I have the privilege of being the assistant pastor of Glad Tidings Church in Lab City, “a church for all people with enough love to go around.” Not content to rest on the success of the past, our assembly conducted an internal audit which determined that though there was much strength, there were also areas where growth was needed. One of the perceived needs flowing from the assessment centred on “care for leaders and volunteers.”
An action plan was put in place to care for this need which resulted in the development of a Leadership Weekend entitled “Leadership Now.” The heartbeat of the weekend flowed out of phase two of Formission: Mutual Health. We wanted to develop “healthy leaders in healthy churches building a healthy movement.”
Our guest speaker was Jim Molloy, Executive Director with the Maritime District of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Jim is responsible for leadership development, strategic planning and program oversight. We specifically asked him to keep the leadership training practical to accommodate both leaders and volunteers, and also help bridge the gap between teens and seniors who were both in attendance.
Jim was able to do this skillfully and brought a wealth of knowledge to each session. To begin, we talked about how leadership does not happen in a day but rather happens daily. It simply becomes who we are, a part of our DNA. But as Christians, leadership takes a slightly different route than in the secular world because for us it becomes a spiritual task.
Jim challenged us with the probing question, “are we hearing God’s voice clearly in our leadership?” Sometimes we miss out on what God wants for us because we are too busy to listen. It is of utmost importance that we hear from God about our ministry and then bring people into that ministry. From there Jim lead us into three general sessions covering how a leader acts, how a leader talks and how a leader thinks. Here are some key points from each session.
Session 1 – How Leaders Act
Leaders are called to a higher standard of living and as a result there are things that others can do but leaders cannot. The way a leader acts gives others permission to act that same way. Actions speak louder than words; we ultimately produce what we do, not what we teach.
Session 2 – How Leaders Talk
This session was a direct reminder of the important role leaders play in creating a culture of positive communication. Negativity is probably one of the most subtle, yet damaging traits among unhealthy leaders. In this session Jim dealt with the topic of gossip, sharing five principles:
- A godly leader does not talk about the private affairs of others.
- Gossip is sin; sin against God and man.
- Gossip always injures people.
- We tend to twistedly enjoy gossip and are attracted to it, even though we know its damaging effects.
- How we talk as and about leaders is very important to God. To conclude this session Jim defined “wrong talk.” He covered the biblical approach to topics such as slander, rumours, backbiting, coarse joking and planting negative seeds. Jim encouraged all leaders to talk a different language, precisely, the language of Jesus.
Session 3 – How Leaders Think
Jim opened the session with a challenge for us to think differently about leadership and to centre our philosophy of leadership on these key concepts:
- Good leaders make followers but great leaders make more leaders.
- Leaders learn best by leading. Even though it is difficult, we have to be comfortable with someone else’s mess or bad leadership while they learn to lead. That is leadership building.
- Leaders grow by doing more difficult things and learning leadership principles. If a leader is not learning then they will not be a leader long.
- Leaders grow through hard conversations. When building leaders, these are times when you as a key leader have to confront situations to make the potential leader develop into a stronger leader. These conversations are difficult but crucial.
As the seminar closed, we all felt challenged that others may act, speak and think a certain way, but as leaders we must live at a higher level. We produce what we do, not only what we teach. As we continue the task of leadership development at Glad Tidings, we choose to live out 1 Cor. 9: 19-20, to make ourselves available to win as many as possible. Our end goal as Christian leaders is to extend the Kingdom of God. Our “Leadership Now” weekend was such a great success that the Strategic Planning Committee at Glad Tidings is recommending that this event be held on a bi-annual basis. We thank God for leaders who are committed to learning!
About Shannon Meade
Shannon grew up in Port aux Basques, NL where he was very active in his local church. At the age of 16 he felt the call of God to pursue full time ministry; specifically to youth and children. Upon graduating from Eastern Pentecostal Bible College in 1997, he fulfilled that calling and has been working with Next Gen Ministries for 20 years. Shannon transitioned out of Next Gen Ministries and into an Assistant role at Glad Tidings as of August of 2017. He is married to Lisa (Children and Family Pastor) and they have two amazing teenagers, Matthew and Emma. Shannon enjoys riding snowmobile and motorcycle, playing golf, but more importantly spending time with family.