my worldview. The biggest stretch came for me when Kris Rocke lectured on the topic of pain. Pain is very intimate, and it drives a countercultural perspective on the gospel. As a leader with LAMP, this has been a tough subject for me to try to implement. I do not know if I want to understand the pain that my mentees experience every day. I do not know what it is like to be fatherless, or to live in fear all of the time that someone might do something bad to me, or what it is like to live in poverty all of the time. I feel much more comfortable if I think that I am able to lead the kids that I work with out of pain and generational poverty, a process that is itself painful and complex. I was challenged when Brad Smith lectured on the geography of the world, and how the world is changing in the global culture. I seem to like my place in the world, even if I do not admit it. I am uncomfortable when I am required to wrestle with global and urban perspectives from around the world that are shaping Christian ministry in this century. So how does all of this apply to my ministry context? How does it apply to North Way, or LAMP, or Pittsburgh, or America, or the world? I was presented with many different viewpoints today, and many different perspectives on the world and the importance of God in it. It seems to me that all of it is applicable. Every time I hear a new perspective on the gospel, or how it applies to someone else’s context, I gain a new perspective on how it applies to my context.
  • 28 Day 4: January 15, 2009 This morning I led a devotional time for the whole group with two new African American friends, Richard and Ronnie. We sang an old hymn followed by a good time of reflection. After the devotion, Randy White divided us into three groups for a visual debriefing of what we learned on the previous day. I was in the artistic group, and we drew symbols that represented the collision of cities with the kingdom of God. After this brief exercise we visited an organization called New Horizons. This is a faith-based youth facility that provides services to over 1,500 street children each year. Our tour guide was Ron Ruthruff, who Ray Bakke introduced as the most gifted youth leader in the country. We toured the facility, examining the fellowship spaces such as the waiting room, cafeteria, and chapel. This holistic ministry model to street kids involves outreach, relationships, a place to belong, food, life discovery, and a mentoring program called Adoptive Life Skills Mentorships. This was a career-based mentoring program where adolescents shadow a mentor for eight to ten hours per week for a minimum of one year. Over 2 million children in America run away from home each year. Areas like Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco have a large amount of street children because of the climate and culture. Ron said that 80 percent of the street kids have suffered from some type of physical or sexual abuse from their families. New Horizons has an intentionally diverse staff that includes about a 50 percent black or Hispanic population. Although alcohol and drugs are prominent in street children, the biggest problem for street kids is prostitution. Over 50 percent of street children are involved in prostitution. New Horizons also utilizes an effective volunteer management system, and they have very
  • 29 high standards for volunteer outreach workers. This kind of volunteer work is very demanding, so it is not for everyone. We left New Horizons and went to the Church on the Hill, led by a young man named Jason Hubbard. He planted a church that now meets in an old building that is used as an underground theater. This church intentionally ministers to people on the margins of society. The churchgoers are a very diverse group of people. Our group discussed the first chapter of Daniel, which describes how Daniel was an adolescent growing up in Babylonian captivity. We examined this chapter of the Bible with context, a summary, theological application, and anthropology. Hubbard said that many churches today rush to the anthropology of scripture, but there is much to be learned and applied by examining scripture through other areas. The simple purpose of Church on the Hill is to connect life with Jesus. The church values relationships, not growth figures. After lunch each of us had about ten minutes to share our testimonies, and it was an amazing experience hearing all of the life stories of people from all over the world. I shared about the move Julie and I made to California, then to Ohio, and on to Pittsburgh. There were many amazing positive and painful situations along that journey! I was really impacted by the presentation at New Horizons. I was confirmed in my interest to pursue urban youth ministry as my specialization at BGU. I love planning new ways to reach young people. I was impressed by the way New Horizons had thought out specific details of their ministry. Ruthruff is really living out God’s calling on his life. I hope that I can develop such an understanding of the needs of troubled youth in America as him. I love to meet people who are passionate about their callings. I also picked up a great deal of insight into New Horizons’ mentoring program. They have high
  • 30 standards for their mentors, which is also a strong point of LAMP. Over the years Ruthruff had progressed to the point that he did not let anyone work directly with kids unless they committed to serve at least once a week for at least one year. This is very similar to LAMP! Relationships do matter to children, and we as leaders do not need to introduce any additional harmful or short term adult relationships into their already tumultuous lives. The Church on the Hill was a new experience for me. I have heard of these types of churches in Pittsburgh, but I have not visited any of them to try to learn how God is moving in these types of congregations. I was fortunate to see a great picture of a church that is reaching people on the margins, the type of people that many Christians try to avoid. Many churches are more concerned with sending missions groups overseas than in reaching out to people in troubled parts of their own cities. I learned a lot about urban youth ministry today. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by LAMP in Pittsburgh because of the nature of the children that we serve. After experiencing this organization in Seattle, I do not feel as overwhelmed. I only hope that I am able to demonstrate the kind of leadership that is necessary to sustain a mentoring partnership over time. I did sense the affirmation for continuing to hold high standards for the mentors who want to get involved in LAMP. It is much better to have them commit for a year than it is to push an uncommitted volunteer through the system just because we need more mentors. I also better understood the role of a leader today. I need to be vigilant in equipping and connecting with the volunteers who participate in LAMP and the other urban ministries at North Way. Relationships are the key to LAMP’s mission.
  • 31 Day 5: January 16, 2009 Ray Bakke started the day off with a lecture on reflective leadership. This year marks his 50th year in ministry, so he gave us an overview of his life experiences over the years. People have accused Bakke of being anti-rural, but he told us that was not true. He values all environments, including urban, suburban, or rural. If we are all made by God, there is no reason to hate or dislike people based on where they choose to live. Bakke’s experiences as a young pastor propelled him into a lifelong journey to explore a theology of the city. Many Christians view cities as evil places, believing that God is only found in the wilderness. However, the word city is found 1,250 times in the Bible. Over 140 cities are mentioned in the Bible. In urban theology, cities are all connected. Urban and suburban areas are connected to one another. Suburbs are the sisters of cities, and we need to love them just like we would our own family member. He said James Dobson fails to consider the community as a part of the family, and he disagrees with Dobson’s view of the family as only a nuclear unit. Bakke challenged us to read Genesis 41 and 47 to determine if Joseph was a capitalist or a socialist. Actually, he was both. Daniel is another fascinating case study in urban ministry. The New Testament is an urban book. Paul’s missionary strategies focused on cities in order to spread the Gospel. Theology should be shaped by scripture, history, context, and the church. Western theology is viewed in lateral, or horizontal, terms. For instance, how far can we send missionaries around the world? Eastern theology is viewed vertically. For instance, will the next generation embrace Christ in light of the
  • 32 past two thousand years of Christian history? Both horizontal and vertical aspects of the great commission are essential to an effective missiology. Bakke gave an overview of urban theology from the Old Testament through such examples as Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Ruth, each of whom God used differently to transform cities. The book of Matthew opens by presenting grandmothers of the faith from the Old Testament. They are Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheeba. Each woman was a foreigner where she lived, and God uses this as a reminder that foreigners and people who are different than us should never be left out of missions work. Mary and Joseph were both descendants of these women. God chose scandalous blood lines to incorporate into His own body. By doing this, Jesus smashed racism! He was the mixed- racial Savior of the world! He was also an Asian-born baby who became an African refugee, as noted in the story of the flight to Egypt. In knowing how God values all of these things, how should this shape our current views in America on race and immigration? Janet Morrow, founder of the TRUST organization in Chicago, lectured about engaging stakeholders in cities in working toward transformation of cities. She really believes that all Christian leaders need to be able to understand and influence systems. Many Christians, especially those with an overly individualized view of the Gospel, tend to shy away from systems because they think they are all evil or corrupt. Actually, God calls us to engage systems. There are many examples of this throughout the Bible. Systematic change works best because we are all connected. Grace Barnes then lectured on servant leadership. This was an interesting topic in a group as diverse as this class. Servant leadership is a bottom up approach in which
  • 33 leaders lead by serving. The hierarchy is turned upside down, and the leader views their role as equipping others to succeed. It is a leadership style that is focused on other people. Although servant leadership is important, it cannot and should not be the only type of leadership style used by a good leader. Leadership is a paradox. For instance, personal development in a leader is also important. Today’s content was very interesting. Christianity is a countercultural way of life, and servant leadership is countercultural. I know plenty of leaders who I would not consider to be servant leaders. They lead authoritatively. Many of these leaders are not reflective, and they are not very interested in personal development. I enjoy serving others, but it is not something I do when I get overcommitted. I really need to make sure I remain in the mode of servant leadership as much as possible. I would love to learn to be more reflective. As an example, moving to California to teach was a great cross-cultural experience for me. I remember the very first class I taught. It was about 110 degrees outside, and four teachers brought their first grade students to me for a physical education class. As these children sat and listened to my instructions, I suddenly realized that about 50 percent of them had no idea what I was saying because they only spoke Spanish! Also, 80 percent of my students were Hispanic. It became very obvious that I would need to change my approach. I was really stretched through this experience to try to understand the struggles of immigrants in America. I wish I would have understood reflective and contextual leadership better during that time. Moving back to Pittsburgh to work with LAMP was another similar learning curve for me. As a leader, I had to navigate through many cross-cultural issues as a result of serving children in the Homewood and East Hills neighborhoods of Pittsburgh.
