THE LEADERSHIP JOURNEY PODCAST, SEASON 2, EPISODE 13: DAVID DUNLOP (part 2)

David Dunlop

In this week’s episode we resume David Dunlop’s story.

David describes some significant conversations that took place while on sabbatical including how he was introduced to the programme of Arrow Leadership and their work on issues of character, calling and competence in leaders. Arrow proved to be a huge formative experience for David.

Another key encounter during his sabbatical was with someone who asked him what he was doing to guard his heart (see Proverbs 4:23). Such was the impact that this verse has become David’s life verse.

From there David goes on to talk about spiritual disciplines/holy habits and describes a number of practices including a rule of life that includes spiritual disciplines, self care, use of time, and silent retreats.

As a leader he recognises the importance of being aware of perceived expectations and avoiding becoming proud when he’s praised and crushed when he is criticised. He also talks about the role of other people in his life, including the importance of his wife in helping him to guard his heart.

David also talks about his journey as a (reluctant, not unwilling) leader in Windsor – not least in his preaching ministry. We also talk about team and how David has experienced that in Windsor Baptist.

He also gets the opportunity to speak to a young version of himself and shares advice he would give which includes this: ‘If you want to be in leadership for a short time, knock yourself out’, and the advice to hold some things lightly.

 



If you would like to know more about the Arrow Leadership course you can find out more on their websites: the international site is here, and the Irish site is here.

And you can find out more about Windsor Baptist Church here.

Here are some of the books and authors mentioned in the podcast:

Carson Pue: Mentoring Leaders;

James Lawrence: Growing Leaders;

Mark Buchanan: Your God is too Safe,

Mark Buchanan: The Rest of God;

Burns, Chapman and Guthrie: Resilient Ministry.


For your own reflection:

  • What are you doing to guard your heart?
  • Do you follow any kind of rule of life?
  • If your leadership involves preaching, how do you ensure that you allow the Scripture to speak?
  • Are you clear about who you are as a leader, without needing to try to be someone you are not?
  • What is your rule of thumb about what can be held lightly and what needs to be held firmly?

Exploring your leadership journey

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I’m working (again) with the story of Moses and ways in which it provides us with a paradigm to explore the concept of a leadership journey.

Here are ten themes you might like to explore:

Key stages

For Moses, there were three stages (formative, exile, leadership), delineated by both geography and the nature of what he was doing. Think, for example, about places you have lived, stages of education, jobs, training or changes in family.

Turning points

These are hinge points that move you from one stage of your journey to another. In Moses’ life, being found out for the killing of the Egyptian propelled him rapidly into the second (exile) stage of his life.

Defining moments

These may not be unlike the turning points, but are other moments that help define your primary identity and your sense of mission.

Important people

Each season of Moses’ life included the involvement of important people: from his mother and sister in the formative years, his wife and father-in-law in the exile years, to Joshua in the leadership years. It’s worth reflecting on the people whose influence has contributed to who and where you are today.

Crucial decisions

Leaders need to be decision-makers and some of the decisions have major significance in shaping their journey. What major life-shaping decisions have you taken? Have there been times when you have had to draw a line in the sand over some issue?

Times of testing

Christian leaders never graduated from the tests and temptations that everyone else faces, but they often have to face a new, or intensified set of tests. Much of Moses’ leadership phase was marked by tests and challenges. What are some of the seasons of testing (both personal and in terms of your leadership) that you have faced?

Notable successes

It can be tricky to talk about ’success’ in Christian leadership. However, are there times you can see that God has been working through you (Moses had the Red Sea!) and there is evidence of fruit?

Regrettable failures

Leadership is not always going to be an unbroken series of success stories. The reality is that leaders fail – both in terms of their leadership and, sadly, in their personal lives. What have been some of your failures and what have you been able to learn from them?

Life lessons

What have you been learning along the way in terms of God, yourself, the nature and challenge of leadership?

THE LEADERSHIP JOURNEY PODCAST, SEASON 2, EPISODE 12: David Dunlop

David Dunlop

This week’s guest is David Dunlop, pastor of Windsor Baptist Church in South Belfast (yes, another South Belfast Baptist Church) – a diverse church which can count 15-18 nationalities on a Sunday. He has just celebrated his tenth anniversary as pastor of the church (and not so long ago, his 50th birthday).

David describes how he came to faith in Christ as a child, so beginning a journey that has continued (with some bumps in the road) for over 40 years. He describes a stage of ‘going through the motions’ in terms of church, and reaching a point of recommitment at 18 – not least through involvement in an event that many Northern Irish Christians (of a certain age) will remember: Mannafest.

In terms of early influence he describes the example of the pastor of the church where he grew up (though David had no pastoral aspirations at that time) and some teachers he knew at school.

In his early 20s he was given the opportunity (along with his wife) to lead the church youth group. He talks about one of the key lessons from his work with young people – the importance of building trust and earning the right to speak: something he believes was ‘caught, not taught’. They underwent training  on a youth ministry course with Oasis Trust in London.

At the end of the training, there was an opportunity for both David and his wife to work as the youth pastoral team in their home church in Ballynahinch – where they served for 13 years (though their roles changed after 8 years). David describes the enjoyment of working in a team, but the highlight was working with the young people and the privilege of journeying with them through various stages of growth and development.

He also talks about the journey of moving from Ballynahinch to Windsor Baptist (despite having resolved that he would never be a pastor). His experience of ‘calling’ is a little different from how others have experienced it!

For your own reflection:

How do you respond to David’s thoughts and experience in the lead up to moving to Windsor Baptist? Does this challenge what you have tended to think in terms of ‘the call’? What about the role of other people in helping us to discern in our decision-making?