February 29, 202

My heart is full of gratitude for the time I have recently spent in Cannon Beach, Oregon for my first in-person doctorate course with George Fox University. The program I am in is a dual-track program in both leadership and spiritual formation, so much of our material focuses on the intersection of the two.


This course was called “The Inner World of the Leader” and it focused on the interior skills and landscape a leader must cultivate in order to meet the various challenges they will face. One of our days was spent on an elaborate personality assessment and how our specific personalities both equip us and hinder us from being an integrated leader. Each student also met one-on-one with our instructor to dive even deeper into the idiosyncrasies, challenges, and strengths that arise from our individual personality. Our lead mentors, Mary Kate Morse and Ken Van Vliet, also led us through a series of passages from the Gospel of Luke in which Jesus was called upon to serve as a leader in some way.

For most of the time that we were there, it was the kind of weather you tend to expect from the Pacific Northwest: drizzling and chilly. But one day, the sun emerged from the clouds and bathed us all in light and warmth. Our professors shifted plans and we took advantage of this beauty to hike the Indian Beach Trail together at Ecola State Park. We were told to walk in solitude and to reflect on God’s creation around us by writing a haiku. Then we gathered back together and shared our haikus with one another. I am certainly no poet, but here is mine:

Out from the soft ground
rise trees with roots deep and wide.
Hold each other up.

There were also many traditional “classroom” type lectures and educational moments. For example, we spent an entire day on Internal Family Systems Therapy, a fairly recent psychological model that helps illumine some of the hidden motives many of us may carry within us. We also listened to a lecture on the life story of Ignatius of Loyola and how he was led to create a devotional called the Exercises. We were then formed into threes called Journey Groups. Our job with our Journey Groups throughout our doctorate journey is to meet weekly (via Zoom) for prayer and to work through the Ignatian prayer exercises together.

Overall, this first in-person course was such a soothing experience for my soul. And I feel that the Lord is still using it to plant seeds of ideas and dreams within my heart for our church, friends. I hope you will see some of that leaking through into my ministry among you and the good work we do together.

I am so grateful for this opportunity. Our wonderful, amazing Staff helped cover our needs while I was away to allow me to be fully present in Cannon Beach. They are such gifts in my life and in our life together. My next in-person course in this program will be in October.

Thank you for allowing me this time, friends, and I look forward to how God wants to use my experience in this degree program to deepen our relationship with one another, within ourselves, and, ultimately, the One who made us and redeemed us.

Contact / Location

Contact info

123, New Lenox, Chicago IL 60606

Gathering Times


8:00am, 9:15am, 11:00am