Mission Training

I want to follow up on a post from last week regarding passion for missions.

I posed the question, has passion for mission diminished? I still wonder. However, a follow up question was sent my direction by a mentor of mine.

This mentor asked the deeper question, is it interest in missions that has gone down or interest in mission’s training.

Oh boy! Receiving questions like this really get the wheels turning. Not that a probing question negates the first hypothesis. These may not even be mutually exclusive.

Nonetheless, I couldn’t wholeheartedly agree with his presupposition that interest in mission’s training which would include intercultural studies at the university level or training within any mission organization has gone down. My mentor, added this little nugget he received from a peer who does mission’s training.

Those with more mission’s training stay on the field longer.

So many experiences began to flood my mind when I reflected on this maxim. As a missionary in Thailand for six years, we ran into quite a few young people passionate to help with one thing or another. We heard it all, or at least close to it all. Maybe not close to it all, but a lot. I remember hearing many a young missionary talk about why they would choose one organization over another. Many times the bottom line in making their decision came down to which organization gave them the least hoops to jump through, mostly the least training, and the least prerequisites.

What began as a passion to just get out on the field quickly changed into tensions as they confronted a set of circumstances the young and inexperienced missionary was ill-equipped to face. Often, this meant the missionary did not last as long as they might have with better training, or simply more training. Issues of culture shock, homesickness, pressures of ministry, expectations that didn’t meet with reality from both the host nation and the missionary merely begin to scratch the surface of the barriers to a long-lasting time of service on the field. I’m not sure if the further training actually gives significantly better skills in handling the pressures of missionary life. Rather I believe it can be a tempered set of expectations and willingness to persevere, or maybe just the discipline it took to get through the process that helps people make it longer. I don’t know. The skills matter, but the training adds in so many more intangibles including stronger relationships with those that have gone before that can encourage along the way.

I am beginning to see why training matters. Those without it tended to produce the results expected by limited training.

On the flipside, our friends who worked in organizations that required substantial training and pre-requisites, even thorough follow up while on the field tended to actually last longer on the field.

So if training can be incredibly valuable as it builds into the missionary a capacity for longevity and perseverance, why are so many with a passion for mission displaying a disproportionately low passion for training?

If we train our body for athletics, why not train our mind, soul and body for ministry?

When I think of training, I think of Rocky, who never thought he could simply roll out of bed and win a prize fight. No, he trained his guts out in order to be ready.

What is it today that has caused people to think they can shortchange the process? Is it that Paul simply went on mission’s trips all around the known world, so why can’t I? Is it a sense of invincibility that young people have matched with their zeal and a calling.

Now, calling is important, but so is preparation. It is important not to shortchange the process as we desperately want to get out there and “save the world”. If God has called you, he will make the way and the timing work according to that very calling.

Sometimes, God calls us long before we are ready, and he is okay with that. He is willing to wait as he develops us and prepares us. On that note, I wrote about the space between the calling and the sending here and here.

But I can’t imagine it is just unbridled zeal and youthful naivety that causes people to forego more mission’s training. Maybe we could throw impatience into the mix. Do we think we are so eager to see our life calling come to fruition that those tasked with the training and equipping are simply roadblocks in the way of God’s call on our life. Is that just one more thing aimed to slow us down or detour us from accomplishing all that God has laid ahead for us. Pretty interesting when we think about it like this, huh?

Perhaps the instant gratification of our culture has caught up to this facet of training as well. If I can find info on Google about anything, why do I need to go through a process of training. If I can have Amazon send me packages by drones, why can’t I find some hyper speed way to accomplish my goals? In a moment, I can have a meal, in blink of an eye, I can have a library downloaded onto my hard drive. In a fast-paced world, one can easily lose sight of the Longview. It is easy to get lost in the now.

What are a few more weeks, or a few more books read, a few more meetings with mentors, a few more classes in the grand scheme of a lifetime of service to our missionary God? If we have 90 years or so to live and serve God, what could a little more training hurt? It seems too easy if we put it in those terms.

But the pressures of this world get us going. There are people dying, sick, malnourished, stuck in poverty, or war torn villages, in bondage to false religion or beliefs, and the list goes on. We can’t wait a moment to get out there and help people. But what if we could wait, wait just a little longer to be more prepared and better equipped to have longevity and sustainability.

