information for transformational people

Plan B 2466 challenges that Christian leaders face

From a talk from Stronger Network

Jo Holmes has deep experience in communities, churches, the charitable and not-for-profit sector looking at relationship management and program development. She recently spoke at a Stronger Network event about challenges she and other Christian leaders have faced, particularly those who are entrepreneurial in nature - keen to transform or develop projects within a Christian setting. Here is an extract from her talk:

Challenge one is 'leading in a polarized society and sometimes church'.
Society has become more polarized, whether that is around politics, cultural issues or generational differences. There are lots of such differences in the way people see the world and how society should develop. And that's no different for us in the church.

When I was helping develop a youth program, we found that there was a lot of difference between what our young people wanted to talk about and what their parents wanted us to talk about. So we developed a vision of building a foundation of love, teaching kingdom principles, how to deal with life situations, expressing their faith and finding their purpose. We got our parents in a workshop and got them to work in groups and come up with all different ways on how they wanted the youth ministry to be. It broke the ice. We were able to find so much common ground.

So I would challenge you to find spaces where you can bring people who have different viewpoints on different things together because you'll find that often there's more in common than you realize.

Challenge two is 'losing perspective'.
Sometimes the business of ministry or starting up a new project can be challenging. We need a trusted friend, a wise friend or a mentor to give us perspective to help us see those blind spots. A person like Jethro, Moses' father-in-law in Exodus 18. He asked Moses why he was doing certain things. It prevented Moses burning out.

One of the challenges of ministry is that we get so involved in it, we can sometimes lose some focus and we need someone who can help us to see the bigger picture.

Challenge three is 'having success in other areas of life'.
One thing that's helped to give me some perspective is a circle template called Wheel of Life with 8 sectors. It allows you to see the time and effort you are putting into the following areas; Health and Fitness, Money, Career and Business, Social and Friends, Love Family and Kids, Personal Growth, Hobbies and Fun, Spiritual Development.

The very center is a zero and the edges of the circle is 10. Depending how much time and effort, you're putting into these areas then you would colour it in appropriately. Life has its ups and downs and there are going to be some areas that are less and some more. Generally we need to make sure that all these areas are not too low because of focus on a project or ministry.

Part of being a successful Christian leader is also about having success in other areas of our lives. We don't want to neglect one area too much because there will be a knock-on effect to our well-being and ultimately how effective we can be in our ministry.

Challenge four is 'staying focused - learning to say no and setting goals'.
Life can feel like like we're balancing a lot of plates. We're trying to achieve so many things and we can sometimes lack clarity about where we're going. I found as a coach that setting goals has been very important in terms of keeping my focus.

We need to filter out some of the things that we can spend less time on or saying 'no' to others, so we can stay focused on achieving our goals. When you have clarity over what your ultimate goal is, it can help you to create intermediate goals so that you can eventually meet your bigger goal. Also having that clarity allows you to say no to things if it is not going to help you to reach your goal.

I remember one preacher say that 'no' is actually an anointed word.

Challenge five is 'being a undefended leader'.
Sometimes when we start up a project or ministry, it becomes precious to us. It's our baby and we want to hold it close. We're not sure whether we want other people to take responsibility over certain things. We can become what is termed a defended leader. We don't want to delegate. There's that desire for control and eliminating risk because we don't want anything to ruin what we have. 

An undefended leader is vulnerable. We give away trust to others and God for our project or ministry belongs to him. We hold our project or ministry loosely. Not that we don't care but because we're not the ones that are ultimately in control. We need to ask for help, work in teams and celebrate more. Being a leader, we can have our head down and want to achieve stuff which is not a bad thing but it can stop us from enjoying things

Challenge six is 'remembering and staying connected to God'.
Isaiah 41v10 in The Message says, "Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you."

I think that sums up nicely the fact that God is the one who's ultimately in control of all our leadership decisions. I believe that God has called you to be a leader but he's also equipping you and giving you the tools. He tells us that 'the yoke is easy, the burden is light'.  I believe that in leadership we need to carry that into all we do even when it's stressful. 

Watch the 19 min talk here:

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From a talk from Stronger Network, 18/04/2023

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