Last Friday we went to a day conference on leadership organised by Evangelical Alliance NI and AskWhatNow. It was a good day… a gathering of young leaders from across the churches in Northern Ireland… thinking about leadership, society and church. We were ‘stimulated’ with a series of short talks from notable speakers, Kate Marshall, Helen Warnock, Sir Nigel Hamilton, Alan Scott, Jan Carson, Christoph Ebbinghaus amongst them. We shared around tables and talked through we had heard and what we thought the implications might be.
Now, time to admit, I have more than a passing interest in conversations about leadership, especially in the life of the church. Through involvement with the Arrow Leadership Programme, I’ve had the privilege of receiving excellent teaching and great advice on leadership. I’ve been able to hear some of the best trainers in Europe and from Oz, the US and Canada reflect on leadership today and in particular church leadership. It’s a bit trendy to talk about leadership in the church just at the moment… lots of people are thinking very carefully about it!! Some are all into it (probably I am amongst those people!), others are ‘not so sure about all this leadership stuff’! Sometimes though, I get tired of it, frustrated at conversations that don’t LEAD anywhere… when nothing seems to happen, when we talk a lot about leadership and nobody does anything!
The challenge that’s been running about in my head for the last few weeks in particular has been… we aren’t having these conversations about leadership for the sake if it… at the end of the day… its about growing the Kingdom of God… it’s about sharing the gospel in a world that really needs to hear it, it’s about telling the story of Jesus!!
So on Friday at Stimulus, up pops Alain Emerson from Emmanuel Church in Lurgan and a member of the 24-7 Ireland leadership team and he articulates these thoughts running around in my head perfectly: “Leadership isn’t the point…”… all this leadership talk is not an end in itself… yes, we need to hone our gifts etc… but we need to remember… it’s about Jesus!
That’s actually what I love about the Arrow programme… it has it’s roots in the Billy Graham organisation, and the little tag line is:
- To be led more by Jesus.
- To lead more like Jesus.
- To lead more TO Jesus.
We’ve just got to keep remembering this!