“The Lord looks from heaven; he sees all the sons of men; from His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works” (Psalm 33: 13-15).
Who sees that I set the bar high for myself and was off to the next level, engaging in a doctoral-level professional learning community alongside ministry colleagues who also set the bar high? We are ready to embark upon practical application of history, economics, religion, social science, and theology, crossing cultural barriers and developing knowledge and skills related to understanding the context of the Word of God. What would be the price of involvement in an action–reflection process designed to review character, ministry call, and direction of a program that integrates enhanced competency in pastoral analysis with skills that would lead me to an advanced understanding of the nature and purpose of ministry and the calling of God upon my life?
I was thankful that I had been accepted and was entering such a great school as George Fox Evangelical Seminary, the “Leadership & Global Perspective” DMin program. It was only a few years earlier that I whispered these words to my Lord … “Lord, forgive my sin. Cleanse me so I can walk before you with integrity.” That was when I learned that one of the Lord’s names is El-Roi, the God who sees everything. There are things we might like to hide, but I know he sees them. So, I named my “2016 First Year-End Review,” of my DMin program experience “Who sees” … it is El-Roi (The-God-Who-Sees).
2015 International Advance … Hong Kong
The Leadership Global Perspective DMin program Advance 2015, established a framework for international cross-cultural learning experience in ministry. The Hong Kong Advance increased my awareness of the international perspective of the program. I gained respect, awareness, knowledge, and skills, to interact effectively across cultures; as a result of the experience, I am now better able to appreciate people of different cultural backgrounds, adapting to a new society, understanding the general community and accepting the people living there.
Marvelous is the word that describes the leadership of the Global Persctive DMin program …. To marvel means to regard with awe and astonishment. The excellent spirit of servanthood leadership demonstrated by our mentors made meeting and greeting easier at the 2015 Advance for the cohorts participating in the face-to-face learning experiences. The twelve members of the LGP6 cohort met with our mentor and advisers through formal and informal communication. We experienced copious encouragement while developing friendships. Prayers were at the forefront, which provided an atmosphere for learning and growing within the spirit of unity.
First Semester, Fall of 2015
On my long flight home, I begin my conversation with God; I prayed and asked for wisdom and a word to keep me focused. However, he already knew because he sees all. He gave me the word persistence as a traveling companion and wisdom came later and has been by my side like a little child ever since.
The first few weeks after the advance, I was literally stuck on how to approach my dissertation. I was unable to work on my Module Learning Plan (MLP), Academic Essay and Personal Learning Development Plan (PLDP), and did not have a clue about the direction of the dissertation. The struggles within me were heightened when I learned we had lost our adviser. I felt the void, lacking clarity and understanding of the assignments. I found myself alone in the valley of despair. It reminded me of Hagar when she was alone, frightened and sure that God was nowhere around. Yet, in her trial, God knew exactly where she was. He saw every move she made, and He came to her to offer comfort and hope.
Story of my Cry for Help
I cried out loud to God and asked Him,
Do you see …? Knowing thou God see my struggles.
They are great; they discourage me. Come help me
Get through this day. Lord, look at my talents;
they are few. O God, see my ability; I am weak.
How can I ever serve you the way you are leading me
without understanding how to follow the direction?
How can I enter such a vineyard to perform, such
mighty ministry work?
A few days later, a new adviser was appointed and we finally met, with some opposition on my part; I was reluctant to connect to a new adviser because I had reached a self-pity stage. There were feelings of being cheated, I began to think my opportunity was now a disappointment, but quitting was not an option because persistence was there to push me on; the Holy Spirit began to work within me, and I surrendered to Him.
Answer to My Cry
Because I knew the Lord is El-Roi,
His ever-seeing presence encouraged me. Just as
Hagar had to return to face conflict and problems,
I could not run from my troubles and
I cannot keep problems out of my life.
But the good news is we can solve our problems.
El Roi will help us through them.
We must face the difficulties
from which we run. So, I called upon
the Lord El-Roi to help me and be with me in
my difficulties. I began to say, “Lord, you see me
and know my weakness. Come to me and help me.
Give me strength to face my problems and wisdom
to solve them. Let me get victory from your presence. Amen.”
It was clear that George Fox University had provided the tools and the framework and foundation on which to build. Yet, I was refusing to allow the people God had placed in my life to mentor and direct me. The Holy Spirit began to bring to my memory the things that I had learned, studied, and pondered. Little by little, progress began. So many times, I might have wandered had the Lord not placed people and events in the proper places for me.
