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 point them towards www.cpas.org.uk/leadon. Thank you.

Staying fresh, staying faithful

Last month I wrote about staying fresh, staying faithful, and suggested that knowing what drains us is part of keeping going for the long haul. This month I want to explore how we can work with what sustains us.
 
Know what sustains you
This will look different for different leaders. But some interesting research by Leslie Francis shows two common factors that help people keep going:
  • Maintaining a healthy pattern of personal devotion. There is no set template for this, but we all know the danger of spending less and less time with God as we do more and more for him. Let’s not get into a guilt trip, but post Easter where we are reminded of the joy of the resurrection life, why not take a moment to review your regular pattern of personal devotion. What one thing could you do to bring some new life into it?
  • Submitting our lives to others. Many leaders speak of isolation and loneliness. Ensuring that we have someone we are travelling with, giving an account to, who speaks into our lives, is known to help people stay fresh and faithful. Who might this be for us? A mentor, spiritual director, work consultant, friend?

Alongside these, I would also add:

  • Build on your strengths. We can spot our strengths quite easily, they are the things that build us up, bring energy to us, the things we are wired to do. Sometimes we spend less time on developing these things because we can normally do them reasonably well without too much effort, but actually growth and development occur best when we focus on what we are good at, what energises us.
  • Remembering our humanity. Eugene Peterson writes ‘The problem for most church leaders isn’t that they forget they are Christian, it is that they forget their humanity.’ Our humanity includes the need for time off (the Sabbath pattern is hard-wired into our humanity), time for key relationships, regular exercise, a healthy diet, and lots of fun!  

Inevitably there are seasons of struggle and difficulty as a leader. Yet, somehow working out the balance between the things that drain us and the things that sustain us is one part to how we can keep going. My experience is that this isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I am constantly rethinking how these things interrelate in my life and leadership.
  
But I know this. I am far less likely to survive let alone thrive if I don’t give this some thought and time. Take a couple of hours this month to reflect on the dynamic of what drains and sustains you. It might just be the best thing you do this month.
 
Lead on
  
James

Job seeking, moving on and how to know when to leave a post...

John Fisher works as CPAS patronage secretary and regularly helps people think about moving on to a new role.
  
The wisdom of Ecclesiastes is often overlooked. Its down-to-earth realism and logical view of life is often underrated in an age of instant communication and immediacy of results. Quite often Ecclesiastes is telling us to step back, observe creation and learn from the rhythms of life, time and seasons. It is arguing for wise and humble choices in life. When it comes to the modern appointment process this is good advice for leaders.
 
One of the most difficult decisions any leader faces is...
  

Read the full article

Resources

Understanding your team colleagues
If you are part of a ministry leadership team (or equivalent) one way to get to know, understand and honour the contribution and leadership style of your colleagues is by all taking the Strengthsfinder profiling test. Buy a copy of Strengthsfinder 2.0 (available on Amazon – make sure you buy new copies to receive the ‘code’), uncover the code under the ‘scratch pad’ and go online. Then discuss and compare the results to take your understanding of one another to new levels!
  
Agreeing meeting dates
If you are part of a team that finds agreeing dates always involves a lengthy game of email ping pong, why not try doodle. Go to www.doodle.com and follow the instructions.
 
Professional PowerPoint presentation
If you have seen speakers moving their presentation on without having to press buttons on their laptop – they have probably used a device like this. Easy to buy – and only takes five seconds of so to set up. Available from Amazon.

 

Additional resource material

Here are a couple of books worth reading if you want to explore the draining/sustaining theme a little further.

Nick Cuthbert, How to Survive and Thrive as a Church Leader, Monarch. Short chapters offering great insights on a range of themes. Ideal to pick up and read one chapter a week and then reflect/act on it over the following seven days.

Eugene Peterson, Practice Resurrection, Hodder. A stunning book reflecting on Ephesians and the process of living out a resurrection life, the process of growing up into the full stature of Christ.

Leadership talk


'Leadership survival is rarely dependent on how we deal with the big and important issues, but how we deal with the mass of little things that are thrown at us each day.'
Nick Cuthbert

Next month...

Leading questions

Emma Ineson suggests that asking questions is a key leadership skill, and gives some practical ideas on good questions to ask.  

Resources

Book review by Graham Archer.

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