I have officially completed my School of Ministry Development at the YWAM LA base where I completed it last year in the fall from September 24 – December 18, 2016! I graduated on Thursday December 15th, I flew out of LA on Sunday December 18th and I have been safely at home in Whitby, Ontario Canada since I flew back!
The last week during my time at the school was very intense, lots of moments of celebration and it was just an incredible end to my season at the YWAM LA base as well. I honestly wanted to write this blog entry for weeks now but since I have been back in Canada my time has been very busy but I also felt like I was on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster however now I feel in my heart that I can finally get my blog caught up.
My twelfth and last week (December 12th – 18th) at the YWAM LA base for the SOMD
(School of Ministry Development) was amazing and I am so very thankful for all of the things that God taught me during my last week both in and out of the classroom. My last week at the school we were very blessed to have Jim and Judy Orred come from the YWAM Kona base and teach us on spiritual leadership.
It was a real blessing to hear both of them teach us because they have been in missions for many years and the wisdom that they carry is just so inspiring to me. There were a lot of things that I had learned that week during the teaching time which I would love to share in this blog and I would also like to share some things that God did in my life outside of the classroom as well.
Some of the highlights that I learned this week are:
- One of the first tests you will probably be tested on as a leader is your identity which is one of the first things that Jesus was tested on. Identity is based on who we are in Christ, it is about our relationship with God and it is a life long pursue. Identity is also about seeing the value of how God sees you as His child. Sonship and daughtership has to be our foundation as our identity as a leader and how God sees you.
- In a spiritual context, one that leads and influences people fears God more than people. They follow through, the fruit of the spirit are evident in their lives, they view themselves as a servant, they have self-control over their tongue and it is not about authority or a title.
- Why do you let people influence you? Leadership is influence. How do you influence and who do you influence? Influence is based on trust and integrity. As we grow in our friendship to God, He will help us influence people in a positive life changing way.
- When you are a leader it is really important that you learn to serve someone so that they are also successful as well and you can do this without being asked. An example of this is when Joshua assisted Moses in the Bible. How are you going to live so you become an influencer that other people are successful for them to be equipped to do what God calls them to do too?
- If you don’t know how to influence in prayer than you have no spiritual influence over people.
- John 15:1-17, verse 15 – Jesus no longer calls us servants but we are his friends. We are friends of God. We need to always to be able to receive love and affirmation from our Father God. God shares His secrets with His friends.
- A Biblical worldview is aligned with the Bible. Our worldview is made up of our values, morals and our understanding of God.
- God wants to be the Father to the Fatherless.
- The ages of four to fourteen are a very crucial age group to us on reaching people for Christ.
- When you are in leadership God brings you into different seasons to equip you, to learn and grow in your identity and to contribute into people’s lives and ministries.
- It is really important how to tell a good story because the shortest distance between two people is to tell a story.
- Trust goes both ways in a relationship. People will not know you unless you are open and transparent with them and you can trust them. You can create a safe place by asking a person questions in a loving way. How is trust broken? It is broken by lack of communication, emotional wounds, and other ways.
- Leadership is like parenting. For example Paul led Timothy like a father in the Bible. Leadership has to do with feeling cared for. Leaders gather (Isaiah 56:7-8). How do you gather people and for what purpose? Jesus always gathered people together like when he gathered people in one on ones, small groups, big groups, etc. Hospitality is really important in leadership. Hospitality is a spirit and an environment that you create.
- If you want to develop your leadership skills than you need to do your “homework” which just means you need to do everything you can to own your skills.
- Jesus delights in showing mercy to people and he wants us to do that as well.
- The greatest attack came to Jesus was from the religious spirit which is the same for Christians today.
- Our goal is not to change people but to speak truth and to love people well.
- One thing is people don’t like leadership is when they don’t like change. If you’re going to be a leader than you are going to need to be future oriented.
- People buy into the leader more than they would buy into the project or the vision.
- When something comes into your heart, it sticks and you then give it to God. This often means it is from God especially when God speaks to you about it over and over again and it is also confirmed by godly people as well.
- Most of the time the most challenging person on a team is yourself. If you cannot lead yourself than you cannot lead a team. Leading yourself means you can rally your mind, emotions and will to move forward to do the right thing. It is the role of leadership that no one else can do for you and this is all about strengthening yourself in the Lord just like David did in the Bible (1 Samuel 30:1 – 6, verse 6b).
- If you hit a crisis. You can ask yourself these questions: 1) Have I lost any perspective? God sees everything through redemption and hope. 2) Is my commitment strong or weak in the midst of the crisis? 3) Do I believe that God is still on the throne? 4) Do I have emotional control or are my emotions controlling me? 5) Am I blaming someone else? 6) Where does my confidence come from or do I lack it? 7) Do I make decisions out of insecurity? 8) Am I humble? Humility is an act of the will. 9) How do I think of myself with sober judgement or with value? 10) What is the pattern of my thoughts? 11) What about my mouth – do I have control over it? 12) What about the mediation of my heart? 13) Do I spend enough time alone with God? 14) Do I respond out of courage or fear?
