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.

Hired hand or good shepherd?

John 10:11-18 is a fascinating passage. In it Jesus describes himself as the good shepherd, and contrasts himself with the hired hand. The phrase that recently caught my attention is ‘a hired hand... cares nothing for the sheep’ (10:13). By implication the good shepherd does.
Now I know leaders sometimes joke about the fact that leading a church would be fine if it wasn’t for the people, and that whenever anyone says this there are smiles and laughs because anyone in leadership understands what is being said. But … and this may be a big but … underlying the comment may well be a struggle that is a reality for many leaders – loving those we are called to serve.
It isn’t always easy.
How do we care for those we lead, especially when they are not following or behaving as we would prefer?! Here are a few ideas:

  • Remind ourselves that serving God is at the heart of Christian leadership. Those we lead are not there to help us fulfill our ideas and dreams, we are there to jointly discern what Jesus as head of the Church wants, and to serve him purposes together.
  • Pray for grace and love. There will be many times when we struggle to love those we serve. We need divine help to bear the fruit of the Spirit. Ask for that help.
  • Think of them as brothers and sisters. Don’t demonise them or speak ill of them, don’t talk about them behind their backs.
  • Look for every opportunity to affirm and encourage people. Some say that CEO stands for Chief Encouragement Officer. Encouragement creates a positive culture.
  • Get to know them. Listening to people’s stories, hopes, fears, concerns, and motivations, all helps in the process of knowing people, understanding people, and caring for people.
  • Forgive and forgive again. People do hurt us, undermine us, speak ill of us. Carrying hurt and ill feeling towards others can quickly degenerate into bitterness, anger, cynicism.

No one starts off as a leader wanting to behave like a hired hand, but many of us know the slippery slope that leads to hired hand behavior. Let’s guard against it, and ask God to help us love and care for those we lead. It may not be easy, but it is the way of the good shepherd.
Lead on
P.S.  What have you found has helped you care for those you lead? Share your thoughts here.

Leadership: the art of asking good questions

Emma Ineson, tutor in pastoral and practical theology at Trinity College Bristol, suggests that asking questions is a key leadership skill, and gives some practical ideas on good questions to ask.
‘If I had an hour to solve a problem, and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes’ (Albert Einstein). 
Read the full article


Wayne Cordeiro, Leading on Empty (2009 Bethany House Publishing)

Wayne’s book is not a recent one, but it is gaining greater exposure in the UK as leaders begin to recognise the different thrust of this volume compared to his previous publications.

It is essentially a biographical account of burnout, not unique, but written with the reflective insights of someone used to writing to inspire others. He speaks honestly about mistakes that he made and indicators that he missed and chronicles the lessons learnt in the journey back towards health and wholeness. Rather than simply explaining the dynamics of rest, he teases out some of the thinking patterns that led to the restlessness which ultimately contributed to the burnout.

Taking themes of stillness, retreat and rest; theology, recreation and health, he maps not only his own journey back to fruitful ministry again, but also some helpful lessons to help others avoid a similar collapse. Bill Hybels calls it a ‘must-read for all leaders’. 

I think it will resonate most with those who are already engaged with their own limitations or struggling with stress and pressure. The difficulty with autobiographical material is that one has to make the leap across to another person’s experience and ignore those things that are different. It is the story of a married, successful, American pastor with an international ministry. If you can make the cultural leap there are some excellent gems to be discovered.

Graham Archer, CPAS Director of Ministry.

Additional resource material

Take a look at the talks from the London Diocese Study day 2012. Keynote speakers were Tim Keller and Rowan Williams, with a variety of interesting workshop speakers. 
The Grove leadership series is also worth exploring with two recently added titles: The Quantum Leap, reflecting on the transition from assistant to senior leader; and Leading in Demanding Times, looking at how we cope with leadership in challenging circumstances.

Leadership talk

'How we talk about the people we serve and lead is not just a random choice of equally valid expressions. The rhetoric we use describes the kind of relationships that we believe we are involved in.'
Gordon Oliver

Next month...

Leading volunteers 

Sharon Prior reflects on leading volunteers.  


YouTube clips to engage and entertain.

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