The Journey Blog

Reflections on the art of leading

A Journey in Leadership

How My Journey in Leadership Brought Me to Love Helping Leaders Thrive: A True Story

As a young man I worked in two of my father’s construction businesses—a few times at the bottom, as a laborer, and for a time as the labor foreman on the construction site of an ice arena designed by my architect brother. I also worked briefly in the sales office for a resort condominium project for which my brother was also the architect, and which was built by the family construction company. When we were newlyweds, I was junior partner and Assistant Superintendent in the family pool building company. The great thing about the construction business is that you get to use your mind as well as your physical strength, and you can work with a highly diverse team to build something that lasts.

Over the next couple of decades, as a seminary graduate and pastor, I was involved in three church start-ups, two from the ground up. I experienced the challenges and joys of creating a blueprint for a new local church: designing the organizational systems, recruiting staff, training and developing the leadership team, executing the marketing, the governance, community life, gathered worship, and its relationship to the surrounding communities.

During the first and second church start-ups I was in coaching and mentoring relationships to the Irish leadership team, and then to my church planting peers in America. I not only loved this role, but was increasingly sought as a mentor and coach.

In 2002 as we were about to begin our third church start-up, I set out to learn with a small cadre of friends how to come alongside entrepreneurial leaders in ministry. This led to my entering the doctoral program at Covenant Seminary for disciplined study and research in the areas of leadership and learning environments, advanced ministry practice, and mentoring.

Through my experience and research I’ve learned that the challenges of leadership are the same, having a high degree of correspondence, across all types of organizations. I’ve also learned that many commonly accepted leadership practices actually create poor business cultures, and tend toward creating unsustainable organizations.

I’m currently involved in a postgraduate level certification in executive and personal coaching through the College of Executive Coaching, which is accredited through the International Coach Federation (ICF). ICF is the only coaching organization recognized by the United States Government.

What I love about what I do is the way I can put to use all of my experience and my story for the good of people who are hungry  to learn and grow.