- When you are a leader and there is conflict on a team. It is really important to hear both sides of the story. We need to have compassion, wisdom and to have God’s perspective as a leader. It is really important as a leader to fear God above other people. We need to ask God for His wisdom. When there is a conflict it is really important as a leader to follow through with godly principals. Confidentiality is extremely important when you meet for reconciliation. Matthew 18 is the biblical order of seeking reconciliation.
- When you confront someone it is really important to never use “you” statements but it is much better to use “I” statements.
- Whether you are a leader or not we need to be known to keep to godly principals and follow through with them.
- It is really important that you value the relationship and not just only work on yourself when there is any conflict or any friction in the relationship.
- If you are rooted in the character of God than it will prevent bitterness from coming into your heart especially when you go through times of crisis in your life.
- God doesn’t give and take away. God didn’t say this but Job said this in the Bible. It is not God’s character to give and then to take it away. God is going to test you according to what you know of His character.
- We need to be intentional in knowing why we do what we do.
- There are 3 things that God will always be working in our lives which are: 1) our understanding of God’s ways, 2) capacity and 3) our character.
- Character is who we are and what we do. It is also who we are when we are all by ourselves. Gifting will only take us so far especially if we do not have character in our lives. Every time we obey it strengths our moral character. Character is exposed at times but character is something that has been happening for a long time. We cannot separate private and public. When we lack character we can also lose our authority as leaders.
- Godly leaders are effective of who they are on the inside.
- We need to remember to keep our word, to be responsible and to not blame others, not to gossip about other people and to be careful about what we think about of what our heart is mediating on.
- Condemnation does not come from God but it is from Satan. Conviction is from God.
- Ask God to show you if there are any unhealthy patterns in your life and to show you the root of it. The behavior is not the root. After God reveals it to you then you need to repent of it and then ask God to show you what is the next step that He would like you to take.
- We identify with one another when we share our weakness with each other but it is really important to do it with humility.
- Ask God to rebuild your foundations in certain areas of your life.
- When we are in leadership accountability is extremely important and we can have as much as we want of it. Satan will always look for vulnerability in us especially when we are in any positions of leadership in our lives and this is why we need to be accountable to people who are mature in their faith.
- What does the integrity of your heart look like? It means you will do what you said you will do. When we choose integrity God is obligated to protect us. There is not time to form your integrity and your character at a time of crisis. It must be formed ahead of time. When we lack integrity than we are separated. Integrity is all about integration.
- If you fail it is really important to just pick yourself up and move on.
- When you are a leader you have spiritual leadership as a leader to take responsibility over your “team” even if you didn’t do it.
- Spiritual authority is when God stands behind you and affirms you. It is something that you choose how to live and God gives you grace to do it.
- Apostles gather people in order to equip people and then to send them out. Pastors gather people in order to feed them and then to nurture them.
- There is something that happens when you humble yourself before God because God is close to those who are humble. God responds to hunger and humility. What if as leaders we led with hunger in our hearts to God? Elisha asked Elijah for a double portion of the anointing that Elijah had (2 Kings 2:9). If you’re not hungry than you will not ask God for anything big. We hunger because there is more. What if we create a community of leaders who are hungry for God?
- No title or role makes someone a leader but it is a function and the important thing is it comes from the heart. It is not about a position but it is about the role that God places you in.
- You can go somewhere for vision but you can only be sustained through relationships.
- Different things will influence us (e.g. culture) but we need to allow the Holy Spirit to transform our lives.
- We need to constantly be dying to ourselves and surrender to God.
- God wants to transform us more than we want to transform ourselves.
- We need to learn to say “no” otherwise we could get burned out if we are constantly saying yes to everyone.
- Networking comes from friendships and prayer. When networking is done by the Holy Spirit than networking of the kingdom increases.
- The gift of a leader is not to program but to spot people who have potential, to equip them and to raise them up to be a leader.
- If you have a servant’s heart you will think broad and you will begin think differently.
- The world says: “Believe, behavior and then belong” but Jesus says: “Belong, belief and then belong”.
- Honoring people is all respect and the spirit behind how we speak to them. It is also seeing the value in people and being an active listener when you listen to them.
- We need to recognize that dreams and visions are from God.
- There is a time to be silent with our lips sealed and there is a time to be open by sharing words of encouragement, affirmation, teachings, blessing others with gratitude. When there is a time to be silent and keep our lips sealed it is when you are supposed to be confidential with things that were shared to you. Are you a person that can share secrets with people and they can trust in you with their secrets? You only share something with people if the Holy Spirit clearly leads you to do it.