Here is the rub. Mission’s draws out so much from any person willing to leave this world behind to live in a completely different world. Youth adds so much potential to the mix. there is something precious in the heart of a young person that is willing to risk it all. But as time goes by, the capacity for risk narrows. Age and often a growing family cause us to minimize risk rather than increase it. So how do we preserve in people a capacity for great risk while also equipping them for great effectiveness and longevity. These must be the questions that mission’s trainers wrestle with.

What do you say?

Who Are ‘People’? In-Group, Out-Group

Ellie RunningMy daughter tells me that she doesn’t like people which sounds kinda harsh for a three-year-old.

The thing is Ellie is a super relational and fun-loving girl. But she says, she doesn’t like people. On the surface, one might wonder what caused her to be so jaded. Or does she really not like people. Well, she says so, but she loves those days when she gets to see her friends/cousins. She calls her closest friends cousins.


I have to wonder about my girl. She is super cute, loving and sensitive as all get out. Yet, she tells me that she doesn’t want to be with ‘people’. This most often comes out when we are at the park. Recently, I took her to the park to play on the slide, the swings and the sand. She was in heaven when she arrived to find the park empty. She had all of the apparatuses  to herself. Oh boy!! This was a good day for a little girl who doesn’t like sharing, most especially sharing with those she doesn’t know well.

Soon her joy took a sharp turn downward. She cried out to me, Daddy, people are coming. This was followed by, I don’t like people.

On the surface, this sounds pretty bad. More than bad. Shouldn’t we inherently like people? I exude an outgoing nature hoping it will infectiously rub off on my sweet girl.

It hasn’t.

She still says, I don’t like people.

Not only that, she reiterates it again and again. She even said it that one day at the park several times in earshot of the toddler and his mom playing at the little playground.

Where does this dread of others come from?

Upon reflection, one must look a few layers below the surface to see what is happening. What is causing her to verbally, overtly talk about not wanting others to be with her. By others, she uses the word people. First, let me define ‘people’. In our preschooler’s mind, ‘people’ are those people who she doesn’t know—the stranger.

This started about a year ago as she was on one of her 50+ flights by the age of three. Our veteran traveler patiently waited for the loads of passengers ahead of us to deplane. She stated, Daddy, the people aren’t going yet. From that point on, people meant strangers. People could be singular for a person she did not know or plural for the crowds of people at a ballgame, airport, or conference.

Now, let’s dig a little further down to another layer. This little girl spent the first two years of her life growing up in Thailand, and my wife and I are still amazed at how much Thai culture we still see in her. She displays more Thai than we ever would have believed.

Let me explain a moment. In America, we live in an individualist society which believes the individual can influence the group. In other parts of the world, people live in what is called a collectivist society. In this, they believe the group helps shape the individual for the better.

In this in-group type of culture, those on the in are deeply loyal to one another, caring for each other, and protective of the group. They are suspicious of others, and essentially ignore those not in their group. It is almost as though those on the outside do not even enter their radar. This is overly simplifying the cultural difference, but it helps give a sketch of how American culture differs from a culture in Asia at one level.

Now if we add in one more little nugget about the development of a worldview, I think we begin to understand what is going on a little more. Sociologists claim that a child will have developed 80% of their worldview by the age of four. That is pretty incredible to think how much an environment, especially a home shapes a child.

But this makes sense. If Ellie had one of her friends with her at the park, she would play nonstop with her playmates. She loves playdates, church services with friends, or other interactions with her little friends. She is super awesome around those she has welcomed into her group/family. Did I mention she calls her closest friends cousins. That happened in Thai culture all the time with our friends. Their close friends, especially from their home village would often be called cousin even if there was no blood relation. It is cool to see how she displays Thai culture, no matter how subtle.

Even when it makes me ponder if she might have anti-social tendencies. She doesn’t. It just comes out similar to how her Thai friends behave. Our precious girl makes it clear she doesn’t want to play with others—‘people’ at her park. She claims it even if it’s not hers.

Child playing with globe,isolated on a white background.

I used to keep hoping her shyness or antisocialness was a phase she would outgrow. Perhaps, it is more of a cultural understanding that she learned while living on the mission field.  And this settles my soul to know she has been shaped by the life we brought her into.


What are some traits your little ones may have picked up from the environment they grew up in?

Passion for Mission Waning

It has been far too long since I stepped away from my blog as transitioning back to life in the US is difficult. Learning new rhythms, values and priorities tugs on me. And I did not want to wrestle through everything openly here. However, I do want to dive back into musing about Life, mission and God. Let’s dive in deep here on the mission side of things.

I have been told that interest in global missions is diminishing.

