After a break over the summer, the Leadership Journey Podcast is back this week. The guest on the first three episodes of this new season is Philip Emerson. Philip is one of the lead pastors at Emmanuel Church in Lurgan, a church that was birthed in his living room over 20 years ago.
In this first episode Phil talks about growing up around the shore of Lough Neagh where he came to faith as a child and quickly developed a love for God and a zeal to serve him and tell other people about him. He discusses some of the people who most influenced him and some of the factors in the development of his leadership.
On a practical note, he shares how he has learned leadership through the years by intentionally seeking out the counsel and wisdom of more experienced leaders.
AND… have you ever heard anyone say that their duck’s a swan? Listen carefully!
For your own reflection:
Do you think leaders are born or made?
How intentional are you about learning from leaders who are farther along the path of leadership (and may be much stronger leaders) than you?
The guest this week (for the next three weeks, in fact) is Malcom Duncan. After spending the past thirty years away from Northern Ireland, where he grew up, Malcolm has recently taken up the role of Senior Pastor in Dundonald Elim Church in East Belfast. Previously – most recently – he was Senior Pastor of Gold Hill Baptist Church in England. Malcolm is well known as a conference speaker at events such as Spring Harvest and New Horizon.
In this week’s podcast, Malcolm talks about returning to the country he left three decades ago, he talks about his dramatic conversion experience at sixteen (which he believes also constituted his call to Christian ministry), and he shares some of his thoughts on leadership and mentoring.
Questions for reflection:
As you listen to Malcolm describe his conversion experience, reflect on how you came to faith? Was it a dramatic experience, or was it more gradual? Someone has suggested that some conversions are more ‘Emmaus Road’ than they are ‘Damascus Road’.
What do you think of Malcolm’s rationale for team leadership? Do you have a theological foundation for your own leadership model?
Do you have a Timothy and/or a Paul figure in your life?
‘You cannot lead people you don’t love’: what do you make of this comment?
This week Ken McBride is back on the podcast. In this episode he talks about his move from rural Northern Ireland to Orangefield Presbyterian Church in East Belfast, where he stayed for 32 years. Among other things, he talks about how he changed the culture in the church to enable every member ministry and discusses some of the influences on his thinking.
He also talks about the changing face of denominationalism in Northern Ireland (‘we can’t afford the luxury of inter-denominational fighting’).
He discusses the important subject of resilience, highlighting several of the lessons he has learned about this along the way – not least the realisation that he works for ‘an audience of One’, a commitment to regular Bible reading and prayer, and team ministry.
As a church leader, how can you help your church to retain what is good while being sensitive to new emphases that the Holy Spirit may want to bring? How easy is it to do ‘what’s right’ without worrying about the label?
How do you think leaders can cultivate a resilience that will enable them to serve over the long haul?
How do you find the balance between staying true to a course of action while remaining humble enough to admit you could be wrong?
Are you part of a leadership team? How are you cultivating the sense of team?
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?
This 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:
Don’t be a maverick: think team!
Remember that team members have different capacities;
Have soul friends;
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?
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:
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?
Have you thought through a theology of prayer and healing?
‘There is no small print in the message of God’s love and grace’: how do you respond to what Paul says about grace?
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.