During our conversation they talk about the experiences of burnout that led to them writing the books. They emphasise the importance of living with a greater understanding of grace, and a sense of our own limitations as we live for God. We discuss the relationship between the physical and spiritual sides of our lives and the concept of self care. We also talk about the difference between the well planned life and the summoned life and the relevance of life stages.
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?