I don’t have any Empirical data to state with certainty that young people care less for missions than they once used to. Why: Short-term missions trips are growing at unprecedented rates, care for social issues globally have reached great saturation thanks to social media and strong publicity, and yet, I wonder if people really care for mission as much as they once did in our great mission sending nation. Or are these trips and t-shirts for stopping human trafficking just something that helps people feel good along the way?

Even as some aspects of mission awareness and participation have grown exponentially over the past decade, universities are seeing less interest in the mission’s training arms they offer.

Recently, I had a conversation with a mentor of mine who heads the graduate department for Intercultural Studies  at a school in the Midwest. He told me interest is down at this historically significant school in missions. Further, he said his daughter, who teaches at another well-known school in the Pacific Northwest, mused that young people do not have as much interest in missions as before.

Why: I am not sure.

I have just started my teaching experience at a school with a long tradition in sending missionaries to all parts of the globe. My class of incoming freshman seemed interested and attentive. I had a wonderful group of students engaging the topic, wrestling through what it means for evangelism, and digging into scripture. I know there are pockets of mission interest, but is there an overarching, deep abiding passion for mission throughout the American church? My experience is limited, and the surveys are scant on this topic. Nonetheless, I have nothing to compare my first class to. All I have are anecdotal observations from my experience as a missionary in raising funds, talking with churches and talking with other missionaries. Despite, short term trips and global awareness of injustice on a steep incline, we do not see the churches engaging missions as they once did.

Maybe it is poor definition of mission.

Stephen Niell, missiologist par Excellent, famously said this: “If everything is mission then nothing is mission.


Are we doing too many things under the umbrella of missions but really not doing an integrated missional approach to fulfilling the Great Commission? Are we giving compartmentalized efforts to mission and not organizing our lives and churches around the mission of God?

The real question I would ask is have we become more self-absorbed in America that we do not prioritize the Great Commission. Do we think the Great Commission only applies to our neighborhood, or does it still apply to the uttermost parts, the ends of the earth? If we are called to make disciples of all peoples, how does that reorient our priorities?

How do we shape our life, our focus, our budget, our free time, our relationships, decisions based off of reaching the peoples of the world for Jesus?

For diving back into my blog, I went straight for the heart. If this makes you uncomfortable, it makes me uncomfortable too. If I am wrong, and mission interest really is up, Thank God. On the other hand, if mission interest is down, how do we turn this around?

Let’s wrestle through this together?

Blessed To Be A Blessing

As a child, I hated hearing the saying, ‘It is better to give than to receive’. I pressed my imagination as far as I could, and I could never figure how it might be better to give than to receive. When Christmas came, all I wanted was to receive presents. As a youngster, I could not see farther than my own two hands could reach.

But when I grew up and had a child of my own, I began to understand more profoundly than ever why it is better to give than to receive. We catch a glimpse of what Jesus meant when he said it is better to give than to receive when our children enthusiastically rip into their Christmas presents. Their giddiness, anticipation, and unfettered joy makes what we receive pale in comparison to what we so gladly give. Recently, I had the privilege to experience the joy of giving at a whole new level. Our church, The Connection  has been looking to find a sister church we can partner with. Long before we joined the team, they wanted to find an inner-city church, under resourced but working hard to impact their community. We hoped that our experience working cross-culturally might help us connect with a multicultural church in the inner city. We wanted to serve the “other”—people different from us. I made some phone calls to find churches that might fit our desired outcome, and the Greater LA District of Foursquare churches suggested a pastor slugging it away in South Central LA. I excitedly called the name I was given, Pastor Terry Perades of Faith Community Church. I shared the heart of our church to be a blessing and serve this church. We looked for a true partnership where we could receive from them what they had and give what we had. Soon it was clear this church fit perfectly to what we were looking for. It was like a match made in heaven. Pastor Terry and this church making a difference in their community had been praying for years as we had for a partnership like this.

I knew we connected with the right church when I heard how Pastor Terry cared for his community. As an African-American pastor, he ministers to kids coming from broken homes. He has made it his aim to be a father figure to the kids in his church, and he does. He shows up at their schools regularly to find ways to help the kids succeed. Furthermore, he loves on the children of the neighborhood. They put up a portable basketball hoop in the church parking lot and saw kids flock to play some ball. He thought, I could cook them food at one of their houses and have a few kids, or I could cook food here and serve a lot of kids. So Pastor Terry offered the kids dinner. He invited some of the youngsters to help him cook. The kids came in and helped enthusiastically. Pastor Terry did not talk about Jesus but simply exampled Jesus to these kids. At the end of the day and without any prompting, the children asked if he had any Bibles. As any good pastor would, Pastor Terry ran in and grabbed as many Bibles as he had on hand. These children from the neighborhood began coming to the church and more than that, they gave their lives to Jesus. I quickly learned the heart of a pastor in the inner city.

