Lead On - May 2016
Welcome to the latest edition of Lead On, the monthly email with leader-to-leader input from CPAS. Please forward this on to others who may be interested, or point them towards Thank you.

Leading with Authority

The frail man with the English Heritage badge stood at the entrance and said 'I'm sorry sir, you can't go into there.' 'I could,' I thought, 'I'd love to see the private rooms; the door is open and he's not big enough to stop me'.

But I didn't go in there. Despite my desire to ignore the signs, he had the badge and it represented authority, which I still respect despite my postmodern infections.

I once read somewhere that 'authority is like a bar of soap, the more you use it the less you have left'. During my many years as a Christian leader, I have found the concept of authority bewilderingly complex. Clearly authority can corrupt and be misused, and the effect of misuse is serious; but when leaders ignore the real authority that they have, communities drift and often others step into the leadership vacuum and wield authority that they haven't been given. So here is my five point note to self about authority.
  1. All authority in heaven and on the earth belongs to God and unlike a bar of soap, his does not diminish. Neither is he corrupted by it as earthly rulers often are.
  2. I am under authority both from heaven and on earth, which is why for example I regularly pray the Lord's Prayer and also pay my taxes.
  3. My authority as a leader is diminished if I ignore the authority of those over me. If I play fast and loose with the directions of those over me, e.g. As an Anglican by promoting lay presidency or ignoring child protection directions, why should others respect my directions?
  4. Authority occasionally means that we have to grasp nettles and have the tough conversations. Exhorting is easier than rebuking, but Titus was encouraged to do both for the sake of building a godly community founded on grace.  
  5. Authority and servanthood travel hand in hand. Those who were amazed at the teaching of Jesus were not reacting to his status, but his compassion, wisdom and power.
As we stand in the pulpit, behind the altar or sit in the chair of a meeting, we have authority. Use it wisely for the glory of its source.

Lead on.


Feature Article 

Leading in Exile
There are an increasing number of theologians and missiologists making connections between our current cultural context and the characteristics of the exilic period in the Old Testament. In this feature article John Dunnett, general director of CPAS, distills some key traits leaders need in a time of exile, and invites us to consider how we will take on some of the cultural realities of our day. 

Read the article...


Secrets of Productive People – 50 Techniques to Get Things Done
Mark Forster (John Murray Learning 2015)

I have enjoyed Mark Forster’s books in the past (Do it Tomorrow, Get Everything Done and Still Have Time to Play) and adopted ideas from them that have been helpful. I’ve also dipped into his blog over the years. However, I consider this book to be unquestionably his best.

Mark’s fascination with the whole question of time management and productivity has led him to experiment with idea after idea over time – and to set up systems for others to experiment with too and report back to him. He has created a whole time-management community. This book is the fruit of those years of research. I consider it of particular value because Mark gives the impression of learning these skills the hard way. He is sharing wisdom from experience rather than from being a naturally productive person. 

The book starts by considering what we mean by productivity, then examines different areas of our working and leisure time, revealing our misconceptions, unhelpful thinking and unproductive habits. The book is relentlessly challenging of our tendencies to overcommit, to fill our time with busy but unimportant work, and our need to look important by spending long hours at what we do. However, in return, Mark holds out a vision of something altogether more wholesome and possible. His distinction between low level and high level tasks, and how to tackle them, is something I’ll be working on for a while. 

Reading between the lines, Mark is a Christian, but he writes for everyone. This book is really accessible with its 50 short chapters, so can be read little and often. Having had one read through myself, I’m now going back through it one chapter a day seeing what more I can put into practice. Highly recommended. 

Review by Pam Macnaughton 

Leading Links

In this blog the author reflects on the part emotions play in leadership, and how to avoid some of the traps strong emotions may lead us into. For those who want to reflect further on emotion, take a look at Jamie Dow’s excellent Grove book Engaging Emotions: The Need for Emotions in the Church

The Spectacular Ordinary Organisation
Viv Thomas is one of our foremost thinkers on issues of leadership, and he has recently made his book on organisations free as a digital download. It offers a holistic approach to organisational thinking and is well worth a read whatever organisation or church you may lead within. Click here to download your copy

Alpha Film Series
Alpha has just released their latest approach to the Alpha talks. The first is available as I write and I believe others will be released over the coming months. They are very different in format to previous versions; shorter, magazine format, and beautifully shot.  

Leaders Need Help to Be Effective Helpers
CPAS ministry partner Rod Street offers a stimulating blog on why helping is key to good leadership. Reflecting on Edgar Schein’s latest book Helping, Rod offers a superb digest of the book and practical pointers to how its insights may affect our leading. 

Exploring Call
As part of a series of events we run to help people explore God’s call on their life, our next event  is aimed at 16 to 35s who are thinking about a call to ordination. Know anyone who might be interested? Please draw the event to their attention. 9 June 2016, 7.30pm at St Luke’s Gas Street, Birmingham. More information here and book your place here.

One thing I've learned about leadership...

In our series where a leader speaks about the one thing they have learned about leadership, Roger Matthews, Dean of Mission and Ministry in Chelmsford diocese, speaks about three insights from some research into what Christian leaders need to give attention to. 

Leadership quote

‘Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.’ 
Paul J. Meyer

Next month...

A bonus issue with two feature articles, from Esther Prior and Philip Mounstephen, reflecting on authentic leadership.
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