  • 34 Thankfully, Errika Jones from the Pittsburgh Board of Education was an excellent mentor and she was very patient with me. She continues to model effective cross cultural relationships, and systematic thinking, for many people in Pittsburgh. Joanne Galinowski, one of our LAMP partners from Family Guidance, Inc., is also very effective at cross-cultural relationships. I continue to be grateful for her servant leadership style as well. I share these personal stories because they are a part of my journey toward hopefully becoming a better follower of Jesus. I am enrolled in this DMin program at BGU to broaden my worldview and strengthen my leadership abilities. I am trying to develop an understanding of the whole body of Christ, not just a white American view of God. Only 13 percent of the world’s population is white. Less than 5 percent of the world’s population is American, yet American Christians seem to have an ingrained imperialistic mindset. My journey in life definitely involves a process of changing my own paradigms. Day 6: January 17, 2009 We traveled to Ray Bakke’s home, called Bakken, today. This was quite an experience. He lives about two hours away from Seattle, and his home is gorgeous! He lives on twelve acres, and his property includes a trail of twenty different locations called the mission trail. Each stop, or stake in the ground, represented a century of the Christian church. The trail was a unique experience because Bakke is such a student of Christian history. His mind is like an encyclopedia. He is a life long learner. Also, he loves to
  • 35 share what he has learned with other people. For instance, his library has over 9,000 books from all over the world organized by time and topic. After a lunch of Chinese food, Corean Bakke played a concert on her piano from the main room of their home. She has an amazing gift, and she must have performed fifteen songs from memory on her piano. I was amazed by her abilities. After the concert we toured the house and property for a while. Then, we went to Ray and Lowell Bakke’s childhood home a few miles away. The property is currently being utilized as a retreat center. It was also quite an amazing place. I loved every minute of this day! This was an amazing experience to learn from a leader who has led so many people around the world over the past fifty years. Ray Bakke is truly serving as a mentor to me, and I am so privileged to be experiencing this program. I have considered living incarnationally in Homewood as a possible next step, but the thought of continuing to live on the LAMP Post property is also very appealing. The LAMP Post is six acres of property that I currently live on which I use for ministry purposes. Bakken is a great example of the concept of utilizing a rural property for ministry purposes. The cabin is available for people to stay for a while to write their dissertations. The library is available for students. The concert piano is available to people for concerts. In many ways, the Bakkes continue to give themselves away as transformational leaders even though they are no longer in an urban environment. I hope that I am always able to be transformational as well, regardless of whether I stay on the LAMP Post property or move to the inner city.
  • 36 When I return to Pittsburgh I would like to spend some time with my mentees in places that have historical significance. Many of the young people I work with are caught up in the distractions of modern life, such as television, video games, and music. Many of them lack an understanding of a vertical reality, so it will be important to introduce them to experiences rooted in history. This time spent at Bakken has helped me to find my place within the broader context of God’s redemptive plan for the ages. The young people in my life also need to find their unique place in God’s plan. It is important for all people to find their purpose, and it is much easier to find with a healthy understanding of where the church has been and where the church is going. I am looking forward to having a day off. We have really been pushing over this past week, and it will be good to have a chance to reflect on what I have learned. In my ministry context, I push very hard and then I do my best to make sure that I get time away from everything to rest. That principle applies to this course as well. I pushed very hard this week, so I need to make sure I rest so that I can be refreshed for next week. My goal is to spend some time with my Lord and Savior on this adventure in Seattle. Day 7: January 18, 2009 Today I had a day off from studying, so I decided to explore some more of the city before watching the Steelers game this afternoon. I walked about ten blocks downhill from my hotel to the Seattle waterfront. The weather was perfect! I spent some time in the Seattle Aquarium. A friend of mine once told me that there is nothing more relaxing in life that looking at fish. I think there is some truth to that! My favorite fish was one that glowed in the dark in order to attract prey.
