Redefining What’s Normal

“This has not been a normal meeting,” declared a new Program Director from Burundi. “I have never seen leaders from my country do what these leaders have done this week!”

It was his first Annual Equipping Event (AEE) as the leader of his church’s discipleship-mission training program. Attending this resourcing event for program directors in his region was an eye-opening experience.

He saw leaders at every level of Global Disciples help arrange chairs, hand out plates in the meal lines, and take the initiative to talk with everybody. He was confused at first. What was going on?

In his experience, leaders were served first, ate in another room, were often demanding, and didn’t even carry their own Bibles or books!

What he had seen this week just wasn’t normal. Based on the leaders he had known, he was concerned that he and the others were not showing appropriate respect to the Global Disciples leaders. However, these Global leaders seemed to genuinely enjoy the close interaction with them. “Strange!” he thought.

He explained this to me later. But, what impacted his life most profoundly was the way the Global Disciples leaders from various nations cared about the details of his personal and spiritual life, his marriage, family, and leadership challenges.

It wasn’t my first conversation like this. In fact, it’s quite common. But that’s okay. I explained, “We want to redefine ‘normal’ by the standards of Jesus, not simply by cultural traditions.”

Obviously, our cultures do shape how we live out the ‘way of relating’ that Jesus modeled. But, as Philippians 2 reminds us, it’s first about having the same attitude as Jesus.

Serving with Humility is one of our core values in Global Disciples. It all begins with appreciating, loving, and caring for the people we lead. And we practice this value as we listen and try to understand one another’s joys and challenges.

Nobody on our team is more important than the directors, the people on the front lines. When they feel loved, honored, listened to, and well-resourced, we’re well on our way to redefining what’s normal.

–Galen Burkholder, Founder/CEO, Global Disciples

Leave a Comment