Rethinking the Process

March 1st, 2012

This month, I will complete my first year of doctoral work in leadership studies. The best way to describe the first year is to think of placing your face in front of a fire hydrant and having the water turn on and rush into your mouth. In the first year, we have read, analyzed and reviewed over 100 books and many more articles. So the question to ponder is, what have I learned about leadership? A very valid question and has a funny answer. I now know less about leadership than I did when started.

Let me clarify, I thought I knew about leadership before I started, but now I see how little I really knew. Did you know there is around 130 definitions of leadership? As Burns wrote in his seminal work on Leadership is that leadership is the most studied, but least understood social science in the world. So can you see why I know less about leadership now?

How does this relate to Kerusso?

All this said, the mound of books I’ve read ranging from Plato’s Republic to Heifetz’s Leadership without Easy Answers, I have had time to think about leading Kerusso. What I am doing well? What I am doing wrong? From the beginning of Kerusso, I have been torn between being the person to perform the projects, and the person leading the projects. The problem is that I am still torn. I absolutely love going to countries like Cambodia, China, and India and working with leaders. It is a passion, but we have grown beyond my capacity. So this leaves me with a strategic leadership issue.

The first step is praying that God desires us to grow. I want and desire a heart of contentment and being humble before God and understanding that He is the center not my pragmatic view of business growth. Over the last two years, we decided to stay status quo mainly because of the situation of my oldest daughter’s health. This month she finishes her regiment of chemotherapy so we’ve had to start to rethink the process.

The solution is that we believe God desires us to continue growing. We know that my plate is full so we need to develop a new process in accomplishing the vision of Kerusso Foundation. This means I will not be the person on the ground, but I will still lead the project. The vision to develop Christ-centered leaders in the emerging world is more real than ever. Now we build strong partnerships so this vision can expand to beyond what I can do by myself.

August 2011 Trip Update

September 5th, 2011

Counting the Cost:

Solomon reminds us in Ecclesiastes 5:19 that when we enjoy our work/labor it is a gift from the Lord.  As I look back on my sixth trip to Asia this year, I know my love for what I do is as strong as ever, but the enjoyment is lessening.  From August 2010 to August 2011, I have flown over 120,000 miles. My last three trips were filled with drama.  In March, the day I returned home, Anne goes into labor.  My trip in June started out slow because Sarah was in the hospital the week before.  On the way home, I missed two flights due to a weird delay and lost my luggage.  This trip I experienced a stomach virus that had me in bed for two days in Hong Kong with chills and stomach cramps.  It seems like each trip takes a bite out of me. So what am I learning through these situations?

As I pray for the kingdom to come and for Jesus to be known throughout the world, there is a cost associated with that prayer.  Even when we enjoy our work, we still have to count the cost.  In Luke 14, Jesus tells us that it is costly to be His disciple.  I wish I could tell you that my attitude toward this truth is saintly and I always take joy in counting the cost of being Jesus’ disciple, but that is not truthful.  I find myself sounding like my children in my prayers.  I am constantly whining about this or that, and my prayer life is extremely narcissistic as I only concentrate on my comforts.  I am glad that God does not become as frustrated with me as I do with my kids. In the midst of my whining on the flight home on how “tired” I was, our gracious Father reminded me of many truths in His word.  The main truth is that servanthood and sacrifice are closely connected.  If I am to serve Him and His children, I will have to sacrifice.  In modern vernacular, I can’t have my cake and eat it too.  If I focus on my cake, I miss out on the fruit.  In this trip, we achieved one of the main goals of our primary project.  In this midst of this success, I celebrated a few minutes but lost sight of everything once my comfort and ease was taken away.

Another truth I remembered is John 15, Jesus is the vine/lifesource!  There is no fruit unless it is by and through Him.  I must abide in Him in order to produce the fruit and so once again in my life He refocused me.  Everything is about HIM!  It is not about me, my comfort or even my calling.  It is about His supremacy and my heart knows that my surrender to Him is the right way, but my flesh battles me every moment.  Why do I despair? Why is my soul cast down? If only on these trips as the enemy tries to come and kill and destroy my joy, I only look to Him, the maker of heaven and earth.  My prayer should be focused on “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven”. It sounds good, but as always it is a daily battle.

The success I mentioned was a big moment. For over three years, I have been working with World Relief Cambodia to develop leaders who will one day lead the organization.  The future is now as the Cambodian leadership team assumed the interim country director role.  They are afraid but yet they know the concept about abiding in Jesus much more than I do.  They know where they are weak, He is strong!

June 2011 Trip Update

July 5th, 2011

Why was my heart weeping at the SFO airport when I passed customs?