The beginning of a partnership took place as we talked on the phone. We then hoped to collect toys from our people at the Connection Church to bless the children of South Central LA for Christmas. Our church asked if our people could buy new toys to donate to children they had never met. As a little, upstart church, we hoped to get 50 toys for these disadvantaged children. All this happened so fast as we started the whole process the first week of December. We only began our assignment at the Connection Dec. 1. But God was in this, and the church resonated with the vision.


By the time we came to our first in person meeting with Pastor Terry the Thursday before Christmas, we had 50 toys to bring with us. Pastor Clayton and I piled the gifts in the back of his truck and drove up to LA. When Terry and Clayton met, they hit it off immediately. Pastor Terry began sharing stories of the children they were reaching. He told one story of transformation that blows your mind. Often kids come to their church unable to read, which as he said is not uncommon in these neighborhoods. He explained that as their parents work so long each day that no one has the time to help the children with their school work and reading. Pastor Terry told us how the church embraced these children who were illiterate. They helped tutor them and give them hope to excel in school. Now, some of these kids are thriving and in college. We loved listening to Pastor Terry’s passion. We could have listened to his stories for hours, but we had gifts to deliver.

At this, Pastor Terry directed us to a side room where the gifts could be safely stored until their Sunday Christmas celebration. When Pastor Terry saw all the gifts laid on the table, he began getting choked up. As a father figure to many of these kids, he knew intimately how much these gifts would impact them. He couldn’t put into words what this would mean to these kids. As he spoke from his heart, we knew we were simply walking in the steps God was guiding us into. I am so excited to be part of a church that thinks beyond themselves—a church that sees giving as better than receiving. I’ll never forget my 2013 Christmas as we began a partnership with a church doing an incredible work in LA. I am reminded once again; we are blessed in order to be a blessing.

Do you have any examples of when it was better for you to give than to receive?

Advent Is For Hope

adventAdvent is for hope. Now, let me substitute the word anticipation for hope. See what I am doing there. It’s that feeling we get on Christmas Eve as we wonder about what is in that neatly wrapped box under the tree. I love Christmas for all the longing, yearning, and anticipation this season brings. But what happens when our anticipation dissipates into thin air. Our hopes are no longer on the back burner. No, they are not even simmering any longer.

I feel that is how it got with my two baseball teams. Anticipation fizzled. But I loved my teams and believed as an eternal optimist that baseball glory was around the corner. Growing up in Chicago and Orange County I had the luxury of two teams. Two teams with losing reputations. One team hadn’t appeared in a World Series since 1945 much less won one since 1908. The other team from Orange County had never even appeared in one until I was a college graduate. This team has now won a championship in my lifetime, the other still lives in that mythical place of maybe next year. In fact, it is so bad for the Cubs that they are saying maybe in 2016.

As for the Angels of Anaheim in Orange County of the greater Los Angeles area, I fell in love with them as a kid only to have my heart broken in 1986. If you don’t know what I am talking about, we can tell that story in another place. After that fateful year, their chances for glory were few and far between. Gene Autry’s dream of bringing a championship faded fast as he neared the end of his life and ownership of the team for 30+ years. He sold the team to Disney who at least improved the fan experience. I still think Angel Stadium is one of the best places to see a game.

Now, let’s fast forward to 2002. I am in my final year of Bible College. I loved my team. I went more than a handful of times which without a car or much money that is a pretty big feat in and of itself. Thus in my senior year, the Angels got my phone number, one way or another, this happened. Their marketing team called me to ask if I wanted season tickets. A full plan was out the window. However, I said, tell me more about these mini plans.

The bottom line was that they would end up costing me more money as I would buy two tickets (one for my friend who drove me or went with me depending on your perspective) and I would no longer get the half price deals I got game by game. I pushed back. They said, but this will get you priority when it comes to playoff games. Playoff games, I laughed. Oh yes, they made some big off season acquisitions. I laughed again. Now, mind you, as previously noted, I am an eternal optimist and believed that Darren Erstad, Troy Glos, Garret Anderson, Tim Salmon along with some young kids like David Eckstein, Adam Kennedy and Benji Molina would do some damage. However, I could not believe that a trade for Kevin Appier and free agent signing of Aaron Sele would bring home the bacon.