Reading and Blogging
Our reading materials were carefully planned to help us broaden our reading and writing skills while expanding our imaginations. Ironically, our first reading was a book by Adler, How to Read a Book; it set a pace and created a new way of reading. Thereafter, we read a book a week for blogging, along with our additional research reading, which made researching easier. Our first-year reading helped us explore the whys of the institutions’ cultural challenges and understand their importance. The books, for the most part, supplied the history, which gave answers to how. For the why, we needed a greater imagination. We are now better able to discern how our desire and imagination shape our habits; it is through our habits that we navigate life.
The idea of blogging books we read is brilliant. Suddenly, our classmates can be in conversation with us, even when we are not in the classroom. For me, that is what made this experience distinct, since it is based on the concept of choosing one’s own path or constructing one’s own story, which helps us develop our critical thinking, writing, and source-documentation skills. The weekly reading was followed by a weekly chat, the classroom setting on the World Wide Web, with conversations profoundly orchestrated by our lead mentor, Jason C.
The chats with our mentor and cohort allowed me to see the brilliance of each member, their wit and knowledge. Each one appears to be the smartest person in the cohort! I felt like I was on a runaway train because my computer was old and needed more time. By the time I could answer or make a comment, the issue had gone to three different levels and a different subject. I said, Oh Lord who sees my problems and helps me the same way he saw Hagar in the wilderness and came to her aid. So He gave me the thought to compile all the chats neatly in a booklet and to go through them during my free time to stay current on everything. Organizing is my strong suit, and I began to capitalize on it carefully, planning every little detail by ordering all the reading materials and research articles, planning ahead of the school schedule and completing assignments before the scheduled time to allow for errors or misinterpretation.
Summary of First-Year Learning Experiences … 2015–2016
In my summer semester, my boundaries were expanding and my skills were increasing, my assumptions about ministry, my theological foundations, and my spiritual identity were enlarged. The learning community of my DMin program started with a base foundation of questions to build and expand upon for my PLDP. The journaling process of this plan is helping me develop my personal leadership skills. In essence, each cohort charts its own personal development. The DMin program has given me great insight. I am beginning to understand integrating doctoral-level work, how it affects servant leadership and pastoral spirituality, and how the program is designed to help cohorts acquire as well as refine our skills in ministering to those whom God has called us to serve.
Using the metaphor of the butterfly for transformation to illustrate my growth, I am living in a “constant state of change.” I am in the chrysalis stage, the old body parts of the caterpillar are undergoing a remarkable transformation, metamorphosis, to become the beautiful parts of the butterfly that will emerge. This is evidenced by the physical, mental, and social growth and changes I am undergoing.
So, today I can answer, the “2016 First Year-End Report Review Experience Question,” “Who Sees?” by assuring my cohort that God sees and cares about us in our DMin program. He has not only seen our first year but the entire duration of the process of our learning. He understands how we celebrate ourselves with all our flaws, difficulties, and perceived inadequacies. However, we have to drop our armor and begin to reveal our true humanity—which becomes an expression of our individual greatness. Ironically, this act of acceptance increases our authentic connection with each other and diminishes our attachment to form and status. The learning will enable us to expand our imagination far beyond its limits while bringing forth our God-given potential within our unexplored possibilities … our minds.
It has been a great year … filled with growth. I am grateful and thankful that God sees it all! Tomorrow looks promising because God has placed a rainbow in my sky.
James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature. Springfield, MA: Seven Treasures, 2009.
King James Bible Online. n.d. The Bible: The King James Version. http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Genesis-16-13/ (accessed April 23, 2016).
Purnell, Dick. Experiencing God by His Names. Eugene: Harvest House, 2015.
Temple Baptist Church. El Roi. The God Who Sees Me. Genesis 16. http://www.templebaptch.com/NEW%20WEB%20FILES/Printed%20Sermons/Series/Names%20of%20God/03%20-%20El%20Roi%20%2812-05-10%20Sun%20PM%29.pdf (accessed April 23, 2016).
. King James Bible Online, The Bible: King James version, Genesis chapter 16, http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Genesis-16-13/ (accessed April 23, 2016).
.William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (Springfield, MA: Seven Treasures, 2009).
Kevin started in youth ministry under Paul Abner at Lakeside Assembly in Oklahoma City in 1987. Paul was a veteran youth minister who had been at Lakeside for fifteen year. After serving with him for five and half years, as one of the nations first junior high pastors, Kevin moved to a small church in Owasso, Oklahoma. Starting with twelve students in 1994, Xtreme Youth Ministries quickly grew to over 200 students within two years. He is still the youth pastor in Owasso and has the Enerje Event Centre as their ministry building.