  • 37 After the Aquarium I headed up to Pike Place Market where I bumped into four friends from Overture I. They invited me to have lunch with them at a seafood buffet, so of course I had to join them. I can never pass up a buffet! This informal time together was actually a great time to get to know one another. The had gone to Rob Bell’s church that morning, and I thought it was interesting that I never thought to go to church on my day off while I was in Seattle. It made me think about the concept of having church on Sunday morning, versus the church experience I had gained throughout the week during my conversations with others and field experiences in the city. I went on a boat tour of Puget Sound after lunch. The tour guide said that Seattle has 220 cloudy days each year, but today I was blessed with perfect sunshine. I could see for miles in all directions. I love exploring the west coast. It is such an adventure. Seattle is set against a dramatic backdrop of hills, islands, and snow capped mountains on all sides. Also, most of the skyscrapers were built after the World Fair in the 1960s so the skyline is very modern. The most interesting part of the tour was the huge boats, cranes, and locks in the shipyard areas. As was the case with most of this trip, it was a lot to take in! I reflected on God’s amazing natural creation all around me, and I reflected on the amazing vocational gifts God has blessed people with related to the building of ships, bridges, and buildings. Even the tour guide on the boat was passionate about his job. I think I am starting to understand the concept of common grace in society. God is everywhere even though we live in a fallen world. His beauty can be found everywhere, and I am enjoying it here in this area. I rested in my hotel room and watched the Steelers game after the boat ride. Go Steelers! They are going to the Super Bowl! I cannot wait to get back to Pittsburgh
  • 38 because there is nothing like a city that is involved in a sports championship run. It is an incredible sense of community. I also cannot wait to get back to Pittsburgh because I miss my wife and kids so much. Two weeks is a long time to be away. I am glad many of the trips I will be taking over the next few years will be only one week in length. I have a goal to travel internationally once I have graduated from this program. I am encouraged that I will be able to build up a solid network of global relationships through BGU over time. I wonder what adventures God has in store for me and my family. Will my ministry experience in Pittsburgh translate over into other cultures? Will my experiences in other cultures translate back into my ministry context in Pittsburgh? This time in Seattle is a great way to see if takeaways will be applicable in Pittsburgh. I am so thankful for everyone who is praying for me! This whole experience is causing me to depend on God in a way that I never have before. It is amazing how God meets us when we take risks. Day 8: January 19, 2009 This morning Brad Smith lectured about theology, which he defined as the scientific study of God. People can study God from a detached perspective, so the term has lost much of its meaning. BGU is interested in submitting to God, and trying to understand Him in relevant ways. The intent of the author is very important when studying the Bible. The understanding of God is superintended by the Holy Spirit. God wants to know us by incarnation, the Bible, tradition, and general revelation. Systematic theology is important, but it has also produced many varying forms of cultural
  • 39 Christianity. BGU values Biblical theology instead of one particular type of systematic theology, and consistency with scripture is important. Other cultures and major religions are becoming more open to Christianity. This is true, in part, because of some of the impact of globalization. When other world religions become more Christian over time and people are searching for answers, will the church have trained leaders who are prepared to take this on? Global theology urges Christians to search for common language with other religions while maintaining certain concepts, such as Jesus dying on the cross for our sins, as nonnegotiable. Through this missional lens, Christians will need to bring back the first commission with the Great Commission. The key to all of this is stewardship, which is taking care of something that belongs to someone else. Smith pointed out that we were created to work as stewards of the Earth. God’s creation is now corrupt and we have reduced power and purity as stewards, a concept called futility. Three of the most difficult areas of our stewardship are power, money, and human sexuality, yet Christians are the only ones who can ultimately steward these areas as intended by God. Four ways to approach power, money, and human sexuality are through piety, consumerism, pragmatism, or stewardship. According to Smith, we are created to be in business. Business for stewardship and mission sees its purpose is to serve the needs of society, both locally and cross- culturally, in a way that transforms economies, societies, cultures and people’s connections to God. When Christians detach themselves from the business of the world, it creates much pain and confusion. Reclaiming the original purpose of business is part
  • 40 of our stewardship. Humans were made for working, being in community, making decisions, reproducing, and worshiping. The world becomes dysfunctional if we fail to do even one of these things. We are supposed to have a stewardship theology. It is not complicated, just reorienting. Neal Johnson, the dean of the business school at BGU, then spoke more about a theology of work. Christians should not detach from the business world. There needs to be a dialogue between the pew and the pulpit, and a clear connection between Sunday and Monday. Transformation in communities will not begin without involving the business world. A secular/sacred divide has been perpetuated by the church. Decision making in business should be informed by scripture. God wants us to come alongside people in business. Living the gospel throughout the week is important to God, and pastors should see themselves as equippers of people living out their callings in the business world. Jack Van Hartsfelt, a BGU board member and businessman, then lectured about the role of the business world in partnering with churches for community projects. He showed a video of a church renovation project he led as a businessman that took two weekends and involved over 800 volunteers. He stressed the importance of coming alongside people who are already out there doing big things, with the mindset of equipping them with resources and visionary leadership. Lowell Bakke spoke about the local church and a theology of work. He defined theology of work as the calling of God in the lives of people. He shared about his brothers, Ray and Dennis, and the difference in their callings. Ray has been successful in missions in life, and Dennis has been successful in business. Both have felt equally
  • 41 called by God to their areas of impact. The church should pay more attention to equipping people who have a calling for business. Is the church’s role to attract people from the community to the church, or is it to send people from the church to invest in the community? Is Sunday more important for churches than the other six days of the week? Sometimes church programs actually lead people away from their callings in the world. Maybe when 20 percent of the people are doing 80 percent of the work in church programs, it is because the other 80 percent of the people are out in the world potentially making a difference where the people in need are. After lunch Brad Smith showed us a feature film called Power Trip. The story was about Dennis Bakke’s company, AES, who tried to solve the electricity problem in the country of Georgia. It was an amazing story about how corporations can make a very positive or negative impact in the world. It emphasized the need for Christians to empower and equip people in business for the sake of gains in the kingdom. My first analysis of all of this is that it seems to make sense, but it is going to take me a while to process through it all. I hope to develop more of a theology of work, but that is difficult to do working in a full time ministry environment. One of the most tangible things I can do when I get back to Pittsburgh is to start valuing business and government leaders more in light of the unique position to which God has called them. In fact, over time I would hope that I will be able to encourage people more effectively to understand their worth and influence in the world as it relates to God’s purposes. As a mentor I would like to help my mentees to develop their callings.
  • 42 Day 9: January 20, 2009 This morning Ron Ruthruff spoke to our group. Ruthruff’s life has been to advocate for troubled adolescents at the government and policy level. Adolescents are just children, but most policies impacting them are formed for adults. Adolescents are stuck in the middle between childhood and adulthood, rural and urban, and between being kids of color and being white. Because of the way cities are set up, children all over the country are listening to hip hop music and playing violent video games. For the first time, young people are living in a world where the future is more fascinating to them than the past. This comes as a result of modern culture. Young people are more cross- cultural than adults, and they often know more than we do in areas such as technology. We need to provide culturally appropriate services for children, biologically, psychologically, socially, developmentally, and physically. Also, ministry models for at- risk youth need to leave room for failure. Young people have been asked to grow up even though they are not really developmentally prepared for adulthood. If young people are obsessed with the future, they know more than we do in many areas, and they are obsessed with individuality, then the question stands: How do we set up mentoring relationships for these young people that takes these issues into consideration? Many children are victims of abuse, and they are only able to become functional adults if they have anchors in their lives. Anchors provide a support network to guide adolescents through difficult years and traumatic experiences. Anchors are relatives, schools, churches, programs, and mentors. When children do not have enough anchors in their lives, they become troubled adults.
  • 43 Cognitively, the older a person is, the better they cope. Children become extremely desensitized to violence and sexuality if they experience it commonly at a young age. Morally, children begin to develop discrepancies between those who have power and those who do not if they are subjected to trauma at a young age. This often leads to rebellion against authority in adolescents who have experienced trauma. Children develop identities from what is right and what is. Adolescents form identities from what is wrong and what is not. This is a gateway to rebellion. Adolescents form identity based on person fable and imaginary audience. Young people can navigate through all kinds of troubles when they are given the right kind of anchors. This is why mentoring is so crucial! In the late morning several people lectured about the missional and practicing approaches to church. Our role as a church is to announce, demonstrate, and embody the good news of Jesus Christ. Many churches seem to have different callings within the body of Christ. Relationships are the key, and in many cases, people feel like they need to belong before they believe. Churches love to create bounded sets, where people know who is in and who is out. By contrast, in churches with a centered set everybody is welcome and considered to be moving toward a relationship with Jesus. When people belong to a faith community before they believe, it creates a mess. What do you do with a gay couple, people who are living together, or Muslims who are seeking? Some pastors prefer to have the mess of the centered set because the mess of the bounded set is even more difficult to navigate through. In the bounded set, people take their struggles and problems underground so that nobody talks about them and they are eventually manifested in a major way at a later date.
