Paul Tripp on ‘The Crucible of Leadership’

“I am drawn to leadership books that reinforce the truth that successful leadership is about more than how many people follow you or what you have accomplished, but rather, about who you are becoming. Christian leaders need to always remember that they are being called and crafted by God, are in an ongoing process of spiritual growth, and are dependent on the gifts of others. Leadership doesn’t belong to us but to the One who has called us and loves us. Employing the story of Moses, The Crucible of Leadership is a powerful, personal, and practical reminder of all of these things. There is no leader who wouldn’t benefit from this book.”

Paul David Tripp, Author, Lead: 12 Gospel Principles for Leadership in the Church and New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional

‘The Crucible of Leadership’ is scheduled to be released in June.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Debbie Hawker on Resilience

This week’s guest on the podcast is Dr Debbie Hawker. Debbie is a clinical psychologist who works along with her husband, Dr David Hawker, to support mission partners and humanitarian workers. Their work includes providing assessments and reviews as well as retreats and training. The organisations she has worked with include Tearfund, Latin Links, Interserve and YWAM. Debbie has provided training or consultations in a significant number of countries, from Argentina and Australia to The US and the UK.

In addition to her contributions to specialist publications, she has written a couple of recent books that are aimed at a wider audience – including ‘Resilience in Life and Faith’, which she has co-authored with Tony Horsfall, a recent guest on the podcast.

In the podcast we talk about the book and Debbie shares about a model for thinking about resilience that she sums up with the acrostic SPECS.

  • Spiritual aspects of resilience;
  • Physical aspects of resilience;
  • Emotional aspects of resilience;
  • Cognitive and Creative aspects of resilience;
  • Social and systemic aspects of resilience.

If you’d like to get a copy of the book Debbie and her family have written on creation care, it is ‘Changing the Climate: Applying the Bible in a Climate Emergency’.

For more information on Kintsugi Hope, which we mentioned in the conversation, you can list their website.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Ajith Fernando

My first guest of the year is Ajith Fernando. Ajith was National Director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka for 35 years and since his retirement from the post has continued as a mentor to the organisation and young leaders.

In our conversation we talk about his leadership journey, including the early influence of an Irish Methodist missionary in Sri Lanka, and Ajith talks about one of his earliest challenges as a young leader and how it helped to shape his ministry approach. He shares some thoughts on the state of the global Church and reflects on some of the things that have helped him to stay fresh over several decades of ministry.

We also talk about Ajith’s writing. Among the significant number of books he has written are his NIVAC commentary on Acts and his reflections on ‘Jesus-driven ministry’.

The next episode of the podcast will feature a conversation with psychologist and author, Debbie Hawker when we will be discussing resilience in Christian ministry.

Here is the conversation with Ajith:

The Leadership JOurney Podcast: Tony Horsfall

Tony Horsfall describes himself as a writer, a retreat leader, a mentor, and a friend. He is based in Yorkshire. Tony has had several decades of experience in Christian Ministry – as a church-planting missionary in Malaysia, a pastor in England, a missions trainer, and a retreat leader. He has been involved in membercare, and serves under the auspices of Charis Training: their website will give you links to books and articles he has written – some of which we talk about in the podcast, including Spiritual Growth in a Time of Change, and Rhythms of Grace.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Simon Stuart (A rocha)

Simon Stuart is the Executive Director of A Rocha International, a family of Christian organisations involved in conservation projects around the world. Simon has worked in conservation for many years and in 2020 was awarded the prestigious Blue Planet Prize in recognition of his work.

Simon has also been a personal friend of mine for over 30 years. He worked alongside me as an elder in Westlake Church in Nyon, Switzerland, before he and his family moved to the United States.

Simon’s work with A Rocha brings together his love for God and his concern for the wellbeing of what God has made.

In our conversation we talk about Simon’s journey in the world of conservation and how he integrates faith and science. We touch on the issue of climate change – to know more Simon recommends you visit the website of Christian climate scientist, Katherine Hayhoe, and Simon shares some of what he would say to his 20 year old self.

We’re planning one more podcast episode before Christmas, when the guest will be Tony Horsfall. Tony is a teacher and trainer; he has worked overseas and has authored several books, including ‘Resilience in Life and Faith’, and ‘Working from a Place of Rest.’