Could it have been that I…

– missed my flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco and was delayed for 14 hours until the next available flight.

– did not have a seat for the connecting flight from San Francisco to DFW and a possibility of more delays on the horizon.

– was exhausted from two weeks of spiritual battles.

– just felt happy to be back in the good ol’ US of A to celebrate July 4th.

Actually it was none of these.  My heart was filled with joy and my song was full of gladness because of the incredible mercies that God showered on me on a daily basis to give me the strength and ability to serve Him.  My eyes swelled with tears because I understood more vividly Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:10 that I was His masterpiece created for good works prepared by Him.  Even with being frustrated, exhausted and sometimes sinful in my anger, God still chooses to use me. From this fact, I had not other choice but to weep at His mercy and grace.

Below are some of the highlights of the trip.

June 24th- I spent five hours with Cedar Fund as we started placing “feet” under their strategy.  We worked on their SWOT analysis for their strategy and developed action plans for the next steps. A few things encouraged me.

1. A visitor joined the training – the director of an organization in Thailand called Mekong Minority Foundation.   The fact that the director joined us for the meeting made me realize how God can expand our impact to many organizations as Cedar Fund works with organizations around Asia.

2. Cedar Fund showed me their new brochures and other material just published.  They wanted me to see it because it had their new organizational vision and mission printed.  This was the first part of the project to establish an updated vision and mission.  They connected with this new vision and mission in such a way that they wanted it to immediately be printed on all their marketing and media.

June 26th-  Preaching at Tung Chung Church was different this time.  The first reason was saying goodbye to Richard and Yvonne Dauncey.  They are moving back to Australia.  Richard and Yvonne were used by God in a mighty way to carry on the vision of Tung Chung Church when we had to return to the U.S.  Through their service to the church, it is now larger than when we left and in a much better financial state.  God used them to build a strong foundation for the church to serve the community for many years.

June 27th-28th-   I conducted a team building workshop and did 1-on-1 coaching with the newly formed leadership team at World Relief Cambodia.  From very difficult situations, this team was formed of Cambodians to lead while the country director is out of the country for an extended amount of time.  These four leaders were in our first group of participants in the Nextgen Leadership Development program so we have a great relationship with each other.  As any new team, they need help in building a relationship of trust and communication.  We were working on these details along with planning on how I can serve them over the next 6 months.  Not only am I excited about serving them, but I am exciting about helping the organization as it uses a shared leadership team model.  This model was described in Robert Greenleaf’s famous book and now leadership theory, “Servant Leadership”.  It says that servant leaders work more effectively in organizations that have shared leadership with one another among equals.  It is counter to what we see in most organizations and is very hard to implement in the West were we are fond of our individualistic accomplishments, but I believe it will work great in Asia especially in Cambodia where they understand being servants in a biblical sense much better than we do.

June 29th-Over the past few years, we’ve worked with CREDIT, the micro finance organization created by World Relief in Cambodia, but mainly a few of their leaders would come over to the office of World Relief for the training.  For the first time, I did a one day workshop with CREDIT’s management team.  Jason Noble and I trained on Leadership and Communication to the top 30 leaders in the organization.  We had a great time serving CREDIT.  I believe we will expand and do more training for them in the future.  This is a great opportunity for us to make a larger impact in Cambodia.  CREDIT has over 650 employees and is growing rapidly.  They are now the fifth largest microfinance company in Cambodia.

As you read all of these exciting events, you can understand more of why my heart was weeping in San Francisco.  Again, thank you for your prayers and financial support.  We cannot serve these organizations without you,  so I pray you are able to know just how important you are to us.

God Bless,

Jay Clark

Sharing Stories from January trip

January 28th, 2011

In my last newsletter I mentioned that in 2011, my goal was to give you more of a personal account to Kerusso and the people we are serving.  Below are bullet points from my two week journey, 8th to 22nd of January.