I don’t think their magical line about priority for the playoffs was grabbing too many other people’s attention, but it got me to laugh. The games that year like every other year were mostly played to half empty stadiums. I say half empty as a half full kind of optimist, because the less people in the stands meant the more options for me to sit closer as the game wore on. Nonetheless, it doesn’t take a great salesperson to convince someone to buy what they want. I ended up buying tickets as I wanted to insure seats against the Yankees and Dodgers. There you have it. I went all in for my team but with little to no expectations that my tickets would pay off for playoff priority. I knew my eternal sunshine of optimism was rarely rooted in reality. I looked forward to a fun year.

However, a magical, Disney-like magical year ensued. The team started slow, but turned it on later. The Rally Monkey , in his third year on the jumbo tron did his magic. Comebacks became the norm. The bullpen gelled and a powerful offense carried the Angels to baseball heaven. Oh, and because I had playoff priority, I spent my life savings on all the playoff games I could get. I sat in the bleachers and banged my thunder sticks to play a part in the Series run.

I even remember when my loss of anticipation turned to expectation. When the Angels pulled off the improbable in defeating the Yankees with some great come from behind wins, I said, they can beat anyone. And they did. My hopes waned from belief to wish but back again to palpable anticipation as the World Series ring came into grasp. Only a series against the Twins and whoever the lowly NL presented stood in the way. All those years of hoping would finally culminate with a championship. It wouldn’t go down as incredible as the Red Sox beating the curse of the Bambino or one day when the Cubs finally win one again. Nope. But it did in my books go down as amazing. Most amazing was this play that turned the fortunes of a World Series from the Giants to the Angels. And Anticipation grew tangible.

Hope diminished but was reborn in anticipation as winning became realistic. That’s my story in sports.


Isn’t that what the hopes of God’s people must have been like? But times a million. For more than a thousand years, they looked for the Messiah. They waited generation after generation through good king and bad, through exile and more exile, through the remnant and the dispersion they waited. I am sure patient longing turned into diminished hope, especially during those silent years.

But I bet when God started speaking again and again, the anticipation built like it did for me. The exciting thing about Christmas this year for me is the reminder of hope/anticipation. God is at work, and I anticipate him doing incredible things in my life. I look forward to the promises in our life being fulfilled as the promise of Jesus was fulfilled on Christmas.

Will you hope with me?

Get Out Of The Way

We all want to see the power of God move, right. Well, maybe not all of us. But you know who I am talking about. Many of my friends talk to me saying, we want to see God move in our midst. We want people to encounter God in a real way, which raises the question… Then why don’t we see God move more. Or maybe you ask, why doesn’t God move like he once did? I postulate that first, God is moving, and second, we get in the way. One word comes to mind, control.


Coming back from Asia, I find we Americans love this little word, control. We love to have it, be in it, and get more of it. We plan, strategize, think, and develop structures. We find ways to empower people or to empower ourselves. We love to take charge or know who is in charge. As Americans, we do one thing well. We take charge. We don’t wait on others, we go for it. When it comes to the church world, we bring our Americanism right in with us. I wonder if we really think we can put God in a box and control the outcomes. It is as though we think if we plan a meeting well enough, we can see God do incredible things. I am not against planning, but I was recently in a meeting listening to a lot of experienced leaders talking. One leader from Central America said, in the past he remembered the missionaries and pastors praying a lot. Now, he observes them planning a lot. Think about that, we went from praying to planning. Now, we have exported that to the rest of the world. We almost plan so tightly that we squeeze God right out of the picture.

Over the past few years, we have seen worship services expressed with great diversity. As missionaries, we visited a lot of churches while itinerating. Our whirlwind tours through the churches were a real treat as we saw all different sizes and styles. But I will never forget what one pastor told me. Now for context, this church was rather large and had four services on a Sunday—three in the morning and one in the evening. The three morning services were each 65 minutes with only a few minutes wiggle room to let people in and out. I asked the pastor how do they get everything in such a short time. His response captures our American ideal.

