This week’s podcast was recorded with an audience (and live-streamed) at New Horizon in Coleraine.
My guest is Gilbert Lennox, who was responsible for the Bible teaching each morning at New Horizon. Gilbert’s initial career path took him into teaching, but after a number of years left school teaching and devote himself to church leadership and Bible teaching. He was involved in founding Glenabbey Church just outside Belfast, a church that celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2018. Although he has retired from his staff position in Glenabbey, Gilbert is still involved in the teaching ministry of the church.
Once we get over Gilbert’s reticence to describe himself as a leader, we talk about some of the early influences on his life, growing up in Armagh: not only were his parents ‘profound believers’ but there were opportunities to encounter various people along the way – not least Professor David Gooding, who has been an influence for decades: starting a Bible study in an old henhouse became an impetus for regular study with David Gooding
Gilbert taught in school for 15 years before he sensed God calling him to move more fully into church work. As sometimes happens with new callings, his move from school to church was severely tested.
He talks about some of what has helped him to be resilient in ministry: specifically, the part played by his wife, and having a bedrock of Scripture.
Reflecting on leadership, he notes that Jesus talked about what it is not! ‘Leadership [is] a partnership with God and with others.’
His advice to his 20 year old self includes the need not to take himself too seriously and the realisation that you can’t fix everything (though you can help).
The time you spend in Scripture is never wasted.
For your own reflection:
Gilbert discusses a couple of significant mentor figures in his life: what people can you identify in your own life and how would you respond to the challenge of being a mentor to others?
Gilbert talks about the importance of *learning* to be content: are you learning this?
Especially if you are involved in any way in theological education (either as student or teacher) – how do you respond to what Gilbert says about the possibility of theology getting in the way of our knowledge of God through the Bible?
How do you respond to Gilbert’s challenge to the thinking where we are often keen to use labels in church leadership?
Barry Forde is back on the podcast this week. Barry is the Anglican and Methodist chaplain at Queen’s University in Belfast. If you missed the first part of the conversation with Barry, you can catch up here.
For your reflection:
1 – What do you make of the idea that a leader is ‘someone with a magnet in their heart and a compass in their head’? How important is it for a leader to be ‘personable’, as Barry describes it?
2 – ‘Hold the present responsibly and the future lightly’: how do you respond to Barry’s idea of being alive to opportunities in the present rather than attempting to anticipate 5 years hence?
The series of talks on leadership by Eugene Peterson can be purchased here, and
Here is more information about the book on Irish preaching to which Barry has contributed a chapter.
The podcast will be taking a few weeks off, but we plan to be back in August.
This week’s episode continues the story of Ken Clarke’s leadership journey. Ken (who recently celebrated the 49th anniversary of his 21st birthday) is one of the most respected Christian leaders in Northern Ireland and further afield. Ken has served the Church in several roles, including as a local church minister and as a bishop.
Among other things, Ken shares these four important pieces of advice for leaders:
And there are these four key pieces of advice:
Don’t be a maverick: think team!
Remember that team members have different capacities;
Have soul friends;
Guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23).
Next week the podcast goes international when the guest will be Sladjan Milenkovic a young Serbian leader. He is the director of HUB (Christian Trust Belgrade) which includes a small Bible school which I have had the opportunity to visit over the past few years. He has a wonderful story to tell, and the interview also throws some light into a part of the world that is easily overlooked by many evangelicals.
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!
Over the next two weeks the guest on the podcast is Dave Linton. Dave is the founder of the social enterprise, Madlug (Make A Difference Luggage). Madlug aims to help give dignity to children who find themselves in the care system. The idea is simple: for every bag purchased, a bag is given to a child in care. Dave’s vision and passion for Madlug came with the realisation that when children moved within the care system, their belongings were transported in an undignified way as they were put into black bin bags.
This week we hear a bit about Madlug but we also hear about Dave’s own leadership journey. Next week the focus will be in more detail on the story of Madlug.
In the interview Dave talks about his own childhood and how the early loss of his father planted some of the seeds for Madlug. He talks about the influence of his grandparents and life as a young person attending church. Dave’s journey has seen him work in several settings both in Northern Ireland and elsewhere and a good deal of his time has been spent in youth ministry. Along the way he talks about the key influence of Capernwray and Arrow Leadership.
Check back for more detail on the Madlug story next week, and in the meantime if you’d like purchase your own Madlug bag, and in so doing help give dignity to a child in the care system, you can visit the Madlug site, where you can choose from a range of bags.
This week’s episode is a bit different from the usual format.
A few days ago I spoke at a men’s breakfast that was run by Westlake Church in Lausanne, Switzerland: it’s a church that I was involved with in its early development almost 15 years ago. I spoke from the story of Moses, with an overview of some of the elements of his leadership journey. In the famous words of DL Moody, Moses spent forty years thinking he was somebody, 40 years learning he was nobody, and 40 years discovering what God can do with a nobody.
Instead of an interview with a leader, this week’s podcast is an edited version of my talk, which was called ‘Finding yourself in your story’. As you listen, take time to reflect on some of the things that have become part of your own leadership journey.
Here are a few things to think about:
What have been some of the key stages of your journey?
Who have been the major influencers?
What defining moments have shaped you?
How would you describe your sense of calling, or vocation?