  • 44 Pastors can decide to grow a church big rather than grow a big church. This is done through connections, conversations, and collaborations. Followers of Jesus serve in three realms: personal, local, and global. The goal for Christians is spiritual transformation into Christ’s likeness for the sake of the world. Our spiritual disciplines empower us to go out into the world with what God gives us. If you depend on the offering plate to grow missional dreams, it may not happen. Churches should also seek partnership. Many pastors are more concerned about the view of insiders than outsiders. This is wrong! People rate their pastors just like movies or restaurants. This is wrong! In many churches, over 80 percent of the resources go toward creating a show, or program, that draws people to the church. This is wrong! When people get bored with a church, they just leave and go to another competing church with a better show. This is wrong! Churches are becoming a business, or professional religion. They are developing beliefism, which is the worship of right beliefs also known as our beliefs. In America, we have generated a culture of professional Christians. There is really not much of a foundation of professional ministry in the Bible. It is just something we have created. The truth business leads to the morality business. Churches should be practicing churches: personally, locally, and globally. In the afternoon we toured a Four Square Church that has several different multicultural churches operating within it, including English, Iranian, Spanish, and Korean. It was an interesting glimpse into a model of diversity in the kingdom of God that is not usually implemented in homogenous churches around the country. We also discovered how this church is partnering with their local community through the police
  • 45 department, nonprofit organizations, and city hall. BGU values diversity and partnerships, and today I was able to see examples of these ideals in progress. LAMP and the externally focused church movement at North Way stood out as practical applications in my ministry context based on my experiences today. LAMP is critical because we are working as mentors to so many troubled young people in the city of Pittsburgh. The externally focused church initiative is critical because it provides a framework for mobilizing the body of Christ in a strategic manner in areas all over Pittsburgh and around the world. Christians are called by God to engage culture, and influence the world. I am also interested in learning how North Way can become a more diverse community. I would like to be able to do this intentionally, perhaps through future multi- site efforts in Pittsburgh. Even if we are unable to utilize our multi-site strategies to become a more diverse congregation, would it be possible for us to use our new space for other international communities to hold services in our facilities at different times of the day on Saturday or Sunday? Day 10: January 21, 2009 Two weeks is a long time to be away from my family! I am so thankful that my wife has been so supportive of this time away, and I am also thankful for the prayers and support that I have felt from my friends. I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Despite the difficulties involved in life away from home, this Overture I class in Seattle has been a life changing experience.
  • 46 This morning Grace Barnes talked to us about balancing our lives while we are working on a doctorate degree. Balance is not really a good word to use, because it makes it seem that we have to make room in our lives to juggle another major commitment. Instead, she asked us to integrate. Achieving balance is not possible, but we can integrate. As an example of this, I should connect what I am learning, researching, and writing into everything I am doing with LAMP and North Way. This way it just integrates into what I am already doing, and my work will benefit as well. I also need to find good mentors in Pittsburgh who will help me along the way. Mind mapping is another helpful tool in staying on top of this amount of work. It is a process where I take the time to focus on using my right brain to think creatively about my work. Finally, I could try different reading and scanning styles to process through all of the information I will be reading. Judi Melton then talked to us about the importance of our personal learning community. All of my assignments, including these journal entries, should be written to people who know me. BGU requires students to involve their family members, friends, and colleagues so that the innovative work can have a broader impact in the kingdom of God. Ken Fong then lectured about organizational leadership. He believes that all organizations are constantly changing. Static organizations are actually dying a slow death. All organizations are either experiencing a slow death or deep change. He then shared a seven step process that all organizations can apply to help deal with deep change. The process involved questions that organizations should ask themselves. When navigating change, is there enough leadership in place? What opportunities and
  • 47 challenges are facing us today? Given who we are today, what do we see ourselves becoming in the future? Do we have sufficient energy or motivation to take advantage of our challenges and opportunities, while moving toward our future? How will we develop goal oriented strategies on both organizational and individual levels that will most effectively enable us to realize our future? With whom do we need to partner organizationally and individually in order to effectively carry out our strategy and how should we best develop those partnerships? Is there sufficient leadership to sustain desired organizational change? In the afternoon, Dave Pollard and Wes Johnson talked about spiritual formation. Pollard described spiritual formation in terms of longing, listening, knowing, and celebrating. He referred to Dallas Willard’s argument that spiritual formation is character formation. Johnson led us through a process of transformational prayer and biblical meditation. We basically studied some scriptures and spent some time in them to apply their meaning to our hearts. It required a certain level of silence, which is not something that comes natural to me. I am more of an active learner, so silence and meditation on scripture are not practices that I spend a whole lot of time doing. I am hoping to learn how to rest quietly in the Lord more often. As I reflect on this day, I learned that I need to take more time to focus on the spiritual discipline of being quiet and resting in God. Also, I can work with LAMP kids to focus on being more contemplative when much of their lives are based on distractions. I was able to connect the organizational leadership principles to both North Way and LAMP. With North Way, I gained a new appreciation for the way that Pastor Jay Passavant and the executive team have navigated through change over the past couple of
  • 48 years. Although it has been a rough road at times, they were not afraid to take risks and lead the organization in a new direction to overcome the forces of change in Pittsburgh. With LAMP, I am learning that I need to continue to lead and cast vision well to navigate through the various changes that we have encountered and will continue to encounter as we move forward. We can never land in a place where we are comfortable with the status quo, especially since we have children waiting for a mentor. Day 11: January 22, 2009 The end is in sight! I really love this course work at BGU, but I am ready to be home in Pittsburgh with my family and friends. I am sensing that everyone here is feeling this same way. This has been a once in a lifetime experience, but we are ready to begin implementing all that we have learned. I was talking to Randy White today, explaining that I feel like I now have a tool kit for urban ministry in Pittsburgh. Throughout the course of these past two weeks I have learned about many different ministry models for urban and complex environments. So much of what I have learned is directly applicable to LAMP and North Way. This morning, we were asked to pick out three main ideas that we are taking back with us to our ministry contexts. My three were: live intelligently, love Pittsburgh, and embrace change. I think all of these ideas will help me tremendously when I return to Pittsburgh. Our morning lecturer was Tim Svoboda, who served as a missionary in India for almost thirty years, and who more recently has served as the director of YWAM outreach efforts in San Francisco. He gave us a great history of missions work in India since the
  • 49 mid-1970s, and also an overview of the complexities of ministry in inner city San Francisco since he began serving there two years ago. He presented a ministry wheel model that I think could successfully be implemented in Pittsburgh. In his model, which he effectively used to decentralize YWAM’s efforts in India, macro-leaders provide enthusiastic leadership for micro-leaders of certain aspects of city development. Macro- leaders serve as cheerleaders and coaches for micro-leaders in areas such as: street kids, elderly, migrant workers, handicapped, arts, education, prostitutes, sports, middle class, unemployed, university students, Hindus, drug addicts, homeless, business, government, Muslims, prisoners, family, media, church, suicide, or the poor. In this model, micro- leaders are empowered to implement effective ministry models at the grass roots level. The micro-leaders become powerful in this model. He has a passion for implementing models of urban mission through pain, problems, people, power, and potential. He reminded us to engage the urban trinity: police, pastors, and politicians. Wynn Griffin then spoke to us about the importance of engaging in the dissertation process at BGU. I should begin thinking about my problem statement right now, and the research bridge that I will take in early 2010 will help to launch me into the dissertation process of this program. BGU hopes that I will be able to publish my dissertation project into a book that is widely read. BGU has the connections to make this happen! Gwyn Dewey and Lowell Bakke then guided the class through a research process called appreciative inquiry. Basically, this process helps to provide solutions to problems in cities by asking the right questions of influential people who are brought to the table in cities that are in need of transformation. We practiced the appreciative inquiry process
  • 50 on one another, and we were presented with examples of how this process has been successful in cities around the world. The process involves deciding, discovering, dreaming, designing, and delivering. Even though many of us are anxious to return to our homes, I was still appreciative of the information that I learned today. I love to learn about new cultures, and Tim Svoboda provided an excellent overview of front line ministry in India and San Francisco. I was privileged to learn from a person with that much experience! As I mentioned earlier, the ministry wheel model already has the wheels in my brain turning about organizational systems that could be implemented back in Pittsburgh. I have been searching for an effective way to organize North Way’s local outreach efforts, and this provides a great framework for something like that. The overview of the dissertation process was also extremely helpful. I have a great deal of reading and writing to do before I get to that point. The important thing, though, is that all of my class work should potentially tie into the topics that I will be working on for my dissertation. BGU really wants to work with me to publish my work as a book that could impact many other people who are interested in impacting young people around the world.