He said, one mentor once told him that if God doesn’t move in 90 minutes, he is not going to move. I thought, hmmm, that is an interesting perspective. First, I believe God is always speaking and always wanting to move. The onus is not on him to move, but on us to be ready. We come in with the baggage of stress, tension, family issues, work dilemmas and more. Yet, we blame God for not moving when perhaps we were not ready. But sadly, we think we can create a moment in which God will move. The reality is that God wants to move, we just need to get out of the way. As we served in Thailand, leading Our Home Chapel, we found the best thing we could do is develop an environment in which he could move. We wanted to create space for God to move with a ready heart. We needed to contend and press in to meet God. In no way am I saying that every time we gathered that we met God or felt his presence in power. But neither did we blame him for not moving. It’s just too complex to think we can manufacture an experience with God. Sometimes we have to wait a bit longer than 90 minutes. And that means getting a little antsy as we wait. Let’s be honest, it is tough waiting. But when we get right down to it, God moves on his schedule and not ours. The quick example comes when the disciples waited in the upper room 10 days before they encountered the Holy Spirit in power. If we want to see God move, we need to wait, hunger, and anticipate God doing something in our midst. We need to get out of the way and give him space to move. Space to move in his way and in his timing.

Do you have any examples when you felt God moving in a powerful way? Explain.

Living Servant-leadership

I don’t know a more nebulous term than servant-leader. It is almost a paradox that we don’t easily live in. Is it more servant or more leadership. Often, I feel we throw around this adjective ahead of leadership to help soften leaders that run roughshod over those they lead.

fs logo

You know the type, more boss than leader. They use the phrases, “too many chefs in the kitchen” or “too many chiefs for the tribe”.  These leaders throw around their weight and ask us to listen not because of their ideas or vision but because they are the leader. For them authority flows out of position and not personhood.

What do we do with leaders like that? We add an adjective and hope that makes them think more like Jesus. You know, more servant and less tyrant. We have all worked for bad leaders. I don’t have to name names. And yet, we still want to write more and more books on leadership.


The Bible talks far more about being servant than about being leader. Yes, leadership is a gift of the Spirit, so why don’t we trust the Spirit to move through those he has gifted to lead? Well, that is a question that moves away from my story.

My story illustrates the servant side of leadership. You know, the side that sees serving as primacy to leading. The part of leadership that says, I have the best interests of those entrusted to me. The kind that Jesus talked about in Mark 10:45 in serving and laying down his life for them.

Jesus always turned things upside down. As King, the subjects are supposed to give their life for him and the kingdom. But as king, Jesus gave his life for his people and the kingdom. How often, does a leader say, not my way or vision, but yours? These are true tests of a leader who says he is servant.

But I have a living picture of servant leader. Recently, I was in some high-level meetings with our movement, The Foursquare Church. I spent time hanging out in and out of the meetings with dozens of servant-leaders. I did not expect to have any meaningful interaction with our President as I am way down the totem pole or hierarchy. Yet, I was surpised. Our President, Glenn Burris came alongside of me in service like I never anticipated.

Who am I? I am just a young guy with no position. I was one of the strategic thinkers in the room, sure. But the room was chalk full of bright, brilliant people with more gravitas than I. I am known by our president, but he is supremely gifted in relational intelligence and knows everyone. And everyone wants to push back on our meetings and grab the ear of our leader. They have a greater need than I to have time with the president of our church.

Well, one of our last breaks, I happened to have a sidebar with the President. As we talked, he asked if I wanted snacks. (You see, as the blind pastor who writes this blog, I do need serving from time to time, more than the average guy). I nicely said it is okay, I can get another leader here to help me out. But he insisted. So I insisted further that he did not need to spend his valuable time on getting me a plate of snacks.  But how much can you insist against a good leader?  So after a little back-and-forth, I acquiesced.

Glenn not only got me a plate of yummy snacks, he asked me what I wanted and listened to what I said. He served me with a gift of hospitality often not exercised by leaders of such high capacity. He grabbed me all the good veggies I wanted and dobbed loads of hummus dip on another plate. He carried the two plates and a bottle of water back into the room. He even found my seat and moved my computer to insure I could snack with ease.

I was so touched, I turned to say to him and those around me, we can talk about servant-leadership all day, but I just experienced it.


As long and intense meetings came to a conclusion, our leader paused to help serve a guy that had plenty of other gracious people all around willing to help. Our President grew in my eyes not for his vision or capacity, but for my trust and relationship. I go to bat for a guy like that. Why, because I know he has my best interests in mind. Not to say I agree with everything a leader does or says, but that is part of being a strategic thinker and in the room. I will say, I have grown in respect for our leadership, and this is just one little reason why.

I have been impacted on this topic by Duane Elmer’s book Cross-Cultural Servanthood.   Grab and ransack it for practical helps even in your own community.