Kevin is driven by discipleship so he started Family Groups early on and its implementation is a trademark of Xtreme. Peer to peer ministry is the foundation for developing students into leaders. Developing this concept over his 26 years in youth ministry, Kevin has helped to launch many students into full time ministry and now has started to send students overseas into full time mission work.
Kevin is passionate about helping other pastors succeed. Paul Abner handed him fifteen years of practical youth pastor experience as a young intern. Kevin took that foundation and built upon it and he believes now is the time for him to hand to others that same knowledge and wisdom.
Kevin is the founder of XM Productions. XM Productions is a traveling drama and illustration team from Owasso, Oklahoma. Made up of junior high through college students, the team has traveled internationally, performing on stages across the US, Ireland, and the UK, from Winterfest in Knoxville to Summer Madness in Belfast. Cutting edge creativity, full-scale props and elaborate costuming sets them apart as they masterfully tell stories through drama.
Kevin is the president/ owner of the non profit organization Wired Inc. Wired is a non profit organization that develops afterschool programs for students and hosts school assembly tours across America and internationally. This ministry is focused on bringing a message of hope to students. Teaming up with speakers Reggie Dabbs and Jason Maupin, there have been thousands of students affected by the message.
Kevin is a ministry coach. He started a small business at www.kevinnorwood.com to help youth pastors but it has evolved into a ministry to pastors and to church staffs. Longevity is one of the hallmarks of his ministry and the way to navigate the landmines of being on church staff is one of the topics that he teaches. He is an exceptional question asker and can get conversations started that helps others discover the answers for themselves.
Kevin has an earned Master’s Degree in Practical Theology from Oral Roberts University and is pursuing his Doctorate in Leadership and Global Perspectives from George Fox University. He will complete this in 2018. Dr. Mark Rutland has been a powerful influence in his life.
Kevin has an amazing wife of 25 years, Ann, she is an RN who is a clinical documentation specialist but more importantly she is a partner in ministry. Maci, his daughter, is 16 and an avid horse rider and competes in Western Pleasure and English disciplines. She was a champion at this years World Color Congress in the skill of halter with her horse Charlie. London, his son, is 5 and is an absolute joy. He is a very funny and quick young man causing much laughter in the Norwood home.
Kevin loves to be on the water, boating, skiing, riding the waverunner. (Two times he has chartered a pirate ship for 150 students on Lake Michigan out of Navy Pier) He is also an avid snow skier (loves to race down the mountain) and spends lots of time riding bikes. Learning about horses and building a barn was not on his to do list but daughters can cause you to do some amazing things. Giving up their house on the golf course to move to the country is one of the simple sacrifices that he has made to put family first.
Kevin interned in London while in college, hence the name of his son. This started him on a really unique journey of thinking differently than the American church. It has propelled him to think outside the box and do things that have not been done in the ministry with students in the leadership positions.
Kevin has an adopted country. He has traveled to Ireland 21 times over the past 11 years. He has seen the transformation of churches going from being missions receiving churches to being missional churches. One of this greatest joys is the fact that churches where he has taken students on mission’s trips to help then start taking missions trips themselves to help others.
