Leaders are made, no – forged, not born

The world’s idea of leadership is celebrity, super gifted charismatic personalities, competent and sure. While there is certainly merit in this and we need dynamic daring leaders who know that we must step out, risk, but do so with discerned prudence of the moment and the future, as well as informed of the past. Not so easy as the first sentence, aye?

Leaders more though are full of character, selflessness, perseverance, awake to the complexities and nuances, understand that culture (of an organisation) eats strategy (big plans and visions) for breakfast! Vision and how to make a vision reality (strategy) are vital – but without the healthy, trusted community and it’s way of going about what it does in relationships (culture), it will fail!

We make no apology! We’re moving from the cruise ship metaphor (consumers who book a sailing on a church cruise and are waited upon and choose what on offer they’ll consume… they are not changed, there is no meaningful shared iron on iron relationship, no commitment (buy-in much less ownership) of the future or mission of the ship. When the cruise is over, you leave, ready to go home, need to get in shape, and have no meaningful relationships as a result. Your comment on the way down the gang plank is “I’m so ready to be home.” That was Christendom when the church called many of society’s shots, and had mana in society. The society was versed and had a common story from the church and knew the narrative. This is no longer. Single digits are part of any church in NZ today. We’re on the fringes and continuing in the same way we’ve done things will only make the trajectory a certainty. It’s time.

We’ moving to the metaphor of the sailing ship. Think of the Spirit of New Zealand, the three masted schooner sailing around New Zealand. It’s smaller, lighter, more agile. There are player coaches, but they are equally vested and help mobilise and empower, coach and equip the entire crew to make this ship effective. From the first pull of the anchor every soul on board is leaning in to make the ship function, care for the ship, every soul has a role, real contribution, needed and valued, not just along for a ride. You love every day and can’t wait for the next experience. You feel you have purpose and see the contribution! When you dock the final time, you have an ownership and want to leave it better and more ready for the next sailing – you want the next crew to be as successful as you! When you walk down the gang plank, you have the best friendships of your life and the only words rolling off your tongue are, “when can we (not I) go again!”

God calls us to be co-labourers, functioning as a holistic body, gifted and called to do things from before time and that we’re like stones cut and fitted perfectly for our place in the building (His Temple – literally).

To make leaders for God’s church, it happens formally and informally. It involves a constellation of mentors, as well as one on one intentional formation. It requires a formal unifying forming of women and men who are on board, own and will give themselves to God, to see His church, His body, become who it is called to be and to make the contribution each and all are called to make.

It takes time. It’s not instant. God is shaping, forming, growing, refining leaders for their entire lives and here is a secret – most of us lead, or are invited/called to lead, if we’ll listen and cooperate with the Spirit. But it’s a journey, not a paper you take and test out of. Ready? It’s a way of life? Willing?

How do we do this in St Christopher’s?
We form informal circles of relationships.
We seek people who are postured to grow and be forged into leaders.
We form ourselves as a leadership body.

And very important – We row together. Great sincerity and earnest does not make a team. From rugby, to cycling, cricket to bowls, choirs to crew, basketball to engineering outfits – you must function together, one team, pulling together, not individuals doing right in their own mind and view. They form a disciplined, united team that holds the line, guards the culture, calls the people forward, who lift up and inspire, who train, educate and reconcile. The soft skills of leadership are more important than the hard skills of a specific role. We row together!

Leadership Labs
We have designed eight quarterly (2 year journey) of leadership labs to help form a common story, leadership culture, that helps us grow and become the team, the ship’s crew, together. Not everyone is an upfront. Some lead by example. Some lead in relational influence, some by rumouring hope and truth, others by support roles, and others by the up front leadership we so need more of!

You can join in this lab cycle at any time. Just pick up on the next quarterly lab. We run each lab twice to accommodate schedule challenges. We have food, laugh and talk, discuss together, and wrestle how we do this stuff well. Look for the next lab coming up!

Here are few of our leaders…. no script on who, age, how, just willing committed hearts!