Global Leadership, the “Top Box”, and this blog

On  1st December 2015 I posted about our team visit to Coventry, and the challenges of Willow Creek church’s Global Leadership summit.  And I promised to clarify the thoughts I was left with.  So I’m afraid that this is another post that is all about me, but please do comment at the end, and share your own thoughts.

Of course, the conference had meaning for us as a leadership team, but it also had meaning for us as individuals.  I headed for Coventry, wondering whether it was really appropriate for me to invest a large amount of time and energy writing books that maybe no one will want to read, and setting up a website/blog that may simply be a focus for my hubris and self-indulgent rebellion.  I was seeking some guidance, and felt some had come already.  More came in various ways during and after the conference.

I listened to Bill Hybels, top pastor of Willow Creek, telling us that I needed to work out what is in my “top box”, ie main priority, mission statement.  Hmm.

And then I listened to Brian Houston, top pastor of Hillsong in Australia and elsewhere, and to be honest what he said didn’t matter. While he spoke, I thought something like:

“All these people, and what they are doing, are big.  Churches with thousands of members, messages sent to hundreds of locations, etc etc.  I am not big.

I am small.  (Those who know me know this is true.)  My “ministry” – if you like, my tasks in the world – are small; to glorify God and build His kingdom in small ways.  Write a small book, post on a small blog.  Be a small cog in campaigns for justice.  Serve my church – it’s not actually that small, but it’s not huge either.  And

Many many evangelical Christian people and leaders have a vision for preaching the gospel, bringing people into the church, leading their friends to Jesus – I admire and support this, but it’s not my vision.

My vision is not to help people into the fellowship of God, but to keep them there.  To help people, including myself, to stay Christians by honestly facing and exploring, from within the faith and before God, the real difficulties that many of us see when we sing modern worship songs and read the Bible on one hand, and look at modern scientific atheism, the church’s history and that of the world, on the other.  There are questions that we are rarely encouraged to engage with, but forcing ourselves not to, I think, fragments our minds and makes it harder in the long run.

And, secondly, my vision is to encourage an appreciation of all things good and excellent (Philippians 4:8) – not to be twee or glib, but to challenge the lie that books, TV, even life, are only interesting and real when they are “dark” and unpleasant.  The lie that integrity and responsibility, “goodness”, are boring, boring to experience and boring to watch.

This is what I want to achieve, or aim for, with my writing, and with my blog.

It will mean not being completely party-line orthodox, because I can’t be any more, and therefore the great speakers at this conference might not even approve of it, but I dare to think that God is big enough for us both, and that He is giving me permission for this.”

So that, slightly refined in the weeks since, is my mission statement (personal to me, and no one else should be blamed for it.)

This blog is part of my journey, and I would like to share it with other people.

That is why I am inviting comment.

Happy New Year!  from the Partial, Prejudiced and Ignorant Blogger


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