- When people make mistakes they don’t need to be judged and to feel ashamed. When people make mistakes the goal is to restore them, to recognize they are valuable and to recognize their strengths and then to restore them in a healthy process way.
- A leader must live beyond re-approach which means you must live honorably, with integrity, to have self-control over your tongue, to handle your finances well, etc. If you have lack of self-control with your tongue, anger, eating, etc it is not beyond re-approach and neither is it to use any spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse means you use power in an abusive way, you don’t serve and you could use your power in some kind of controlling or manipulative way.
- You only use authority when it is necessary but the key is when you are a leader to influence well and to also serve well too.
- When we get offended that makes us very vulnerable to the root of bitterness. Groups or organizations don’t offend people but individual people do so we cannot allow ourselves to get offended easily.
- God can teach you to learn from both good leaders and also bad leaders that He places in your life. If you have been hurt by leaders there needs to be processing, debriefing, reconciliation and forgiveness with people.
- Selfish ambition is wrong but godly ambition is right.
- It is really important to take the initiative with the gifts that God has given you and also what God has called you to do. We need to be active in serving the purposes of God and also to take the initiative.
- We need to encourage people on a daily base so that the word of God is active in us.
- “He has shown you O man what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justify and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8. This is one of the scripture verses our speakers shared with us which is one of the verses in the Bible that God has been speaking to me a lot lately especially since He has been speaking to me more of how He is calling me to fight against the injustice issue of issue of human trafficking. It is my prayer that God will teach me more to act justify, to love mercy and to walk in a deeper level of humility in my walk with Him.
- We need to always to be student of leadership all of our lives.
I am so very grateful for all of the different things that God has spoken to me and revealed
to me from the teaching my last week and also all the other weeks at my SOMD school. There is so much to still to learn, grow and develop in the area of spiritual leadership especially in the areas of my character, integrity, to have more of a servant’s heart, to be deeply rooted in my identity of who I am in Christ, etc so I would definitely appreciate your prayers that will help me to daily learn to continue to grow in these different areas in my life so I can be more of an effective leader not only on the mission field but wherever I am.
My last Sunday to go to church in California was on December 11th which was such a blessing for me. I visited a new church that Sunday morning called Expression 58. I heard about this church at the beginning of November and I had wanted to go to it since I had heard the church but for some reason it didn’t work out for me to go the other Sundays but I really believe God had opened up the doors for me to go there my last Sunday in California. I had wanted to go to Expression 58 because I heard it is a church that flows in the prophetic and Shawn Bolz is the founding pastor at this church who is very strong in the prophetic as well.
Shawn Bolz was not there the Sunday I was at the church but I was still blown away by the presence of God during the service. During the worship time it was just incredible and it was such a blessing to be surrounded by people who were really hungry for God. One of the girls who was in the worship band even told us that she felt an angel touch her so she encouraged us to reach up and to receive whatever God has for us that morning. The sermon was about living a supernatural life and of faith which was so good. After the service finished I felt in my heart to go up to the front for prayer which was another blessing from God. The man who prayed for me received a prophetic word for me which I just felt so overwhelmed by the love of God especially of how the Lord affirmed me by speaking to me how my faith is rare and He is pleased with me (it was in line with the scripture verse 2 Chronicles 16:9a). God also spoke to me of how God is going to take care of me in the upcoming season especially of how He is going to provide extravagant for me. Wow, God is so good!
After I received prayer I then walked towards the guys in the group that I came with from
the YWAM LA base but before I got to them a girl approached me and asked me if I went to the Harvest Mission School 17 and then she asked me if I am Andrea. I told her yes to both of the questions that she asked me and then she told me that we both went to the same school (this is when I went to Pemba, Mozambique in the fall of 2012 with Iris Ministries for their 10 week mission school). I honestly had no idea that Charissa goes to that church so it was such a blessing from God to be able to have a quick reunion with one of the students who was in my class especially after not seeing each other for 4 years! Wow, God is so good and again it was such a blessing to be able to go to the Expression 58 church.
On Tuesday (December 13th), I had a really great day. In the morning it was awesome to start my day in the prayer chapel at the base just Jesus and I, then for my small group time we wrote encouraging cards to each other, for class we had some wonderful teaching by Jim and Judy Orred on spiritual leadership, then after lunch I did my New Testament test and for the afternoon my class and I went to a homeless area called Skid Row in LA to sing Christmas carols to the people there and to show them Jesus’ love as we brought a bit of Christmas cheer to them and we also prayed for a couple of people as well. God is so good! It is so hard to believe my time there at the YWAM LA base this fall for the SOMD school is coming to an end. Where does the time go?
