The Leadership Journey Podcast (24): Ken McBride (part 1)


This week’s guest on the podcast is Ken McBride: Ken retired last year after over 35 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. For most of that time he was minister of Orangefield Presbyterian, in East Belfast.

Ken talks about his childhood faith (‘I gave the little I knew of myself to the little I knew of God, and it’s been a constant journey ever since’) and some of the seeds of leadership that appeared through his involvement with a band who were engaged in music and apologetics. He also discusses how God used the most famous verse in the Bible to lead him out of a period of doubt in his twenties.

Perhaps surprisingly for someone who would go on to spend so much time in church leadership, Ken was initially resistant to work in the institution of the church, though he was inspired to be involved in ministry. Along the way he has learned to allow God to bring him into his plans, rather than the other way around: as a self-confessed talker, he had to learn to listen!

For your own reflection:

Do you tend to ask God to bless your plans more than you ask him to tell him his plans?

The Leadership Journey Podcast (23): Ken Clarke (part 2)

bishopkenclarkeThis week there is more from Bishop Ken (Fanta) Clarke, mission director of SAMS (UK and Ireland).

The greatest need of my people is my personal holiness (Robert Murray McCheyne).

This week Ken talks about risk taking and younger leaders, about his experience of culture shock when he went to Chile, about the need for leaders to take time to be reflective, and the challenge of trust.

He also tells the story about a somewhat nerve-wracking experience in isolation on an African mountain and what he learned at that time!

And there are these four key pieces of advice:

  1. Don’t be a maverick: think team!
  2. Remember that team members have different capacities;
  3. Have soul friends;
  4. Guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23).

For your own reflection:

  • How easy to you find it to take time to reflect on your purpose as a leader and on the purpose of your church/organisation? How much time do you spend listening to God?
  • If you lead a team, do you train them well enough that they can leave but treat them well enough that they don’t want to?

The Leadership Journey Podcast (22): Ken Clarke (part 1)


bishopkenclarkeThis week’s guest on the podcast is one of the best known and most popular leaders in the Northern Irish evangelical church: Ken (Fanta) Clarke. Ken has served (and continues to serve) in a number of roles through the years, including time spent in South America as a missionary, local church leadership on both sides of the Irish border, his role as Bishop in the Church of Ireland, and his current role as mission director for SAMS UK and Ireland (South American Mission Society).

In this episode he talks about some of the events and people who helped form him for leadership. He discusses his definition of a leader as someone with a compass in their head and a magnet in their heart and underlines his belief in the potential impact of one godly life.

As you listen:

  • Who are some of the people who have helped shape you in your leadership?
  • Are you seeking to make the most of whatever calling you have to influence others?

The Leadership Journey Podcast (21): Ian Parkinson (part 2)


Ian Parkinson from CPAS is back in this week’s episode and shares his wisdom on some important aspects of the leader’s task. He discusses the concept of culture in a church or organisation, as well as the process of leading change, drawing from some interesting concepts in the work of William Bridges. He also talks about mentoring and gives us a list of five recommended books.

The first three are written from a specifically Christian perspective:

  1. Growing Leaders (James Lawrence)
  2. The Undefended Leader (Simon Walker)
  3. Relational Leadership (Walter Wright)

There are two more general books:

  1. Leaders (Bennis and Nanus)
  2. The Leadership Challenge (Kouzes and Posner)

It’s only fair to mention Ian’s own Reignite: Seeing God Rekindle Life and Purpose in Your Church.


The Leadership Journey Podcast (20): Ian Parkinson (part 1)


This week’s guest is Ian Parkinson. Ian is a leadership specialist with CPAS, an Anglican evangelical mission agency that works with churches. He has also worked as a local church leader and in a leadership role with the New Wine network of churches. He is the author of Reignite: Seeing God Rekindle Life and Purpose in Your Church.

In this episode Ian talks about discovering faith and how he found God developing his leadership gift as he grew spiritually.

He spends some time discussing the theme of wilderness, describing a year long phase that followed his time at university. He has come to believe that an experience of being emptied or shaken is the only basis for effective Christian leadership: the leader needs to encounter God and learn to rely on him.

For reflection as you listen:

  • What do you think about Ian’s claim that leaders need to encounter the wilderness if they are to be truly effective for God?
  • Reflect on a time as a leader when you came to the end of your resources and had to learn to rely on God in a new way.

In next week’s episode Ian goes on to discuss the issues of culture and change in leadership.



Paul Reid is back for another episode of the podcast. Among the things we discuss are various styles of leadership and the importance of leaders (and others) figuring out who they are. We also discuss leaders’ insecurity and Paul touches on another of the paradigm shifts in his ministry: the question of women in leadership. He also talks about retirement, and the importance of leaders having a plan in place as they approach retirement.

And he shares some of the lessons he has learned along the way, including:

  • the need to embrace weakness
  • the importance of keeping a united team
  • the value of having people around to care during times of challenge
  • the issue of ‘disintegrated anticipation’ (you will have to listen to the podcast to understand what this is, but it has to do with fads!).

Here is a link to the book Paul mentions on teams – The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

The Leadership Journey Podcast (18) Paul Reid (part 2)


This week Paul Reid is back on the podcast. If you missed the first part of his story, you can catch up with it here. This week’s episode picks up Paul’s story from his appointment as pastor of CFC in Belfast.

Among the things Paul discusses during the podcast are issues of church autonomy and his approach to remaining open to outside voices; the influence of John Wimber and his own emphasis on a message of grace; his – and CFC’s experience of the Toronto Blessing; and how he has sought to maintain a balance of Word and Spirit in his ministry.

As you listen to the podcast, here are some things to think about:

  1. If you are a church leader – especially if you are in an autonomous church set-up, how do you and your church keep your leadership open and accountable to others?
  2. Have you thought through a theology of prayer and healing?
  3. ‘There is no small print in the message of God’s love and grace’: how do you respond to what Paul says about grace?
  4. If you are a church leader, how have you gone about ensuring that your ministry is about both Word and Spirit?

In next week’s podcast, Paul will be reflecting on some of what he has learned through the course of his leadership journey.

You can subscribe (for free) to the podcast here.

And here is this week’s episode: