This week I have been thinking a lot about leadership, especially church leadership. This is in part because I was writing a blog post about faith, leadership and jazz (shameless link: https://boundbygrace.org/2021/01/18/disneys-soul-jazz-leadership-and-faith/) and also because Norbury Church took part in the 3rd session of lead academy churchNEXT.
For those who wonder what ChurchNEXT is it is a learning community of churches from around the U.K. who want to “embrace the gospel opportunities for the post COVID world.” It has been an amazing opportunity for several of the team from Norbury to gather with other churches and discuss the possibilities and challenges that have risen out of COVID. I may write a specific blog about the process (if there is interest). For now however, I want to dive into my weekly insights with the caveat that leadership has been on my mind A LOT.
Something I’ve read
This week I want to offer to offer insights from two books I read. Well, one I read and one I looked at for a second time.
The first book was by Helen Cameron, Living in the Gaze of God. This book is primarily about ministerial flourishing however there are lots of nuggets of wisdom in it. The book is structured around a need to be attentive to our own needs and expectations as we live in partnership with others. This is especially important for those who are called to supervise others well. Cameron writes:
Honesty to ourselves and others about our perceptions is vital if we are to be safe practitioners, safe containers of pain and suffering of others and if we are to reflect the glory of God at work in us and the world. (9)
I wonder when you were last honest with yourselves and reflected about what you bring to the relationships around you. I found it a challenging question to ponder as I talked to both our leadership team, friends and family this week.
The second book was Sam Wells, Improvisation. Structured around the themes of improvisation this would be good read for anyone interested in jazz, drama or theology. Wells, with his usual style, manages to blend together the art of improvisation and Christian ethics in a way which is poetic and challenging. Definitely one to read if you haven’t before.
Something I have listened too
This week I listened to a podcast by the wonderful author Brene Brown. In this particular episode of her podcast series Dared to Lead Brene interviews president Barak Obama after the launch of his recent book. In this honest, and telling, episode Obama describes the challenges he faced and the practices he put in place so as to help achieve a better world.
I have also spent a lot of time listening to the new playlist for Disney’s Soul. Those who have read my earlier podcast will know why! This was helped by Abbie asking for it every time I brushed here teeth in an evening. Her recommendation for the week would be the song It’s alright from the movie Soul so make sure you check that out!
An interesting idea I came across
One of the key aspects of improvisation, which I knew about before this week, is yes and. Yes and is about the ability to receive what the other offers and improve upon it. About taking the melody played on the piano and adding something to it with the Saxophone. It is about receiving the offer from the other actor and continuing the drama. The opposite of this is to block, to shut down the song or play by simply saying no.
I wonder what you are more prone to do. Are you the kind of person who loves the spontaneity of saying yes and. Or, are you more likely to say no and shut down the possibility? Why not ponder this week which kind of person you are and how you could say yes and to someone in your life this week. It maybe even that you need to say yes and to God.