Posts Tagged ‘dai’

Why Leaders Need Teaching Skills

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Teaching in MalawiSomething that many people, both students and supporters, find unusual in DAI’s MA in Organisational Leadership, is that one of the first two courses that students are required to take is one that is called “Teaching and Learning for Impact”. “Why”, students say, “do we need to study a course about teaching when we’ve enrolled for a course about leadership?” Maybe they have a point. But maybe DAI looks on the course from a different perspective!

We believe that one of the key principles of leadership is empowering others; that we develop those that we lead. DAI’s philosophy is that the courses our students take are not for their benefit alone, but also for the benefit of others in their churches, ministries and organisations.

One of the first questions that we ask in the Teaching & Learning for Impact course is “How do people learn in your culture?” Having got answers like “sitting in a classroom listening to the teacher” and “through lectures”, we get the students to think a bit more deeply, by making the observation that the answers they’ve given describe how people teach, not how people learn. So we ask the question again: “How do people learn – really learn – in your culture?” And then we get more thoughtful responses like “through stories”, “through discussion”, “through taking part in the learning”.

And this is why we think it important to include a course on how adults learn at the outset of the 3-year course, because we want our students to pass on what they’re learning to others – and to pass it on in an effective way: not by “telling” them, not by “lecturing”, but by using methods that will help the people they’re working with really learn! We aim to turn their thinking turned upside down, so they think about learning and learners as opposed to teaching and teachers!

In terms of the course material, we get them exploring what it says in the Gospels about how Jesus taught different groups of people, and they see that he used stories, parables, demonstrations, discussion, questions, practice and feedback. We get them thinking about their experience of learning, and then use this to help them understand some basic principles of effective learning: that people need to want to learn or recognize their need to learn, the importance of learning by doing, of making sense of what they are learning and the value of receiving feedback on their learning. We get them thinking about different learning methods and the strengths and weakness of each of these methods. We get them working on designing learning outcomes, creating lesson plans and evaluating.

As with every course in the MA programme, the Teaching & Learning for Impact course has a profound impact on our students. Irene from Uganda commented, “I thought you were coming to teach us how to be better lecturers, but you completely changed our thinking and got us to focus on learning and the learners; I’ll never just lecture again!

Noel, who works with World Vision in Sri Lanka said “The Adult learning course has enabled me to become a great facilitator with village groups. I use the practical knowledge I gained from the course in my training sessions with them. They are no longer boring but have become very practical and useful for the participants”.

And Megan, who is a health worker in rural Nepal, said “The residency at the beginning of the course was a good introduction to all the topics and referring back to what was done there has been helpful as I have gone through the workbook. The workbook itself is very well presented in an easy to use format and I particularly like the way that each unit builds on the last with continual reference back to the key factors that are foundational to effective learning making everything fit together. Even though I am not a teacher as such I can apply a lot of the principles in my day to day work and in training others on the job”.


John Rogers Thumbnail (1)Author: John Rogers is DAI’s Senior Consultant for Non-Formal Training and Adult Education and is based in London, UK. He is the author of the course materials for the Teaching & Learning for Impact course and has taught the course with MA students in Uganda, Burundi, Nigeria, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.

Leading From Below

Monday, April 20th, 2015
Leading from Below

Leading from below…like in rock climbing

Robert Greenleaf, in his book Servant Leadership, talks about two kinds of leaders. The first is the strong, natural leader who likes to take charge, make decisions and give orders. The second is the natural servant who assumes leadership simply because doing so is the best way to serve. This is the kind of person Jesus is looking for (Matthew 20:26-27).

Servanthood is a motivation that drives behavior. It is a question of character, not of activity. It is part of a person’s nature, not a “leadership style.” A servant is not concerned about role, status or power. They are concerned about serving. They are concerned about laying down their lives for those they serve (John 10:10).

What are the characteristics of a servant?

