In a few months I’ll turn 50, a number that is high enough to mean I’ve crested the hill and I’m proceeding down the other side. Why in the world would one take on another responsibility, another degree, when the majority of my professional life is already behind me? What’s the point? Adding to such tension is the all around angst that has for me always come with academics: some people are better equipped for and enjoy academia than I am. I came into this Doctoral program with such tensions and the weeks prior to the first Advance in Cape town only served to amp up the stress. I can still remember my first Amazon order with Bayard’s book on “How to talk about books you haven’t read” with its postmodern perspective and suggestions that seemed ethically ambiguous at best and unrealistic – was this some kind of joke? Pink’s writing didn’t calm any nerves – while ethnography sounds cool, something I’d enjoy, but her vocabulary was so academic I had to constantly go to my dictionary to sort through a paragraph. What in the world had I signed up for – heading to my first advance I was seriously considering withdrawing from this program. (more…)
Bricolage, by definition, is forming something through the use of various materials or ideas, seemingly unrelated at first, but then creates a new understanding through their connection. It’s a new word for me, a “loanword” from the French, used for various disciplines. With the revelation of the word, I find a way to articulate my experience this year with the readings, coursework, and interaction among my cohort. A patchwork of materials, seemingly unrelated, form me through a transformative process. The ongoing integration creates something new in me, while built on what is, through the various disciplines of theology, evangelism, culture, leadership, and virtue ethics. I’m a piece of artwork, a bricolage, shaped by the interaction of knowledge, head-to-heart dialogue, and community.
We often say that life goes by too quickly. This past year has been a challenge in terms of time and capacity, but it is also an opportunity for growth and discovery. We all enter any program of study to move forward in our life journey. Most of us entered this doctoral journey not knowing how the program would shape us, but understanding that change would be involved. When I began the program, I knew that the Lord was moving in my life and the life of my family. One of my favorite new words that I learned this year is “liminal,” which indicates the state of transition or being both in the old realm and at the threshold of something new. I know that my doctoral journey is shaping and sharpening me, and I can see that the Lord is molding my skills and knowledge for His work. (more…)
I headed to Hong Kong with a different perspective than our Cape Town advance. My heart and mind was filled with expectation of being with dear friends. I knew we’d be learning and experiencing fantastic things but it paled in comparison with the camaraderie and intellectual stimulation of friends—if not family—crazy uncle and all.
“Anticipation” is rather healthy word to describe embarking on a DMin. “Guarded Anticipation” is more descriptive of the reality of beginning a DMin at a school that you have never visited in person but only spoken to a few of the professors. “Ecstatic Anticipation” is present reality after one year of being at George Fox Seminary and a part of the LGP6 cohort.
Every time you change institutions you have to “feel out” what the expectations for you as a student and what are the expectations of the staff back to the student. Will this be experience be strictly academic and sterile or will it seek to embrace a holistic approach to the whole person – spiritually, emotionally, relationally, and educationally? (more…)
Time Flies in a Doctoral Program
One year down and two more to go on this fast paced journey of doctoral work. As I approached this time last year, there were many things changing in my life. We were interviewing for a new position and anticipating a cross-country move, getting our house ready to sell, and preparing our kids for a new adventure. On top of all of this, I had entered into a doctoral program. While I was convinced that I needed to pursue this educational goal, I was not sure if I had what it took to finish the program. Truth be told, I am still not convinced that I have the right stuff to finish. (more…)
Who is Jason Kennedy? Hailing from Texas, but rooting for the Oklahoma Sooners, Jason Kennedy is the youngest of 3 children born to Dean and Sandie Kennedy. Jason grew up in a nuclear family where his mother and father have never divorced and instilled a work ethic into him. The Kennedy’s were pretty typical in their lower middle class neighborhood in Mesquite, Texas (a suburb outside of Dallas) devoting themselves to work, family and God.
As a son of a church deacon, Jason gave his life to Christ early, but it did not stick until the summer of his senior year in High School in 1994. From there, he felt a call to the ministry and has been pursuing it ever since and even preached his first sermon before he was nineteen, which he admits is the worst sermon he has ever heard, and led a small group and high school youth group before he was 20.
