Tag Archives: vision

Hope of the World

bill hybelsI recently came across these notes I made of Bill Hybels’ talk at the 2013 HTB leadership conference. Some useful thoughts on vision and team.


The local church is the hope of the world. There is nothing like the local church when it is working right. The local church will only work well if it is fed well and led well. Can’t talk about leadership without vision

Vision casting – often we start by describing the place we want to go. This may not be the most useful way to bring people with you, however well you cast the vision of that place. People like it ‘here’. They know ‘here’. It’s comfortable ‘here’. You might need to start showing them exactly what is wrong with the place you are currently. People need to see the problems. And they need to realise that we cannot stay in the place we are.  Then a solution can be received. Start by building an airtight case of all the reasons why you can’t stay here.

Vision is most under threat in the middle of the project. Initial enthusiasm has died down and the end is not yet in sight. Need to remind people how far you have come in order to keep going. This also might be the point at which leaders are most vulnerable.
How do we attract, develop and maintain a great team. Leaders need people to share the vision with, and to include others in. Looking for people with the five Cs: Character, Competence, Chemistry (someone you get on with), someone who fits in the Culture of the church, and someone with Calling from God. You will regret it if you compromise on these.
Need to take the time to define the culture of the church. What’s unique about it? At Willow Creek (Bill’s Church), they want people who are incessant tinkerers, who will tweak and tinker in order to improve things.
Figure out who are the most important people in the team. If calamity struck, who would you not want to lose. Who could you cope with losing. Why are they the people you’d not mind losing?  What needs to change? What has changed to bring them to that place (assuming they were important to you when they were hired)? Sometimes you realise though this that you are under using people. Make sure people are not under challenged.
We lead people but the toughest person to lead is yourself. It is our own job to keep ourselves refreshed and healthy in our leadership.  We need to find ways to replenish ourselves. Need to find the rhythms to help ourselves remain full. If we’re a pastor the best thing we bring is ourselves filled with the Holy Spirit, where we have life, patience, and humour.

How have the Olympics inspired you?

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who suffered from the post-Olympics blues last week. Those two weeks were full of optimism, excitement and joy. There was a sense that we really did like each other and our country, and that we, as a nation, have pulled off such a great sporting event. Not to mention the 29 fabulous gold medal performances by TeamGB and all the others from medalists and non-medalists.

The Olympic Flame

Highlights: The highlight for me was getting to experience it all by going to some events. But my sporting highlights come from outside of these. Mo Farah winning first the 10000m and then the 5000m in some style. Andy Murray finally succeeding in an important final. The Brownlee brothers in the triathlon. Jessica Ennis finishing off the 800m to win the heptathlon gold. She didn’t have to cross the line first as she already had the gold in the bag, but she was busting her gut to do it in front of her home crowd. Sally Pearson narrowly won the women’s 100m hurdle, but when she crossed the line she didn’t realise she’d won. There is a delay as she stands watching the video screen and when her name comes up first she just loses it. Wonderful reaction.

But my absolute favourite bit was watching Galen Rupp. He is the American athlete who is Mo Farah’s training partner, and they seemed to run the race tactically together. Whilst Mo was running away dictating the last lap, Galen was moving through the field to take the silver medal. But the look on his face when he crosses the line – he seems more happy for Mo, that his friend has won the gold, than he is of his own wonderful achievement. He runs straight over to his friend to congratulate him and is genuinely overjoyed. Fantastic moment (poor quality video coming up):

Inspire a Generation: Hearing the stories of the athletes involved, and the hard work they have put in was inspirational. This piece on Mo Farah mentions just a tiny bit of the training he does – years of preparation and practice which come together in this great moment. It inspired me to run some more. I’ve thought about finding a volleyball club (as I used to play in school) or playing more badminton (ditto). And that is part of what the government wanted the Olympics to do – inspire us, and in particularly children, to get involved in more sport. But there was more to it than that. They also wanted to inspire us with the notion that if we set a goal and work towards it, it can be possible. The inspiration for high achievement.