  • They are always concerned about the best interests of those they lead – over and above their own best interest.
  • They are committed to the growth and development of those they lead. They mentor, they coach, the give of themselves to their followers.
  • They have no problem with obligation or duty. Servants are willing to accept obligation and duty. Leaders like to be free to decide, to make decisions about their future, and often, to put others under obligation.
  • They have a desire to be accountable. Servants don’t simply accept accountability, they seek it. The attitude of a person towards accountability is a good indication as to whether or not they have the heart of a servant.
  • They care for those they lead. True care and concern is expressed in action. Servants shepherd those they lead.
  • They are willing to listen. Servants listen, because they want to know how to serve. Servants listen to God. They understand that often God speaks through others – even to those they are leading and to those who may criticize them. Leaders don’t listen – they speak and others listen.
  • They have a heart of genuine humility.
  • They are willing to share power. Servants are always looking for way to empower others, even if it means that they will be overshadowed by those who are more capable.

Are you and I servants? Are we leading from below?

Read More on Leadership: From Below, Not Above

Karl Mueller (2) - Copy (270x270)Author: Karl Mueller, DAI Senior Consultant for Church and Leadership Services, strengthens international partnerships between ministries around the world and churches in the USA. He joined DAI in 2014 and brings with him 35 years of ministry experience. Karl serves on the boards of African Leadership And Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM) and Community Health Evangelism (CHE).

The Dilemma of the Scandalous Promise

Thursday, March 26th, 2015


What is the most outrageous/challenging/scandalous promise that Jesus made to His disciples and invited them to engage in?

When a research student at Princeton asked, “what is left in the world for original research?” Albert Einstein replied, “Find out about prayer, somebody must find out about prayer.”

The disciples wanted to learn this, “Lord, teach us to pray.” (NOT teach us about prayer). Prayer is an expression of who we are. Do you struggle in the area of prayer? I do. Don’t think I am a bad guy. In a pharisaic mode I have all the ingredients of prayer and at specific times too. All of us pray in some measure. A devout Jew will pray three times a day-Daniel had this routine. Similarly the Jewish Christians, Peter and John. A Muslim will pray 5 times. David would go for seven. But, we are called to be in this ministry of praying without ceasing! Non-stop-24/7. No one need to convince me on the importance of prayer. Most people whom God used in history spent hours in prayer.

Philip Yancy interviewed several Christians and concluded the following. How long did they pray? 5-7 minutes. Did they find prayer satisfying? Not really. Did they sense God’s presence when they prayed? Occasionally.

There seems to be a gap between praying in theory and practice. In theory, prayer is the priceless privilege of point of contact with the God of the universe. It is communion with the creator God – a one man audience. Prayer is the sure weapon that God has given to us, yet it’s commonly used as the last resort when everything else fails. Why not use prayer as a strategy? Will it work?

In practice it is often confusing and frustrating. When I suggested to a friend that we should pray before a journey – He said, “Why? I know my car and the road.” When our pantry is stocked with a month’s supply, how meaningfully can we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread?” Where does God fit into a busy life that is already behind schedule? I keep getting many prayer requests from friends, family and colleagues and am trying hard to be faithful.

We all know the strategic importance of prayer. God has amazing plans for people and nations. He wants His Beloved to seek Him and ask Him.

God invites us to pray.

Jeremiah 29:10-14: God says, “I will visit you, fulfill my word to you and bring you back from exile. I know the plans that I have for you, plans for welfare and not calamity, to give you a future and a hope.” God of hope is encouraging our hearts.

Whatever is happening is not random things. Sovereign Lord’s plans are just unfolding. His plans bring Shalom to us. Hence there is hope. Yes God this is great, you know the details, go ahead and do it. He invites us to pray in His presence. Come to me, call on me, your Abba, pray to me. This is a call for intimacy. Ask, pray, seek, behold Him, knock, act in faith.

He wants us to seek Him whole heartedly. To tell Him, all I want is you Lord. I am not seeking for answers to problems, but you. Seeking you as a precious Jewel. He is waiting to reveal Himself. “I will be found by you.” Have you played hide and seek with a 2-year-old? In the end you will say, I found Him.

What a joy this is! He wants us to be involved in His plan and in the end for us to have the joy. This is like the 3-year-old who was serious about helping her Dad to build the steps. Father allowed her to be a part of this big job. In the end she proudly said, “I and Dad built the steps.” He has a plan to restore our inheritance to us. The spirit of the Lord will accomplish this. I feel encouraged to move with God, led by His Spirit into His mission that He has invited me to be a part of.

Jesus invited us to pray this prayer.

