Jordan Wei (pseudonym) is an experienced Christian worker in Asia who has spent more than 20 years developing leaders. He shares some recent insights from his own experience that have transformed his understanding of the leader development process.
1. You have been working with leaders in China for decades. What has changed recently in your approach?
My approach has changed because I have changed. In the past I allowed the activity of ministry and serving God in overdrive to become a protective wall for weaknesses and sin in my own heart. I rarely slowed down to take an honest look at myself. As time passed the ministry descended into joyless forced labor. Depression set in. It took intentional heart searching and the lovingly ruthless pursuit of a small accountability group to move me forward.
This has sensitized me toward in-country co-workers and leaders who are now dear friends. They deal with struggles and tendencies similar to my journey. My heart breaks for these burden bearers. They, too, need to take a deeper, inward look and ask the hard questions. This is what has compelled me to facilitate a “culture of the plow.” Digging up hardened heart-soil through probing questions, loosening it up for deeper penetration of God’s Spirit and his word. As I did this in the safety of trusted friends and asked for God’s forgiveness, grace, and power—the clouds parted and joy returned. The process is far from easy but it opens channels through which God is working. It’s all grace.
2. Tell us about the tool you have developed to help these leaders take a holistic view of their lives.
The M-atrix was born out of desperation to get real with myself and God. It is a wide-ranging list of over 20 “M” topics categorized under four key relationships. Click the + on each topic to view the questions for reflection. It covers facets of life ranging from relationships to health to spiritual growth. The questions can help with personal assessment or even become prompts for journaling. It can also be used for one-on-one accountability and discussion starters in small groups. View it online in both English (www.keepthechange.me) and Chinese (多面的鏡子) (www.soarwing.me).
The motivation for this comes from the following Scripture:
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. I Timothy 4:16
Usually training is focused on watching one’s doctrine. I am most burdened for the “watch your life” part and the perseverance demanded to make it effective. When it comes to credible spiritual leadership, tenacious self-examination and transparent accountability are indispensible. Hopefully having this tool at one’s finger-tips can be helpful.
3) How do you expect their ministry to others will be different as a result?
I envision these leaders taking a more rigorous personal inventory and discovering deeper healing and freedom. In turn, they can authentically share such a transforming process via all life’s channels. I hope that care groups, married couples, prayer partnerships will form, making “soarwing” their guide for sharing.
We were talking with a depressed young leader recently about ministry and relationships, using the M questions as a guide. He was in conflict with some coworkers that had left him, drained, sad, and distracted. But he returned home with new resolve to make things right. He wrote us yesterday to say the Lord is working and hope is back. I pray for more cases like this.
With the promised help of the Holy Spirit, I’m convinced that changed lives will change lives.
Image credit: soarwing.me
Brent Fulton is the founder of ChinaSource. Prior to assuming his current position, he served from 1995 to 2000 as the managing director of the Institute for Chinese Studies at Wheaton College. From 1987 to 1995 he served as founding US director of China Ministries International, and from 1985 to... View Full Bio