Tag Archive: leadership


leadership

When I had my meltdown in 2009, I was a full-time elder in a local Newfrontiers church.

My time with that church came to an end soon afterwards.  My self-esteem was low, my confidence weak and I had lost courage.  All my effort was being aimed at recovering my health and being able to function again as a husband and father.  It had been a very difficult season.

Some months after the initial breakdown, I was driving down a familiar stretch of road when I sensed God ask me if I would step back into leadership again.  I wasn’t thinking about church or the past – I wasn’t looking forward to the future.  It was totally out of the blue but I had no hesitation.  Yes LORD, I thought.  I would.

Why?  Because I would do anything Jesus asked me to do.  I trust Him to lead me well.  Because my past does not determine my future.  His purposes do.

And because leadership is a gift like any other, and I don’t think that God takes away His gifts once he has given them, it seemed natural that I would be asked to step back up to the plate at some point.

I kept fairly quiet about the experience though.  It would be a long time before it became an issue in any setting other than my own heart.  But I definitely settled something that day, in that moment, and I’m so glad I did.

This week I have been welcomed into the leadership team of Jubilee, my new church.  It is a different model from my previous experience and I have no idea where it will lead.  For now, I am grateful for the love and support I have received there, for the trust that people have placed in me and for the opportunity to serve Jesus and my local church within the gifting He has given me.

It is the next chapter in a wonderful adventure with Jesus.  And I am looking forward to every step!

facing my fears

Every now and then we have to face our fears, don’t we?  Face them or flee in the face of them.  Fight or flight.

This weekend, I faced some fears.  My mental health difficulties have left me, when I feel under pressure or tired, with a stammer and an inability to think of the words I need.  Sometimes I have a complete mental blank – I was driving down a really familiar route the other week and suddenly couldn’t remember how to get to where I was going.  And of course, at times my emotions can still be all over the place.

Not the best condition in which to preach again – if that’s how the pressure was going to affect me. 

It’s been more than eighteen months since I last spoke in this context and my deteriorating state of mind that day meant that I’d really struggled.  Standing at the front of our new church family as people welcomed me was like sitting in the driving seat of a car that hasn’t been driven for a while.  When I turned the ignition, would there be any life under the bonnet?

I had no way of knowing what was going to happen. 

But it went OK. 

My recovery (and my whole walk with God) has been about taking steps.  Some of them are quite small steps, Sunday’s was quite a big one.  But faith is about putting into action what we believe, it can’t simply be something in our head that we don’t live out.  If we’re going to grow in character and gift, if we’re going to see things we haven’t seen before, if we’re going to go forward rather than stagnate, we have to keep taking those steps and trusting that God will be with us as we do.  

I don’t have all the answers and I still have a long way to go.  But I’m facing my fears and following Jesus one step at a time.

a crisis of confidence

Have you ever had a crisis of confidence?  One of those moments when a little doubt creeps in from nowhere and before you know it you’re wondering if you’ve got it all wrong?  If we’re honest, I think that most of us know what it is to experience some degree of uncertainty like this. 

Most Christian leaders I have spent time with know what it is to move between feeling as though everything is going their way to worrying that it if this or that happens, everything will fall apart.  I  feel quite concerned about leaders who don’t seem to acknowledge this – who think that “strong” leadership is about never voicing uncertainty.  In my view, leaders cannot be strong if they are not also honest.  Leaders set an example for their people – it has to be an honest example.

God certainly never presents a false portrait of the leaders He chooses and appoints.  We get to see leaders in the bible as they really were.  That is the case with Gideon in Judges 6:34 – 40.  He is clothed with the Spirit (v. 34) and as word goes out, people flock to him.  His stock is rising, things are going his way.  But he still expresses his doubts and uncertainties (vv. 36-40).  He still needs to be reassured.  He still needs God to confirm that he hasn’t got it all wrong, he isn’t out on a limb, it will be OK. 

And God does that.

In the past, I used to wonder if Gideon lacked faith.  These days I see the humanity of the man.  A man just like me.  Someone who knows what it is like to hear God, to be given a job to do, to be amazed that God has chosen them and to wonder at times if it can really be true.  And that’s not lack of faith, it’s a genuine wonder at the plans and purposes of God.  I am still amazed by it.

And Gideon’s wonder does not make God angry.  In his amazement, he hasn’t failed.  God answers him because God knows him.  God knows what he needs and He knows what will work.

And if you are left amazed that God has chosen you and given you responsibility, if you ever have those moments of doubt, a crisis of confidence, you could do far worse than to ask God for some reassurance.  He will be as patient with you as He was with Gideon.

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