In John chapters 14-16, a very important subject on which Jesus taught is a new dimension of prayer: Ask in Jesus name to Jesus and the Father, limitless asking, limited only by His unconditional love expressed on the cross. Anything that comes in such a heart that abides in Him and His love, however scandalous as it may sound, it is yours. Seven times it is repeated: “Whatever you ask….”

He Himself prayed and He continues to pray even today.

Am I convinced? Not really. When things get tough and I can’t handle it, I pray. When I am against a wall and a door needs to open, I seek and knock very hard. I remember certain seasons I prayed such prayers.

Three specific phases of growth I have noticed in my own prayer journey.

  1. When I asked for impossible things still unsure in my heart, yet God answered and surprised me. My heart was full of joy and excitement and it felt so good to walk with this God
  2. I asked fully knowing that He is able to do what I am asking but ended up not receiving what I asked. I went through questions, doubts, and fears. My heart still trusted him. I had support from hundreds of brothers and sisters across the world. Jesus himself, my best intercessor was in this prayer. My precious wife Helen who suffered from cancer, intense pain for three years, went to be with the Lord. In that season, someone asked me, “Will you pray again?” Absolutely. That season of wilderness taught me to pray. Where else can I go? I am utterly dependent on Him.
  3. I tell Him that I know that He is good and that I am excited about walking with Him. Here the excitement is not because of the answer, but He Himself is the reason. We have prayed in many crisis situations and He answered us.

My question to myself is this, “Why is this prayer not my primary strategy?” Prayer helps me to see reality from God’s vantage point. This will bring me to a place of brokenness and contrition. My selfishness, pride, deceit and lack of compassion will be exposed. It will bring out the best heart attitude, that of helplessness. “Only he who is helpless can truly pray.”

In a generation that exalts self-reliance, this is not an exciting invitation. He did not promise, “Try your best, when you can’t, I will be there.” Instead he said, “Without me you can do nothing.” Do I have enough time and space for God? I encourage others to have it. Privilege to meet with God, how many of us will jump for it? Look at the One who encourages us to pray. Jesus, the Son of God. His life was full of prayer. Hebrews 5:7 says during His days on earth, Jesus maintained His rhythm of prayer. We read his High priestly prayer in John 17. And the prayer see other elements of the Gethsemane prayer in the gospels. In Matt 26:38, Jesus says, “This sorrow is crushing my life out.” Mark 14: 35 (MSG) reads “Going a little ahead, he fell to the ground and prayed for a way out. ‘Papa, Father, you can-can’t you? Get me out of this. Take this cup away from me. But please, not what I want, what do you want?’”

I was thinking, how much we have achieved with so little prayer. What if, we dared to ask?

In India, we are thinking of team expansion, expansion of operations, tackling challenges, increasing impact, engaging with changes, looking ahead. In the DAI global context we are doing similar things, looking ahead.

In looking ahead, I ask myself, “How am I going to make prayer intentional in all that I do (also for the team)?”

“How do I understand the scandalous promises of God and claim it?”

“Can I commit myself to a life style of prayer?”

“Do I so desperately need Him?”

“Will I commit myself and be excited about this privilege?”

“Will I intentionally do something about it?”

And I ask the same of you.

Let us pray. Lord, teach us to pray. Help us to pray the prayer that pleases your heart and bring your Kingdom here. Fascinate our eyes with your beauty and convince our minds of our helplessness that we may be drawn to you. We hear your invitation to seek you. We confess that often we have been seeking answers for our problems rather than seeking you. Shake us out of our complacency. Help us O Lord. We pray this In Jesus name, Amen.

Prayer (2)Author: Dr. Sam Thomas currently works as the Executive Director of Development Associates Initiative, India; as a part-time teacher at New Theological College, Dehradun; and as a professor for Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership conducted by DAI. Apart from this, Sam and his wife Sashi, are involved with non-formal training of church leaders in India and surrounding nations. They are passionate about seeing servant leaders who are passionate lovers of God.

Sam is a medical doctor by profession, trained as a pediatric surgeon. He worked with various mission organizations as a medical missionary for about 28 years. He was with Emmanuel Hospital Association for 17 years, during which time he also served as the Medical Director of two of its hospitals.