  • 1st Stop, Chennai, India and a three days with Friends Missionary Prayer Band.  This is a total indiginious mission organization.  It was started by Indians, lead by Indians and resourced by Indians.  The organization started 40 years ago with a small group of prayer warriors and now it has 2000 missionaries and started 5600 churches.
    • Monday- met with 9 leaders at the HQ of FMPB.  A good time of listening to their concerns and challenges.  It was humbling as one of the participants quoted a few of our points from the last training 7 years ago.  Also reunited with Dr. Paul Swamidass.  He is partnering with us on this training.  His organization FEED funded the expenses for the missionaries to travel to the conference.
    • Tuesday-  started day 1 of the workshop.  It was a beautiful morning on the coast of India in South Chennai. (Bay of Bengal). Around 47 missionaries joined the training.  Some of the missionaries traveled three days to reach Chennai.  I thought my 24 hour flight was long! Dr. Swamidass started the day with opening the workshop and presenting his topic of organizational effectiveness.  Dr. Swamidass was one of my teachers at Auburn.  He has taught at Auburn for 18 years in the Engineering/Technology department.  His books on management and effectiveness/efficiency have been sold around the world. He is also highly respected in his homeland in India.  The connection with FMPB is that he was one of the groups that sent the first missionary for FMPB 40 years ago.  The only way I have the great honor to serve FMPB is because he has given me his full backing which gains credibility with FMPB leaders.  It was a joy to work with him again. (As we broke for tea during the morning session, my brother text the words “We are Nat’l Champs.”  Dr. Swamidass and I gave high fives and “War Eagles” It was a special moment.)
    • My part of the training started after lunch and I focused on the mission/vision of FMPB along with the challenges and opportunities for FMPB in the future.  The exciting part was at the end after numerous group activities, all six groups had the same “opportunity”.  The openness to the gospel in India.  Many of these leaders have been missionaries in India for over 30 years and they have never seen people so open to hearing God’s Word.  Praise the Lord!!!
    • Tuesday night was filled with distractions, despair and fustration as I could not sleep.  I only slept for about 1 hour the entire night and Wednesday morning was my time to do devotion and the first section of training!  It was a start of what I think was spiritual warfare.  The warfare around FMPB is intense and I was not exempt from it.  It reminded me I should ask for a prayer team to cover me with prayer throughout my journeys overseas.
    • Wednesday morning finally arrives and I am exhausted.  God encourages me in my quite time and I truly have to rely on His power.  The devotion was on Habbukuk and I pray it was encouragement to the missionaries.  (you can watch in the previous post.)  The training again was very encouraging as we discussed becoming an organization that models and mentors future leaders.
    • We drive back to Chennai that night.  I arrive at the airport at 10pm, but my flight does not leave for Hong Kong until 3am.
    • I am excited about doing more training with FMPB.  We scheduled the next training in June where I will train 20 regional leaders in New Delhi.
    • Tidbits from my personal discussions with missionaries.
      • One coupled praised God that in 2010 their family did not have malaria.  First year in memory they did not get malaria.
      • One man was struggling because he fasts and prays three times a week but yet still no movement among his people group.  (Do I have that discipline? No is the answer.)
      • The 47 missionaries at the workshop were responsible for 300 people groups and 400,000 1st generation converts. (blows my mind!)
      • A young couple just took a zonal leadership role in Calcutta where they are struggling to connect churches from many different backgrounds. They were encouraged in the workshop and I saw the joy in their faces.  The challenge was they had to send their 9 year old son to boarding school.  (they still follow this process that many western missionaries had to do before 1970s/80s).
      • The most joyful couple was actually the ones in the hardest place to minister.  They have lost six team members in the last few years to malaria.  They are constantly struggling with sickness and with being threatened by Maoist (rebels to the gov’t).  Yet, they raise sons who come back to the jungles after finishing medical school to be a medical missionary.  I am not certain but I believe they lost a son to malaria and when she came to tell me she was praying for Sarah she had tears in her eyes.  She knew the pain and loved me even though she did not know me or my daughter.  That was Christ likeness in the flesh.  A wonderful thing to experience.
  • 2nd Stop: Hong Kong
    • Arrived in Hong Kong around noon on Thursday.  I was completely exhausted.  I slept for six hours which totaled almost the entire time I slept in India.  Thursday night went to a lifegroup of Tung Chung Church and was reenergized by fellowship with the Daunceys.  We are so blessed to be loved by wonderful people.