Jason is passionate about God, the church and education although education was pursued more vigorously in his late 20s. Jason has been in ministry for 20 years and has done everything from children’s ministry and youth ministry to being an executive pastor and now currently serves a small congregation in Grapevine, Texas (a suburb in the Dallas-Ft Worth Metroplex) as a senior pastor which is something Jason swore he would never do, but he now realizes this is truly what God has gifted him to do.
Along his ministry journey, Jason met and married a beautiful doctor who is way out of his league. Her name is Rachel and he met her while he was serving a church in Tulsa that her grandparents attended. They have been married for 13 years and have two of the greatest little girls on the planet, Clara age 9 and Ellie age 6. While Jason is not chasing his girls around the Metroplex, he is playing golf, reading, watching the Sooners, Stars, Cowboys, Rangers or Mavericks.
As Jason progressed through ministry, he realized that the church is the hope for the world. It is God’s primary vehicle that carries the responsibility to equip the saints to spread the Gospel to all the world. The church and God’s word has been Jason’s passion. He has a desire to teach and preach the Bible in a way that engages people’s hearts and heads as well as challenges them to spread the message of Christ to everyone they meet. He truly believes that the word does the work in people’s lives. It is for this reason that he takes the word of God as the authority and believes it must be preached.
In 2007, Jason began pursuing higher education. Interestingly, Kennedy never had a desire to attend college when he started ministry. It is his mother who reminds him quite often of this fact. Despite the slow start, Jason has received a Master’s in Organizational Leadership, a Master’s of Divinity equivalency and is now pursuing a doctor of ministry degree. The more Jason studies, the more he is thankful for not giving up on a higher education, and he has a desire to teach and train the Word of God to other ministers around the world.
While there are many more things that can be said about Jason Kennedy, the most important is that he has a deep desire to know God. He knows that Christ has saved him and redeemed him, and it is his faith that is at the center of all he does. Whether it is fun, family life or church, Jason earnestly attempts to make God the focal point of his life.
Launching fireworks is one of my favorite ways to celebrate our country’s Declaration of Independence. With The 4th just a couple of days away, I can’t stop thinking about an important Chinese holiday called National Day. I learned about National Day last October 1st, while witnessing the largest fireworks show in the world. This Doctorate of Ministry in Leadership and Global Perspectives Program is a God given gift to me. That night, sipping wine and eating expensive cheeses while feeling the boom of the colorful explosions on the penthouse balcony of the Mariners Hotel overlooking Victoria Bay, is just one of many experiences this past year that have helped transform my life and leadership. (more…)
About a year ago I was flying to Hong Kong to start a new stage in my education. Since then, the many concepts learned in my doctoral program have helped me gain better understanding as I lead Ethnos Bible Church. Deepening my understanding of God, of my context, and of myself have sharpened some of my perspectives in pastoral leadership. So far my studies have helped me grow in those three areas. I had never done a self-assessment to learn about my personality type or leadership style. I had never studied the repercussions of a capitalist system or reflected on the local implications of globalization. Previous to my research I did not understand the American struggle with segregation and its impact on the dynamics of a multiethnic ministry. Now words like “consumer culture” and “glocal” are part of my vocabulary. (more…)
It seems like is was forever ago that I boarded a plane to go to Hong Kong. Fortunately, I knew I was meeting friends in this foreign country to start a new journey. One we had agreed to do together. But we were going to be meeting new people, meeting new professors and new advisors. This was the start of a new adventure to become a doctor of leadership and global perspectives. Who knew what in the world that meant? I remember getting off the plane in Hong Kong and seeing things in English and was really surprised at how easy it was to navigate to the city center and take in the sights and sounds of this new place for me in the world. (more…)
A hinge-pin. That’s the best word I can think of to describe the last two years’ work in the DMin, Leadership with Global Perspectives. A hinge-pin for my life and vocational ministry. This program is the swing point from what was into what will be. And more specifically, the last year has been the hinge-pin’s hinge-pin, tightening my focus even further. The reality of a shrinking/flattening globe has been foregrounded into clear focus in ways that I could have never forecast when I began considering this program three years ago. There are a few specific areas to which I will direct some comments. (more…)
