Cumulative Residency ReflectionDebra A. Prosser
LIFE Pacific College
January 14, 2018
Daily Residency Reflections
The most important ideas I encountered during the first day’s sessions were the practical implementations on how to become successful throughout the Masters of Strategic Leadership (MASL) program at LIFE Pacific College (LPC) and the realization that I am not where I should be. I had some knowledge about leadership before this week, but I was confronted with the blaring fact that my understanding of John Maxwell’s leadership theology is just the tip of the iceberg in the full spectrum of leadership theory and practicality. I was also brought to the realization that the MASL will stretch me and enhance my goals as an effective leader.
First, Dr. Angie Richey began with a lecture on Reengaging Education. Dr. Richey gave 7 very practical and helpful survival tips for making it through MASL program. My favorite tip that she gave was to practice saying “no” for the right “yes”. She stopped the class and asked us, what are some areas in our life that we can release to someone else? I suggested that I could give my martial arts class to another instructor so that I could reduce my instruction time to one time a week. I could then devote more time to my MASL studies.
Dr. Remi Lawanson said, “Good teaching is less about the delivery of information but more about facilitating discovery.” This concept was freeing and liberating for me. Then he floored me with his next statement, “Know the theory behind the theory.” This concept really spoke to me and is one of the main reasons I am taking the MASL program. I’ve been told that I am gifted in being relational with others; however, I do not feel that I am one to answer the hard questions. I would like to change that. Dr. Remi also shared different leadership concepts. It was during this lecture that I realized what I thought I knew about leadership was just at a surface level, so to speak. I have read many of John Maxwell’s books and currently receive his A Minute with Maxwell daily email to strengthen my leadership skills. I was praying about pursuing a Leadership Certification Program from his organization but chose the MASL program instead.
The relevant ideas that I encountered during day two were through the experiences shared by the MASL Alumni when Dr. Remi asked them to relate their experience with our cohort. The members of the panel all shared their unique personal hardships and triumphs. The common chords that each one touched on were in the areas of consistent schedules, taking it one day at a time, and a daily rhythm that fits you. These examples were very beneficial for me creating a daily schedule to implement at home.
On the third day the insights of Dr. Richard Mouw had a profound impact on me. His lectures revolved around Christian Leadership and Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World. Dr. Mouw shared about humanity. People are flesh and blood and created in the image of God. He further stated that we should look through the lens and see that every person on the face of the earth is a friend of God. Sometimes Christians don’t attend an event in order to make a point; however, Dr. Mouw prompted us to consider the fact that our absence in a situation speaks louder than our presence. I am still processing that thought. I felt that Dr. Mouw opened my eyes to the heart of what Fuller Theological Seminary is trying to accomplish with community interaction. They begin dialogue between the many different intellectual institutions, and metaphorically extend an olive branch to other faiths to build relationships and work out cultural issues. I was left with two thoughts. Never be afraid to love people of different nationalities, and we all have two things we have in common: we are all humans, and we all deal with messiness.
The most important ideas that I encountered during day four sessions were from Dr. Catherine Hart-Weber’s lectures on Flourishing in Life, Ministry, and Leadership; and Emotional Intelligence. They both resonated with me. Dr. Hart-Weber confronted us with the question, “Are we living the life we want others to live?” The question made me stop and ponder the answer that I am not thriving in these areas and need to take a closer look. This was a very impactful class, and I will make this my goal as I navigate through the MASL program. Honestly, I have not been proactive with my development. Many times, I reflect on the years when I was getting my Bachelors of Arts. I was so preoccupied with just finishing that I was not retaining the information for the future. Now, as I look forward, my goal is long term retention and transformation. Another quote that blessed me from Dr. Hart-Weber was, “vulnerability is essential for intimacy.”
The most important ideas I encountered during day five sessions were contributed by
Dr. Chuck Shoemake as he spoke from his heart on Work-Life balance. Dr. Shoemake referenced Dr. Richard A. Swenson’s book Margin and the prevailing thought that many people live “wall to wall” and don’t make any room in their day for surprises, and even one surprise can knock us from manageable to overload. Nevertheless, if we bring the margin in, just a tad, then if or when we have surprises they will stretch us but not over take us.
We concluded the residency week with a heartfelt chapel service where the 2nd year students blessed us with worship, and Pastor Jenna Livingston gave three lies from the enemy:
1. You can’t do it.
2. I am not enough.
3. Is this worth it?
She said we need to counter the lies with Joshua 1:6a, “Be strong and courageous,” and gave us an admonition of two words, “BE FEARLESS!”
What ideas were not new to you but a good reminder? Although I have known for years that I must slow down, this week brought those ideas back to the forefront. It began before I got on campus. I got in my car, which I have owned for 4 years, on Saturday morning to drive from Las Vegas to begin my week of residency. I didn’t even pass the Las Vegas city limit boundary when I heard a beep and looked down to the media center on my dashboard to find a warning that I have reached my maximum speed of 80. I was clueless because this was the first time this had ever happened. Then, I went to turn up a song on the radio, and the beep sounded again. I saw a warning that I had reached the maximum safe volume. At first, I was upset that my vehicle was not operating correctly. I called a friend and found out that there was nothing that I could do until I returned home to get the master key to reprogram the vehicle. My friend said that the “parental controls” must have been programed by the previous owner over 4 year ago! How funny is that? I pondered over the situation for a while, and then I believe the Lord spoke quietly to my heart that this was just the beginning of me “slowing down.”
The second idea that is not new is to keep a sabbath. A few years back, I read the book by Peter Scazzero’s entitled Emotionally Health Spirituality. In the book, he talked about the importance of keeping Sabbath, and this was mentioned by more than one professor this week.
If they were competencies, how well developed are they currently in your life? The competency of reading was revisited this week by Dr. Stewart’s statement that “A leader is a reader.” Dr. Stewart demonstrated this by showing us a picture of his nightstand with a plethora of books and brought about 20 books in from his library. This point confirmed what the Lord had been sharing with me. I recently downloaded the app “Audible” and have read/listened to the Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell and The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for The Next Life by Erwin Raphael McManus. However, before that, I cannot begin to tell you the last book I have read. It caused me to have a repentant heart as well as being grateful for being in this cohort.
What can you do to grow (or implement) in these areas to help you personally grow as a leader? Not to be redundant, but as Dr. Stewart said, “A leader is a reader.” I am committed not only to reading but to examining my life. I am wrestling with some areas that I have avoided in the past. I have avoided most of areas of academia because I have excelled relationally. It is time to merge the two. I must not only believe ideas, but I should be able to support those ideas with facts and knowledge. As Dr. Remi Lawanson mentioned, I must grasp the theory behind the theory.
Coming to this program has opened my eyes and my heart to the fact that I need to continue to build a firmer foundation that is not only relational but also academic. Many times I have told myself that being academically minded was out of reach for me. I have used the excuse and hidden behind the fact that God created me to be a relational being. I am asking God to enlarge my mental capacities to understand the deeper concepts of leadership. I need to be disciplined to work just as hard mentally as I have had to be disciplined to train physically in the U.S. Army, to become a black belt and a law enforcement officer.
I am excited to embark upon this MASL journey. I believe that this last week empowered me to see myself as able to achieve academically, as well as pursuing my relationship with God, my relationships with others, and the self-regulation of myself.