  • CHAPTER 3 TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN MY CONTEXT This Overture I experience has really helped me to establish a strong foundation for growth as a leader in urban ministry. In this chapter, I will present a personally contextualized application of my perspectives on transformational leadership. This will include the perspectives I am wrestling with and the perspectives that are shaping me. I will also identify concepts and perspectives I have held in the past and how I am changing. Foundations of Transformational Leadership My worldview, and especially my perception of leadership, has been shifted by this Overture I course at BGU. Transformational leadership is essential for Christians in modern society. The dynamics of this particular type of leadership are incarnational, reflective, contextual, calling-based, and global. With that in mind, it is necessary to examine how transformational leadership and its various components impact me in my ministry context. Transformational Leadership Transformational leadership is a big part of what I have been doing naturally over the past three years. Prior to that, and still in many forms today, I have viewed leadership as a transactional process. I have tended to view my leadership roles from a functional standpoint in terms of efficient and productive decision making. Upon completion of this 51
  • 52 Overture I class I have established a solid foundation for moving forward. I am a steward of power for God’s purposes. I need to continue to be effective in building relationships up to the powerful and down to the powerless. I need to give myself away relationally to others. I understand the concept of transformational leadership, but I am wrestling with how to maintain a balanced lifestyle while serving in this role. Acquiring power and giving it away is proving to be a personally exhausting process. Also, many of the leaders who I work with do not view themselves as a part of a transformational process, so I spend a great deal of effort in working relationally with others so that they might learn how to give themselves away for a cause to which God is calling them. Robert Linthicum’s perspective on Nehemiah as a transformational leader was a powerful example for me. Nehemiah developed relationships well, both to the powerful and the powerless. Linthicum points out that Jerusalem had been ruined for 141 years before Nehemiah arrived because “they lacked a person who would ask questions, who would listen to their pain, who would learn from the people, who would build relationships with them, who would allow his heart to be broken with that pain, who would pray to God for them, who would assess the resources at hand, who would not be afraid of stepping out into public life and confronting even an emperor, and who would gather the people.”1 Ken Fong’s concept of the hero’s journey was also a unique perspective on transformational leadership. In this concept ordinary people go on heroic journeys and are transformed by the process of the journey. In that context, leaders should be life long 1 Robert Linthicum, Transforming Power (Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 2003), 110.
  • 53 learners, navigate change, plan well, and identify support networks for ongoing coaching and mentoring in order to become transformational. I am changing for the better. I am building on the skill set that I have already established toward now becoming what I would call an intentional transformational leader. Incarnational Leadership I honestly had not considered the principles of incarnational leadership until about two years ago. At the time I was heavily involved in urban ministry through LAMP, but I was often overwhelmed by my lack of a knowledge base on urban development issues. I started reading any urban ministry books I could get my hands on, and the first two books I read were The Urban Christian by Ray Bakke and Journey to the Center of the City by Randy White. The incarnational leadership styles of these men have been something with which I have been wrestling ever since. In one respect, I am an incarnational leader because LAMP is all about relationships. I do not view LAMP as a program, but as an opportunity to impact the city of Pittsburgh one student at a time by matching children in meaningful relationships with caring adults over an extended period of time. I go into schools and homes, I attend neighborhood events, and I go outside the box constantly to place myself in situations where I am with the youth that I serve. However, after studying incarnational leadership I understand that I will ultimately make the biggest difference in LAMP by moving to Homewood. Operating from an outside-in approach is effective, but it is only effective to a certain point. I am wrestling with the fact that I may be at that point right now. The
  • 54 hardest part of this situation for me personally involves the impact this would have on my family. Ray Bakke and Randy White’s books really helped me out in this area, but John Hayes’ thoughts from Sub-Merge have also proven to be extremely helpful. Hayes emphasizes community as an essential component of incarnational living, saying that “the people with whom we share our journey play a profound role in shaping who we become.”2 Ray Bakke’s perspective on incarnational leadership from Street Signs really influenced me. In the book, as he has done in lectures, he describes his own journey of pastoral leadership in light of a context where evangelical people were rapidly fleeing the perceived messiness of urban living and relationships. He asks, “Is evangelism the message (i.e. Jesus saves)? Or is evangelism a method, like the incarnational way in which Jesus reached the world?”3 Skip Li’s lecture on incarnational leadership was incredible. His description of the need for incarnational leaders to live intelligently at all times was something that I hope to always grasp. Change is a constant part of leadership, and as a leader it is crucial that I face these circumstances intelligently. In the past I have held the perspective that all places are neutral, and that it does not matter where you choose to live. I now know that this is not the case. Places are not neutral, and where I choose to live matters to God and it matters to the people that I am in relationship with in ministry. 2 John Hayes, Sub-Merge (Ventura: Regal Books, 2006), 199. 3 Ray Bakke, Street Signs (Birmingham: New Hope Publishers, 2006), 135.
  • 55 Reflective Leadership I did not have a solid grasp on the concept of reflective leadership when I started this course. I know that I have a limited worldview, and my driven nature does not often lead me in the direction of slowing down in order to examine other worldviews or seek an understanding of the historical context as it relates to contemporary issues. Ray Bakke said in one of his lectures that reflective leadership is absolutely critical because history ties the past to the present. The Bible is a missional book in which the voices of people from the past are heard. As an example of all of this, I am really wrestling with Bakke’s perspective on the current war in Iraq. He described it as the worst foreign policy decision in his lifetime because there were 400,000 Christians in Iraq before America invaded who are now being killed and persecuted because we invaded. His point is that we did not do our homework, in terms of taking that into consideration, before we invaded Iraq. My perspective on the war in Iraq has been limited because I always had perceived America’s actions in Iraq as justified. I never considered the plight of the Christians living in Iraq, many of whom can trace their Christian roots back thousands of years in that geographical area. I thought Ray Bakke’s perspective on the story of Onesimus in Philemon from A Theology as big as the City was a great example of the power of reflection. He points out that “the gospel bounces from city to city – from Asia to Europe and back, but also from megacity to market towns. It was so then; it is so today. If we penetrate cities, the gospel will travel.”4 4 Ray Bakke, A Theology as big as the City (Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 168.
  • 56 I am changing because I am seeking to understand before acting. I’m learning to examine the past for connections to current issues. I will be much more equipped as a leader if I am able to be reflective. Contextual Leadership Contextual leadership plays a significant role in the urban projects I am involved in leading. I have learned that it is crucial for me to know that God has been moving in these areas a long time before I arrived. Other people have been involved in community development efforts all over the city of Pittsburgh. The Holy Spirit is already present in the city. I am not the only person, and North Way is not the only church, that is attempting to work for the Lord in neighborhoods like Homewood. We must be careful not to do more harm than good in urban ministry. Michael Oleska says “The Church must condemn and renounce all cultural imperialism, within itself first of all, and then in society.”5 Kris Rocke really challenged me on issues relating to contextualizing leadership. I am still wrestling with the concept of theology from below, which involves the discipline of studying scripture from the perspective of marginalized people instead of from a position of power. In the past, I have always (and usually unintentionally) read the Bible from a position of power. Through LAMP, I need to invite people to bring their own voices to the context when we discuss God with one another. Randy White’s perspective on concretizing the city opened the door for me to truly see what is going on cities, through the examination of religious, economic, and political forces. I am wrestling with this because I desire to see improvement in the 5 Michael Oleska, Orthodox Alaska (Crestwood: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1992), 214.
