In the fall of 2009 I began my Doctoral studies from Regent University, Virginia Beach – the headquarters of Pat Robertson and CBN. On March 24th 2011 a panel of professors heard my Doctoral Defense and, though it is rarely done, awarded me an “Unconditional Pass.” The program didn’t interfere with my ministry activities as it was almost entirely online. I was required to be on campus for three two-week “modular” sessions and the Lord provided lovely families with whom I was able to stay. I wish to deeply appreciate Dave and Jan Helvie and Shaheriar and Tina Gill for being wonderful hosts during the on-campus portion of my studies. Also I wish to thank those who contributed to my tuition expenses, as I could not have had this opportunity without you.
The courses – including Leader’s Life and Values, Leading Spiritual Formation, Prophetic Leadership and Vision Mobilization and Management, were what I had always longed for – a chance to really study leadership and to develop my capacity as a team builder and a trainer of leaders. My instructors were incredible – Dr. James Flynn, the Director of the D.Min. program, gave excellent overall leadership and made everything seem easy. He along with Dr. Umidi, Dr. Crabtree, Dr. Scalise, and Dr. Moore were not only excellent instructors but also role models and mentors, individuals whose deep love for God was evident in everything they did.
The books I studied enabled me to develop not only one dissertation, but almost two. My formal dissertation was entitled “Developing Advanced Indigenous Leaders for the Gangetic Plain of North India.” It revolved around that which has been my life passion and occupation for the past 14 years, the study and practice of nurturing Hindu-background believers and helping them become effective leaders of their own people to bring transformation to thousands of lives in North India. The central part of a D.Min. program is the “ministry project” in which the student puts to practice in the field the things he or she is studying. My ministry project was entitled “Nehemiah Leadership Institute” (NLI) and involved providing unique advanced leadership training to Indian pastors, church planters and directors of organizations. I wish to thank my indigenous assistant and apprentice Gaurav Srivastava who played a big part in developing the PowerPoints, translating the curriculum into Hindi and in teaching the sessions.
NLI was a unique, interactive PowerPoint-based seven-day intensive curriculum divided into two modules with a month and a half between for the participants to put into practice what they were learning. Most of them commented that NLI transformed their leadership 100% and that they had never experienced any teaching like this before.
My second track of research involved some shocking discoveries about what it means to be a citizen of God’s Kingdom and how that might change how we do “church.” A presentation of this study can be found on our website under the “Media-Video” link under “Leanna’s Messages” – www.tellasia.org/media/videos.php#leanna. It is entitled “Your Destiny in the Kingdom.” The text version of the study can be downloaded here: www.tellasia.org/kingdom-ekklesia.pdf
Dr. James Flynn, Director of the D. Min. program at Regent University, sent this email following my Doctoral Defense on Thursday: “Leanna, I want to congratulate you on an excellent dissertation defense today. As mentioned, the dissertation committee unanimously agreed that a pass without condition is warranted for your work. You are one of a few people who have been granted permission to do your dissertation work by exception, while in process with your classes. The result has been a superior project with excellent design and methodology as well as the way you captured your work in written form. Most exemplary is the way you captured the research based design from the literature, confirmed and refined it by case studies and interviews, supported it with biblical and theological foundations, and then translated it into your project design and methodology. I have no doubt that the result will impact people for years to come, which is exactly the intent of the Doctor of Ministry program… With a full pass, you have immediate access to your doctoral credential and title… Because of the quality of this dissertation and your presentation, would I have permission to share your dissertation and PowerPoint within our D.Min. community as an example of a quality dissertation? I feel many could learn from what you have done…”
I wish to again thank all those who contributed to making my Doctoral program successful and incredibly enriching for me. You have enabled me to grow in my personal walk with the Lord and to be a better leader for our team members and also for TellASIA Ministries as a whole.