Posts Tagged ‘dai’

Bamboo Succession Planning

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Bamboo Succession Planning for blogWhat does bamboo have to do with succession planning? Please let me explain. As many of us know, ‘big boss’ leadership has a damaging impact on churches, ministries and NGOs around the world. Big boss or top-down leadership, as the names indicate, is the opposite of Jesus’ style of servant leadership which releases the potential in others, appropriately enables them to make decisions, and even mistakes, while learning from each one.

The wonderful by-product of servant leadership is that succession planning rarely concern servant leaders, because they consistently ensure everyone under their leadership grows, which results in an abundant crop of talented leaders developing within the organization at any given time.

Servant leaders make it habit to see every employee or volunteer as a future leader. They take the time to get to know as many of them as possible, inquiring about their interests and encouraging their growth.

They believe that developing people within the organization is just as important as accomplishing mission. It is developing people while accomplishing mission that equals true organizational success. Servant leaders put policies in place to enable continuing education and designate resources to staff development, even when resources are painfully scarce.

Young, talented leaders pose no threat to a servant leader as their success multiplies because that is what the leader sincerely desires to see happen. And the younger leaders have little need to leave the organization to pursue their dreams, because they are given room inside to do just that.

This is where bamboo comes to mind. Can you picture in your mind how bamboo grows? Lots of tall, straight, strong stalks grow up side-by-side, not crowding each other out, but giving each its own needed space, sunlight and nutrients. The contrasting picture is of a banyan tree with one large expansive center trunk, large and bushy at the top, but with nothing else able to thrive under its dark shade.

Which does your organization look more like, bamboo or banyan? In the bamboo-style organization, there will always be lots of talented people ready to take on leadership responsibility. Be intentional about creating growth opportunities for those serving with you and one of the rewards will be no fear about succession planning. When it is time to pass on leadership there will be a whole batch of tall, strong and well-nourished people ready to take on the task.

Jane Overstreet, President/CEO

Prior to joining DAI in 1996, Jane served as the Director of Legal Services for Youth With A Mission International while living in the Middle East and Europe. She has a Juris Doctorate and a member of the Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Colorado Bar Associations. Jane did additional graduate coursework in International Law and Global Economic Development.

She serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations and on the stewardship committee of her local church, Covenant Presbyterian. Jane is also a member of the Lausanne Leadership Development Working Group and author of Unleader.

World Cup Influence

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

new-soccer-ballThe World Cup fever is everywhere. Even my 9-year-old daughter woke up at 4:00 AM to watch the Brazil vs Germany game. You may ask why a 9-year-old girl is so passionate about the soccer game. The reason is simple, she is influenced by different environments. First her parents have been talking and watching the games all the time and second the advertisement related to The World Cup is everywhere.

This story reminds me of DAI who wants to see more leaders equipped with integrity and skills, so they can influence and transform their community wherever they are in this rapidly changing world.

As a leader, are you influencing the world with your Christ-centered life in different fields and different ways?

Author: written by a DAI staff member in Asia and asked to remain anonymous.

Return on Investment

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

For the past 10 years, DAI has invested in leaders’ lives and ministries through the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL). Our products are Christian leaders serving and empowering those around them to thrive.

God has nurtured an amazing return on investment through our courses. As part of the Teaching and Learning for Impact course, each MAOL student facilitates an interactive workshop on servant leadership for at least 10 other leaders. Through the 1,600 students who took this course, DAI reached an additional 16,000 leaders with biblical servant leadership principles and practices. Some of those 16,000 individuals enrolled in a DAI workshop series or MAOL program. Others shared the material and DAI with key leaders they know. This, in turn, opened doors for DAI to develop and nurture the leadership of a new organizational partner or Christian leaders in countries that DAI has not yet worked in.

The time spent investing in each of the 1,600 past and present students is worth it! Thank you for prayerfully and financially investing in the students and in this program. Read on as students share the ROI the MOAL had on their life and ministry.

Aggrey M.Uganda
Supervisor, Ugandan Revenue Authority & Associate Pastor, True Acts of Christ Church

MasterLink2014.5 (1) (174x200)“The general perception about leadership, in this country, is one of authority, control and privileges. Because I wanted to see Christ’s model of leadership in my team, I created an atmosphere in which servant leadership will thrive by setting an example. The MAOL course came in very handy to provide this atmosphere. There has been tremendous improvement in working relationships with my team. One person confessed to me, ‘I never had the opportunity to be nurtured the way I am being nurtured now. For all the years of my Christian life, I have moved to a number of churches under different leaders, but did not get the help to grow into who I was called to be like I am getting by being mentored by you.’”