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Ruth Garvey-Williams

Ruth and her husband, Andrew, have been living in Buncrana, Donegal for the past 17 years where they have been involved in a range of ways with their local community and have recently facilitated the start of a new fellowship. Ruth is also the founder and editor of Vox magazine and has recently published, ‘Gloriously Ordinary’ which she has written with Andrew and several other people involved in mission.

‘Gloriously Ordinary’ sets out several principles that Ruth believes are key to incarnation mission in Ireland: you can order a copy of the book from Teach Solas, an Irish Christian bookshop in County Cork (Teach Solas is Irish for Lighthouse).

In our conversation we talk about Buncrana’s ‘Amazing Grace Festival’ (are you aware of the connection between Donegal and John Newton?), about team ministry, incarnational mission, and signs of hope for the Church in Ireland.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: ‘Canoeing the Mountains’ with Tod Bolsinger

This week Tod Bolsinger returns to talk about his book ‘Canoeing the Mountains’ (he previously talked to us about his more recent book, Tempered Resilience). The title is a metaphor for the situation church leaders find themselves in when what lies ahead of them and their leadership looks very different from what they have been trained for and grown accustomed to: leaders need to be aware of the changes that have happened in the Western World and of the need for ‘technical competence, ‘adaptive change’, and ‘relational congruence.’

We also get the opportunity to hear a bit about the man behind the books, including what Tod would like to say to his 20-year-old self.

Feel free to add your own caption!

The guest on the next episode of the podcast will be Ruth Garvey-Williams, editor of VOX Magazine.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Tod Bolsinger on ‘Tempered Resilience’

In this (shorter) episode of the podcast the guest is Tod Bolsinger from Fuller Seminary in California. Tod is the author of several books, including his most recent book, Tempered Resilience: How Leaders Are Formed in the Crucible of Change.

It’s a follow on from Tod’s previous book, Canoeing the Mountains in which he discusses what it means for Christian leaders to lead in the uncharted waters of a rapidly-changing culture.

In Tempered Resilience, he walks us through a blacksmith’s forge and compares the steps in preparing a metal tool with the spiritual formation of a leader who is being prepared to ‘hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope’ (quoted from Martin Luther King).

The smithing process involves working (‘leaders are formed in leading’), heating (‘strength is formed in self-reflection’), holding (‘vulnerable leadership requires relational security’), hammering (‘stress makes a leader’), hewing (‘resilience takes practice’), and tempering (‘resilience comes through a rhythm of leading and not leading’).

Next week Tod will return to the podcast to talk about his previous book, Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: David Cupples

This week’s guest on the podcast is David Cupples, minister of Enniskillen Presbyterian Church in County Fermanagh. David had been minister there for over 30 years, having arrived in the town in September 1987, just weeks before the community was devastated by a Remembrance Day bomb.

In our conversation David talks about some of his experience as a minister at that time. He also talks about some of what he has found to be important in sustaining a long ministry in one place. he shares a bit about his time on the Camino Santiago and, as with other guests on the podcast, has some advice for his 20-year-old self.

David has written a book on his Camino experience and you can order a copy by contacting him via Enniskillen Presbyterian Church.

The guest on the podcast in a couple of weeks will be Tod Bolsinger who will be talking about his most recent book, Tempered Resilience: How Leaders are Formed in the Crucible of Change.

The Crucible of Leadership: Learning from the Story of Moses

This week I have signed a contract with Instant Apostle for the publication of a book I have been working on. The book is The Crucible of Leadership: Learning from the Story of Moses, and it should be available in May/June of next year.

His formative years were spent in Egypt where he had been born into a family of Hebrew slaves but remarkably ended up being raised as a member of the royal family. A failed attempt to lead a liberation movement resulted in his being pitched unceremoniously into the wilderness years – forty years spent in the Midianite desert where the peak of his career appears to have been taking care of his father-in-law’s sheep – quite a contrast with some of the traditional understandings of his time in Egypt which tell tales of military prowess! Finally, after a remarkable encounter with God on the edge of the desert, his life takes another dramatic turn and he becomes a reluctant leader, going on to spend the next forty years navigating the highs and lows of leadership in the desert.