From Below, Not From Above

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Our 5 hour drive ended in an abandoned lot. Across the street was the office where we spent the next 5 days with 15 leaders of an indigenous African ministry. Nicholas our team leader began unpacking the van, and we followed his lead. During the week he worked tirelessly, pouring the wisdom of 50 years of leadership experience into the lives of the seminar participants. He led by example. He served. Nothing was too little for him to do. As the week progressed I learned that he had been the leader of a large denomination. He had “the ear” of the highest religious and political leaders in his nation and across the region. Yet he carried his own bags, set up chairs, drove the van, and never complained. Nicholas exemplified Philippians 2: 7 – taking on “the nature of a servant”. He led from “below” not from “above.”

Nicholas was following the example of Jesus who told us in Matthew 20: 25-28 to not follow the example of the leaders of the day – who expected to be served and who took joy in telling others what to do. Instead, Jesus told us that the way to power is through service. They way to Kingdom greatness is from below, not from above.

As we think about what it means to redeem power, we must reimagine what leadership looks like. We can’t take our cues from the world around us. We can’t take the “old leadership wineskins” and put “new leadership wine” into them. Rather we need to throw out the old wine in the old wineskins and replace them with new wine and new wineskins.

But what does that look like? In Matthew 20:25-28 Jesus tells us that the new wine is the leaders heart to serve, and the new wineskin is a leader with no concern for status or power. This is the heart of Kingdom leadership. This is leadership from below, not from above.

This is what we will explore in the blogs that follow. But, let’s begin to imagine a world where all our leaders exhibit true Kingdom leadership.


Karl Mueller (2) - Copy (270x270)Author: Karl Mueller, DAI Senior Consultant for Church and Leadership Services, strengthens international partnerships between ministries around the world and churches in the USA. He joined DAI in 2014 and brings with him 35 years of ministry experience. Karl serves on the boards of African Leadership And Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM) and Community Health Evangelism (CHE).

Pastor Realizes His Role in Accomplishing Social Justice

Friday, February 20th, 2015


Pradhan faithfully serves as Pastor for Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Eastern Nepal. Only partway through our workshop series on servant leadership, Pastor Pradhan made drastic lifestyle changes. He shared, “I have learned so many things in the DAI workshops. The most important learning for me is to be a leader after God’s own heart.”

Pastor P.“Now I understand that my responsibility is for the whole creation of God. I used to do lots of bargaining with small vendors like vegetable shopkeepers, rickshaw pullers and so on. Paying less made me think that I was a successful person. Now, I don’t bargain with them anymore, rather I want to help the marginalized poor, working for low wages, who need my help.”

“I have been applying this learning in my life , as it is very important for me. The workshop has changed my leadership style and ministry so much.”

Repairing Forgiveness

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Excerpt taken from Duane Elmer, Cross-Cultural Servanthood, 2006 Intervarsity Press pp. 83-88. Used with permission.

Every relationship experiences times of broken trust. Sometimes it’s minor, such as not showing up on time; sometimes it’s major, such as violating the sanctity of marriage. When trust is broken, most want to repair it, especially if the relationship is important. Only one thing can restore broken trust: forgiveness – forgiveness sought and forgiveness received.

Westerners often transact forgiveness through a verbal exchange. One party says, “I am sorry for what I did (or said); will you forgive me?” The other party usually responds, “I forgive you.” With this brief transaction, the relationship is restored and is free to grow again, assuming both parties are sincere. Based on Matthew 18:15-17, many in the West believe the only way to resolve conflict is through direct confrontation, face-to-face; it’s verbal, one person telling another what he or she has done wrong.

In most parts of the world seeking forgiveness the Western way only makes the situations worse.5

Shame, honor, and saving face are core values in other cultures, and when violated, the relationship usually breaks. Forgiveness will repair the damage, but it must be contextually understood.

Forgiveness in Sudan. A few years ago a colleague and I went to Khartoum, Sudan, to teach on forgiveness. After lunch on the second day, laboring under intense heat and watching that glazed look come across the eyes of these dedicated pastors and church leaders, I decided to take a risk. I had to get them engaged – talking – something that would keep this from becoming a forgettable moment. I asked the group, “How do you do forgiveness?” Several responded matter-of-factly, “We say ‘I’m sorry and will you forgive me?’ Then the other party usually says, ‘I forgive you.’”

2013 - South Sudan - Easter under a shade tree

South Sudan: Celebrating Easter Under a Shade Tree

“Does this work?” I asked. Many shook their heads negatively while others simultaneously uttered no. “What do you mean?” I probed. Now the glazed looks were gone and everyone seemed alive in spite of the smothering heat.

One said, “Well, we say the words but nothing changes.” Others supported his lament. “Where did you learn to do it this way?” I asked. “From people like you, Westerners,” came the quick response. A look of betrayal spread across the eighty faces crammed in a room designed for forty.

“How did your fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers respond to conflict situations?” I inquired, hoping this might prove fruitful. The room erupted in hands shooting up to answer the question. Several told their stories. The one I share was from a person of the Dinka tribe in southern Sudan, though most of the stories had common elements.

The Dinka person, now at the front of the room, began to speak with eloquent passion.

His parents and grandparents did forgiveness differently. To begin, people didn’t try to solve their conflict the way the West does, by face-to-face confrontation, speaking directly about what each other did or did not do. Instead, a mediator would be called in, a person of stature, fairness and discernment. The mediator would go first to one part and try to establish a base of understanding from that person’s perspective. Then he would do the same with the other person.6 The mediator would ask questions and continue this process until he began to sense that one or the other or both wearied of the brokenness and now longed for a restored relationship.

The mediator begins to see changing attitudes and signs of openness, and with these comes the potential for embrace. When he senses the spirit of forgiveness in both parties, he calls for a feast. He delegates each family to bring the various dishes. The party that may have been at greater fault will bring the mean, the “ram,” as the Dinka person described it. A neutral place is designated.

The family bringing the “ram” arrives earlier, builds the fire and begins cooking. The other family arrives and all joyously enter the preparations for a great festival – great because it marks the beginning of a new future, a better future. The mediator arrives, and when all is ready he washes his hands in the gourd of water. Others do the same in descending order of importance, children going last. AS they gather around the food, the mood is celebratory and the families mingle in happiness. Near the end of the meal, after several hours, the mediator stands and moves toward the fire. On the way he picks up the gourd of water, dirtied by so many hands, and pours it over the fire. The mediator turns over the stones on the perimeter of the fire to cover the ashes. Then he gives an admonition: “Let him be accursed who turns over one of these stones again.”

Of course, he is speaking symbolically. The fire represented the conflict that had “burned” and destroyed a valued relationship and alienated families. The water represented the forgiveness that emerged in their hearts and replaced the fire of conflict. The stones rolled over to cover the smoldering ashes symbolized the finality of forgiveness; we are not to dig up the old hurts and revisit them. Forgiveness means we never go there again.

In the West forgiveness is a verbal exchange. In the majority of the world, forgiveness is an attitudinal and behavioral change usually by celebration with food. Nearly always the outcome is reconciled relationships that function effectively, often better than before the broken trust.

What a beautiful picture of forgiveness from the Dinka tribe. It reminds me of our great Mediator, Jesus Christ, who restored our relationships with himself and our relationships with each other removing all our guilt and shame so that in reconciliation our relationships would be stronger than before. And it also reminds me of the communion feast, breaking bread in celebration of our forgiveness and reconciliation.

  1. See Cross Cultural Conflict, where I deal with handling conflict at length.
  2. Most mediators in this context would be men.

Author: Dr. Duane H. Elmer (Ph.D., Michigan State U.) is director of the Ph.D. program in educational studies and is the G. W. Aldeen Chair of International Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. In addition to traveling and teaching in over 75 countries, he has provided cross-cultural training to Fortune 500 companies, relief and development agencies, mission organizations, churches and educational institutions. 


What Happens to a Dream Deferred?

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

This poem by Langston Hughes reminded me of the deferred dream of Caleb in the Old Testament. I cannot imagine a better example of a dreamer.

Most often we think of Caleb as one of the 12 spies who secretly explored Canaan and returned with the report that it was an exceedingly good land, and with God’s protection there was no reason not to take it in spite of the giants.

However, out of fear (and as a result of 10 other spies filing a false report), the people demanded new leadership that would take them backwards to what was familiar. And then worse, they voted unanimously to stone Joshua and Caleb to death.

How does Caleb react to the rejection of his report? Does he strike off on his own and wash his hands of Israel? Does he become a burr under the saddle and a cynical critic constantly reminding them of their failure to risk? Does he stir up a revolution?

God said Caleb “has a different spirit and has followed me fully…”

It’s easy to skip ahead 45 years and see Caleb as the old man of 85 who has never forgotten the dream of taking down giants. Waiting until everyone else has been assigned their land, Caleb reminds Joshua of the promise of Hebron to his family: “I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then.”

These are the images we most often have of Caleb. First, the young spy and then the old man as giant killer. But for me, the characteristic of Caleb I most admire is illustrated by the long time in between those two events. Forty-five years.

His life is one of unyielding fidelity – the essence of his different spirit and what it meant to follow fully. Caleb is faithful not only to God but also to unfaithful people.

He wanders with the Israelites for the better part of his life in total obscurity, and he is never mentioned again for the 40 years they are in the wilderness. He fights their battles and puts up with their complaints, their grumbling, their cowardice, their rebellions and faithlessness. Caleb watches a whole generation needlessly die from disease, mass catastrophe and monumental losses. But he stays. He shares their punishment. He is always faithful.

To be faithful is often a long time wandering with fearful, angry and unpleasant people who would rather see you dead – but you do it anyway. In a way, Caleb’s sentence is worse than theirs because the Israelites deserved it. He lived with the dream of one day killing giants while they lived the rest of their lives content with failure and longing for what used to be.

Nobody stays with such losers – but Caleb did. Nobody sacrifices their future for this, but Caleb did because he had a different spirit. It was a spirit that enabled him not only to be unafraid of the consequences of telling the truth or having the courage to ask for the hardest assignments. It was the spirit that allowed him the freedom from the fear of wasting his life on undeserving people. For me, that is what is most remarkable about him.

Is this right for everyone to stay and defer the dream? No. Caleb is not an example for many.  These people are rare and few are called to it.

Still, there are times in life when the dream is deferred but we do our duty – and we wait. Not in resentment, bitterness and regret but in knowing what lies ahead. I have found that fear is usually the reason we choose not to wait on God. Not fear of giants or critics but the fear of wasting our lives.

For some, the real battle is not in telling the truth or conquering giants but in staying faithful in the wilderness, staying focused for decades on “the land is good and the Lord is with us.” Caleb didn’t forget his dream or give it up. He lived a true life.


Author: Fred Smith is a graduate of Denver University and Harvard Divinity School. Fred served as the President of Leadership Network for 12 years. Currently, Fred is the President of The Gathering, an international association of individuals, families and foundations giving to Christian ministries. You can read more from Fred at his blog.

This blog post was originally published here, under the name Semper Fi. It is used with permission.

Measuring Success: What We Found

Friday, January 30th, 2015

UGANDA-2014.11-Turinawe Emmanuel grad (1)The results of the MAOL 10 Year Impact Study are in.

The study allowed DAI the wonderful opportunity to talk at length with alumni, current students, partner university staff and DAI staff across Africa and Asia. They discussed all aspects of the program including faculty, residencies, curricular content and program structure. The responses were overwhelmingly positive in every respect. Here’s the top three:

  1. Students agreed that the faculty are not only quality facilitators in the classrooms, but also model the values being taught.
  2. Students were very positive about the quality and impact of the curriculum. Many became animated as they talked about how this or that particular course transformed their thinking and their lives.
  3. Students believed strongly that the program effectively shaped their character. For example, the idea of servant leadership was commonly cited as a transformative concept, impacting how they treated others. The Spiritual Formation course was also commonly mentioned as having a deep impact on students’ spiritual lives.

The study also revealed opportunities for DAI to improve the quality of the MAOL program in its next decade of operation.

  1. Students are in need of more intensive coaching and support during the thesis stage to ensure they experience the joy of graduation.
  2. We need to more actively assist university partners in the recruitment process to ensure adequate numbers of well-qualified students (Christians with at least 5 years of leadership experience).
  3. The structure for sharing MAOL costs between DAI, university partners and students needs to be reevaluated in each country to ensure affordability for all and sustainability for the future.