Follow Kevin @ knxtreme on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, etc…
Pablo Morales is a Christian Theologian and Ordained Pastor who loves God, loves teaching, loves people, and loves diversity. He has a passion for helping people from all backgrounds learn God’s Word in a way that is clear and relevant. That is why he enjoys so much explaining the Gospel to people who are seeking God and mentoring new believers in their spiritual journey. This passion is evident in the diversity of training materials he has produced throughout the years. Whether be through the Gospel Explanation, the Discipleship Mentorship, From Singleness to Oneness, or the Strategic Leadership Training, God has used him to touch many lives across the globe. (more…)
Chartering the Waters of a Doctorate of Ministry
Three years ago I felt the Lord impress on me the need to do a Doctorate of Ministry course, something I had not at all expected to pursue. So began my quest to find a quality course that fulfilled the following personal criteria:
- A college with a positive attitude towards women in ministry
- An openness to various theological backgrounds
- Affordable and professional
George Fox Seminary fulfilled each of these and so in September 2013, I set sail on my quest to begin my journey of pursuing a D.Min. The following is a summary of the benefits I have encountered in this great adventure. (more…)
It does not seem that long ago when I sat in an entirely empty house doing my first online chat that fateful day of September 2013. We had just bought our first home in Florida after transplanting to the Sunshine state the previous summer. We had fully moved all of our belongings the week before. Due to the delay in connecting of our internet I had to return to our rent house with a TV dinner tray, a folding chair, and my computer. Thus began my matriculation into a doctoral program with George Fox University. (more…)
I know that time doesn’t move faster and can’t move faster, but these two years have gone by very quickly. While the schedule has been intense, it has not been burdensome. As a full-time lead pastor with a family and all the responsibilities that both require, this LGP program has been grafted into my life, enriching, expanding and enhancing at every turn of a page and a calendar. (more…)
What had I gotten myself into? I must have been crazy to think I could do a doctoral program. What was I thinking? Now two years into the program, I am actually within reach of a doctorate degree. How was it even possible to achieve this longed held dreamed? (more…)
I brought a frustrating issue into the program that surfaced early and almost derailed me. My starting perspective was “this program is great – it will push me to grow professionally!” Like most mid-career pastors, I had lost ministry passion and focus. However, from the beginning of the program, I was asked about what I would research. Research? Really? I’m a practitioner not an academic. Okay, I knew I had to write a dissertation eventually but can’t we put that off a couple of years? The obvious answer was “no”—even in our orientation we saw how the program was built to produce the dissertation. Right from the beginning we had to wrestle with research. Intensifying my self-doubt surrounding doing scholarly work was the additional angst that came from my resource-deprived and obscure field of research (the international church’s role with God’s diaspora). These two pressures tempted me to drop the program early. But today, with a year behind me, I’m confident I’ll continue to completion. What’s changed? Where did the fresh confidence come from? I’ll offer three sources of personal growth. (more…)
Hong Kong VE Assignment
Students Personal Interests
I started my journey to Hong Kong with a detour through Nanning to visit my Uncle. My Uncle Mike is a rogue American that has made China his home for 10+ years. My time with him was fascinating. I got to meet his Chinese family, we talked economics, religion, and toured many of the local places of interest. (more…)
“So how was Hong Kong, Mary?” When people ask that inevitable question, I’ve struggled to find an answer that is unique to Hong Kong. The iconic skyscrapers set the city apart from most other places; the price of square footage for a flat seems outlandish; and even though there are crowds of people, those who live in Hong Kong are kind, helpful, and hospitable. However, after traveling in a few different countries over the years, I find Hong Kong’s impact similar to other places: a satiated curiosity as I listen to another language and/or accent; a greater confidence as I learn my way around an unknown territory without an initial sense of geographic reference; and that scary yet welcomed disorientation in an effort to adapt to another culture with an acute sense of “I’m different yet the same.” (more…)
In light of my ministry context, I have been looking for a doctoral program that could provide me with three things: deeper studies in leadership dynamics in the context of globalization, a program that would not only emphasize knowledge but community, and interaction with a broader body of Christians outside my denominational circles. When I left Dallas to meet my cohort in Hong Kong, I did not know what to expect. In many ways I was leaving my comfort zone to start a new journey in my life, and I hoped that I would not end up regretting it. This trip was going to be the moment of truth—Would this program fit my ministry needs? (more…)
Landing in Hong Kong brought many surprises. One of them was that everything was clearly marked in English. (more…)
As I arrived in Hong Kong, I was not quite sure what to expect. While I understood it was where East met West, I questioned how that would play out within the life of the city. Would it be more West than East or the converse? Once I saw the stunning views and the immensity of the city, I found that it would be equally East and West. (more…)
Hong Kong Advance: A Phenomenal Experience
My participation in the George Fox Evangelical Seminary 2015 Advance in Hong Kong was a very unique and rich experience, enhanced by preparatory reading/discussion assignments before arrival. The experiential factors involved using all my sensory and mental faculties to take in Hong Kong society in order to know and understand the culture better. The Advance agenda was played out in the midst of this learning process which entailed: daily worship service in chapel, guidance and support sessions by Seminary faculty leaders, education through the various field encounters and guest speakers, presentations by Seminary advisors on excellence in Christian leadership, academic research perspectives through the presentations of the dissertation students, building relationships and general camaraderie, and discovering ways to engage the Hong Kong culture. (more…)
Seeing, Hearing, and Conceiving
9 That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”[d] 10 But[e] it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (NLT)
The Leadership and Global Perspectives doctorate of ministry has been the paramount experience of the last year in my life. Far beyond what I hoped to see, hear and be able to conceive, have been the effects of this program on my heart, soul, and mind. Three words encapsulate my experience best—expansion, accuracy, and passion.