    • Friday, spent most of the day with Cedar Fund.  We had a great time.  Cedar Fund is a different type of project.  I am not really training, but instead I am coaching/advising which I really enjoy.  We are making huge strides in developing their leaders to expand their reach around Asia.  Since they are primarily a funding organization they do not have as many front line stories, but they understand how vital they are to the front lines as they fund great projects.  It is a blessing to serve them.
    • Sunday, have a wonderful time in fellowship at Tung Chung Church.  I always enjoy preaching to them.  I was encouraged to see new faces in the crowd and the numbers continue to grow.
    • I go to the airport to depart for Cambodia at 4pm.  The time in Hong Kong was refreshing but not without it’s own emotional drain.  The 14th marked the year anniversary of Sarah’s diagnosis.  Seeing the orange trees to celebrate Chinese New Year made me so nauseous as the flood of memories from last year.  I praise Jesus for guarding my heart and mind in Him to not allow despair and anxiety to overwhelm me.  It did not help that Sarah had to go to the ER at this time!! One of my worst fears of traveling that something like that would happen.  Thank God for an amazing wife who handled the situation with grace and gentleness.
  • 3rd Stop: Cambodia
    • Arrive in Cambodia completely empty.  In God’s goodness, a group of guys from 2nd Presbyterian Church in Memphis arrived on the same plane.  They are part of the World Relief Church partners.  We had a fun time laughing and checking in the hotel.  It relaxed me to get me ready for the training the next day.
    • Monday morning- 1st day of workshop.  This is the third workshop with the participants in 2010. This was is really hard because it is on Problem Solving and Decision Making.  We are teaching techniques that challenge their critical thinking skills.  The scary part is Nareth, my train the trainer project, became sick and might not be able to come.  This was really bad news. I was going to rely on him a lot.  After our morning song and prayer, Nareth walks in and I say a loud “hallelujah”.   The day was hard but the participants worked hard which made me really happy and reminded me how blessed I am to work with these guys.
    • Tuesday- 1st day of the partnership meetings.  The day was full of testimonies from the field.  This is a mixture of joy and pain as you see the power of Christ in very hard situations.
      • 12 year old girl had her parents leave her and four younger siblings.  She now lives with her grandmother but had to wake around 5 am each morning to try to sell vegetables to provide for her siblings.  She then comes home and helps her grandmother take care of the house.  She is no longer a child that has been removed from her with the situation, but a few months ago she watched a puppet show and through the story she met our Savior.  She now has hope.  Her situation has not changed, but her heart has and her smile was very contagious.
      • 55 year old woman was blind because of the side effects of HIV/Aids drugs.  She had HIV/Aids because her husband frequently visited brothels on his trips to the city.  He died and she was left mainly alone.  She wanted to die and so was going to commit suicide by not eating.  A person from a WRC cell church visited her through their HIV/AIDS ministry.  They brought the woman into their home.  Nursed her back to health physically and introduced her to our Savior.  She now is filled with Hope.  Again she still has AIDS and is blind but had a wonderful smile.
      • 27 year old girl shared her testimony.  Her parents died when she was a young teen.  She was living with her oldest sister when one day they were traveling to her Aunts.  On the way, she noticed it was not the road to her auntie’s house but instead she was taken to a brothel where her sister sold her to sex traffickers.  After years of being treated the worst possible ways, she escapes from the brothel with one of her clients.  She becomes pregnant and is diagnosed with AIDS.  In the meantime, she meets a cell church from WRC that ministers to her and she meets our Savior.  She still is in the same situation but she has Hope.
      • All of these testimonies from the field reminded me of why we want to continue serving WRC as they desire to develop leaders so these programs can grow throughout Cambodia. Currently WRC has started over 1000 cell churches with a network of around 8000 members.  This is done in a country with less than 2% believers and in an organic grassroots setting.  What a joy to work with this staff!!
    • Wednesday- 2nd day of Problem Solving and Decision Making workshop.  The second day is much easier as they have fun in their teams.  I meet individually for coaching session with the 14 participants and I see their faces as they training is starting to click for them.  Their eyes are excited about how God is starting to develop them as leaders.
    • Thursday and Friday- Day 2 and 3 of partnership meetings.  I was able to push forward through the power of the Spirit and the meetings were a success.
    • As I go to the airport on Friday afternoon to start my journey home, I am completely empty physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Arrive in Dallas at 6pm on Sat, 22nd.  As Sarah and Hannah ran to me, I quickly forgot my emptiness and God started again to use my family to restore me.