It got me thinking that often we drift through life. What would it be like if we really set goals to work towards, and prioritize those by cutting out things that don’t help us towards those. I doubt that many of us grow up dreaming “I really want to own a Volvo / Audi /BMW” when I grow up, but in the absence of any great goal these materialistic impulses take over in our adulthood. What would it be like to have personal individual goals, work goals, and even family goals to work towards? We have discussed this a little as a family and wondered what would be possible. We even thought about saving to go to Rio 2016 (but might leave it until the one after that!).  Otherwise we talking about giving more, committing to support and visit our missionary siblings more (as a visit does wonders for missionaries), and  having purposeful family time more. All things to work towards, plan, save and set priorities towards.

How have the Olympics inspired you?

The future of Church?

Ok, so I know the church of the future won’t just look like one particular church, but I visited St. Paul’s Onslow Square in London last week (a congregation of Holy Trinity Brompton) and had a number of thoughts:

A very simply format, with worship led by a very competent band which was situated in the centre of the church. The band stood in a circle facing inwards (presumably to take everyones attention off them and to divert it onto God). I did miss having something to focus on – usually in church your eyes are diverted to a cross or a window or eve a candle, which can be both helpful and unhelpful. Here there was nothing easy to focus on from where I was sitting.

Many young people were engaging with God throughout the worship. One young man who I saw was singing with absolutely all of his might. This was great, especially as engaging with God is what church is supposed to be about. The congregation was very young, possible with an average age of about 24 (made me feel old). I think the other congregations of HTB have a greater age range.

After quite a good half hour (maybe more – i didn’t notice as I was enjoying it) the band left their places and there was a sermon. The sermon wasn’t great but i know that was out of character for HTB as I’ve heard a number of other sermons given by podcast. It concetrated on giving – giving of your whole self to God which works itself out in giving of time and skills and resources to help build the kingdom and aid the mission of the church.

Surrounding the small stage in the centre were no pews and not even any chairs. Everyone was sat on cushions on the floor (with the exception of a few sofas round the edge). Very informal, very relaxed, a party atmosphere with coffee and cakes available.

After the sermon there was another chance to worship and also for people to be prayed with or simply wait upon God. This type of prayer minsitry seems to bee integral to the service and not just an add-on.

It was vision sunday. Inside the church they had set up stalls each giving information about a different area of the ministry of the church. People afterwards could go up and find out about this area of ministry, what is involved, whether it fits their gifts, and how to get stuck in. They do this twice a year which helps people easile get integrate with the church and serving in it.

The whole thing had the feeling of a (good) youth service in it’s simplicity and accessibility. Anyone could easily come and know what was going on. There are many excellent youth programmes around but many of them see a great drop out rate after the youth programme ends, as the young Christians try to integrate with a traditional church service. This service reduces the culture gap between youth work and adult services so it is easier for young adults to continue with their faith.

So, a few minor gripes about this or that, but very enjoyable nonetheless!

Leadership in postmodern society

networked relationships
networked relationships

From a talk by Jonny Baker. Image from smallritual.org. The underlying assumption is that top down hierarchical structures are on their way out, so leadership needs to reflect that change in society. This is about church leadership, but there’s no reasons why the principles may not work elsewhere.

  1. Environmentalist. Leaders are there to create the culture/DNA of the organisation through which things happen -set the core values. (e.g. a culture of participation, use of gifts etc)
  2. Catalyst. The leader is a peer, someone who is trusted, and inspiration. He/She is the person who lets go and gets other people moving – a catlyst to events. There is trust in the community
  3. Guardian of the Ethos. The one who looks after the DNA, values, and vision of the community, continually reminds the community of these in order to keep in on the right track.
  4. Faithful Improviser. (From NT Wright New Testament and the People of God) Our calling is to improvise faithfully in the gap between Christ’s first and second comings. He left very few rules, but some teaching and an ethos within which to experiment.