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’s guest on the podcast is Paul Reid who, along with his wife Priscilla, led Christian Fellowship Church in Belfast for over twenty years.
Paul talks about coming to faith in his teens and his early upbringing in a Brethren Assembly. He and Priscilla left this to start a house fellowship and their group eventually became CFC in East Belfast.
He talks about the influence of Spring Harvest – both in his sense of call to leadership and in his experience of the Holy Spirit, and of several notable Christian leaders, including Terry Virgo and Roger Forster.
He also discusses the controversial ‘shepherding’ movement and the reason why he and his fellow leaders felt they needed to resign from their leadership roles.
Some questions as you listen:
Paul talks about some key turning points in the early years of his life and ministry: what events and seasons do you look back on as being formative in your own journey?
What do you think about the idea of leaders admitting to their followers that they have got something wrong? Is this a sign of strength? How can leaders distinguish between a conviction that they need to persevere in a course of action and a sense that they need to retrace their steps?
Part 2 of Paul’s interview will available after Easter – this will include discussion of several other controversial issues that Paul’s journey has seen him tackle; and there will be a 3rd part, in which Paul will talk about some of what he has learned about leadership and what advice he would give young leaders.
This week’s podcast takes a look at the Old Testament story of Nehemiah. While we must always be careful not to reduce the Bible, or any of its stories, to the point where we miss the main point, there are some interesting leadership lessons to be gleaned in observing some of the leaders whose stories are told.
Nehemiah’s story takes us back to the post-exilic world towards the end of the Old Testament timeline: he is in Persia while many of his compatriots are struggling against the backdrop of a ruined city of Jerusalem. From Nehemiah’s deep brokenness emerges a vision of a renewed city and becomes the leader of a great movement for rebuilding and renewal.
As you listen to the podcast, there are three main leadership questions for you to reflect on in relation to your own leadership:
The vision and mission question: what needs to be done?
The team question: who will help you to do it?
The resilience question: what obstacles will you need to overcome?
PS – Keith Lamdin, in his book Finding your Leadership Style, suggests that there are three essential ingredients to leadership: discontent, vision, and courage – interesting in the light of with the 3 Nehemiah questions.
In the second part of the interview Jonathan describes the impact of a serious health crisis and – in a section of the interview that will be of special interest to people involved in church music – he discusses some of the things he listens for in choosing new songs.
As you listen, you may like to reflect on these questions:
If you are involved in church music, what do you think of Jonathan’s view that what we sing needs to combine theology and emotional engagement? Do you tend to one side or other?
Are you the kind of leader who is more likely to have a 5 year plan, or is your leadership more about responding the opportunities God gives you?
This week’s guest on the Leadership Journey podcast is Jonathan Rea, the Creative Director of New Irish Arts, a charity working to be a Christian presence in the arts and an artistic presence within the Church.
In this first part of the interview, Jonathan discusses his journey, both as a Christian and as a musician – two paths that have obviously converged in his life and work, not least as he has taken on leadership of New Irish Arts.
Jonathan mentions the potential of peer influence, specifically in his friendship with Keith Getty: how would you assess your peer relationships in this regard?
As a leader, are you more of an entrepreneur or someone who picks up an initial idea and runs with it?
The guest this week is Harold Miller, Bishop of Down and Dromore in the Church of Ireland.
In this first part of his interview Harold talks about his conversion experience and the early stages of his growth as a leader while involved in the Christian Union at Trinity College, Dublin (his years there coincided with a remarkable batch of future leaders and missionaries).
He also talks about the role of an Anglican Bishop and the importance of leaders having other people around them.
Here are some questions for you to reflect on as you listen to Harold’s interview:
Harold mentions a number of key mentors: what mentors are helping to shape you, and are you building into the lives of other, younger leaders?
Harold talks about ‘holes in the cheese’: as you think about your own church tradition, where are some of the gaps?