Jan 182014

Leadership in the Asian American church and ministry context requires you to stay sharp and keeps you on your toes. One of the best, and highly-valued, ways of doing that is through formal education. When you successfully graduate from this D.Min. program, you’ll have the title of Doctor, just like Dr. Rick Warren, Dr. Tim Keller, and Dr. Ben Shin; they too have Doctor of Ministry degrees.

drbenshinTalbot Seminary (formally known as the Talbot School of Theology) launched its 3-year Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program with an Asian American Ministry Track last summer, and I was privileged to be invited as a guest lecturer last year and will be there again this June 2014. Dr. Ben Shin is the Faculty Mentor and primary instructor, and he’s engineered the program to allow for rolling admission by new students! This means you don’t have to wait 3 years for the next cycle of the D.Min. cohort to convene, you can enter the program any year!

The dates for this year’s summer residency is June 2-13, 2014 with a focus on Asian-American Leadership Challenges:

Asian-American leaders can expect particular challenges in ministry. These issues will be explored with the goal of preparing a proactive plan to overcome these challenges. This will include biblical training in conflict resolution, conducting a healthy staff, building a resource network for crisis situations, and developing a personal support system.

Application deadline is January 20th. Request free information @ talbot.edu/dmin/request-info/ to let Dr. Shin know of your interest and give me a call @ 949-243-7260 to get my unofficial no-pressure perspective about this program.

Overview, goals, and more details for this Asian American Ministry Track of the Doctor of Ministry program at Talbot School of Theology is @ talbot.edu/dmin/asian-american/ plus 6 videos of Dr. Ben Shin explaining even more. And one more thing, watch this video for first-hand stories from 3 of the first cohort’s students (Daniel Eng, Thomas Lee, John “JP” Park):

By the way, Daniel Eng re-energized his blogging after last year’s cohort at aapastor.com. Aside: popular and/or famous pastors with D.Min. degrees: Dr. Rick Warren, Dr. Tim Keller, Dr. Ben Shin, Dr. Leith Anderson, Dr. John C. Maxwell, Dr. James MacDonald, Dr. Mark DeYmaz, Dr. Raymond Chang .. (others? add a comment)

Nov 092011

In this fast-changing world requiring more leadership, all this talk about leadership could lead to fatigue from so much talk about it. In a recent convo with Sam, I think he’s right, there are no easy answers (or reprieve) to leadership, it’s just plain hard. http://midwestmarines.blogspot.com/2011/07/marine-corps-14-leadership-traits.htmlLeadership is figuring it out in your own context. Tons of air time about leadership principles and motivational inspirational pep talks. Not quite enough about self-care; not quite enough about how a leader doesn’t have to look strongly confident 24/7 and it’s okay to ask for help and where to get support. Other thoughts on leadership fatigue –

‘Leadership fatigue’ comes about for a number of reasons including such things as: persistent decision making which may have an impact on other people’s lives; defining and developing business directions, sourcing income streams for the business, consistently adjusting to dramatically changing economic environment and meeting regulatory, industry or professional requirements.

In this Seattle School talk, Dr. Dan Allender identified the reasons why most people are leaders, the top 5 issues leaders face, as well as some personal reflections on how to care for one’s self in the midst of leadership fatigue.

… business leaders and executives demonstrate fatigue because 1. so much of what they have been doing is not working as well as they would like and 2. what they know how to do, is not producing the results that are expected of them. This most commonly shows up as “things not moving fast enough” and “resources dwindling”. It also shows up with not having the “right people on board” or not being able to “retain the talent” needed to be successful.

… anyone who wields great power is bound to rub some people the wrong way, and those disaffected people accumulate over time. They also tend to have longer memories. As Dan Julius, a senior academic administrator now in the University of Alaska system told me years ago, “the things you did that upset people and create enmity live on much longer than what you did that people liked and created supporters.” … “leave before the party’s over,” which contains much wisdom about the importance of leaving positions before our charms have faded, and about the discipline required to do so. By overstaying, leaders place themselves in situations where they become less effective, tarnish their legacies, and are therefore less able to move on to a new position of power.

Can I make a confession? I sure get tired of leading. Though I currently do not occupy an organizational C-level leadership position, I confess that I sure get tired of having to initiate more frequently than I’d like. Sure would be nicer if it’d be more 50/50 where someone else initiates with me vs. my initiating with them. I don’t like the weight of having to make decisions with its consequences affect myself and others. Some people eat stress for lunch. I’d rather eat dessert.

Aug 252011

Being a conference junkie and having gone a few rounds with ‘em, my top-of-mind advice is to go to a conference with a team & don’t go to a conference alone. There’s so much more value to attending the conference together so you get that team-building value, time to be off-site, time to gain perspective away from the normal context, time to learn together, time to take ideas back home together, and hit the ground running.

