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.

Flexible leadership

An exercise we run in one of our training events is to invite participants to describe the nature of leadership in the form of ‘leadership is more x than y’. Some of my favourite responses include 'more jazz than classical', 'more fluid than static' and 'more risk than comfort'.
They reflect the perception of many that leadership cannot be neatly packaged, that there is a need for flexibility in the way we lead. People and contexts are richly and wonderfully different. They are also forever changing, and good leadership adapts to the particular realities of any given situation. The breadth of contexts a Christian leader spans, even in a single role, can be huge.
In Jesus we see someone who was immensely flexible. He could be both directive and collaborative. He was able to preach authoritatively to large crowds and yet taught his followers in numerous smaller encounters. He could be bold in confronting the hypocrisy of religious leaders and yet speak tenderly to a woman who reached out to touch him for healing. There was no sense of ‘one size fits all’ in Jesus’ ministry. He discerned the places people ‘were at’ and the undercurrents of each situation and responded accordingly. 
So a measure of flexibility in our style and approach to leadership is good, although this is not the same as inconsistency in our values and/or behaviours, which destroys trust, the foundation of all leadership. Neither does it infer a style so broad that at times we don’t even recognise ourselves! When flexibility compromises authenticity, credibility suffers.  
So a few pointers in cultivating flexibility:

  • Be aware of your own leadership style preference – perhaps ask others for feedback – and be open to stretching, but not straining, this preference.
  • Pray for discernment and wisdom in the moment, particularly in reading people and situations.
  • Resist the temptation to ‘close down’ or suffocate the dynamic dance of leadership through an unhealthy level of control.
  • Be open to different approaches, including different ways to solve problems
  • Watch out for inflexibility rooted in pride. 
  • Actively seek the advice and support of respected and trusted others in responding to significantly changing contexts, particularly where there is conflicting information – two heads are usually better than one.
  • Seek to understand the preferences of those we oversee e.g. ‘how do you like to receive feedback?’, ‘what type of support would be most helpful at this time?’

Lead on
Charles Burgess

Leading well during a vacancy

John Fisher on leading well during a vacancy.
I spend a lot of time in my job visiting churches that are in vacancy. The previous incumbent has moved on and it is time to think ahead with the church and plan for appointing a new key leader.
Much help is given to churches to think about this new ministry and the kind of leadership they need for the future.
Read the full article


Just thinking
Just thinking is a quarterly teaching resource from Ravi Zacharias and exists to promote thoughtful engagement with apologetics, Scripture and the whole of life. Something to challenge your mind and stir your heart! (Available from iTunes.)
An app to help you save online papers for later off-line reading. (Available from iTunes and Google Play.)
HBR Tips
A daily management tip from Harvard Business Review … generally accepted to be one of the best worldwide publications in its field. (Available from iTunes and Google Play.)
Redeemer Presbyterian Church
Whether or not you are a fan of Tim Keller it is worth listening to/reading his ‘stuff’. Senior pastor of Redeemer in New York and New York Times bestselling author of ‘The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Scepticism’, he is a man who thinks deeply and writes well. (Available from iTunes and Google Play.)

Additional resource material

Growing Through a Vacancy
Want to grow through a vacancy? Recent research reveals many churches do the opposite, so in partnership with four other organisations we’ve created a new resource.
Growing Through a Vacancy offers practical guidance and ideas, and it includes a handbook for church wardens and clergy, a brief guide for PCC members, and downloadable tools to help churches have a good vacancy. More information, including a video, is available at www.grow-vacancy.org.uk (published 8 October).
Leadership styles
There are a variety of ways of gauging your leadership style. Find out whether your leadership style is authoritarian, democratic or laissez-faire:

  • A questionnaire to print off can be found here.
  • For an online quiz about your leadership style click here, with a commentary on the three styles here.

Leadership talk

'It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.'
President Harry S Truman

Next month...

How not to lose heart as a leader

Graham Archer, director of ministry at CPAS, writes on 'how not to lose heart as a leader'.  


Charles Burgess recommends some books for your Christmas pressie list.

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