Pastor Peter’s Letter

September 15th, 2010

Dear Jay,

Thank you all for your prayers ! thanks for the great encouragemnt in JC!
here is the latest updates and some thoughts when i prayed for this event,
Keep on praying for us, and that is so important for me and our church right now.Thanks!


It was like a farce. Even though I was deeply involved in it, I still found it hard to believe all these things!
Last Tuesday (Sept. 7), a police officer from Security Bureau and 5 other policemen from the police station came to our church, cross-examining me until midnight. Then on Friday (Sept. 10), almost 20 officers from Religious Council, subdistrict office and policestation came to close our church, saying this church was illegal. The next day, which was Saturday (Sept. 12), those officers came again and drove all the bros and sis who came to church to pray (only 8,9 in all). Then came Sunday morning (Sept 12), we started our service with nervous and unsettled hearts. Not surprisingly, those officers of Religious Council, together with some policemen came to break up our meeting. But we stood on our ground, not giving in to their threats. As a result, I was taken to the police station to be interrogated. And, with no one preaching, the meeting turned into a prayer meeting.

After prayer and negotiation, we found their purpose was very simple, that is, we change our meeting place. Their reasons are simple too, upper level leadership want to close the so called illegal church meeting, but those enforcers know it is mission impossible. They can only close down church building, but cannot stop church meeting. So they made a compromise–we change to another place to meet. The root reason is in China, house churches are be legalized.

So, it seems our story has come to an end, but I believe it’s not. When you continue to pray for us, I want to ask you to pray for all the Chinese churches to gain their legal position someday. Not only that, I also want you to pray that in the midst of those wave-after-wave God permitted persecutions and trials, every pastor, co-worker and believer may be refined, and all the secularization and materialization may be moved away.

Specific prayer requests:

1. Pray for us that we may find a suitable place. We do not need a comfortable and fancy church play, we only ask it to be near the flock we are taking care of (students of Dalian University of Technology and Liaoning Normal University).

2. Pray that God will use this trial to blow away weeds and let wheat stay. Pray that we can reorganize our co-workers’ team, that all the co-workers may have greater faith and better testimony, that all of us will be willing to submit to authorities, to suffer and sacrifice.

3. Pray that God will use these changes to make known to us even more clearly His vision for our church, i.e. to evangelize in colleges and universities, and train faithful disciples of the Lord. So, new building, new meeting, and renewed vision.

4. Pray that through the shake of this trial, our faith will become even stronger. And we will no longer limit our faith to headknowledge only, but will live it out, and kneel down our knees to pray.

5. Pray that through this shake, we will become even more fervent in sharing Gospel and intercession, that we will pray and intercede for all people, for kings and all those in authority EVERYDAY.

Dear bros and sis,


I really have to humble myself before you all. Today, in such danger and trial, you showed a great command of your behavior while I gave vent to my anger. As a young pastor, I know clearly that I’m leading and pastoring a great church, its being great is not a matter of MY experience and capability, but of YOU, you are such a group of christians having Christ’s humility and gentleness. Hallelujah!

Today, when I say those officers ruthlessly and unreasonably disturbing our regular service, forcing me to stop preaching, I remembered how they had threatened and pressured me, my anger suddenly got out of control. I shouted at them, smacked the table at them while I was with them downstairs. It seemed at that moment, they realized the fact that christians are also human, also got guts.

Even though many people say that I did right in being angry and shouting at them, not giving in to them, I know that as a servant of God, Christ’s gentleness and humility is more important. So I appreciate more of your gentleness and submissiveness. You just sat there quietly, no one left the church, all praying for the church and your pastor. This was so important, I believe that was the source of my power in overcoming the evil with good.

Romans 12:19-21 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Many brothers and sisters asked my why, why the government wanted to ban our church. Honestly, I don’t know. But there are several things that I’m sure, and believe.

First, God is in control.

Matthew 10: 28-31 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Second, God has a purpose.

1 Peter 5:10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Third, God wants us to imitate Christ’s obedience.

Hebrew 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
2 Timothy 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Fourth, God wants to refine our faith. Many times we want to use God, but real faith is to be a witness for God and used by Him.

2 Timothy 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Fifth, God wants us to experience for real that He is Emmanuel and that His grace is enough for us.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
2 Tim. Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

I have still much to say, but I want you to think about the five points and pray. This afternoon, when I came out of the police station and saw my dear co-works standing in front of the gate and waiting for me, I was filled with unspeakable gratitude. How much they love God and their pastor, they are such a group of dear co-workers. But on the lunch table, I was still admonishing them to cleanse themselves before God, to pray more, preach more and serve new believers more. Why?

Because our church has come to a crucial point. You will agree of course, “yes, because the government wants to ban us.” But that’s not the point. Actually, this persecution was good indeed, we might also say it was God’s intervention to save our church. Are you surprised? How could that be?

Let me ask you, since 2009, how many students in Dalian University of Technology came to Christ? Only 4. The fellowship in Liaoning Normal University have been evangelizing for half a year, how many came to Christ? None. The adult team, how many came to Christ last year? None.

Romans 1: 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

In our church, however, we are not seeing God’s power, what we see is weakness, powerlessness, faithlessness and joylessness.

I believe this persecution was from God, it was a start for new spiritual revival, because this persecution will take our faith from our head to our heart, from our lips to our knees. I believe from this time on, more and more brothers and sisters will change from empty talking of faith to bending our knees to pray. This is what pleases God and this is what we need!

I love you, and I will be with you in experiencing this spiritual revival and growth. No matter how hard that would be, let us not lose heart, but be straightened instead. Please continue to pray for me and the decision we are about to make.


Pastor Peter