My fifth week (October 24th – 30th) here at the YWAM LA base for the SOMD (School of Ministry Development) was another great week. We had two speakers this week that came and spoke on leadership development. Our first speaker was Alberto Bellos and our second speaker was Werner Pfau. On Monday we came back from our camping trip that we went on last weekend so Alberto started his teaching with us on Tuesday and he taught us until Thursday. On Friday Werner taught us on how to finish well in leadership.
The three days we had Alberto teach us, I got a lot out of it as he shared about different leadership development skills that are really important for us to know now and he also gave us time in class to do group projects which I found was really helpful to see what the big picture may look like when you are at the beginning stages of putting together a ministry. On Tuesday and Wednesday when Alberto taught us on leadership development and how to paint the big picture God spoke to me a lot and revealed a lot to me through his teachings. I would like to share in this blog some of the things that God spoke to me about this week and how I will apply them to my life.
The first thing that Alberto emphasized strongly is to know our identity we have in Christ. He told us as a leader we must know and understand who we are in our identity as sons and daughters of God and we must not try to be like someone that we are not. He told us if we are rooted in our identity then we will know where we are going. He gave the example of David when he tried to use Saul’s armor from the scripture passage of 1 Samuel 17:38-39. He also told us that as leaders we shouldn’t fall into the pressure of falling into the pressure of trying to be like someone else because if it is not in our identity then it will just be in vain.
Alberto told us that people want to be able to follow authenticity so it is really important that we remember to be real before people and not to put on any masks in front of them especially when leading people. We need to remember to stay in our own grace lanes which is basically we need to be aware of staying in the “lane” that God is calling us to be in, to give ourselves grace when we need to and to remember that God’s strength is strong in our weakness.
This also means that we shouldn’t compare ourselves to other people as well because God has a specific calling on all of us and He has also gifted each of us differently in our skills and talents that He has given us too. For me personally, I need to keep on growing every day in my identity of who I am in Christ especially who God created me to be, to not compare myself to other people but to learn to be content with who I am as a person and to learn to always stay authentic and real before people.
The next biggest revelation that God revealed to me is when Alberto taught on having the right perspective on our lives of where God has us right now. He asked us this question: “How are you currently viewing your current situation and the season that you are in right now?” I think this is a really great question to always be asking myself so that I will learn to grow in the understanding of having the right perspective of how God wants me to view and perceive things and not to let myself become discontent especially when I do not understand why I am in the season I am in.
Alberto spoke about the importance of forgiveness which was really great to be reminded of this especially as a leader that we need to learn to willing to forgive others and ourselves. He told us when we are in leadership there will be struggles and shortcomings so it is really important that we walk in forgiveness not only to others but also to yourself as well. He told us if you will extend grace and mercy then you also need to receive it as well. This is something that I have learned from my personal experience that forgiveness is definitely a key especially when you are in leadership because there will be struggles in relationships, misunderstandings and conflicts so we must learn to have short accounts with people to be quick to forgive others and reconcile with them. It is also really important to learn to give grace to yourself as well because as leaders at times we will make mistakes and fail.
Another thing that God highlighted through Alberto’s teaching on Monday was when he told us that as a leader we should not make decisions that are based on our emotional high or low but we need to take time to process things and not to jump into decisions when we are emotional about something. This is something that I have learned from my personal experience on the mission field and I have stumbled a lot in the past where I have made some decisions that were based on my emotions like sending an e-mail to people before I took time to really calm myself down and allowed myself to process things of what was really going on. This was a crucial lesson that I learned because unfortunately when I had done this it sadly turned into gossip, misunderstandings, conflicts and pain in relationships. This is definitely something that I would like to see change, in my life and grow more in, to have more wisdom and discernment in this area of how to process and handle my emotions a lot better in the future.
Some other things that stuck out to me in Monday’s class were: The importance of discerning the seasons that God has put us in which include sometimes we be bruised and go through painful times and other times God will try to get our attention when we sense there is a strain and a discomfort in the season we are in. We always need to have a humble and a teachable heart so we can keep on growing as leaders. There will be times that we need to submit to the leadership that is over us or God maybe leading us to split from them because He might be leading us to do something else. We need to learn the art of longevity which basically means to persevere until the end and not give up. Perseverance also means to be willing to pay the price because there will be a cost. I was also reminded of the importance of taking time to have a community of people around you and to take time to rest as well.
