Friday, 27 November 2009

Self-leadership 4 - e-mails, elders and my diary

E-mails: I have taken Driscoll’s idea of delegating the filtering of my e-mails to Carol, my PA.

Elders: I meet with the Elders once a month for two hours and at other occasional meetings when required. We have two days together once a term and once a year that time is extended to a four day retreat in France when we look at the coming two or three years ahead. Deb and I try to meet with the Elders and their wives for a meal about once a term. And on Tuesday mornings I meet with Phil Varley, our Executive Pastor, who has the responsibility of running King’s on a day-to-day basis.

Once I have looked at the year, I put all my prioritised responsibilities into my diary so I know that they will not be neglected. Firstly home responsibilities, secondly all those at King’s (all Sundays at King’s, All Elders’ meetings, Trustees’ meetings, meetings with key staff with husbands/wives) and thirdly Newfrontiers. This would include coaching days and any teaching and training dates. I list all the churches I am working with and I get some dates that work well for them and for me. Some of these churches I meet with 3 or 4 times a year and others only once – this depends on where they are, how much they need my input and also how much they think I should be involved!

Normally, once all those items are in the diary it’s pretty full and I find it easy to say no to other invitations!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Self-leadership 3 - Responsibilities at King's and for Newfrontiers

During my study weeks I look at my responsibilities at King’s. Apart from planning for near dates I look at the longer term, up to 18 months ahead. I also look at my preaching engagements for the coming term. I have recently pulled together a team of researchers to help me with preparing for preaching. They are given the Bible passages and contexts in which I will be preaching for the term ahead and I hope to receive from them an A4 sheet summary of the passage with key quotes and ideas. So, when I sit down in January and look at my preaching programme through to Easter I will have not only the Bible and my own background reading and thoughts, I will also have 4 or 5 A4 sheets summarising the key points as these selected researchers see them. That gives me a good resource from which to work. My aim is to have outlines of all the messages I will preach in that particular term by the end of my study week.

At King’s we like to have the topics for our preaching series well in advance – sometimes up to a year ahead. Apart from those already mentioned who support my preaching preparation, I have recently set up a new theological team to provide me with papers at regular intervals. Creation has already been done - the Cross and the end times are currently in preparation and will roll out on the blog in coming months.

As much as possible I try to keep Wednesdays and Thursdays each week for my Newfrontiers’ responsibilities.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Self-leadership 2 - Home responsibilites

When it comes to priorities at home, these would include days off with Deb, family nights and all holidays. If I can see particular pressure points in my diary, then I will try to include some rest and recovery time. I always have a study week at the beginning of each term – usually the first week in January and a week in April/May.

Deb and I have talked through a pattern for the week which would include at least two evenings in together – one with the boys for a family night (usually Saturday night at the moment) and Monday evening, which is our night. We also have Monday together. Deb works three days a week and we employ a cleaner and a gardener to help us run the house. I see this as a good investment! I also take responsibility for ‘big picture’ financial matters.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Self-leadership 1 - Responsibilities

‘Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because, if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers’ (1 Tim 4:16).

I was recently asked to outline how I manage my life and time in view of my growing responsibilities. I hope the following reflections will be helpful!

I recognise three significant areas of responsibility in my life – home, King’s Church and within Newfrontiers.

- Home: includes spending time with Deb, time with the boys, family nights, rest and holidays. I have particular responsibility for the budget.
- King’s: leading the church, bringing overall vision and direction, preaching responsibilities, planning, preparation, study time, major budgetary decisions and oversight, key staff, e-mails, communications and blogs etc.
- Newfrontiers: UK team meetings, Team Leaders, Prayer & Fasting, weekends away, the 11 churches that I oversee and all the teaching that is connected with my involvement with these specific areas.
- Any spare time that’s left is for golf and taking it easy!

Each of these requires prioritising and putting in my diary. I have a framework of workinga daily pattern, weekly pattern, monthly pattern and an annual pattern. In order to get the big picture, during the six-weeks over the summer when I take my break (including two weeks planning and preparation) I would put into my diary an outline for the next twelve months.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Leadership lessons from this year - Multi-site church

While visiting Seattle I saw a multi-site church at work. This is very important for us in S E London. Historically our approach has been - build your church, grow it, then plant another church. Multi-site church provides an opportunity for growth for a large church in an urban context where the constraints of property prices for larger facilities are considerable.

