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.

New Year - a time to pause

Leaders tend to be future oriented. There are things to be done, places to go, people to see. We’re not always good at stopping, pausing, reflecting.
Over many years I have developed a discipline that I have found helpful. At the start of the year I take some time out to pause, to review things. It normally involves a quiet day away from the phone and email, some time to pray and a series of questions to reflect on. The purpose? Twofold: to press meaning into life, and discern where God might be leading.
Looking back is a great way of pressing meaning into life. Without reflection we are unlikely to learn from the past. We might also miss something God is doing. And we are in danger of skimming over the endless commitments without any sense of gratitude to God and appropriate satisfaction of work done.
Looking forward helps us to spot where God might be leading, to pick up on the gentle nudge of the Spirit – a character issue he wishes to address, a leadership competency we need to develop, a relationship we need to give more time to.  I try to discern which aspect of the fruit of the Spirit he might want to work on, or which spiritual discipline he might be calling me to embrace through the year ahead. (There are some questions you could use to help with this approach in the additional resources section of this email.)
In all of this there is a fresh sense of dedicating oneself in his service, powerfully caught in the Methodist covenant service prayer of surrender. 
For at the end of the day (and the start of the year) there is little better to do than place ourselves in the hands of our all loving and all powerful God, who longs to shape us into the leaders he needs us to be in order to serve his kingdom purposes.
Go on. Stop for a day. Who knows what may come of it…
Lead on.

Christ-likeness in leadership

Charles Burgess works as leadership specialist at CPAS. In this article he explores the importance of leaders continuing to grow in Christ-likeness. 
In his last sermon in 2007: John Stott said, ‘...I want to share with you where my mind has come to rest as I approach the end of my pilgrimage on earth and it is – God wants His people to become like Christ. Christ-likeness is the will of God for the people of God’. His point was much wider than Christian leadership but if Christ-likeness is God’s will for all Christians, how much more important is it for those with influence.


Graham Archer reviews 'Ministry without Madness' by Gordon Oliver.
Gordon Oliver’s book Ministry without Madness is a treasure trove of wisdom born out of a lifetime of public ministry. It has practical wisdom for Christian leaders woven into a fabric formed by theological reflection. There are many stories that illustrate how this reflection has taken place. It is easy to read, but not simplistic. It has depth that the reader will find thought provoking.

He sweeps aside a destructive model of ministry madness in favour of gospel foolishness with illustrations that might make you laugh or cry. Above secular models of ministry as contract, he takes the readers back to the theology of covenant and reminds them that ‘ministry starts with God in Jesus, not with the church, or even with us.’ While wrestling to find a word that best describes the relationship between a priest and his or her flock, he finally settles on the biblical model of friendship, which he argues has 'enough room in it to embody the core values of the gospel and enough security to learn from "secular" insights about leadership'.

One of the best things about the book is the way that he uses scripture. Rather than raiding it for verses simply to illustrate his own best ideas, he dwells long enough on his chosen texts to demonstrate that the very best ideas are already there for those with the willingness to search and let the Bible speak for itself.

A key foundational concept is that of story. Ministry has at its heart the story of God that needs to be told, and the stories of others we meet that long to be heard. Not surprisingly, this book is the story of a naturally curious man who has learnt to listen. It might disturb the reader, but this one found it delightfully reassuring.

Additional resource material

Questions for reflection at the start of a year

Looking back

  • Reflect on the blessings from God of this past year in your personal life, your work, your wider family.
  • What was the greatest trial/difficulty of the past year? What have you learned from it?

Looking up

  • What is God seeking to teach you now?
  • What are you praying for those closest to you?

Looking forward

  • What is the priority in the year ahead in your personal development, your work, your relationships?
  • Who do you long to see come to faith in Christ this year? What could you do to help that take place?

The Methodist Covenant prayer
You can download the covenant prayer along with a brief study guide. It is a great prayer for the start of the year.

Leadership talk

'An unexamined life is not worth living.'

Next month...

Leadership development opportunity  

CPAS director of Ventures and Falcon Camps David Hart considers how residential youth work provides a great leadership development opportunity.


Leadership blogs – an opportunity to share your favourite ones.

making disciples, developing leaders, growing churches

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