Another month has absolutely flown by, and so it seemed like no time at all before I was back in Milton Keynes for the second Leadership Foundations training block. It was great to catch up with some of the people I’d met first time around (despite my lack of skill in remembering names!), as well as getting stuck into something completely different. Complementing the first weekend, which was quite ‘theologically heavy’, this block was a lot more practical and hands-on. On the Friday, the theme was ‘Everyday Evangelism’ with Duncan Podbury, and Saturday was “Vision, Strategies, Systems and Team Leadership” with Richard Wightman and Colin Baron; producing a real variety of topics, approaches and styles over the two days.
Here are some of the key things that stood out for me:
It’s a Journey
One thing Duncan particularly highlighted was that too often when thinking about evangelism, we use conversions as the measure of how well we’re doing. If people aren’t becoming Christians left, right and centre, we must be failing! We forget that coming to faith is a process, not an isolated moment. The Bible uses illustrations like farming, growing, building and even baking to describe the journey of developing a relationship with God – and most of our journeys will include times of going both backwards and forwards too! Instead of despairing when we put on an event or run an Alpha course where nobody becomes a Christian at the end, we need to celebrate the small and celebrate the journey that people are on.
The lady who had never before set foot in a church, but came to a carol concert and enjoyed it.
The man who’s been on three Alpha courses and keeps seeking, even if he’s not convinced yet.
The student who only came to a CU lunchbar for the free food, but stayed for the talk and asked some questions at the end.
That only comes by walking alongside others, building genuine relationship and not seeing individuals as projects to work on, but as people to be valued. “If people are going to see the treasure on your jar of clay, they need to be close enough to see through the cracks”.
Looking for gold, not dirt
Thinking through how we raise up and develop leaders, Colin used the illustration of a miner; looking past the dirt and mud of the ground for the smallest glimmer of gold. It can be easy to look around and wonder where the perfect people are who can step in or form the next generation of leaders, but the reality is that nobody (and certainly not your existing leaders!) have it all together. The way you develop positive people is by looking for their positive qualities, purposefully choosing to not add qualifying statements, and giving them a go with full support and guidance. If you’ve looked for gold, the dirt gets sorted out on the journey.
I hope that gives a little flavour of the weekend. Next time: Preaching and Teaching!