Lead On - Resourcing your ministry, leader to leader

Welcome to the latest edition of Lead On, the monthly email with leader-to-leader input from CPAS. If you know others who may be interested in this email, please forward it on or send them a link to www.cpas.org.uk/leadon. Thank you.

Boundaries

It’s a constant debate. I heard it once again last week. An older leader asked why a recently ordained person is so fixed in only being prepared to work ‘two sessions’ of the day.
 
It is also a constant struggle. Anyone in leadership, especially in church leadership, knows how hard it is to work out appropriate boundaries.
 
I am reading two books at the moment on ‘pastoral ministry’ both of them trying to navigate the tricky question of what are appropriate boundaries for a leader in church life.
 
When teaching about this on the Arrow Leadership Programme we talk about a continuum from fixed to fluid. There are those at the fixed end who are never prepared to move a boundary. They won’t attend anything on their day-off, no matter how much notice they are given to change the day. They won’t allow anyone into the vicarage because they have decided it is to be kept as ‘home’, and they don’t want work to impinge on home.
 
There are those on the fluid end, who rarely keep any boundaries. They respond to interruptions when preparing a sermon, even if that means, yet again, a Saturday night preparing the sermon eating into family time. Or a home group leader listens to an individual’s ongoing crisis at the end of the meeting knowing they have to leave for work at 5am in the morning.
 
It seems to me neither is a great place to be: so fixed that we miss real need or opportunity, so fluid that we wear ourselves out.
 
I think there may be a smaller continuum within the bigger one – firm to flexible. This is where we have a clear idea of some firm boundaries; health giving boundaries that enable us to keep leading for the long haul. Yet also flexible, where we are open to the unexpected, the opportunity, the need. Jesus seemed to be able to reside in this place as he set aside time to pray (firm, Luke 11:1) and also interrupted his journey to attend to the need (flexible, Luke 18:40) of a single voice crying out from the crowd.
 
What might these boundaries look like for us? It will depend. On our personality, role, context, stage of life and season of circumstance. Wisdom will know when to be more firm or more flexible. But as leaders it helps to think carefully about our boundaries, and to pray for God’s wisdom to use them well.
 
Lead on
 
James

Power and Christian leadership

In an amended extract from his recently published book, Roger Preece, vicar of St Mary's Bowdon, examines the different types of power at work in a congregation and reflects on ways people exert power in leadership roles.

What is power?
All of us use power and have it used on us. But what is power? Should Christians in leadership fear power as a corruptor of their souls, or recognise the dangers, and use power carefully and wisely for a greater purpose?
 
Read the full article

Resources

Management in 10 Words, Terry Leahy (Random House Business)
Book review by Charles Burgess, CPAS leadership specialist.
 

To what extent should ‘Christian leadership’ draw upon ‘best practice’ from the secular field? At times, polarisation of the debate fails to recognise that many underpinning leadership principles in the secular field owe their origin, at least in part, to a Judeo-Christian foundation.
 
In this book, Sir Terry Leahy distils the key leadership and management lessons he learned during his tenure as CEO of Tesco, which saw a massive expansion of the retail giant. He attributes many of his convictions to the values his Roman Catholic upbringing gave and this ‘moral’ dimension of leadership comes through strongly.
 
Leahy explores many leadership attributes; honestly confronting difficult truths about an organisation; the will and courage to act and to see initiatives through; harnessing the talents of all; keeping things simple but not simplistic; building trust; the priority leaders should place in nurturing and developing others; the need to balance the tensions that can arise between big plans and their practical application; and the role of values as a compass in an organisation.
     
While I found myself constantly drawing parallels with many of the challenges with which church leaders are wrestling, clearly caution is needed in translation. These ideas are, after all, drawn from management experience in the highly competitive retail sector. Moreover, the Tesco ‘model’ is not universally acclaimed and some of Leahy’s arguments – for example on Sunday Trading and the impact on vulnerable high-street suppliers – fail to engage fully with the wider issues.
 
Nevertheless, this book offers many excellent practical leadership ideas and reflections which will both encourage and challenge.

Downloads

HTB Leadership Conference
Earlier this year HTB held its annual leadership conference, and CPAS general director John Dunnett gave a seminar on ‘Mentoring to Nurture Disciples and Grow Leaders’. Click here to download it as an MP3.

Oxford London Annual Lecture
And if you want something a little different, the Oxford London Annual Lecture this year was on the topic ‘21st Century – The Last Century of Youth’, given by Professor Sarah Harper of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing. This is an academic lecture, but very accessible and tackling a critical subject for today's leaders.

Leadership talk


'You can divide people into two groups. The doers and the criticizers. I'd rather be a doer.'
Tony Blair

Next month...

Turning vision into reality   

Change management expert, Rod Street, explores how we can help congregations change.

Resources

John Dunnett recommends some websites for leaders.

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