Too often, people go to a conference alone, get all jazzed about an idea, but have the hardest time getting the idea across to the others since the people back home didn’t hear and experience the conference. Talk about hitting the brick wall. Yeah, there’s some value for getting inspired and/or recharged. There’s so much more value when you can take ideas home to implement and turn it into reality!

That’s why I love the way Sticky Teams 2.0 is encouraging teams to come. Registration fee is $269 (early bird rate ends 9/2) and the registered person gets to bring 2 others for free! And the conference organizers, who I got to meet earlier this week, are anticipating the event to sell out soon. Only 130 seats left at the time of this writing. (Aside: I like seeing that real-time seating countdown.)

And, I’ll be there myself. I’m doing a breakout session on social media –

DJ Chuang | How to Go from Potential to Mastery in Social Media
There’s more to social media than putting a Twitter and Facebook icon on all your communications. But it doesn’t have to overwhelm you or take up all of your time. Learn how to increase your social media proficiency, become the master of your online reputation, and expand your ministry impact worldwide.

Would love to connect with you there! And in addition to my session, you might also want to hear Mark Driscoll and Larry Osborne :)

Jun 242011

Once in a blue moon, Asian Americans generate a bit of controversial buzz and tagged with the tiger metaphor, whether “tiger moms” (cf. Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior: Can a regimen of no playdates, no TV, no computer games and hours of music practice create happy kids? And what happens when they fight back? excerpted from Amy Chua’s book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, in Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2011 and Tiger Moms: Is Tough Parenting Really the Answer? by Annie Murphy Paul in Time, January 20, 2011) or “paper tigers” (cf. Paper Tigers: What happens to all the Asian-American overachievers when the test-taking ends? by Wesley Yang in New York Magazine, May 8, 2011), with its share of critiques, including: Jeff Yang [no relation], Sanden TottenHana Lee, Guria King, Sylvie Kim, Nina Shen Rastogi, Susan Adams.

At the 20th Annual Conference of the Committee of 100 one panel caught my attention, Managing Asian Talent in Global Companies – Confucian Tigers. During that roundtable, it was (rightly) cited that:

Asians are 5% of the population.. yet less than 1/3 of 1% of executive positions.. less than 1% of board positions.. even though Asians are better educated and make more money than any other group in America..

And then the roundtable moderator cited a paper published in the Journal of Applied Psychology about what do people perceive of Asian Americans, “the brand of Asian talent,” so to speak. Here’s the perception of some people about Asian Americans:

  • competent
  • consistent
  • conscientious
  • objective
  • well-informed
  • rational
  • self-controlled
  • socially introverted
  • passive
  • emotionally distant
  • reserved

The title of that peer-reviewed paper: Leadership Perceptions as a Function of Race-Occupation Fit: The Case of Asian Americans, was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology [Vol 95(5), Sep 2010, 902-919]. Co-authors are Lynn M. Shore of San Diego State University, Judy Strauss of CSU Long Beach, Ted H. Shore of CSU San Marcos, UCR graduate students Susanna Tram and Paul Whiteley, and Kristine Ikeda-Muromachi of CSU Long Beach. Here’s the methodology used:

The researchers sampled three groups of individuals — 131 business undergraduates from a large business school on the West Coast, and one group of 362 employees and another of 381 employees in the Los Angeles region — and asked them to evaluate an employee. In one experiment participants received identical information about the employee’s expertise as an engineer or salesperson, but some were told the employee was Asian American and others that he was Caucasian American. In a similar experiment, participants assessed the employee’s leadership attributes.

What’s my take? I’m reluctant to write a long essay here, as this blog post is already long. I’ll say this: yes, there are stereotypes and overgeneralization. Yes, there’s a ton of diversity under the “Asian American” group. Yes, there is systemic racism. Yes, there are misperceptions. Yes, there are Asian cultural values (and other cultures too) that impede some people from expanding their cross-cultural capacity to take on a bigger role in a multi-cultural society (or corporation or organization.)

I do think there is way too little airplay on Asian American issues and real life Asian American stories. So the problems persist. An occasional article or roundtable won’t do much to effect change.

One thing that must happen is for Asian Americans to learn the stories of more Asian Americans to represent Asian Americans. And more of those stories have to be told online and not just offline.

Mar 112011

For those of you keeping score at home, this is episode number 5. DJ Chuang Ed Choy In this episode of the Multi-Asian Church Podcast Series, Ed Choy and I talk about developing Asian American leaders in the context of an multi-Asian/multi-ethnic churches. You’ll need to listen more carefully, since the background noise at this episode’s Starbucks (in Dallas) was louder than last week’s Starbucks location (in Newport Beach).
Episode #5: Leadership Development
(24:45; mp3 download link 11.3mb)

Show notes:

Go ahead. You are invited to chime in and add a comment below.

