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.

Evangelism today (in two parts!)

Evangelism. Now there’s a word that evokes an immediate response.
 
I’m just back from two events. The first was the final residential of our current Arrow Leadership Programme. Over the last 18 months we’ve explored how leaders lead others in evangelism. The second was a gathering of the directors of Arrow around the world (currently nine countries) where we shared our experience of leaders and evangelism.
 
Here are some of the common themes:

  • While many people go into leadership with a heart for evangelism, after a while ‘church life’ takes over and they either lose connectivity with people who aren’t yet Christians, or simply get swamped by the issues which surround church life.
  • Whilst people are increasingly comfortable with the language of mission, evangelism seems less on the agenda than before.
  • Whilst leaders may agree on the importance of evangelism, many struggle with it themselves.
  • Whilst church leaders may encourage people to share their faith, they are less likely to provide them with the practical tools to do it.

Those in church leadership have to balance the different aspects of church life (as some describe it, the ‘Up’ to God, the ‘In’ to one another, the ‘Out’ to all around us). Evangelism is one part of the ‘Out‘, but experience suggests it is often the part that it is hardest to keep going. It is as though churches have a gravitational pull towards anything but evangelism. Not surprising really. It is hard!
 
Yet when Paul writes to Timothy (timid Timothy, as he is sometimes known) he urges him to ‘do the work of an evangelist’ (2 Timothy 4:5). What does this mean? Two things perhaps:

  • Lead yourself in evangelism by continuing to share the faith personally with those who don’t know Christ.
  • Lead others in evangelism by keeping evangelism central to the life of a church and helping them to know their role and how to fulfill it.  

So here is a little summer project. How about putting an hour in the diary over the next month to reflect on where you are personally in evangelism, and how you are doing leading others in evangelism? Then next month I’ll offer a few suggestions on what we can do to lead well in this area that have come out of our work with leaders through Arrow.
 
I know it is the sort of 'project' that we might have a tendency not to do, but if we are about the re-evangelisation of the UK and Ireland, or as the founders of CPAS would have put it, 'the gospel to every person'; if we are to reconnect with what some call the missing generation (those in their 20-30s); if we are to see our family and friends come to a living faith in Christ... thinking about 'doing the work of an evangelist' may be the start of something significant in the areas we have responsibility as leaders.
 
Lead on
 
James

Difficult conversations...

Nadine Parkinson is the associate pastor at All Saints Church, Marple. She and her husband, Ian, are on the New Wine leadership team and have hosted the North and East Summer Conference since it started in 2005. 
  
Honestly, who likes difficult conversations? They are by definition ‘difficult’, and sometimes awkward and painful. They don’t always end well so we have a natural wariness about embarking on them. And yet when leading others they are an inevitable part of life, unless we shirk our responsibilities. 

Resources

Developing in Ministry, Neil Evans (SPCK 2012)
 
I almost gave up reading this book after the first chapter but I’m glad I didn’t. Its first impression suggests that it is going to be a rather technical reflection on models that best inform a strategy for clergy development. This is where it starts, but from there takes the reader into some very helpful reflections on how best to develop people through the organic and relational qualities of good leadership.
 
There is a model for managing change, a helpful description of how people react to proposals for change and good practical guidelines on how to communicate and inspire people during the change process. He shows us how to take into account different learning styles and personalities in order to carry a wide range of people through to a place of engagement in mission and ministry taking into account their God given shape.
 
It is a book that says more about helping disciples grow rather than getting tasks done or building empires. Neil’s substantial experience as a parish priest and clergy trainer gives him ample opportunity to share his own insights and failures as well as draw on the writings and observations of others. 
 
There is a consistent reminder that the work of ministry is God’s work, so the language of vocation and call to prayer is consistently weaved into the more practical models and examples. The book is written for anyone who takes seriously their leadership task and believes that they are called to invest in others. It will act as a helpful reminder that developing disciples is a not just a core responsibility but also a joyful privilege that is central to the heart of God and values of his kingdom.
 
Graham Archer

Additional resource material

The Word's Out
Dave Male and Paul Weston’s new book The Word’s Out, Speaking the Gospel Today (BRF),  is a great read on issues of evangelism today. Highly recommended.
   
Tim Keller
Tim Keller is senior pastor of the Church of the Redeemer, New York, and well known as an author (e.g. The Reason for God) and as a speaker. Here are 75 podcasts of full-length sermons – always engaging, clearly thought out and full of good illustrations.

 

Leadership talk


'We need church leaders, both paid and volunteers, who are "finding their voice" when it comes to leading their churches in evangelism... leaders who will lovingly and patiently lead their churches in this crucial area.'
Dave Male

Next month...

Flourishing youth ministry?

David Hart offers some thoughts on creating an environment in which youth ministry flourishes.  

Resources

Leadership blogs.

making disciples, developing leaders, growing churches

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