The grace of God and work of His Spirit are available to make you whole and equip you for godly leadership … Don Mann lived, mentored and taught this kind of integral leadership.
As I zig-zagged down the “road” along the rocky edges of the steep mountains in northwest Pakistan, making my way back to Islamabad, I couldn’t help but think, “Don would have loved this!”
I had just wrapped up three days of leadership training with 60 select pastors from across Pakistan. We had met at a remote retreat centre not far from the Afghanistan border. We spent some incredible time together, diving into the leadership material that Don and a small team—including his wife, Marie-José—had devoted the last several years of his life to producing. The retreat was an amazing time of learning, fellowship, prayer and celebration as we engaged together with this incredible training. The pastors that gathered were very appreciative of the sessions and shared openly how much they had benefited from the training. They are precious church leaders who serve under extremely challenging circumstances, including suicide bombing security alerts. They were blessed to be refreshed and learn how their leadership could be marked by increased fruitfulness.
That intense training session in Pakistan was made possible because Don Mann had a vision for godly leadership training. The Quest Leadership Program is the legacy of a man who loved and served God with all his heart, lived a life of integrity, and was eager to bless and encourage others to live and lead on mission with God. In the last season of his ministry, I had the privilege of working closely with Don on what he described as the capstone of his life’s work—a leadership program that focuses on equipping leaders so that their influence is marked by integral character, a commitment to serve God and others rather than self-interest, and fruitful leadership that produces transformative change. Soon after this vision was realized, Don slipped graciously into eternity on March 27, 2023, following a four-year journey with Stage 4 colon cancer.
Don’s passion for godly leadership was grounded in rich ministry experience with The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC). He served as the church ministries director of the Eastern Ontario & Quebec District from June 1990 to July 1995. From there he went on to pastor Evangel Pentecostal Church in Montreal, Que., for 13 years. He also served terms on the executives of both the Eastern Ontario and Quebec Districts, on Master’s College and Seminary’s Board of Governors, and on the PAOC General Executive. Don and Marie-José also served as PAOC global workers in Africa, mentoring and equipping not only pastors and church leaders, but Christians called to serve in the marketplace or community. His cancer diagnosis precipitated a return to Canada and an opportunity for him to join the GlobalEd department of Mission Global as a Canada-based worker. It was soon after this transition that the vision for Quest was clarified. Program development and curriculum writing began in 2020. Don was focused, industrious, motivated and enthusiastic even as he continued with treatment. Marie-José was fully involved, using her creative talents to design slides, upload teaching videos, and develop online course content.
Personally, it was a rich experience to collaborate with a brother who was enthusiastically sold out to what God had called him to do, even in the midst of great challenge. We celebrated the amazing success of a couple of pilot projects in Pakistan and Zimbabwe, and we launched the program even as we worked on the final pieces. Don, Marie-José and I worked together to ensure that the work of developing, writing and producing the Quest curriculum was completed weeks before he went to heaven.
A private celebration of Don’s life was held in Montreal on April 15, 2023. My wife, Shelley, and I were privileged to attend and celebrate Don’s life along with Marie-José, their two grown children, Stephanie (with husband, Jonatas) and Jonathan (with wife, Julia), and cherished granddaughters, Charlotte and Olivia. Don had wanted to make sure that the event was truly celebratory. The afternoon was marked with worship (a gift Don excelled in), laughter, impactful testimonies from friends and families, Scripture and more stories and laughter. It was a time that honoured and brought glory to God as we remembered how God had blessed us through His servant. The full heart I experienced while celebrating Don’s legacy that afternoon was no different than what I felt driving down the mountains of northwest Pakistan, giving thanks to God for Don’s inspired vision.
The grace of God and work of His Spirit are available to make you whole and equip you for godly leadership. Our God-given identity, the virtues of godly character, and the leadership qualities that emerge as we are shaped by His hand, allow us to serve God and others in a way that has great influence on those we encounter and great impact on communities we are called to serve while on mission with God. Don Mann lived, mentored and taught this kind of integral leadership. Don had an awesome smile, one I’m sure many of you will remember. I have no doubt he would be smiling now at the legacy he has left through his leadership, evident in the lives of his family and friends, and he would be smiling at the impact he has had and continues to have in developing godly leaders. Don’s life was characterized by an exemplary commitment to godly leadership based on the biblical principles of integrity, character, transformation and mentorship of the next generation of leaders. His development and direction of the Quest Leadership Program ensures that his passion for leadership will continue for years to come.
Dr. Kirk Kauffeldt is the director of GlobalEd, the equipping arm of Mission Global.
This article appeared in the October/November/December 2023 issue of testimony/Enrich, a quarterly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2023 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Photo © Mission Global.