developmental sprint

Longing for Lasting Change?

Over the past 37 years of ministry with Cru, it has been my experience that growing up is hard to do. Whether in my personal or spiritual life, I have often found myself stuck in old ways of thinking. Unwanted attitudes and behaviors persist and are difficult to change. I am very aware that the “Old Self” is still residually present in me. For that reason, my heart resonates with the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

From a leadership perspective, I am also very mindful of the fact that we live in a rapidly changing and increasingly unstable world. It is difficult to keep pace with the rate of change. Like most leaders, I am faced with a myriad of challenges and decisions in response to complex environments that require me to be more adaptable, agile, and capable of pivoting in regard to my thinking, attitudes, and leadership behaviors. Steve Sellers wrote just last year, “Restructuring and reorganizing alone won’t help us achieve our desired objective of increasing our effectiveness toward fulfilling Christ’s mission. We need some mindset shifts. Mindset shifts matter because mindsets shape our behavior; they influence our decisions and how we respond to organizational changes.”

When I consider my own desire for change personally and as a leader, I know that my impediments to change are not for a lack of sincerity, motivation, or willpower. In fact, while these elements are important, they are not sufficient to bring about the lasting change that I ultimately desire.

In Romans 12:2, The Apostle Paul exhorts fellow believers, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” I am also heedful of David’s prayer in Psalm 139:23, 24, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any hurtful way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”

These verses remind me that one of the critical pathways toward more lasting and enduring change is by becoming more conscious of my own anxious thoughts and hurtful ways and by trusting the Lord through the power of His Holy Spirit to renew my mind.

Tony Schwartz, a CEO of The Energy Project, in answering the question why transformation is so difficult said “invisible fears and insecurities keep us locked into behaviors even when we know rationally that they don’t serve us well.”

I recognize that if I am too busy to incorporate intentional reflection in my life and fail to gain greater clarity for and address the persistent and significant root issues that often impede my growth, the greater likelihood is that I will remain stuck in the ways of the “old self”. As a leader, I will also be more likely to simply mitigate symptoms and seek short term gains at the expense of genuine and lasting transformation.

Given the growth tensions that I have described, I am very grateful that in 2022 Steve Sellers and our Global Executive Team launched a new leadership development initiative referred to as a Developmental Sprint®. This initiative is designed to help global and national ministry leaders grow in mindsets that can accelerate the fulfillment of the Great Commission. A Developmental Sprint® introduces participants to a biblical framework for change that utilizes a new tool referred to as an “Immunity to Change™ map”.

This framework is based on groundbreaking research in adult development, incorporates cutting edge technology to solidify learning and affords participants extensive opportunities for self-reflection resulting in more durable change.

A developmental sprint® spans a total of six weeks and is structured for small peer groups that meet each week for one hour for the purpose of mutual encouragement, shared learning, and accountability. It is designed particularly with ministry teams in mind.

If you or your ministry team would like to learn more about how to participate in a Developmental Sprint®, feel free to reach out to either Keith Spence ( or Paul Duncan ( Please also refer to the link to Steve Seller’s Developmental Sprint® introductory video.

 I’d love to hear what you think.  What makes growth difficult?

4 thoughts on “Longing for Lasting Change?”

  1. Keith, thank you for this post. I am grateful for the developmental sprint process. Transformation happens as we are both intentional and engaged in community and not going it alone. May God continue to lead us as a movement that values the development of our leaders and staff.

  2. Keith, thanks for highlighting the developmental sprints. I have had the privilege to be part of a couple of sprints and the process has helped me uncover some deeply held beliefs that have kept me stuck. I have loved being part of a cohort for six weeks also because I have experienced that growth does not happen in isolation; lasting growth takes place in community with others.

  3. I really appreciate your honest and personal perspective on growing as a leader.

    Your practical experience and biblical perspective is motivating to me, thank you!

  4. Andrea Buczynski

    Keith, I really appreciate the way you articulated the challenge related to intentional personal growth. I have been surprised in discovering competing priorities — I want to grow and live out new patterns at the same time I want to remain comfortable!!

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Keith Spence has served with Cru for 37 years. He spent early years serving with his wife, Linda, in the campus ministry in EA and with Bridges International. For the past 16 years, Keith has served with Global LDHR as a Leadership Development Specialist. He is a licensed facilitator for Immunity to Change. Keith and Linda are the proud parents of three adult married children and have seven grandchildren. 

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