In our conversation Peter talks about the influence of his father, Norman. At the time of posting this, Norman is in rehab following a serious stroke suffered in August. The most recent news is that he has been making a remarkable recovery. He is able to walk with assistance and able to chat with people. There is still a road to travel, but progress has been encouraging.
He talks about the concept of calling (listen out for his non-traditional take on this) and traces his story through his professional academic study and his work, which has included time with the Jubilee Centre in England.
Peter includes some of other people who have influenced him along the way and our conversation also includes issues such as sabbath and technology. He also talks about the work of the Evangelical Alliance and his passion for connecting faith with the public square.
He shares his key leadership learning:
Understand who you are
Have a rich understanding of the God story
Be in rooms with leaders who are better than you
Beware of leaving a generational gap
Recognise the loneliness of leadership
If you would like to know more about the public leadership initiative that Peter mentions, you can read about it here.
This week’s guest on the podcast is Stephen Cave. Stephen is Senior Vice President for Translation with Biblica (The International Bible Society). He has also served as a Baptist pastor in Northern Ireland and has had leadership roles with the Evangelical Alliance where he is a member of the UK board.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for someone involved in the work of Biblica, one of his strong ministry passions is his desire to help people engage with the Bible: another is his heart for the wider Church.
In our conversation we talk about his early relationship with the Bible, the role of some people who were key influencers, how his faith was affected by an experience of tragic loss, and how his leadership journey has allowed him to combine his ministry passions.
Along the way he discusses some of his convictions about leadership, including the idea that a leader is someone who is prepared to have a tough conversation.
As you listen to the conversation, you might like to reflect on some of these questions:
1 – As a leader, how easy is it for you to delegate responsibility to others? What might prevent you from doing more of this? 2 – As you listen to Stephen talking about foundational ministry passions, can you identify the things that are key in your calling? 3 – How do you experience God speaking to you? 4 – How easy it it for you to have ‘tough conversations’ with people in your church or organisation?
I’m making a couple of changes to the podcast:
Each interview will be one episode rather than two (or occasionally three), previously.
Rather than a new episode every week, I’ll be aiming for two per month.
While you can always listen to the podcast via this blog, remember that you can also subscribe via Apple Podcasts or Castbox: just search for The Leadership Journey Podcast. Subscription costs nothing and you will get each new episode arriving automatically on your phone/tablet. New episodes will appear on Friday afternoons – hopefully in time for some weekend listening.
The guest on the next episode will be Peter Lynas from the Evangelical Alliance.
This week Sladjan Milenkovic is back to continue his story (you can listen to part one of the interview here). Sladjan is the director of HUB, a Christian centre not far from Belgrade, in Serbia. One of the main features of HUB is its Bible school, but its work includes other ministries. Some 360 students from across the Balkans have been through the Bible school, with around 60% of former students involved in active Christian ministry.
In this part of the story Sladjan talks about becoming the director of the Bible School at 26. The school’s mission is to serve the Church. In 2004 the school was able to buy a former motel: not only does this house the school but it is also used for conferences and seminars – seminars that cover subjects like worship or church planting.
HUB also runs ‘Camp Hope’, camps for families whose children with disabilities or cancer. Most of the people who attend these camps are unbelievers and the camps give them the opportunity to be loved and to hear about God.
Sladjan talks about the way cancer affected his own family, when his oldest daughter became ill with a brain tumour. It’s been a difficult journey that has taught Sladjan about vulnerability and suffering: he comments that ‘even in the midst of suffering, God can bring something good.’
He talks about leadership challenges, not least the overwhelming nature of the need, but also the challenge of being hurt by someone you have trusted. While he has had times of questioning his call, he returns to the conviction that God does not make mistakes. He also talks about resilience and staying true to his call: it’s important for him to remember who God is. In the middle of the stress and tiredness of leadership, God he trusts God for what he needs.
Listen to Sladjan’s interview here:
For your reflection:
How have some of the challenges of leadership helped to shape your character?
Would you commit to pray for Sladjan and the work of HUB?
Remember that you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Castbox (‘The Leadership Journey Podcast’): and perhaps you could leave a review.
The evangelical community in Serbia is small. To be Serbian is practically the same thing as to be Serbian Orthodox. In a nation of 7 million, it’s reckoned that there are may be 10000 who are part of the evangelical mainstream: for more on the situation of evangelicals in Serbia, the European Evangelical Alliance published this interview with the director of the Serbian Evangelical Alliance about four years ago.
In this first episode, Sladjan talks about the spiritual situation of the country and goes on to tell his own remarkable story of coming to faith in Christ: at eighteen a colleague gave him a New Testament, and as he read, he realised the reality of Jesus. As he puts it, his first steps in faith were with Christ alone and the Bible. Eventually a small group came together, reading and praying together regularly – like a little pocket of revival: remarkably all this was happening at the height of NATO bombs in Serbia (not all the news makes the headlines!).
After spending a year in the army, Sladjan married and he then went to the Bible School that now leads (it had started 5 years previously and his wife had already studied there). At the end of his year of study, the founder of the school (Andy Mayo) invited him and his wife to stay and work alongside him: eventually he would take over the leadership (at twenty-six)..
Were you surprised to learn about the spiritual situation in Serbia?
As you listen to the story of Andy Mayo’s investment in Sladjan (his eventual successor), what stands out about his decision to invest in a young man? What do you look for in future leaders? What do you think young leaders might be looking for in you?
This week, a previous guest on the podcast, has a special birthday. Bishop Ken (Fanta) Clarke is celebrating the 50th anniversary of turning 20! It’s about a year since I posted a couple of podcasts featuring his story. Here again is part one, with part two coming next week. Beyond that watch for some new episodes.
Happy birthday, Ken – and God bless you in the new decade ahead!
We start our conversation this week with a discussion of ‘how to plant a church’, and what that looked like in the story of Village Church (we talk about the question of why plant a church in Belfast), including the recent development of a new church plant in South Belfast.
Among other things, Lucas talks about the Acts 29 church planting network, and about what it takes to maintain a team, and some of the defining moments in his leadership journey.
He shares very personally, and powerfully about his recent illness and the challenge of going through a tough season of treatment. He talks about how God came close to him, and about some of the lessons he learned through the experience.
For your reflection:
Part of our conversation is on the subject of church planting and the question of whether certain places (like Belfast, which has a lot of churches) really need new churches: what are your thoughts on this? Are new churches a means of revitalising the Church generally?
Lucas talks about his view that it’s better to plant churches than to grow churches to be as large as possible: do you agree? What or why not?
If you are leading a team, how much are you investing in ‘relational capital’?
Reflect on a time when you went through a particular crisis: what were some of the things you learned through it?