Teamwork is a key part of Christian leadership. The skills and practices to be an effective and considerate team member and a wise and inclusive team leader need to be consciously cultivated. The team also needs to be formed through an intentional process. Some teams just happen, but it is more common for good teams to be shaped and formed by intentional processes of team development.
There are several key steps to action in conflict scenarios.
After a conflict has erupted the first thing to do is to create space to deal with it well. Negotiate a cease-fire. In this space spend some time agreeing to how to proceed. We call this ‘negotiating process’. Agreement can be around the use of ground rules, covenant commitments, or a shared set of core values to honour in conflict. It may be a good time to do some teaching if the situation is not too volatile and tense. Although if the pastor is personally involved, it cannot be the pastor who teaches this. The second key element of creating space is reconciling hurt relationships. It is essential to make sure relationships are put right if there were hurtful events in the initial flare up. This reconciliation doesn’t solve the conflict, but it does create the spiritual and psychological space in which the conflict can be worked on.
At a recent leadership meeting we spent some time reflecting on the nature of Spiritual Gifts and how to assist church members identify and use these in the family of God and the wider community. We looked at the Biblical basis for gifts and discussed how these might have looked and worked in the early Christian communities Paul in particular was writing about. We then examined several of the New Testament lists of gifts and discussed whether this was a complete catalogue or a kind of sample list of the phenomena Paul was talking about. Finally we spent some time on the body life metaphor and a discussion about the place of love in relation to the gifts. A presentation and some notes are linked below.
This simple five step process is designed to allow for three sources of spiritual discernment to work in harmony with each other. These are; God-given human insight, the wisdom of reflecting in community, and intentional times of listening to God.
This idea has been adapted from an original scheme shared on a retreat my wife Merran attended in the UK, facilitated by Gerard Hughes the author of God of Surprises .
The relationship between pastor and church is profoundly important and often transformational for both. The role in relation to any one church however, is never permanent. Discerning whether to stay or leave revolves around spiritual reflection on several key questions. Ideally these should be part of every pastor’s annual reflection.
- Do I discern any changes or unsettledness in my sense of call to lead this group of people at this time? What are these changes? What is my reflection on why this is occurring?
- What are my personal, ministry and leadership gifts, skills and philosophy? In what direction are these maturing? What are the changes in ministry needs in this church and its mission in this community? Is there a convergence or a divergence of pastor – parish fit? Continue reading