Subscribe to this iTunes podcast feed and get all future episodes automatically.

Mar 032011

The conversation continues. Ed Choy DJ ChuangIn episode 4 of the Multi-Asian Church Podcast Series, Ed Choy and I discuss leadership, and how can church leaders better develop and connect with Asian American leaders.

Episode #4: Leadership
(22:27; mp3 download link 10.8mb)

Show notes:

Subscribe to this iTunes podcast feed and get all future episodes automatically.

Jul 122010

When it comes to churches, there’s a sociology to the number of people and group dynamics. There’s much more going on than a generic spiritual gathering.

On numerous occasions, I’ve been asked for resources about how to manage the changes when a church changes sizes, or how to get a church to grow past a certain size. What I’ve found are a few books that address this topic, and some articles too. The books are:

There are certain church sizes that seem most common, as if a certain group settles into a certain size stability equilibrium. Here’s some estimates of those sizes:

And, the articles are:

This FAQ from HIRR gives perspective on the whole: “The median church in the U.S. has 75 regular participants in worship on Sunday mornings, according to the National Congregations Study. Notice that researchers measured the median church size — the point at which half the churches are smaller and half the churches are larger — rather than the average (186 attenders reported by the USCLS survey), which is larger due to the influence of very large churches.”

Closing thoughts: 2 areas where church size makes a difference is the leadership structure needed and a perceived “growth barrier.” While the term “barrier” may be misleading, it’s a term that’s commonly used in “church growth” circles. Church size is not a reliable indicator of healthy spirituality or lack thereof; it’s often more of a correlation with group dynamics and organizational structure. To say it more simply, church sizes are not good or bad. And, some people have a strong preference for one church size, and may need to migrate when a size transition happen.

[update] “Does a church’s size indicate anything about its spirituality or success?” (excerpt from “What People Ask About The Church” by Dale A. Robbins)

But there is a danger in using largeness as a standard to measure success. Size does not depend as much on spirituality as it may many other factors. … Most large churches claim that their size is a result of the ability to satisfactorily “minister” to the needs of a broad range of people. … While it is true that there are more large churches today than there were in the past, they still only make up a tiny percentage of the body of Christ… 90 percent of American churches have an attendance of somewhere below 200. The majority of churches, 55 percent, have an attendance of somewhere less than 100… only about 1 percent ever attain attendances of more than 700.

[photo credit]

May 262010

This is a watershed milestone kind of book for social media and businesses & organizations both non-profit and governmental. Millions of us have a good sense of how social media is connecting people individually in the informal social sense.

Not so many have figured out how to connect business goals with social media.

Now there’s a book to guide organizational leaders and managers to develop an effective social media strategy. There are a number of great examples mentioned in this new book by Charlene Li, Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead, citing case studies from Zappos, Starbucks, Best Buy, and more. (Apparently JetBlue didn’t make the cut.) Watch my video review:

At the time of this writing, the 8 free critical resources mentioned in the book’s appendix are not yet posted online. Or, I haven’t found them on the open-leadership.com website yet. I hope and wish they’ll get it online very very soon. Can’t wait!

And stay tuned this summer for the book that’s “social media for non-profits.” Authored by none other than Beth Kanter, The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change. From the same publisher as Open Leadership, Jossey-Bass. Genius.

Aside: I first heard about the book during the Catalyst West conference, where Charlene Li was a main speaker. While I was mesmerized and transfixed on every word, dozens in the audience were stirring in their seats — maybe because they were hungry since the talk was right before lunch. I knew right off I had to get a copy, and I was able to get an advance review copy there, with a voucher for the real printed hardback edition. And it was delivered to my home yesterday. Yes!

[update] Read an excerpt of Open Leadership in BusinessWeek::

This discomfort of not being in control is the reason why I wrote Open Leadership. It’s my attempt to help leaders understand how the rules have changed and how they need to adjust. At the core, leaders have to acknowledge that they are not in control and probably never really were. Instead, leadership is about establishing a relationship, and social technologies are redefining how relationships are formed, grown, and supported.

p.p.s. I actually had queued up a blog post in my Drafts folder before the book launched…
Continue reading »

Nov 192009

Where have all the mentors gone? It saddened me to hear that Kyle Reed asked a dozen people to be his mentor, and to be turned down and rejected. What’s up with that?

Watch this interview to hear what Kyle wants to do to change this situation:

Kyle (on twitter @kylelreed) may very well be right, if a young person can’t find a mentor in their church for the Kingdom of God, they’ll find one elsewhere outside the church. So, add your comment below and get this conversation going!