The Crucible of Leadership explores the life-shaping journey of leadership by weaving together a series of reflections and framing them in the context of the remarkable story of Moses as it has come down to us in our Bible.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Chris Green on ‘The Gift’

This week’s guest on the podcast is Chris Green. Chris leads a church in North London and this month IVP has published his most recent book: The Gift.

I’ve already written about the book, so you can get a quick idea of what the main ideas of the book are. In our conversation, Chris talks about some of his other work, including other books he has written, including The Message of the Church, a biblical theology of the Church, part of the Bible Speaks Today series, and Cutting to the Heart, on application in preaching.

He talks about the key ideas of The Gift, including some cautions about whether and how we should think of Jesus as the Model Leader, why church leaders could think of their work in terms of the twelve slices of pizza, and what he means when he defines church leadership as ‘Corporate Application’.

Along the way we mention the work of Patrick Lencioni and his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, which is well worth your while checking out.

And we have a discount code: you will pick up the code if you listen to the podcast and it will give you IVP’s best price when you order from their website.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Justyn Terry on The Five Phases of Leadership

This week’s podcast episode features another author interview. My guest is Dr. Justin Terry and the book is The Five Phases of Leadership, recently published by Langham (you can order a copy from their website). You can read a quick overview of the book on the blog and the podcast conversation will allow you to get a bit more detail.

The basic premise, as the title suggests, that there are five phases to a leadership assignment. You could almost call them stages, but thinking of them as phases allows for some overlap between them.

  • Establish trust
  • Cultivate leaders
  • Discern vision
  • Implement plans
  • Transition out

Justyn Terry is Vice-Principal at Wycliffe Hall in Oxford. Previously he served as Dean/President of Trinity School of Ministry in Pittsburgh and as Minister of St Helen’s Church in North Kensington.

The guest on the next episode of the podcast will be Chris Green, and he will be talking about his book The Gift: How your Leadership can Serve your Church. The book will be launched next week and you can read my review on the blog.

The Gift: How your leadership can serve your church

Continuing the theme of posts on my summer reading (especially for leaders), this one is a little different in that the book in question has not yet been released: it’s due on August 19. In preparation for the launch, the author made an electronic copy available ahead of time and I have been having a read.

The book is The Gift and it is aimed at church leaders. The author, Chris Green, is the vicar of a church in North London and previously served as Vice-Principal at Oak Hill Theological College. He has written or edited several other books, including Cutting to the Heart, on application in teaching and preaching.

It hardly needs to be said the there is no shortage of books and resources on leadership, including Christian leadership. Some, like Emma Ineson’s book on ambition, or Tod Bolsinger’s recent offering on resilience (review and podcast to come), have a particular focus on a specific area of the leader’s life; others, like James Lawrence‘s Growing Leaders, or Ian Parkinson’s Understanding Christian Leadership take a wider look at a range of relevant issues. Chris Green’s focus is on the task of church leadership, and the primary audience to benefit from the book will be pastors and ministers, for whom the book will serve as an opportunity to recalibrate their understanding of their role, and rediscover the core of their calling.

For there is a plethora of voices and leadership models, clamouring for the leader’s attention. Is the pastor essentially an ecclesiastical CEO? At the other end of the spectrum, a teacher? A counsellor? What does it mean to lead a church, and to do so in a way that is shaped by biblical priorities and values? This book will go some way to answering those questions.

The book falls broadly into two parts, though there is a third element – one of those leadership fables that draws you in and sets you up for the teaching content of the book. The fable unfolds in three parts: in the book’s prelude, in an interlude between the two main parts of the book, and in a postlude. It imagines a number of people involved in ministry who get together for a seminar with an old college professor.

