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.

Can you be too vulnerable as a leader?

Silly question, I hear you cry, of course you can. Indeed, but…
 
… the creator of the cosmos who became a child in a cradle and submitted himself to be crucified as a criminal might encourage us to think again.
 
Vulnerability. The ability to let others into your world, your personal world, sometimes even your private world, and allow them to connect with you there. People from my generation (Boomer – just!) may struggle with this, especially if you were brought up with a little of the ‘stiff upper lip’ tradition.
 
So how vulnerable should we be as leaders? Completely with a few, to some extent with everyone.
 
The leader who is never vulnerable in public (for example when preaching) simply builds their own pedestal, and although may be revered by some, for many will be distant and detached, aloof even. The leaders who is always sharing their inner life struggles may well be self-serving, pitied, manipulative even.  Perhaps most sermons should contain a small degree of vulnerability, and occasionally (once a year?) something more significant.
 
With those closest to us, those we seek to connect with most deeply, a high level of vulnerability is in order. These are the people who we can tell the deeper realities, share the struggles, ask for help. Brene Brown’s research on such vulnerability is well worth engaging with (see below).
 
Why is this so important as leaders? Because the danger for leaders is that we both control how others see us and exercise control over events (and often people). Control easily leads to creating an image, and the gap between who we are in private and who we are in public grows. There lies the path to deception, disillusionment, disintegration. There is always a gap between who we are in public and who we are in private, but it is best to keep it as small as possible. Vulnerability is part of the answer.
 
So this Christmas as once again we reflect on the God who became a child, let’s ask ourselves how we are doing on the vulnerability front. Why not make a decision, to be just a little more vulnerable with someone this month, and in so doing humble ourselves to recognise our need of others to be fully human.
 
Lead on
 
James

How to not lose heart

Rachel Treweek, Archdeacon of Hackney, reflects on how to maintain relationship and direction in leadership.
  
The role of an archdeacon involves oversight. Often that means dealing with the difficult stuff. Yet whether one is doing strategic planning for the future shape of mission and ministry or dealing with the leaking church roof or the problem with the accounts, it is always about relating to people and discerning where God is leading.
    
Read the full article

Resources

The Radical Disciple
John Stott (IVP)
  
Stott’s last book looks at the themes of dependency, maturity and simplicity. It is a moving book and encourages going deeper with Christ to sustain sacrifice and service.
 
Biblical, pastoral and committed; these are the words I always ascribe to John Stott’s publications. The Radical Disciple (his last book) has these qualities in spades. Stott reflects on a lifetime of Christian service as an international leader, pastor and teacher. The work  is self-effacing, gentle, humble and it also models utter dependence on Christ, as an elderly man comes towards the end of public ministry.
  
Chapters focus on a counter-cultural life with total commitment to Christ. This continuing theme works itself out as Stott explores a ministry that becomes dependent on others as his own health and resilience is tested. It is a very moving book. All of us involved in public ministry know tough times, but this book takes the subject to a new level, as it develops a keenly felt theme of allowing others to minister to us in our dependence.
  
This book has the feel of a fire side chat with a wise friend who has wisdom to impart in spades. It is crystal clear and challenging. I was encouraged in my own journey of faith, given permission to let others use their skills to assist this Journey, and above all called afresh to recognise that I am utterly dependent on Christ to fulfil his call upon my life. 

Additional resource material

The power of vulnerability
In this TED talk Brene Brown speaks on the power of vulnerability on the basis of her extensive research.
 
Willow Creek
 
If you are members of the Willow Creek Association you can also hear her talk from the GLS 2013 on this theme here.
   
How technology is changing millennial faith
The Barna institute in the US has done some interesting research on the way Gen Y (Millenials) are using technology with relation to faith.
 
Discipleship and Methodism
Many people are talking about discipleship today, and in this free to download booklet Martyn Atkins looks at the issue from the perspective of the Methodist Movement. 
  
Christmas is coming ...
Here are a couple of videos which you might be able to use as part of your Christmas events:
  
Poetry seems to be ‘in’ this Christmas, here is a Christmas themed video from UCCF. It can be downloaded here.
  
And here is one from www.spoken-truth.com. Set in Wales in modern times, it is a dramatic re-telling of the Christmas story.

Leadership talk


'In order for connection to happen you have to be seen, really seen.'
Brene Brown

Next month...

Conflict in leadership

Alastair McKay, from Bridge Builders, writes on how to handle conflict as leaders.  

Resources

You are the Messiah and I should know book review. 

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