  • 57 young people I am mentoring, but I also know that I need to be a part of taking on systemic oppression in my role as a leader. In the past, I have held the view that I only need to focus on spending time with kids in order for their lives to be improved. In reality, this is an important part of my work, but I also need to engage in all areas that might improve their lives. Calling-based Leadership Calling is crucial to transformational leadership. In order to steward resources on behalf of people in need a leader must be compelled by their Creator. In The Call, Os Guinness gives a tremendous overview of the various aspects of calling. The perspective that stood out the most in my mind was his description of the importance of the Audience of One, or God. Guinness says “Our primary calling as followers of Christ is by him, to him, and for him.”6 Calling is a mysterious, elusive thing for me. Yet, I am very passionate about seeking God’s will for my life. My perspective on calling has been greatly expanded by this Overture I course. I have been guilty in the past of overemphasizing the functional aspects of my calling and faltering in my connectedness to Jesus. When this happens, I try to lead from my own flesh and humanness. I must keep my focus on God if I am going to have any chance of grasping His call on my life on a consistent basis. Brad Smith’s presentation about stewardship theology was particularly powerful for me in my calling. I am learning to incorporate the creation mandate and the cultural mandate into my worldview. I need to understand that God has given us money, power, fame and sex for us to steward. As a leader for troubled youth, it is my role in many 6 Os Guinness, The Call (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2003), 31.
  • 58 cases to help the young people understand how God is calling them to be healthy stewards of these areas in their lives as well. Mentors essentially teach children how to be good stewards as a part of God’s mission for mankind. Global Leadership Christians are called to engage the world, and this simply cannot be done effectively without an extensive understanding of the cultural, economic, and political forces shaping society. Although I do not like to admit this, I am also wrestling with developing an understanding of a world church. Having been raised as a white male in America, I have developed a limited view of God’s plan for humanity. I enrolled in this program at BGU because I need to be stretched. I lack a strong global worldview, even though I know that this is a crucial aspect of my development as a leader. I have been presented with many fascinating global perspectives in this program. Globalization is a controversial subject, but leaders must understand that they play an important role in shaping the outcomes of this system. Thomas Friedman believes “the best way for us to deal with the brutalities of globalization is by first understanding the logic of the system and its moving parts, and then figuring out how this system can benefit the most people, while inflicting the least amount of pain.”7 I agree with that statement, and I believe that Christians are called to an even greater responsibility in engaging the complexities of the globalization system. Damian Emetuche’s point of view on Western values versus the values of other cultures was very helpful to my worldview. I have set a goal to plug into international networks like BGU in order to pass on concepts and research in the area of youth 7 Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree (New York: Anchor Books, 2000), xxii.
  • 59 development and mentoring as a means of preventing street gang participation. As I connect with individuals and groups from other cultures, it will be important to bring a worldview into the environment that understands event orientation, holistic thinking, noncrisis orientation, and person orientation. Nearly every speaker in Seattle stressed the importance of relationships. In the past I have tended to focus locally, and programmatically. However, God is changing me. I am learning to include global and relational components into my worldview. If I take the approach of being a life long learner, I will be able to develop a much more effective global worldview. Personal Development The Overture I experience at BGU has stretched my personal development. A review of my personal history will hopefully yield a foundation for the amount of growth I have experienced. Childhood I grew up in a suburban area north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was a part of a family of five, and I was blessed with strong parents and a loving environment. My family owned some acreage, and we had so many extended family members living on the property that friends starting calling it the McCabe compound. I had plenty of room to adventure as a boy. I attended schools, went to church, played sports, and developed friendships in a middle class, white environment. I did not focus on other cultures too much while I was
  • 60 growing up. However, my parents did have global missionaries from our church stay with us for lengthy periods of time while they were on furlough. My worldview was framed by these experiences. I learned that American Christians send missionaries to other poor countries. College College was a huge learning curve for me. I played on the football team at a state university in Pennsylvania, and all of the team members were required to live on the same floor in the same dormitory. As a seventeen year old freshman, I was suddenly forced to radically alter my worldview. I needed to learn how to build relationships with people of different races and socioeconomic backgrounds for the first time. The other players on the team, now my roommates, were from poor, middle class, and wealthy families. About half of my teammates were African American. I realized that the environment I was raised in, although I always thought it was “normal,” did not prepare me to thrive in relationships outside of my own culture. Midway through my sophomore year I transferred to Malone College, a private Christian liberal arts college of about 2,000 students in Canton, Ohio. I transferred to this school because I wanted to study in a more Christian environment. Actually, the demographics of the school were much more similar to the way I had grown up. My classmates were mostly white and from middle class families. Malone’s campus was located in the suburbs, so it was a pretty sheltered place. Young Professional
  • 61 I graduated from Malone College in Canton, Ohio, in 1999 with a Bachelors degree in Education. Upon graduation, my wife, Julie, and I moved to California to pursue my dream to become a professional football player. I did manage to play professional football in the Arena Football League, but I also uncovered a huge passion in working with at-risk adolescents through my experiences as a teacher and coach at the Corcoran Unified School District. I developed this passion further through my service as a leader with the Young Life organization in Tulare County, California. I also discovered a passion for leading in a church environment through time spent as an elder on the board of directors at New Hope Church in Visalia, California. I earned a Masters degree from Fresno State University in Education Administration in 2002, and I had dreams of becoming a principal at a school. About four years ago, after the birth of my two daughters, we moved to Ohio after living in California for six years. I was prepared to be a school principal, and I had applied for every school administration job within one hour of where we were living in New Philadelphia, Ohio. I did not get a job in the field of education, and I worked in home construction for several months to make ends meet. At that time, God really brought me to my knees in search of my life’s purpose and calling. I decided to quit my construction job and search for a career that would give me a sense of purpose in life. I wrote out many pages of notes outlining my desires to work with children once again, but this time proactively, with troubled adolescents who had slipped through the cracks of society. At about that time, I was contacted by North Way Christian Community to see if I would be interested in helping them set up a mentoring partnership with at-risk youth in
  • 62 the city of Pittsburgh. I rushed over to Pittsburgh to help them set up the mentoring partnership because I was so passionate about working with at-risk youth. I moved with my family to Pittsburgh. Several months later I was offered a full time job by the Pittsburgh Board of Education and North Way to become the director of the Learning and Mentoring Partnership, or LAMP, at North Way. This was a far cry from my career aspirations to become a school administrator, but at the time it seemed to make a lot of sense with my vision to proactively address the needs of troubled youth. Ministry Development LAMP God has truly blessed me in my calling to make an impact in the world by working with people on the margins of society. Several hundred mentors from the church have volunteered to become actively involved in making a difference in the lives of young people living in the Homewood section of Pittsburgh. Homewood has many at- risk youth attending school at the Helen Faison Arts Academy. I am still serving as the director of LAMP at North Way, but I also have been called to mobilize our entire congregation into service in the city through strategic partnerships and externally focused efforts. Externally Focused at North Way In March of 2008 North Way embarked on a journey with the Leadership Network in Dallas, Texas. We joined about a dozen other churches in the Externally Focused Leadership Community, a partnership with Leadership Network that was
  • 63 scheduled to last over a period of two years. In this partnership, our church leaders were sent to Dallas in order to network and be equipped in the area of mobilizing churches to focus their ministry efforts outside the walls of their churches. I was a part of the team that was sent to each of the four scheduled gatherings from 2008 to 2009. I determined early on that many churches were interested in partnering with the underperforming schools in their areas in order to be a part of the community transformation process. Mentoring provides an opportunity for churches to really make a deep, lasting difference in their communities. Upon accepting the position as LAMP director at North Way, I also agreed to take on a leadership role in all of the church’s efforts to make a local impact on the community where we are located. In addition to the LAMP leadership team that I have set up, I have also organized a team of volunteer leaders who are motivated to make a difference across various aspects of the city of Pittsburgh. North Way is committed to positively impacting the orphans in our community through our partnership with the Orphan Care ministry. We also intend to make a big difference with the homeless population in Pittsburgh through our partnership with the Light of Life Rescue Mission on the north side of the city. In addition, our church has established strategic partnerships with the senior citizens in the city through serving weekly and monthly with nursing homes throughout the city. Local Outreach and City Mobilization One of the major shifts in our local outreach efforts involves a shift from “money and things” to relationships as a part of our externally focused efforts. North Way has
  • 64 supported many local organizations over the twenty eight year history of the church, although we had lost touch with many of the organizations we supported. During this past year we decided to focus our local outreach efforts on the creation of a team of city mobilization volunteers determined to move the congregation from strictly giving money or donations to causes to becoming relationally connected with people in need. We cut ties financially with the organizations that did not align with our efforts. Instead, we focused on viewing donations as a wide entry point into interest in ministry involvement, then mobilizing the people at North Way toward service through one-time general congregational efforts, small group serving opportunities available six to eight times annually, and individual serving opportunities held weekly for several hours at a time. Through LAMP, people can donate school uniforms, school supplies, bikes, and money to fund the initiative. As a next step, people can serve once annually at the Great Homewood Clean Up event held every April. Small groups have the opportunity to support six to eight events such as a harvest party, children’s festival, and summer program. At the highest level of involvement, individuals serve as one-to-one mentors, family-to-one mentors, school-based mentors, or group mentors. I also am involved in leading North Way’s strategic partnership with an organization called Orphan Care. People can donate shoes to this organization during an annual shoe drive, and they can serve once annually by going on a mission trip to Honduras to drop the shoes off at an orphanage. Small groups can provide support for families involved in foster care or adoptions, and ultimately individuals can adopt children in foster care.