DAI staff will want great discernment as we seek to meet the needs of future students in our next decade of operation. Please pray for us as we creatively navigate the opportunities that lie ahead.

Thank you for supporting the MAOL program in 2014 as we were celebrating 10 years of community transformation through MAOL students, such as Richard and Eva. We look forward to the next party in 2024.


Jim Gieser ThumbnailAuthor: Dr. Jim Gieser, Director of the MAOL Program, joined DAI in 2013. Jim manages the enrollment process, curriculum development, academic partnership development and faculty recruitment and training. His new eyes and fresh perspectives are wonderful additions to the MAOL team during their 10 year evaluation process. Jim holds three graduate level degrees the highest being a Doctorate of Education. He has lived and worked in Germany and South Africa.

Influence and Power

Friday, January 23rd, 2015


“Do you think it is possible to have a good leader, someone who will do something besides line their own pockets, expect to be served and not questioned, and control others in the search for more and more power?” This question was recently posed to Jane, a friend and colleague, while on recent trip to West Africa.

How would you answer this question? Do you believe it is possible to have leaders who are righteous and have integrity? Who are servants? Who invite discussion? Who release people into their potential rather than try to control them? Who give away power rather than collect it?

Jane responded to this question by saying, “It is possible, but it would probably have to be a follower of Jesus who has the character and integrity to withstand the pressures of corruption long enough to make a lasting change.”

The African leaders were silent for a while, and then engaged in a conversation where they asked difficult questions. How would each of them respond if given lots of power? Could they withstand the temptations that come with power? Would they be any different than the leaders they had now?

The question these African leaders asked goes to the core of the issue. At the heart of leadership is influence – in fact the primary function of a Christian leader is to influence a group of people to accomplish God’s purposes for that group.

Influence is the application of power. There are many ways to influence. Some are godly – some are not.

Think about your leadership. How do you apply power? How do you try to influence others? Does your use of influence and power reflect Jesus and Kingdom values?

To further explore the issue of influence and power in leadership, read this post: Danger Power at Work.


Karl Mueller (2) - Copy (270x270)Author: Karl Mueller, DAI Senior Consultant for Church and Leadership Services, strengthens international partnerships between ministries around the world and churches in the USA. He joined DAI in 2014 and brings with him 35 years of ministry experience. Karl serves on the boards of African Leadership And Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM) and Community Health Evangelism (CHE).



Danger Power At Work

Monday, January 19th, 2015

PowerAtWorkI recently had lunch with Bill. A few years ago he had been asked to serve on the Board of Directors of a large Christian non-profit working with the poor in an American city. He was the only non-Christian and only non-business leader on the Board. As we talked he shared with me how several of the board members were manipulating their position of influence for their own financial gain. When he confronted them, he was asked to resign.

At the heart of leadership is influence and the power that enables the leader to influence others.

Power comes with the job. Leaders have the power to influence (and often determine) what should be done, how it is done, when it is done, and who will do it.

It is exhilarating stuff – even on a small scale. Power boosts the ego. The leader makes a decision and others implement that decision. The larger the organization, the more people are impacted by the decisions of the leader.

As a leader’s power grows, so does the subtle (and not so subtle) temptation to abuse it.

Privileges come with a rise in status and power. At the beginning leaders are grateful for these privileges, but the temptation to expect these privileges comes quickly. From starting out as a humble servant, the temptation is there to become the abusive boss who expects privilege and obedience.

Power is as dangerous as unstable dynamite – not only to those it is used on, but also to those who exercise it.

Lord Acton, the British statesman is remembered for saying “All power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

History – including Christian history – is littered with the evidence that proves the accuracy of this statement.

The great majority of Christian leaders begin with the best of intentions, but over time many have been corrupted and destroyed by the power they wield. Why is this so often the case? How can leaders continue to be humble servants? We will answer these questions in upcoming blogs.


Blog also available at Frontiers USA.

Karl Mueller (2) - Copy (270x270)Author: Karl Mueller, DAI Senior Consultant for Church and Leadership Services, strengthens international partnerships between ministries around the world and churches in the USA. He joined DAI in 2014 and brings with him 35 years of ministry experience. Karl serves on the boards of African Leadership And Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM) and Community Health Evangelism (CHE).