The first part of the book (‘Who needs leaders?’) starts by seeking to establish some some biblical and theological reasons why we need leaders at all and moves on to discuss how healthy rule breaks down, resulting in what appear to be opposites, but which are theological twins: anarchy and tyranny. Anarchy seeks freedom at the expense of rule while tyranny imposes rule without freedom. From there (and there is a biblical-theological logic in the progression) we move to a chapter on celebrity, comparison and the sin of Babel: the problem of the ‘Peacock Pastor’. Let we conclude too quickly that Jesus might be the model leader, the author warns us about the serious danger of trivialising him. It’s too easy for us to find our own leadership ideas illustrated in Jesus. we need to heed this warning:

If you see [Jesus] as a ‘Great Leader’, but don’t put that in the context of his being the ultimate, eternal King, then all you’ll get is someone general common sense on teams and priorities. YOu’ll quote him, Confucius and Winston Churchill in the same breath.

Nonetheless there is ‘buried treasure’ for us in the study of Jesus. We can note his passion and his focus, but it’s important to see him more as our pattern than as our leadership guru. When Jesus taught his disciples about leadership, he called them to service, in contrast to the self-exalting ambition of the Gentiles. And he still leads the Church: through his word, through the Spirit, and by gifting members of his Body, empowering them to lead through the gifts of the Spirit.

That idea prepares the way for the second part of the book, ‘The Gift’, in which the author carefully and methodically works towards his definition of leadership: we have to wait until chapter 14 before we get there!

The first few chapters of this section focus on the particular gifts of teaching and leading which the author argues should come together in the Church’s pastors/elders/overseers. To be a leader only, at its most dangerous, is to lead in ways that come adrift from Scripture; to be a teacher only, is to run the risk of applying Scripture in purely individual, rather than corporate ways. And since the proposed definition of leadership is ‘Corporate application’, this matters.

It matters too that the leader’s method and message are integrated (the case of Diotrophes is summoned as evidence). As it matters where we source our wisdom, and it matters that we remain attentive to the reasons why we do what we do.

The author loves pizza and as he gets closer to his definition of church leadership and how it works out, he talks about ministry as a 12-slice pizza. It’s worth noting the slices:

  • Study
  • Small groups
  • Preaching
  • Praise
  • Counselling
  • Mutual Care
  • Discipling
  • Evangelism
  • World mission
  • Training
  • Self-discipleship
  • Leadership

Sprinkled all across the whole pizza – every slice – are olives. They may not be to everyone’s taste on a literal pizza, but in this leadership model, the Acts 6 ministries of prayer and ministry of the word are to permeate everything.

Leadership then is ‘corporate application’: it is bringing the word of God to bear in all facets of the life of the church: its formal organisation, its family dynamics, and its future intentions. One chapter is given over to a practical illustration of what this approach would look like in addressing a pastoral issue and the final chapter concludes with the exhortation to ‘preach the word’ but to remember that its application needs to be bigger than the pulpit (think of those pizza slices).

If you are looking for something to guide you step-by-step through how to discern a vision, how to apply Belbin to your ministry leadership team, or how to find tools that will help you to communicate more effectively, or strategies for managing change, The Gift may not quite be the book you are looking for. It doesn’t aim to answer all those questions. In many ways it is more fundamental than that and that is why you will benefit from reading it! As I said at the start of this review, it will provide you with an opportunity to recalibrate your ministry and remind you how the Lord of the Church has equipped you to do what you do.



For more on the book, you can watch out for a podcast conversation with Chris in the second half of the month, after the book has launched.

Meantime, for those of you on Facebook, you can join the book launch team (https://www.facebook.com/groups/thegiftlaunch/) and you can even join in a ZOOM session with the author on Wednesday evening (August 12).

Refreshing your leadership

Refreshing your leadership is a 6-part course intended for groups of Christian leaders. It’s been designed primarily for church or ministry leaders and aims to give leaders the opportunity to grow in their leadership by reflecting on their own leadership journey, on the task of leadership, and what it means to lead as a follower of Jesus.

Download a copy of the brochure for more information, and feel free to contact me if you’re interested in running the course.

The Five Phases of Leadership

Another of my summer reads has been Justyn Terry’s book (published by Langham earlier this year) on the five phases of leadership. The author is Vice-Principal of Wycliffe Hall in Oxford and has previously served as a parish minister and the head of a theological seminary in the US.

The basic premise of the book is simple but very helpful: a leadership assignment can be considered as consisting of five phases: establishing trust, cultivating leaders, discerning vision, implementing plans, and transitioning out. While there is likely to be a logical and chronological flow between each of the five, it’s best to think of them as phases rather than stages, as there may well be overlap between some of them.

