Lead On - Resourcing your ministry, leader to leader


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Slowing the pace

Few leaders ever reach the end of their to do list, and even if they manage it, the nature of the role means that other things will quickly be added! So, one of the challenges for anyone in leadership is pacing oneself, finding rhythms that work, not constantly pushing hard. John Fisher’s article below offers some helpful  insights on ‘how to sustain yourself as a leader’. Do take a look.
It reminded me of one of my commitments (and to be honest, I needed reminding) – to deliberately slow the pace in those seasons of the year when the pace slackens naturally. The research is clear: what leads to a lack of energy, emotional exhaustion or burn out is not stress, but the linearity of stress, where there is no let up, where it is constant.
For me, and for many in leadership, the end of July and August is a time to slow things down. Yet it is too easy just to continue running fast. It takes a deliberate choice, an exercise of discipline. Here are some of the things I've committed to during a slower period.
I work shorter days; I catch up on things that haven’t been done (amongst other things clearing out the filing – both email and cabinets!), take time to think, pray and prepare; I read more, relax more, sleep more, see a few more films, spend more time with family and friends, take a holiday. By the end I feel rested, renewed and ready to re-engage with the mad activity that we call September.
What could you do to slow the pace in August (and if it isn't August in your year, be sure to identify another period when you will slow down)? Why not make a list of possibilities today, and then choose a few and share them with someone who will help you to live them out.

The sabbath principle can be applied not only to a day a week, but also to a period in a year. Then we learn the unforced rhythms of grace that characterised the life of Jesus, and in our leadership reflect the one we follow.
Lead on,

James Lawrence
CPAS leadership principal

How to keep going as a leader

John Fisher, CPAS patronage secretary, looks at ways to keep going as a leader.
Leadership is demanding. There are demands from individuals in our churches, from local church structures, from the wider church institution, and this is not to mention the demands from the busy personal and family lives we all live today. 
For the busy, hard pressed leader life is a juggling act keeping all the balls up in the air without dropping any.
Read the full article


The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni (Jossey-Bass)
The thesis of The Advantage is simple: ‘the single greatest advantage any company can achieve is organisational health. Yet it is ignored by most leaders.’ The rest of the book articulates what organisational health is (in essence an integrity which means the organisation is whole, consistent and complete: ‘when its management, operations, systems and culture fit together and make sense’) and how to work towards it (acknowledging it isn’t a linear, tidy process.)
Lencioni advocates four disciplines:

  • Build a cohesive leadership team.
  • Create clarity around six critical questions that bring cohesion.
  • Over communicate clarity throughout organisation.
  • Reinforce clarity through a few critical non-bureaucratic systems that involve people. 
Drawing on his previous books (Five Dysfunctions of Teams, Death by Meetings, etc.) he outlines with extraordinary clarity what the disciplines are, how to put them into practise, and, through great stories, what they look like.

So, how does all this ‘organisational health’ language relate to churches? Well, yes, it requires a bit of translation, but the concepts are good (worth buying the book for his section on values alone) and he has ‘not for profit’ and ‘religious communities’ in mind as he writes.

This is a fascinating, well written and thought-provoking read. For those who’ve read Lencioni before, there is overlap with previous books, but also both additional material and the ‘advantage’ of his years of thinking and consulting being pulled together in one volume. For those who haven’t read him before, this is a great place to encounter one of the most helpful leadership thinkers around.

Leadership talk

An intentional self-care on the part of pastors is not a matter of selfish pampering, it is essential to maintaining an effective ministry over the long term.
Peter Brain

Next month...

Engaging Gen Y

Insights into leading well with the younger generation.


John Dunnett offers a some practical resource ideas for busy leaders.

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