In the midst of political turmoil, religious upheaval and economic uncertainty, I’m brought before the presence of God – I’m brought to a place of identity – a place of surrender. As the world spins and my generation convenes on the steps of cathedrals and coffee shops, I’m challenged to lean into the cries of my culture and understand their heartbeat. Steven Bevans, author of Models of Contextual Theology, reveals, “Christianity, if it is to be faithful to its deepest roots and to its most basic instinct, must continue God’s incarnation in Jesus by becoming contextual.” In the midst of societal degeneration, leadership deterioration and church failure, I have been challenged to be the contextual incarnation of Christ. (more…)
At the close of one year of the Doctor of Ministry, Leadership Global Perspective studies, I think back to how elated I was when I got accepted into George Fox Evangelical Seminary. Since I don’t fit the usual profile of the candidates for this program, I am especially grateful to the faculty for affording me the opportunity to participate in this exceedingly innovative program. It enables me to swim in the same deep waters of the well-accomplished, highly esteemed, big fish of my cohort 6. But, they are also gracious and do not gobble me up, but gently move me along with them. I acknowledge that it is only by the grace of God that I got accepted into this program, and it is only by the grace of God that I will be successful in earning my doctoral degree. The journey thus far, has been exhilarating, challenging, thought-proving, and humbling.
Well, my first calendar year of this doctoral program is complete. Each semester was a little different but strategic in preparing us for the next semester. I knew so much about Hong Kong (theoretically) before visiting, and as I write this blog, I feel like I have already visited London. Everyone is qualified to be in the program because of our previous graduate degree or degrees. However, we quickly learned that the more we learn, the more we realize that we do not know. This is a ministry degree, but it is not a church degree program. This doctoral program embraces global leadership with ministry context in every facet in that my mentor lives in London, and my advisor lives in Australia, while the program directors live in Oregan. Most blended programs (online and face-to-face) limit their writings to discussion boards, but George Fox used a combination of blogs to help us create an online social community without the academic jargon. Writing blogs gave us an opportunity to develop our confidence as leaders, while exposing us to a world of public critique and preparedness to defend our writing. (more…)
It is amazing how fast these past two years have gone by. When I started the George Fox DMIN LGP program I wasn’t sure if I could make it. Now I’m not sure how I made it this far in ministry without this program. This program has broadened my ministry approach and given me a greater footing and security as I lead those around me.
When choosing the George Fox DMIN program I was looking for a school that would provide an affordable and excellent education. I was looking for a program that guiding me towards forming my own beliefs instead of just telling me what to believe. I was also looking for a program that would be challenging and help me in my current role as a Pastor. (more…)
Marc has been heard to say, “I am never happier than when I am teaching the Bible.” That passion has played out in several disparate arenas.
A contributing experience to his commitment to Bible teaching came in the early 1980s, during the ten years that Marc was Associate Pastor at Columbia (California) Presbyterian Church. Marc was working with a high school student named Brett, and they spent a year memorizing Bible verses through the Navigators Topical Memory System. A few years later Marc heard Brett give a testimony in which he said that he met Christ during that period. Marc said he did not evangelize, or lead Brett in the sinner’s prayer. The simple fact was that the Word of God did its work in Brett, and he met Jesus in those verses. So Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” came alive for Marc as far more than philosophy or theory. It is a living reality. (more…)
Nominated for numerous awards throughout his music career, Garfield is a versatile composer and musician who studied Professional Music at Berklee College of Music. His years of experiences has led to his current vocation on the music staff at Christian Life Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL, where he oversees the orchestra as composer and conductor. He is also the music department developer for the new church campuses.
“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). (more…)
Phil Goldsberry lives up to the title of his book, Life in the Dash: A Closer Look at the Not-So-Fine Line Between Birth and What Happens Next, that he published in 2007. In his book he encourages everyone to live the life that they want to be spoken about when the inevitable happens. His prescribed epitaph is, “Love God, Love People”. (more…)
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. (more…)