Our calling, however, is often shaped as much by our weaknesses as by our strength. We tend to run with our strengths and avoid those people and tasks that expose our weaknesses. But the story of God is not a saga of human potential; it is the revelation of the kindness and passion of the Father who seeks and redeems sinners. Therefore, our strengths may help us with certain opportunities, but it is our frailty and sin that make known the glory of God’s story.Dan Allender, Leading with a Limp
My guest on this week’s podcast is Simon Barrington. Simon is the founder of Forge Leadership Consultancy, having previously served in leadership roles with BT and Samaritan’s Purse. He is the author (with Rachel Luetchford) of Leading the Millennial Way. The book reports on a significant research project that surveyed some 500 millennial (born between 1984 and 2000) leaders and aims to help millennial leaders strengthen their own leadership and also to benefit older leaders whose work involves leading millennials.
In our conversation Simon talks first about his own leadership journey and reflects on a lightbulb moment where he began to realise that leadership has to deal with character and not simply capacity. We talk about the genesis of the millennial research and chat about some aspects of millennials and some of the things they (and any leader, really) need to cultivate as they grow in their leadership.
Simon talks about this book that was very significant in his own development and in understanding what it means to lead well. You can pick up a copy here.
Simon also shares a couple of key things he would want to share with his 20 year old self:
- Develop your intimacy with Jesus – learn to walk with God every day;
- Make the investment to deal with ways you have been wounded.
To read more about the research behind Simon’s book, visit the website.
My guest today on the podcast is Dave Burke. Dave lives in Sunderland where he provides mental health first aid training (see his website for more on this). Previously Dave has helped lead several churches in various parts of England, including Leicester and his native Sunderland.
In our conversation Dave traces the various stages of his leadership journey, from his conversion as a student in Swansea through his path into Christian ministry. We talk about team ministry (‘the best ministry flows from friendship’) and Dave talks about people who have influenced him along the way.
He also talks about what he would say to his 20 year old self:
- Be wary of an independent streak: the Christian life is a tension between taking responsibility but also relying on God;
- Invest in deep friendships (and don’t let them go);
- Invest in small habits that appear to make little difference day to day, but make a significant difference over time;
- Don’t be quick to dismiss what you judge not to be properly Christian;
- Remember that theologians are great teachers but poor listeners.
Dave has agreed to write a guest blog post on this theme over the next couple of weeks.
Thanks to Aaron (Rico) Robinson, one of my former students, for kindly offering me this new design for the podcast!
Notice the map theme that conveys the idea of a journey. There is a touch of the old, with the ordnance survey-style contours (leadership has its ups and downs), and a touch of the new with the online-style icon marking a location.
This week I am speaking with David Bruce, the current Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI). David is also secretary to the Council for Mission in Ireland with the PCI.
We talk a little about how the Presbyterian Church is emerging from lockdown and what some of the lessons might be for the Church and we explore various stages of David’s leadership journey, including his conversion as a teenager, through his time at university and theological study, and on to various roles – as a local church minister, working for Scripture Union, both in Northern Ireland and internationally – leading up to his current role.
Along the way David talks about some of the people who have most profoundly influenced him, and shares wisdom around various aspects of leadership, including how teams need to be able to incorporate a degree of tension between the roles of various team members. David shares three ways he would advise his 18 year old self, and there is a story about writing on the ceiling!
‘Deconstruction is as important as construction.’
What’s your response to this observation as the Church emerges from lockdown?