At King’s Church we are now running 3 identical Sunday meetings. As far as further growth is concerned, the limiting factor is our facilities. We have always seen King’s as serving not only the locality of Catford, but the communities of S E London, so to go to a multi-site strategy seems a logical step. As we were considering this earlier in the summer we were made aware of a building that had become available for sale – on a site that would enable us to build a 1000 seater auditorium, with 4 times the size of our existing building’s square footage. This would require a £5million building project.

In London we have city-wide churches – to reach such a city we need an integrated strategy that also involves regional and estate churches, large churches, church plants and a new component – the multi-site church.

It is not inconceivable that ten years from now, a church like King’s could be operating on anything between 5 and 10 sites.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Leadership lessons from this year - Visits in season

Another major way for me to learn is to visit other churches and meet other leaders from outside Newfrontiers, seeing what they do, asking why they do things and how it all works! This year, in one trip, I visited churches in Seattle, New York, Chicago (Steve Nicholson’s church – Vineyard) and Baltimore (David Anderson’s church).

On this visit I also attended a conference at Willow Creek where I heard Gordon MacDonald speak. He proposes that we look at life in terms of seasons. In each of these stages different questions tend to be asked by those going through them.

20s – Who am I?
30s – How do I balance all this together?
40s – There must be something more than this!
50s – Can I hold on?
60s – Am I redundant?
70s – Was it all worth it?

I have asked these questions of myself, of the King’s team, pastorally, and in the wider Newfrontiers movement!

Friday, 6 November 2009

Leadership lessons from this year - Diligence and learning

It’s not all struggle and gloom – we were able to successfully launch our third meeting, we are seeing people saved every week and our total Sunday attendances have grown by 25%. Such growth gives us other problems!

Romans 12:3 says ‘For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.’ And later, in verse 8 it says, ‘…if leadership, let him govern diligently.’

Diligence can be defined as persistent effort at work. Industrious in character! Steady application! Attentive to duties!

How do you learn? How can you increase your leadership capacity? By being diligent!

How do I learn? One way is that I read. The main titles I have read over the last year would be:

Surprised by Hope – Tom Wright
Wild at Heart – John Eldridge
Crossing the Divide – Owen Hylton
Church Unique – Will Mancini
For Men Only; For Women Only – two books by the wife and husband team of Shaunti & Jeff Feldhahn

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Leadership lessons from this year - Enforced changes

Last September (‘08) I spoke to some local leaders on 2 Corinthians 4 ‘We do not lose heart…’ and about leading in a time of crisis. These words turned out to be prophetic in nature! That week went like this:

Monday – day off!
Tuesday – all fine on the western front!
Wednesday – I meet with a local leader who is emotionally unwell following the death of his father.
Thursday – while I’m speaking at London Leaders we get a message that the wife of one of our Trustees - a valued member of our worship team - has collapsed at the Grand Canyon while on holiday in the US. By 6pm that day it is confirmed that she had died. Sue was in her 40s.
Sunday – I announce this tragic news to the church at our Vision Sunday, where I also cast the vision for the coming year and launch not only our week of mission but our third meeting.

These two events (Sue’s death and launch of the third meeting) shaped the year.
Romans 12:15 says, ‘rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.’ That’s what we were doing and this verse described that time.

Following on from this, within a few weeks we were discussing the possibility of Owen Hylton leaving us to lead Beacon Church – which was great for Beacon but at a cost to King’s! Owen started there in January 09 taking a small team – 10 of our members went with him at that stage (more have gone since!).

The impact of this on Kings meant that we had to totally re-engineer our staff team. We needed to strengthen our eldership at this point and look at the issue of diversity within our leadership. We are still working through this process. One of the recent developments in staffing has been that Malcolm Kyte (presently at Wimbledon) will be joining the team here at King’s to provide additional pastoral support in our growing church. His experience will be invaluable – we look forward to his arrival next spring!