The chapter on the foundational task of establishing trust is a chapter on the character of the leader. Obviously the subject of a leader’s character could be approached from a number of different perspectives: here, the author uses Paul’s list of the fruit of the Spirit – the fruit are by no means limited to leaders, but they are explored here with a leader-perspective.

While ‘developing trust never ends’ and therefore phase one remains relevant throughout a leadership assignment, there are other things a leader must do: cultivating other leaders is one of them. The author dips in to his own experience to illustrate the kinds of leaders that might need to be developed and also includes a helpful short section on ways we might identify potential leaders, summing them up with five ‘i’s: integrity, initiatives, influence, intuition, and intelligence.

Next, leaders need to discern vision: what does it mean to clarify the future of your church or organisation? ‘How would you describe it in five- or ten-years’ time if it fulfilled its God-given potential?’ The chapter discusses vision, purpose, and core values. I wondered in reading this chapter if what is presented is more relevant to existing organisations than to new ventures: part of the counsel is to explore the past with a view to discerning a trajectory for the future.

The fourth chapter is by far the longest and most ambitious in the book (it is twice as long as the next-longest). There are a lot of nuts and bolts to work through – all very useful and helpful to leaders who want to do a better job of implementing the plans that arise from their discernment of vision. For example there is wise advice on communication and on the use of time across a church’s year. I wonder if the chapter might have been written differently, with some of the detail (like finance management) covered in a short series of appendices.

Finally, the book discusses transition: when is it time for the leader to move on? Leaders leave too soon or, conversely, hold on too long – especially if Howard Gardner is right in his claim that ‘sooner or later, nearly all leaders outreach themselves and end up undermining their causes’!

Justyn Terry has served us well with this overview of the phases of a leadership assignment: each of the five chapters has something to say to leaders wishing to lead well, regardless of whether they find themselves in phase one or phase five.

The book is available to purchase from Langham.

**Justyn will be joining me on next week’s Leadership Journey Podcast to discuss the contents of his book.

Ambition: What Jesus Said about Power, Success and Counting Stuff

Summer can provide extra time and opportunities for reading and over the past few weeks I have been working my way through a few newish books around themes of Christian Leadership. One of these is Ambition: What Jesus Said about Power, Success and Counting Stuff , by Emma Ineson, Anglican Bishop of Penrith and previously Principal of Trinity College in Bristol.

The book’s chapters basically form a series of thought-provoking and helpful theological reflections around the theme of ambition, particularly as it relates to Christian leaders.

As Christians, how should we think of ‘success‘? Does failure actually have a part to play in success? Would we be better talking in terms of excellence (even if that has pitfalls of its own)?

What about ambition (the title of the book)? Is it OK for a Christian to be ambitious? Perhaps the answer to that is ‘it depends’! The author suggests that leaders need not to be afraid of ambition, but must pay more attention to character, learn to be accountable (‘The more ambitious you are, the more you will need others alongside you’), and develop a keen sense of theological reflection.

Then there is a chapter on counting (Goodhart’s law on measures and targets would have fitted well here). Counting can be useful (it helps us to know where we are) when done for the right reasons, but there are various wrong reasons for counting, not least the temptation to validate our existence by numbers).

Not too far from counting is the trap of comparison, and this too gets a chapter in which we get to meet the ‘approval monster’ (‘those with a high aptitude for performance have an interior approval monster who is very, very greedy’) and note some ways he might be tamed.

The final two chapters take a slightly different direction in that they focus less on traps related to ambition and more on positive leadership characteristics. First, we are encouraged to reflect on what it means to lead in the image of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are ambassadors of our King; we take our place in ‘the cross-shaped gap and mediate between what is and what could be’; and we lead with the vision that is inspired in us by the Holy Spirit who points us forward to the completion of the Kingdom.

The final chapter is a reflection on the Beatitudes of Matthew 5, reading them as ‘key spiritual dispositions’.

Overall it’s a very good read, not only for the thought-provoking way it tosses up important questions for leaders, but also as a model of good theological reflection.