Jacqueline O.Uganda
Independent Consultant for Leadership & Tax

MasterLink2014.05(2) (172x200)“I joined MAOL just after I had retired from the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) where I worked for 8 years in a senior management position. I have a passion for leadership and would like to see working people transforming their workplaces through servant leadership. I had the opportunity to develop teaching materials for the URA senior management team. I developed the teaching materials using the same method DAI uses of allowing the learner to reflect on what they are learning by answering some personal reflection questions. The materials have been created with the focus on discussions and learning from one another. I got feedback from the participants and they are so excited about the program and wonder why it didn’t start earlier!”

Prosper I.Nigeria
President/CEO, Threshold Christian Network

MasterLink2014.04(3) (176x200)“I have the privilege of providing leadership for the discipleship school which nurtures young Christian converts to maturity. Through DAI we have adopted interactive learning as our teaching style and retrained all our facilitators to use interactive learning. The effect of this on students and facilitators is amazing. Our focus now is transformation and not certification or the number of students graduated in a year. Students are now testifying daily to the benefit of what they are learning and the ease to which they can now integrate into church life.”

Wycliffe B.Uganda
Chief Administrative Officer, Forum for Democratic Change

MasterLink2014.05(4) (187x200)“I have for the last six years been the Secretariat of a national political party in Uganda. Over a year ago, I resigned my position to work for the Forum for Democratic Change. I used the MAOL to help the technical staff of the Forum and the national leadership of the same party I resigned from to identify their dominant leadership traits and develop ‘Party Cohesion.’ In all these, the change that has happened impacted me and I am confident it impacted others that have come to attend sessions that I have facilitated. My pride used to be in how much material and facts I poured out to the participants. Not so anymore! This time I focused on the participants, not me, because they had put aside their commitments to come to learn.”

Reconciling After War

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

The Sri Lanka 2011 cohort just finished their very last classes in the DAI Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership one of which was Culture, Ethnicity & Diversity, written and taught by Paul Borthwick, DAI Senior Consultant. What an honest and timely topic for this cohort!

May 18 marked the 5th anniversary of the end of the 26-year civil war between the Buddhist Sinhala majority and Hindu Tamil minority, which took the lives of 100 thousand , displaced half a million and forced 900 thousand to emigrate (mostly Tamils).

“After more than two decades of civil war, Sri Lanka is building a new future, and the Christian church is an active part of that future.” Paul Borthwick shares about the 2011 cohort, “I was excited to be part of the Sri Lankan cohort because the leadership represented a broad cross-section of all the streams of Sri Lankan society. The cohort includes all the majority ethnic groups of Sri Lanka including Christians who converted from Hindu and Buddhist backgrounds; this diversity is a critical factor in the process of reconciliation. It also includes a denominational diversity of pastors, senior staff from mercy ministries like World Vision and Compassion, and leaders in the National Churches Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka; the fact that these leaders study and grow together will serve as a catalyst for greater Christian unity in the future. I believe these cohorts will together increase the impact of the Kingdom of Christ on this beautiful country.”

MasterLink2014.05(5) (181x200)Viraj A. reflects further on reconciliation and forgiveness in the Church.

One of the Sri Lanka 2011 cohort members, Viraj A. of World Vision, processed the ability to become a catalyst of forgiveness in his final paper. He says, “One of the most important things that crashed into my mind is forgiveness and reconciliation. How much do we need this in Sri Lanka, in our post war situation? Over more than 35 many years, hatred has been cultivated in the hearts of thousands of Tamils and Sinhalese. We hated each other, we belittled each other, we departed from each other and finally we killed each other. What is needed to embrace each other? Forgiveness. Without forgiveness there wouldn’t be true reconciliation.

I strongly believe that Christians have a great responsibility to establish a ground for reconciliation through forgiveness for those who are historically divided and culturally conditioned to hate each other.

The body of Christ as we know is made up of imperfect, broken people who have one thing in common; we have been forgiven by Christ (vertical reconciliation). Unfortunately not all of us are willing to forgive and though we try our best to serve Him, we are unable to experience the fullness of His abundant life, for this very reason; our unwillingness to forgive those who have hurt us.