  • 65 North Way’s relationship with the Light of Life Rescue Mission allows people to donate to this cause. As a next step, people can volunteer once annually at a special event or go on a vision tour of the facilities to see the dynamics involved in ministering holistically to the homeless population in Pittsburgh. Small groups can serve six to eight times per year by throwing birthday parties for children or serving food at a shelter. Individuals eventually have the opportunity to serve weekly at Light of Life through many different types of serving opportunities according to their calling. Global Mission Strategy Last year I was asked to serve on the missions task force at North Way. While I was a member of this team, I was involved in standardizing the process of supporting missionaries around the world. Our church was committed to using a large part of our budget for global mission efforts. The task force was formed to address several questions. First, should we support missionaries based on geographical location in order to focus a larger portion of the church’s efforts toward one area? Should we support missionaries from whom we rarely or never receive communication or feedback? Were we able to send volunteers to partner with missionaries in distant lands, in light of the new external focus of the church? North Way’s global missions strategy is clearly in need of reform. However, during this reform period I am sure the leaders at the church will decide to grandfather in some missionaries with whom the church has a long standing relationship. In moving forward, I know that I will be a part of developing a missional strategy which takes into consideration globalization, urbanization, pluralism, postmodernism, and many other
  • 66 trends I have learned about in this Overture I course. The executive leadership at North Way may consider bringing in a consultant to help us navigate through these changes, but perhaps I will be able to contribute to the focus of these resources in a way that is more reflective of modern trends in global missional efforts. Areas of Interest for Study at BGU BGU offers five different specializations for study in the Doctor of Ministry program. This Overture I course introduced the cohort to the various specializations through reading, lectures, and field experiences. In this section, I will explain the specializations that were shown to me and explain which specialization I have chosen. Church Leadership and Ministry Multiplication Specialization North Way is rapidly becoming a church that is multi-site and multi-generational. Two years ago our traditionally suburban church launched a site in Oakland, an urban part of Pittsburgh, which currently draws over 400 people to services each week. At about the same time two years ago, the church also launched a venue at the suburban site called the Worship Café that was intended to meet the needs of the younger generations at North Way. I am involved in leadership on staff at North Way, so the church leadership and ministry multiplication specialization does interest me. North Way is becoming a missional church. Darrel Guder presents a compelling need for “a theological revolution
  • 67 in missional thinking that centers the body of Christ on God’s mission rather than post- Christendom’s concern for the church’s institutional maintenance.”8 The bounded and centered set philosophies presented by Rose Swetman have already proven to be applicable in church leadership discussions at North Way. In many ways, our church seeks to have a centered set where everybody is seen as moving toward a relationship with Jesus. However, we operate out of a bounded set on many levels. A recent leadership conversation focused on whether or not people should be allowed to bring coffee into the main sanctuary for worship. The whole conversation focused on the creation or removal of a component of the bounded set. Jim Henderson’s perspective on beliefism, the worship of right beliefs also known as our beliefs, has hit home with me. Suddenly, certain elements of the conservative or fundamental Christian right worldview become a worship of one’s own beliefs. I am now paying attention to this in conversations I have with people in our church. It is really amazing how entrenched people can become in their beliefs (including myself if I am not careful). Leadership Specialization I was riding in a car recently, and I was having a conversation with several leaders from Pittsburgh who were interested in the topic of transformational leadership. They were actively involved in the process of transactional leadership, but they were noticeably interested in the transformational leadership principles that I was describing for them based on the knowledge and experience I had gained from the DMin program at 8 Darrell Guder, Missional Church (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998), 7.
  • 68 BGU. Transformational leadership, servant leadership, and stewardship are principles lost on many modern leaders. I need to work on the issue of control in my life. According to Peter Block we “are reluctant to let go of the belief that if I am to care for something I must control it.”9 Transformational leaders acquire influence and power in order to give it away. I often do things myself or drive processes that others could easily manage because of this problem I have in giving up control. The servant leadership principles also really resonated with me. Grace Barnes did a great job presenting the idea that it is easier for a servant to learn to lead than for a leader to learn to serve. I really believe that. With LAMP, I have lately been trying to take the stance that I am supporting and serving everyone, regardless of whether they are the senior pastor of the church or a single mom with seven children in Homewood. It is all a matter of perspective, and servant leadership works well in any situation. Ministry in Complex Contexts Specialization Ministry in Homewood through LAMP is often complex. I am constantly faced with issues related to church and state partnerships. I am constantly faced with issues related to suburban and urban partnerships. I often find myself navigating church members and young people through the issues related to racial reconciliation. I am finding that this is an ongoing process that yields incredible long term benefits, although there are no easy short term solutions. 9 Peter Block, Stewardship (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1996), 19.
  • 69 I loved Robert Lupton’s assertion “that the new vision that is needed in our city will most likely come from faith-motivated real estate developers!”10 His outlook on how these visionary leaders can transform spaces in city centers was inspirational to me. I have made it a point in my own ministry involvements to start building more effective working relationships with developers who I know could do amazing things in the inner city communities where I work. Two concepts from Tim Svoboda’s lecture really impacted me. First, I learned about the importance of decentralization in working in complex contexts. I have already started implementing this at North Way by setting up a new structure for our externally focused efforts aimed at moving our activities away from the church buildings and offices. Second, the ministry wheel concept was a great model for organizing urban ministry efforts. I am leading an effort that is still in its early stages, but we are organizing the needs from Pittsburgh into our own type of ministry wheel. Theological Reflection Specialization Theological reflection is an important aspect of contemporary urban ministry. Many global urban ministry leaders, including myself, have the tendency to become lost in the mix of needs offered by marginalized people and communities. I often find myself in need of time to reflect on the missional efforts I am involved in, but more importantly I am often in desperate need of time with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. A few years ago I started the process of getting away from the grind of urban ministry every few months in order to connect with God on a more intimate level. It 10 Robert Lupton, Renewing the City (Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 2005), 152.