On Thursday (December 15th), I had an incredible day! In the morning I had my SOMD
(School of Ministry Development) graduation which was really beautiful. Every Thursday mornings at the YWAM LA base we usually had an all base intercession time before class but instead of doing that the last week we had our graduation which so nice because everyone from the base was able to be there (all of the staff and everyone from the two DTS schools as well).
Robert and Jenny who are the base leaders opened up with an encouraging word and then they gave the rest of the time over to Lisa who was my school leader. Lisa also shared something as well, then she read a couple of the students’ blogs from our school and she also asked a couple of the students in my class to share something too. I thought it was really touching when I saw Aaron who was one of the students in my class give Lisa a bouquet of flowers on behalf of our whole school. Then we each got our certificates and to end the graduation the eldership of the YWAM LA base prayed a commissioning prayer over us which I thought was really special.
I was also really encouraged that Pastor John and his wife Natasha from the Sunland Foursquare church came to my graduation. I went to their church sometimes during my time in California which was definitely a blessing from God. The sermon series that Pastor John preached on dreaming with God really inspired me a lot and him and his wife Natasha both really encouraged me so much too.
I was really touched when Pastor John and Natasha took a bit of time to pray for me after the graduation had finished and I didn’t know that they flow in the prophetic so when I received a prophetic word when they prayed for me God really blew me away so much especially how the Lord reminded me that He is going to take care of me during the upcoming season in my life! God even spoke to me that He is going to miraculous provide for me like He did with Elijah in the Bible in 1 Kings 17:1-6. I also met Karyn from the church too who was also such a blessing to meet her because she has become a really great friend in my life.
On Thursday for dinner I went to the Cheese cake factory with my small group to celebrate
the end of our time together which was a real blessing to be able to have that time together. It was such an incredible blessing from God to have Anna as my small group leader and mentor during the time I was at the YWAM LA base and to also be a part of such an amazing small group as well.
Friday (December 16th), in the morning I had my very last intercession and worship time with my class and then for lunch we all went out to a Mexican restaurant as a special celebration to end our SOMD school. It is really hard to believe that my school had officially ended. I just want to say that my heart is filled with so much gratitude of what an amazing blessing it was from God to have Lisa as my school leader, Anna as my one on one mentor for the school, Jessica and Abby who were also our school staff and to walk alongside 16 other incredible students in my class.
Saturday (December 16th), it was a day full of saying good-byes to the DTS students and my class as well. There are four teams that went out on outreach from the two DTS classes (from the Transformation DTS class one team went to Greece and one team went to Guatemala and from the Justice DTS class one team went to Greece and France and the other team went to Southeast Asia). This is part of being a missionary that has always been really hard for me to meet people, share life together with them and then to say good-bye to them but then there are always reunions that God loves to surprise me with at different times which are always so much fun.
Sunday (December 18th), I had an extremely long travel day back to Toronto. I began my day by leaving the YWAM LA base around 3:40am, and then I took the fly away bus at 4:00am to go to the airport, my flight to Toronto was scheduled to depart at 8:09am so I had two hours before I could check in for my flight but thankfully I was able to spend that time with my friend Janet who was a mission builder at the YWAM LA base for 2 months when I was there. I am so very grateful for the friendship that God gave to Janet and I because it was definitely a blessing from Him to be able to pray together and encourage each other throughout the time we were at the base. When it was time for us to say good-bye it was really hard because we had grown really close during the time we were together at the YWAM LA base during those two months.
I am so very thankful that my check in for my flight went very well and my suitcase was exactly 50 lbs which is definitely a praise report! After I said good-bye to Janet, went through the security, found my gate, boarded my plane and settled into my seat I found out very surprising news when the co-pilot made an announcement that the flight has been delayed by two hours because the original captain was sick or something and another captain is now on the way to the LA airport so instead of originally arriving in Toronto at 4:00pm it was changed to arrive at 6:15pm.
Unfortunately after I boarded the plane a second time my flight ended up having another
three hour delay on top of the first delay which really frustrated a lot of people including myself but I was so very thankful when I saw that the passengers had given out snacks to each other and then we ended up getting a free meal on the flight as well. I really would like to thank God that I finally arrived at the Toronto airport at 9:00pm safe and sound. I am really thankful that my Dad picked me up at the Toronto airport, then my brother Jonathan met us part of the way and then Jonathan and I went to our Mom’s house. It was so good to see my cat Minnie again when I arrived home and my Mom too.
I am so blown away by God when I think of everything that He did in my life during this season to be able to spend 12 weeks at the YWAM LA base last year in the fall to do this leadership training school called School of Ministry Development and my heart is filled to the overflowing with so much gratitude of all of His faithfulness. God is so good and I’m really excited to see what He has in store for the upcoming season that He has for my life. I also would like to say a huge thank-you to everyone who prayed for me during the time I did the SOMD school at the YWAM LA base. I am so very grateful for all of your prayers and it means so much to me to know that there are people who are praying for me so thank-you so much.