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.

Leadership is hard

In my conversations with leaders it is not unusual for someone to speak about going through some struggles related to their leadership role. This might be at the level of frustration with the structures of the wider church, or struggles in relating to a colleague, or discouragement at something that seemed to be going so well but has now fallen apart.

These things are not deal breakers, but just the ongoing normal realities of leadership, the things that stretch us, discourage us, and, on occasions, make us wonder why we bother.

In her excellent book Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands, Nancy Ortberg describes a talk she gave entitled ‘Stop being surprised that leadership is hard.’ Whilst the title may not win any points on the pastoral sensitivity front, the content is strangely liberating as she outlines why leadership is so hard (buy the book to find out!).

Her point is simple: ‘Leadership is hard, and we all need to stop being surprised by that. We need to give it a slight chuckle and a nod, and keep going.’

When leadership is a struggle it helps to have someone to talk to (friend, colleague, mentor), it helps to pray honestly (thoughts and feelings), and it helps to maintain a life blend that means work isn’t all we do.

But it can also help to keep some perspective, to remember struggles are a part of leadership, and that by God’s grace they can also be the times of personal growth.

So next time you hear me talking about my struggles as a leader, please offer me a listening ear, encourage me to pray and to practise living out 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, but also remind me it goes with the territory, and urge me to keep going through the struggles. And I will try and do the same for you.

For as Paul reminds us in Colossians 1:24-2:3, we struggle that those we serve may be presented mature in Christ. That is worth the struggle.

Lead on


Leading in the way of Jesus

Chris Neal, former director of CMS, grapples with what leaders might need to address in the years to come.

In his book Jesus on Leadership C. Gene Wilkes, an American church leader suggests that ‘Jesus came to show us what life in the kingdom looked like, not to modify how the world did things’. 
This insight seems fundamental to ...
Read the full article


Pam Macnaughton, CPAS leadership specialist, reviews the latest addition to the Grove Leadership Series.

Don’t Lose Heart
Graham Archer (Grove Leadership Series)

This Grove booklet provides a wise, biblical overview of issues around morale for Christian leaders.

Don’t Lose Heart was inspired by a small research project into clergy morale, which sought to address two questions:
1) What are the indicators of good and bad morale?
2) What do leaders do to improve morale?

In reflecting on the questionnaire responses, Graham Archer uses parts of 2 Corinthians 1-6 to frame his thoughts. So, he invites us to consider four physical images Paul uses as metaphors for his relationship with God: face, eyes, body and soul. 

These relate strongly to the section that follows on the six key indicators of good and low morale drawn from the research, and to the top five things the leaders surveyed choose to do to have a positive impact on their morale.

I particularly warmed to chapter four, titled ‘Insights from St Paul’, which addresses very practical ways to handle issues that arise for Christian leaders.  Maybe none of it is new advice, but it is both helpful and challenging to have it all succinctly laid out in one place.

The booklet ends with exercises intended to earth what has been read in prayerful reflection and decision making. Whether you are starting out in leadership or you’ve been around for a while, this booklet would be useful and encouraging. It would work well as a guide for a quiet day. 

Buy Don't Lose Heart from the CPAS shop for £3.95.

Additional resource material

Psephizo (www.psephizo.com)

This is the home of Ian Paul’s blog, subtitled scholarship serving ministry. Ian writes on a wide variety of topics relevant to those in leadership and offers a breadth of scholarship that is both stimulating and provocative. Take a look at this post on ‘What does it mean to be lost?’ for a starter.

The Work of the People (www.theworkofthepeople.com)

This is an American site with huge numbers of resources, in particular videos (they claim to have material for every week of the three year liturgical calendar!). The contribution list includes Tom Wright, Erwin MacManus, Brené Brown and Walter Brueggemann. It is a subscription site, offering a range of levels at which to access their material, and they also offer a 30-day free trial.

Leadership talk

'Your best leadership efforts are needed on a daily basis, right where you are.'
Nancy Ortberg

Next month...


Pam Macnaughton writes on leadership of multi-parish benefices.

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