March 22: Spring is On Time

Don’t know about you, but have you noticed how Spring has often been early recently. Or sometimes late. But never on-time. Well, I turned a corner on the way to work this morning and saw this:


I hadn’t noticed previously, but it’s there in pink splendour today. And today is the day after Spring is supposed to start.


So there may be terrible things going on in the world, but at least Spring is punctual this year.

Growing Leaders – Developing Leaders (Session 6)

Previous Session

In session 6 we spent the first few minutes reflecting on what had been helpful or puzzling from the previous session.

Helpful things included:
  • Diagrams,
  • Lifeboat story,
  • C.S Lewis,
  • Acts 2 comparison.
Puzzling things included:
  • The Quiz,
  • Transition Curve
  • and Planting the seed.
Developing Leaders


Looking at ingredients needed in a leader who can develop others, the group came up with these ideas:
  • God's vision for them;
  • willingness to take risks;
  • commitment;
  • ability to listen;
  • setting a good example;
  • encouragement;
  • prayer.
After a brief reflection on how Samuel debated over Jesse's sons in 1 Samuel 16 v6-13, we looked at the passages in the Gospels that indicated how Jesus chose his disciples. Each group looked at a different passage and then fed back to the main group:


Matthew 4 v18-22: the context was Jesus just returning from the wilderness: He chose ordinary people in mundane jobs; he was inspired to pick them.
Mark 3 v 13-19: Jesus was definite and deliberate, choosing people with different skills and from different backgrounds.
Luke 5 v 1-11: Jesus just did it, choosing his disciples with authority and without arrogance.
Luke 5 v 27-31: At Levi's banquet he gave an open invitation, getting involved with people who were classed as sinners.
John 1 v 35-42: John the Baptist declared: "Behold the Lamb of God" – got some interested and then one gets another to listen. Jesus demonstrated a charismatic presence.
John 1 v 43-51: Jesus says "Follow me" with charismatic confidence. He then used Philip to reach Nathaniel removing skepticism and using discernment.

  • takes intention
  • takes time
  • takes its toll


Why develop leaders?

  • if we didn't then there wouldn't be any more leaders.
  • it encourages church growth
  • because Jesus told us to (Great Commission)

How did Jesus develop his leaders? – Looked at Mark 3-6

Chapter 3 –
Chapter 4 – Exposes them to new experiences + v33 "as much as they could understand" Jesus gave them as much as they cope with. Jesus stretched them, without straining them – he didn't push them too hard. He taught them – taking them aside and giving them ongoing input.
Chapter 5 – Modelled how to behave. Disciples followed Jesus around learning how to deal with different situations. He demonstrated no fixed patterns but modelled dealing with individuals.
Chapter 6 – Jesus gave a lot of authority – casting out demons. He didn't let them be isolated. He gave them the responsibility to fix the problems like in the feeding of the 5000.

What are the blockages to developing leaders?
  • middle-class models
  • basing decision on leadership based on middle-class credentials
  • logic before creativity.
  • not what we know but who we know (PLUs – People Like Us)
  • using only those who've already led. It's self-limitating if we only use the people we always use.
  • Our own insecurity
    • they might not do it like we do
    • they might be better than us
    • they might make a mistake
    • time – it's quicker to do jobs ourselves – but then others won't develop their independence.
    Harvey shared an experience of finding it difficult to lead others without having a relationship with people. Matt J and Dave both demonstrated good coaching by asking open-ended questions like
    • "What would you do differently now?"
    • "Why do you think that that happened?"
    We commented on the quality of this questioning and compared it with how Emma, Steve and Alison had all tried a mentoring approach – giving advice to Harvey. Richard pointed out that just becomes something feels awkward, it's not necessarily wrong.

    Other common blockages include:
    • a critical atmosphere – "failure not success takes you to the core of Christian ministry."
    • limited view of leadership – e.g. David, Gideon, Saul / Paul
    • No sense of call
    • Heirarchy
    We finished the session with time to reflect.

    What’s ACE about your LA?

    In my recent post, Why I am bothering with Safer Internet Day I mentioned obliquely that I had come to realise how lucky I am to work in Brimingham. I want to say it more directly now.


    I’ve spent a good part of today travelling to two schools, one in Worcestershire, one in Herefordshire. The purpose was so that their students and my students could blog together during a project we’re about to start. The project itself has nothing to do with blogging, but we thought it would be a great way for the children who are engaged in the project to keep up with what each other is doing. You can find out more at


    In Worcestershire, the learning platform (Uniservity) has been mastered heroically by the staff and students of this particularly school, but its complexities made today’s activities tricky. With the children already having two layers of logins to remember, I didn’t want them to have to remember a third login for a separate blog platform, so I chose to use Posterous as the blog platform – that way the children could e-mail directly from their learning platform into the blog. However something funny with how their e-mail works means that they receive e-mail at one address, but send from a completely different address. And the address is really quite complicated, including an alpha-numeric code at the start and a site with 6 parts joined with 2 hyphens and 3 dots. Not only that, but when they send, Worcestershire attaches a 6 line disclaimer, including a phone number and e-mail address – each blog entry ends up with that added on to the content.


    In Herefordshire, they have no county-wide learning platform, but instead the particular school uses Windows Live supplied and managed by their local secondary school. For free. What a great arrangement! When I was there the teacher rang up the tech guy at the secondary who fixed a problem within 5 minutes. Brilliant. However Herfordshire County Council so lock everything down, that even thought he children could e-mail to the blog, they couldn’t actually see it – it was blocked by the firewall. And not only that, but Youtube and Google Image Search were also blocked. The teacher explained how when he wanted to use video he either had to rely on the BBC or find what he wanted and spend considerable time downloaded it so that he could bring in the specific video he wanted as a learning resource.


    But I’m not going to pass judgement on all that, because I’m sure there are some great reasons for all of the above. The support and service for schools is probably fantastic. Or something.


    Instead I want to thank the authorities in Birmingham for freeing up Youtube and Google Image Search so that we have great teaching resources at our fingertips. Thanks for allowing us access to all the main blogging platforms so that our children can collaborate and learn together. Thanks for freeing up Twitter so that I can keep in touch with my PLN while at school. Thanks for giving us freedom to choose our own learning platforms and not imposing a single e-mail solution on all schools. And maybe with the new ASA online advertising rules we may even get Facebook in the future… who knows? Anyway, thanks Brum.


    Are you pleased with your local setup? Come on there must be something good about it… Let me know what’s ACE about your LA.
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