The Leadership Journey Podcast – Rick Hill on ‘Deep Roots of Resilient Disciples’

This week Rick Hill returns to the podcast (you can listen to the story of his leadership journey here and here) to talk about his new book on discipleship. Rick has written out of a deep concern to see followers of Jesus put down deep roots that will enable them to persevere in the long haul.

I had the opportunity to read the book ahead of its publication and write an endorsement.

Rick Hill is an outstanding young Christian leader, and this book expresses his heart for his generation and for those of us of any generation who are willing to listen. Simply put, it’s a renewed call to follow Jesus. Rick writes out of a deep and authentic pastoral concern and grounds his message in the realities of everyday life. What he proposes is a fresh discovery of the heart of discipleship - a call to follow Jesus and obey him, to cultivate a relationship with him, and in the process be changed to be more like him. While his style of communication is fresh and relevant, he is never faddish; and while he writes with compassion and genuine understanding of the issues that turn some people away from the Church, he never softens the call or downplays the cost. In a rapidly changing world, here is an invitation to rediscover the significance of a two thousand year-old message. Read it and digest it. Then go out and buy another copy to give away! 

For more on the book, visit Rick’s website, where you can order a copy.

Rick Hill on Resilient Disciples

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Ray and Jani Ortlund

The guests on this episode of the podcast are Ray and Jani Ortlund and the interview was carried out in conjunction with the Keswick at Portstewart Convention where Ray has been delivering some online Bible teaching. If you’d like to watch the interview you can catch it on the Keswick at Portstewart Youtube channel.

Ray and Jani have been married for almost fifty years and for most of that time they have served in ministry together. Ray has pastored several churches, including Immanuel, Nashville, whose leadership he handed over to TJ Tims in 2019. Together they oversee the work of Renewal Ministries.

Both have authored several books: Jani most recent book is Help! I’m Married to My Pastor while Ray’s next book, to be released in September, is The Death of Porn: Men of Integrity Building a World of Nobility.

In the next episode of the podcast, Rick Hill will be making a return visit: this time he will be talking about his new book, Deep Roots of Resilient Disciples.

The Crucible of Leadership: Learning from the Story of Moses

This week I have been wrapping up some editing of a book manuscript that I have been working on for a year or so. I’ve sent it to a publisher who has expressed some interest, so we will see how that goes.

I’ve called it ‘The Crucible of Leadership’ and in it I’ve set out several things that I think Christian leaders need to come to terms with in their leadership. My reflections are framed in the context of the remarkable story of Moses.

His formative years were spent in Egypt where he had been born into a family of Hebrew slaves but remarkably ended up being raised as a member of the royal family. A failed attempt to lead a liberation movement resulted in his being pitched unceremoniously into the wilderness years – forty years spent in the Midianite desert where the peak of his career appears to have been taking care of his father-in-law’s sheep – quite a contrast with some of the traditional understandings of his time in Egypt which tell tales of military prowess! Finally, after a remarkable encounter with God on the edge of the desert, his life takes another dramatic turn and he becomes a reluctant leader, going on to spend the next forty years navigating the highs and lows of leadership in the desert.


Here are the chapter headings:

  • Introduction: (Yet) Another book on Leadership!
  • Chapter One: Wise leaders know that they don’t get there by themselves.
  • Chapter Two: Wise leaders learn to navigate the desert.
  • Chapter Three: Wise leaders get over their excuses.
  • Chapter Four: Wise leaders understand that ministry is best shared.
  • Chapter Five: Wise leaders know that God loves them.
  • Chapter Six: Wise leaders know that they cannot escape criticism.
  • Chapter Seven: Wise leaders realise that they are not the finished article.
  • Chapter Eight: Wise leaders understand when to hand on the baton.
  • Epilogue: Wise leaders don’t get in the way of Jesus.

Here is how the book’s epilogue concludes:

The final piece of biblical narrative that involves Moses comes in the story of Jesus’ transfiguration.

Peter, James and John, the inner circle of his disciples, accompanied him to pray on a mountain where Moses and Elijah appeared and engaged in conversation with Jesus about his impending death in Jerusalem. After Peter’s misguided suggestion about building a shelter each for Jesus and the two Old Testament figures, a cloud covered them and a voice spoke:

This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him (Matthew 17:5).