“Forgiveness is a vital aspect of the Christian’s life and witness. Jesus repeatedly mentions the importance of forgiving others, irrespective of what the offense is or whether justice has been done (horizontal reconciliation). More importantly, He modeled it. Forgiveness sets us free to love and is therefore the key to true reconciliation. Many who have chosen to pursue reconciliation but ignore this principle discover later that the hurts, anger and bitterness still remain, unattended to, beneath the surface.”

20 Nations Gathered In Sri Lanka

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

world-map-watercolor-teal lines (400x283)Every 18 months DAI meets for a week of respite and reporting. Spring of this year brought us to that season. We chose Sri Lanka for our conference location. Seeing coworkers and hearing how God is moving in and through DAI’s leadership training ministry in each locality was a rich blessing and time of encouragement for each of the 80 DAI staff members from 20 nations.

Gathering in Sri Lanka gave us better insight into one of the newest partners, Lanka Bible College. We hosted MAOL students and their families for dinner one night to hear their stories.

Kerry* from the 2011 cohort shared how DAI impacted him. Before the MAOL his church was growing about, “20 people a year from 140 to 160 to 180. And I was pretty happy with that,” explained Kerry. The Strategic Thinking course taught by Dr. David Fraser, DAI Senior Consultant, pushed his idea of growth. It caused him to survey all that was before him and the potential encapsulated in it. He saw that his congregants were not thriving, Sunday school was not engaging and his church was not growing at the rate it was capable of. Kerry proudly announced, “at the end of 2013 we now have 275 congregants and Sunday school is exciting spiritual awareness and hunger!” Unfortunately, this growth and vibrancy attracted unwanted attention from militant groups. His family asks for prayer for protection as they recently received threats to their lives.


*Pseudonym since this pastor asked to not be identified online.

Leading the Family

Friday, May 16th, 2014
Leading the Family(800x600)

At the end of the session on encountering God in marriage and family, the participants renewed their marriage covenant by presenting each other with cards and flowers, jointly lighting a unity candle and reciting the covenant to one another.

“During the family seminar I felt God was tearing down the envelope of my life. I am married for three years. I used to preach to everyone but I never prayed or read word of God with my wife. I was neglecting that area. I want to ask for forgiveness from my wife. I now really understood the true meaning of headship. Yesterday, after family seminar, was first time we as a couple prayed together.”

This comment comes from a pastor participating in the Encounters with God workshop series facilitated by DAI in India. The highlight for the 28 participants was the section on encountering God in marriage and family.

At DAI we train over 15,000 leaders annually in the servant leadership principles found in the Bible. To lead in this way with integrity they have to be a servant in all facets of their life – at home and at work. Dr. Sam Thomas, helps Christian leaders integrate this teaching into all their leadership roles through the Encounters with God series.

“The scenario for this is that Christian families are falling apart,” explains Dr. Thomas. “A large percentage end up in divorce. But a larger number live together, but lost the joy and just coexist functionally. In this context, our emphasis is to bring the couple back to the biblical foundation and also encourage them to restore the romance of marriage and ‘Rejoice in the wife of your youth and be exhilarated always with her love’ (Proverbs 5:18b,19b). This is so significant for the Kingdom of God as family is a miniature form of the Kingdom.”

Dr. Thomas goes on to share, “Another major struggle that we see is that when people come to Christ, they carry the baggage of cultural world view with them and do not replace it with the biblical world view. This issue needs to be radically addressed by the Church. We have kept quiet for too long and it is time for the Church to be vocal about this. We would like to see men and women who would rise up and answer the call, to be faithful, first to our God and then to our spouses, to nurture their children and care for the family. This in turn will bring about His Kingdom way of living.”

Through the Encounters with God workshop, “Many participants were very blessed,” Dr. Thomas reports. “They now understand the concept of mutual submission and promised to apply the teaching to their lives. There was a spirit of brokenness and repentance. God brought healing and restored each of the families.” Here’s what another participant shared:

“I am married for 14 years. I used to keep myself busy in ministry. Whenever I used to come back from ministry trip, with excitement I used to share with my wife that 200-300 people came and God moved in  a powerful way, but she never used to enjoy. The reason was that I never used to give time to her and my child. I was covering everything with a nice word of ‘ministry’. But during this family seminar, God was breaking me. I want to say sorry to my wife in front of everyone. I will never sacrifice my family for the sake of ministry.” 

Please continue to remember these families in India in your prayers. Thank your for supporting the global leadership development ministry of DAI.

Not Fade Away

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Reposted from the Gathering. View the original article by Fed Smith here. Fred is a friend to Development Associates International (DAI) and his thoughts were too good for us to keep to ourselves.

640px-Shepherds,_Chambal,_MP,_IndiaI was 38 when I realized I was a misfit in my work. I was teaching in a traditional boarding school on the East Coast and working overtime to adapt – but unsuccessfully. It was no one’s fault. It was simply not the right place for me.

During that time I discovered a book by Ralph Mattson and Art Miller, Finding a Job You Can Love. Their writings changed my life because the authors (who then became friends) showed me that God had designed me in a particular way to accomplish a particular kind of work. I could try to shoehorn myself into a job but there would be very little satisfaction over time. What I needed was to find work that gave me more energy the longer I did it.

I became an evangelist for the good news about “giftedness” and have spent much of the last 30 years helping people find the design and fit that is right for them. I still believe it is true that there is nothing more satisfying than finding the work for which you feel you have been created. It’s then that we easily sense we are in the will of God for our lives.

However, there are exceptions and sometimes people are called by God to a work that is not a fit. It’s not punishment or intended to build character. It is not a test. It is being chosen to fulfill a purpose we cannot always understand.

I’ve thought about Peter, the fisherman, instructed by Jesus to “feed my lambs.” Instead of using the final miraculous catch of fish as a taste of what Peter would be doing for his life’s work, Jesus tells the fisherman to become a shepherd.

Fishermen and shepherds have nothing in common. Imagine Steve Jobs being told he would now be head of of Human Resources at Apple or Bill Gates being moved to the position of corporate chaplain. What Jesus tells Peter to do is this pronounced and jarring for his disposition.

Fishing is an exciting sport and something you do when and where you want and on your own schedule. Shepherding is definitely not. It is tedious work. Shepherds live with sheep. They sleep with them, and they smell like them.

And catching is not the same as caring. You never walk into a home and see a lamb mounted over the fireplace in place of a prize-winning blue marlin. No one takes a vacation to go shepherding.

In other words, Jesus takes all of Peter’s instincts and skills and, instead of anointing a natural talent, he assigns Peter a role that could not have been more unnatural. He calls Peter to give up what he would have likely preferred.

Many of you have wrestled with similar assignments – being faithful in vocations for which you had little affinity but knew it was important to stay. Perhaps you have accepted the responsibility of taking care of someone else – a parent, a child or a spouse. And over the years I have met men and women who set aside their own ambitions to guide a ministry or business through turmoil and change. It’s not volunteering.  It’s an assignment.

Yes, there are times that people should find work for which they are better suited, but there are also times when their calling may require them to sacrifice their  preferences.

While the world rewards trophy catches and personal accomplishments, these shepherds have chosen to tend invisibly. They have not merely resigned themselves or served out of a grudging sense of duty but have willingly and sacrificially aligned themselves with the interests of others. They, like Peter, have followed out of love for Jesus and not insisted on their own dreams, independence and work more fitting to their design.

I do not know why Jesus picked Peter to feed lambs instead of fish for men. I do not know why God places some people in difficult spots for years at a time instead of their being in work that is satisfying and natural to them. I do not know why He does not always use our affinities and skills in ways that make sense to us.

However, I do know this. At the end of Peter’s life he does not reminisce about fishing. He says nothing about what he could have been or what he would have done had he chosen his own way to serve.

Instead, he writes about what he has come to know so well – our being shepherds of God’s flock in our care, “watching over them – not because you must but because you are willing, as God wants you to be.”

He is no longer the impetuous fisherman but the patient shepherd Jesus assigned him to be. No regrets. No remorse.

Was his life different from what he might have planned? More than likely. Do I understand why God would ask someone as unlikely as Peter to be a shepherd? No, but I do believe it turned out the way Jesus intended. Peter laid down his life, his plans, and his affinities for his friends and, perhaps, that is the “rock” that is the foundation of the Church. That is Peter’s glory that will not erode or fade away.

Fred Smith is a graduate of Denver University and Harvard Divinity School. He spent several years as teacher and administrator at Charlotte Christian School and The Stony Brook School before joining Leadership Network, where he served as President for 12 years. Fred is the President of The Gathering, an international association of individuals, families and foundations giving to Christian ministries. As well, Fred is the Chairman of The Fourth Partner, a non-profit organization focused on Christian philanthropy and community development within the East Texas area. Fred and his wife, Carol, reside in Tyler, Texas and have two grown daughters. one son-in-law and two grandsons.

International Women’s Day

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

_DSC3311“International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.”

“This year’s theme, Equality for Women is Progress for All emphasizes how gender equality, empowerment of women….are essential to economic and social development.” [1]

So, today Development Associates International (DAI) honors the progress towards equality we have made together and the brave women and men who worked side-by-side to achieve that progress. We look forward to a future of greater triumphs, stronger unity and deeper understanding.

[1] UN Women;

Reimagining Possibilities

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Part three of three

DAI Reimagining Possibilities (395x500)“There’s no use trying,” Alice said, “One can’t believe impossible things.” “I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen, “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”—excerpt from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

Restorers are individuals who, fueled by a vision of how things ought to be, make whole what is broken simply by living the Gospel. Sometimes the vision of communities redeemed that Restorers hold seems impossible to attain to the people they lead and maybe even to the Restorers themselves.

Have you felt like that? Have you had a vision for some project, some goal, something that seemed too big to turn into a reality?

C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and their literary club the Inklings loved novels because they allowed the author to take readers on an imaginary journey with truths of reality fantastically intertwined. They thought if the reader can imagine something, they can then take the step to believe something. If you can imagine a good and wild lion ruling Narnia, maybe you can believe a good god rules our universe.

In the same way leaders have the wonderful opportunity to help others reimagine what is possible. Development Associates International (DAI) enjoys helping leaders all around the world navigate impossible visions through consulting and Strategic Thinking workshops. And we enjoy even more seeing those visions become realities.

So where to start? Keep your attention focused on God, look to his abilities not your limitations. See His possibilities not your impossibilities, like Peter did. When Jesus calls Peter out into the deep waters, Peter at first does well walking on the waves because he was focused on Jesus. As soon as he turns his gaze to the wind he begins to sink (Matthew 14:22-33).

With your attention in the correct place, you can help others reimagine possibilities that once were deemed unattainable.

Refocusing Our Attention

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Part two of three

DAI Refocusing our Attention -Matthew 6_6Restorers are individuals who make whole what is broken simply by living the Gospel out in the day to day activities of life. Fueled by a vision of how things ought to be, they are uniquely postured to partner with God in his work of restoration.

But to partner well with God’s restoration work our attention needs to be refocused on Him and his ways. “Refocus for me is really finding a way that’s more New Testament-rooted,” shares Jim Daly in a radio interview with Krista Trippett*, “that we speak kindly, we speak gently to the world…Let’s hold each other accountable as Christians as believers, but when we’re engaging the world, let’s show compassion.

Development Associates International (DAI) through our servant leadership workshop series helps refocus attentions from the cultural model of leadership to the New Testament model found in Jesus. Through his teaching and examples we learn very practical leadership principles that were counter-cultural then and counter-cultural now.

Jesus humbled himself in order to empower others and to glorify God. He did not demand preferential treatment. Instead he washed his disciples’ feet, a role reserved for the lowest of servants (John 13: 12-17). The DAI logo and our workshops on Servant Leadership depicts this image of humbled leadership.

Jesus labored with his disciples doing “on the job training” casting out demons, healing the sick and ministering to the outcasts with or without receiving so much as a thank you afterwards (Luke 17: 11-19). Why? Maybe because he knew that is how they would learn best.

Jesus was willing to be interrupted to care for the one (John 8: 2-11; Luke 5: 17-26). A graduate student in the DAI Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership phrased it wonderfully: “Yes a manager should manage the tasks, but they must not forget that people complete the tasks. They must not lose FOCUS of the relationships.”

So how do we start to refocus our attention? As part of his sermon on the mount, Jesus said, “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” (Matthew 6:6, the Message)

What helps you to refocus your attention?

*The interview with Jim Daly and Gabe Lyons hosted by Krista Trippett aired Sept 20, 2012 via the On Being radio broadcast and can be found at