  • 70 became such a critical process of my routine that my wife began telling me when it was time for me to take a break and spend some time away from everything with the Lord. For many Christians, “theology is necessary because it enables them to think and live Christianly so that they can love God fully, with heart, mind, soul, and strength.”11 As a leader in a ministry setting, I really need to focus on building a strong theological foundation from which to lead missionally in a global, complex world. Dave Pollard suggested that spiritual formation is about character formation. I have been applying this as much as possible to my life. As a leader, I will never be able to form my character well in the absence of spiritual growth. In other words, I am finding that God works on me to yield growth of character. I must maintain a healthy heart-level connection to God in order to sustain myself as a leader. I am struggling with implementing Wes Johnson’s perspectives on spiritual formation and theological reflection. I would say the best breakthroughs I have experienced in this area have been through utilizing the names of God in praying from my heart. Since urban ministry is so complex, it is helpful to know in prayer that God is so diverse and so powerful. Urban Youth Ministry Specialization All of the other specializations are great, but I have selected the urban youth ministry specialization at BGU because of my current job responsibilities with LAMP. I have been tempted to go in other directions because of the wide variety of strategic partnerships that I am involved in leading at North Way, but inevitably I am always 11 Craig Ott and Harold Netland, Globalizing Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006), 39.
  • 71 drawn back to focusing my attention on the young people that I am currently serving through LAMP. Five percent of the children living in Homewood are proficient in reading according to the standardized testing in Pennsylvania, and 6 percent of the students are proficient in math. Ninety eight percent of the students in Homewood come from single parent families, with 70 percent of those students currently living with their mothers. Many of the students referred to the LAMP program are in danger of dropping out of school for reasons related to academics, attendance, or behavior. The church has a critical role to play in the betterment of society in the realm of education, in terms of providing solid, faith-based mentors for students that are in danger of slipping through the cracks of society and remaining in an ongoing cycle of generational poverty. My heart is with young people, especially those adolescents facing difficult life circumstances. This is an important issue to society, as Scott Larson and Larry Brendtro point out in Reclaiming our Prodigal Sons and Daughters. With regard to dealing with these issues, they contend that “our willingness to grapple with these issues may determine our future in the new millennium more than anything else we do.”12 I agree with Ron Ruthruff’s view point that children are stuck in the middle between adulthood and childhood, and between rural and urban. Most of the concepts examined in this Overture I class, such as globalization, urbanization, and postmodernism, are profoundly impacting adolescents today. I sense that God has uniquely prepared me for a time such as this. I hope that some day faith-based mentoring initiatives will become prevalent in churches all over the 12 Scott Larson and Larry Brendtro, Reclaiming our Prodigal Sons and Daughters (Bloomington: National Education Service, 2000), 9.
  • 72 world. In the meantime, I will continue in my calling for LAMP which focuses on impacting the city of Pittsburgh one student at a time.
  • CHAPTER 4 SELF-EVALUATION This course has been an amazing learning experience, and I am so excited to see what God will continue to do throughout the rest of this Doctor of Ministry program. This information has changed the way I live my life, it has impacted my calling significantly, and my worldview has been changed forever. I love implementing what I have learned in my leadership context at North Way. I had several goals for this course. First, I wanted to see if the urban ministry leader as practitioner learning style resonated with me. Second, I wanted to be empowered and equipped as a leader in my current urban ministry context. Third, I wanted to be mentored by experienced transformational leaders who understood the complexities of ministering amongst people living in urban environments. Finally, I intended to plug into a national and international network of relationships with people so that I could share my experiences with them and in turn they could partner with me in ministry. I have absolutely loved the learning model that BGU has established. I enjoyed the reading and lectures, but I also really looked forward to the time spent walking around and visiting ministry locations in Seattle. The field experiences really helped me apply what we were learning in the classroom. The trip to New Horizons to see Ron Ruthruff in action was particularly helpful for me considering my role in working with troubled adolescents in Pittsburgh. I really have been empowered and equipped as a leader in my ministry context by this course. I was in Dallas, Texas for the Externally Focused Leadership Community 73
  • 74 recently where I was collaborating with churches from all over the country about how to mobilize the people in their congregations out into active roles in serving their communities. I applied principles I had learned in this DMin program at countless times during the trip. I built relational power with people from other churches. Many churches at the gathering were interested in partnering with public schools, so I helped them out whenever I could. I viewed it as giving myself, and the experience that I have gained through LAMP, away on behalf of people in cities where I have never been. I have enjoyed being mentored by urban ministry leaders who understand the complexities I am facing in life. During the time in Seattle, people like Ray Bakke and Randy White had a profound impact on me. They were accessible, and they were patient with me in taking the time to answer questions that I have been wrestling with. I was impressed by the level of hands-on investment the BGU leaders made into people just entering the DMin program, many of whom they had never met before. My plugging into a national and global network is still a work in progress. I loved the geographical and cultural diversity of the people in the class, ranging from Kenya to China to the Philippines to various parts of the United States. I am appreciative of these new relationships, but I have not prioritized the maintenance of these ties outside of my time in Seattle. Our cohort attempted to set up a Facebook group, but it has not worked out well probably because everyone is busy back in their own work environments in their countries. I am hoping that future international trips will help me to continue to develop relationships in the BGU network. The first meeting I facilitated with LAMP after I returned from Seattle was incredible! I felt equipped, and the results of that time were extremely powerful. Not
  • 75 only have my leadership skills in meetings changed, but my relationships are more meaningful, my conversations are more powerful, and my connection to God has been deep. The challenge I am facing now is that I am having a difficult time processing this shift in my worldview. I often have a tough time communicating it to other people. I sometimes grow impatient with friends and family who do not understand how I am changing. Sometimes people are fascinated and inspired by what I am learning and how I am learning. At other times people are intimidated by what I am learning, or they flat out disagree with some of the concepts. I was also challenged to try to find time to integrate this program into my life. Life integration has been a difficult issue for me, especially with the writing piece of the course. I was able to keep up with the reading, and then the course work during the two weeks in Seattle. Writing and processing has been the added piece that I have struggled to integrate into my life. Thankfully, I know that every course at BGU builds on another course toward an end goal. As I am writing, I often keep that in mind. All of this writing is building toward something. I am laying the foundation for a dissertation, and perhaps that will published as a book some day. I would assign myself an A in this Overture I course because I really worked hard to bring all of the requirements of this course into fruition. I am sure that I have a long way to go in developing as a writer, and this experience involved a great deal of new information to process. I did fully commit myself to the work, including Moodle discussions, reading, the two weeks in Seattle, journaling, and writing.
  • BIBLIOGRAPHY Bakke, Ray, and Jon Sharpe. Street Signs - A New Direction in Urban Ministry. Birmingham: New Hope Publishers, 2006. Bakke, Ray. A Theology as Big as the City. Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 1997. Block, Peter. Stewardship. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1996. Bosch, David. Transforming Mission. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1993. Friedman, Thomas. The Lexus and the Olive Tree. New York: Anchor Books, 2000. Guder, Darrell. Missional Church. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998. Guinness, Os. The Call. Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2003. Hayes, John. Sub-Merge. Ventura: Regal Books, 2006. Larson, Scott, and Larry Brendtro. Reclaiming Our Prodigal Sons and Daughters. Bloomington: National Education Service, 2000. Linthicum, Robert. Transforming Power. Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 2003. Lupton, Robert. Renewing the City. Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 2005. Oleska, Michael. Orthodox Alaska. Crestwood: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1992. Ott, Craig, and Harold Netland. Globalizing Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006. 76