When their vision cleared, the only leader they could see was Jesus.

And that is a good place for us to conclude. Our reflections have been framed in the story of a towering leader-figure, but one who was flawed. At the start of his leadership he attempted to wriggle out of God’s call; later he sabotaged his leadership through anger and his story ended with disappointment.

The only flawless leader is Jesus, perfect in obedience, love and humility.
Listen to Him!

Wise leaders set themselves to walk in His ways, and they take care not to get in His way!

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Darran McCorriston

Darran McCorriston is the minister of Ballyloughan Presbyterian Church in Ballymena, where he has served for fifteen years. Alongside his ministry in the church he chairs the committee for the Keswick at Portstewart Convention – an annual gathering on Northern Ireland’s north coast that is part of the family of the wider Keswick movement.

In our conversation Darran talks about influences he experienced growing up, about some of his early ventures into Christian ministry, and about people from whom he has learned various aspects of leadership. He also talks about some of the challenges he has faced and about the things he’s say to his twenty-year-old self.

The fruit of your life depends on the root of your life.

The guests on the next episode of the podcast will be Ray and Jani Ortlund. Ray will be providing Bible teaching at this year’s Keswick at Portstewart event (Sunday, July 11 – Thursday, July 15) and you will be able to watch a video of our conversation during the week of the convention (from Tuesday, July 13 at noon), on the Keswick website. The audio will also be available here, and via Apple Podcasts and Spotify, also on Tuesday, July 13.

It is still possible to benefit from the special offer on Terry Virgo’s new book, God’s Treasured Possession: the code mentioned in my recent conversation with Terry is valid for the whole of this month.

Speaking of books, Rick Hill‘s new book, Resilient Discipleship launches next week and you can order a copy here.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Terry Virgo on ‘God’s Treasured Possession’

This week Terry Virgo is back on the podcast and he’s talking about his new book, ‘God’s Treasured Possession: Walk in the Footsteps of Moses’, which has just recently been published by IVP.

We start our conversation by asking ‘why Moses?’ and go on to talk about a number of the themes arising from the book.

There is a special offer for listeners in that IVP, the book’s publishers, are offering a discount when you order from their website: you can get the code at the beginning and end of the podcast.

Terry was previously on the podcast in November when we discussed his leadership journey. You can listen to that conversation here.

God’s Treasured Possession: Walk in the Footsteps of Moses

For some time Moses has been one of my main go-to characters in terms of biblical material on leaders. I’ve been particularly interested in the way his story functions as a paradigm of a leadership journey – in fact I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the past twelve months doing some writing about it all.

So I have had a special interest in Terry Virgo’s most recent book which is fairly hot off the presses. God’s Treasured Possession (IVP) is Terry’s exposition of the story of Moses, from his origin story, with its inherent identity conflict, to the end of his life, falling short of getting into the Promised Land, and further, to his appearance with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.

It’s a wonderful read, combining careful attention to the details of the story as we have it in the text of Exodus and Numbers with insights from Terry’s years as a pastor and leader.

The book opens with the claim that the story is ‘a story written for us’ and actually begins on the Emmaus Road with the two disciples whose hearts burned as the risen Jesus opened up the Scriptures in a way that they had never known. The ancient events of the Old Testament have been handed down to us to teach us: God has revealed himself through stories.

We are taken through Moses’ abortive attempts at leading (‘running ahead of God’), through his reluctance to respond to God’s commission and on to the early challenges of leadership (‘Pharaoh proved to be a formidable opponent, certainly no pushover’): we learn that ‘apparent setbacks and even heartbreaks can work God’s purpose in you as you learn patience and begin to understand that it’s ultimately His story not yours.’

We are reminded of Moses’ role as a frequent mediator and intercessor, we learn about guidance, about faith and fear, about the importance of God’s call and commission, about sharing leadership, and about the need for secure leaders. One of the strengths of the book is the way it takes specific episodes in the story, like the Passover, or the establishment of the Tabernacle and ties them to the wider picture of biblical theology.

I’m delighted that Terry has agreed to chat to me on my Leadership Journey podcast this week (it will actually be his second appearance on the podcast) when we will spend time discussing some of the book’s themes. I will post the link when the podcast is available.