One thing that Alberto said on Monday’s class that really surprised me was: “Sometimes God will place you under bad leadership so He can expose the issues that are in your own heart so He can get it out of you.” This is something that I guess I had never thought of before and I have experienced in the past because I have been under unhealthy leadership before but I knew in my heart that God had led me to serve under them for those seasons I was in my life. God did teach me some things during those times in my life and I am pretty sure when I think about it now that God did expose some issues in my heart too even though those seasons were exactly not “pleasant” seasons to be in.
I found it was really helpful that Alberto did a teaching session with us on how to paint the picture of putting a ministry together and then he gave us class time to do group projects to actually put our visions down on paper. I ended up joining three girls in my class that did the Beauty Arise DTS because God has given me a heart to minister to hurting girls and women especially in the area of human trafficking. The three girls have a different vision that God has given me but I still found it helpful of how to put down on paper a ministry description, mission and vision statement, core values, how to recruit a team and strategies to fundraise as well.
On Friday, it was really great to hear Werner Pfau teach our class about finishing well in leadership. Werner is one of the staff at the YWAM LA base, he has served here for quite a while since the beginning so it was definitely a blessing from God to hear from one of the missionaries from the base teach us. I really enjoyed seeing the pictures that Werner showed us on when the YWAM LA base had started because it really helps us as students see the YWAM base from another perspective and the history behind it.
Some of the things that I learned on Friday when Werner taught us are: Most of the leaders in the Bible did not finish well which is a pretty sad fact when I heard that. When God calls you to be a leader and you stop leading then you won’t be living up to your full potential that God has on your life. In order to keep on leading strong we must do these things: 1) have a vibrant relationship with God to the end, 2) to always have a teachable heart throughout your life, 3) to model Christ-like character, 4) to live your life in such a way that your convictions and the promises of God are to be seen to be real in your life, 5) to leave behind lasting legacies and 6) to live your life with a growing sense of destiny and to make the necessary sacrifices to realize this to a significant degree.
We also learned on Friday seven different barriers to not finishing well and different examples from people in the Bible which are: 1) sexual immorality (Samson – Judges 13 – 16), 2) misuse of finances (Judas – Matthew 26 and John 13), 3) abuse of power (Saul – 1 Samuel 18 – 19), 4) self-centered pride (Solomon – 1 Kings 6 – 7), 5) problems with marriage and family (David – 2 Samuel 15 – 18), 6) Life and ministry plateauing (Gideon – Judges 6 – 8) and 7) emotional wounding (Jonah – Jonah 4).
I definitely sensed in my heart the Lord challenged me to continue to do the six important components and to apply it on a more daily base so I will be able to finish well and strong. We were asked to think about our top two or three barriers that we struggle with and then to pray about it with a classmate. The top three that struck out for me were: 1) emotional wounding, 2) life and ministry plateauing and 3) self-centered pride. Now that I am more aware of this I really need to bring this before the Lord more and even on a daily base because it is my deepest heart’s desire to finish well in what God has called me to do in my life.
I would like to end by writing something that I am very thankful about and also a couple of prayer requests as well. I am very grateful for God giving me Anna as my one-on-one mentor during this school because God has have been teaching me a lot from her. On Monday when we met for a one-on-one time she encouraged me to thank God for giving me the ability to see detail and to have the skill to be organized because this is how God created me to be. I shared with her that I struggle with how to relate to people well and to build solid deep relationships with people so she encouraged me that this is an area in my life where I need to learn to depend on God more.
At the end of my time with Anna on Monday evening, she encouraged me to take time to pray and wait on God for a specific word that will be able to help me in my identity of who He says I am. I took a few minutes to wait on God for a word and I was really encouraged that God spoke to my heart that I am His chosen daughter. After I told Anna the word she then encouraged me to think of three things that God has specifically chosen me for that I could reflect and think about every day of my life that could help me more with my identity and walk with God. I am really encouraged that the Lord spoke to me and also to Anna three things that He has chosen me for which are: “I am chosen for relationships, I am chosen for love and I am chosen for purpose.” This is so exciting because these are things that are a struggle in my life so if I can mediate on this every day I believe there will start to be a transformation in my thoughts and in mind!
I would like to leave a couple of prayer requests that I would really appreciate prayer for which are: 1) This week I have been feeling quite exhausted and fatigue so I would appreciate your prayers for more of God’s strength and rest and 2) Yesterday we found out the two locations for the two month optional outreach for the school that I am doing right now.
I would definitely appreciate your prayers for this especially that God will help me to make the right decision if it His will for me to be a part of this, if it is then I will be able to have clear confirmation and peace to be able to start sharing about it and I also need God’s provision for this trip as well (I would need at least around $2,000 USD). Thanks so much for your prayers and also for taking the time to read my blog as well.