It was great to be at the FIEC Leaders Conference this past November. We count it a privilege to attend and appreciate the church support that enables this! The 2019 conference was on Leadership. Here are a few reflections from Laura Porteous, Zach Watt and myself.
My biggest encouragement was a seminar on youth work and training children/youth volunteers. It was about getting the vision right and getting others to be excited about the vision too. We were challenged to think about how we raise up good volunteers, encouraging people to go out of their comfort zone and discover what they’re good at.
I also had a great chat with another youth worker who was just starting to develop their vision. Chatting about our different church contexts and the highs and lows of ministry was really refreshing. We’re all aiming for the same thing but doing it in different ways – to bring up the next generation to know and love the Lord for eternity. It’s a high calling but one made a lot easier knowing that it’s the Lord’s work, and that I have ‘peers in ministry’ doing it across the country!
Coming from a business background, I always enjoy hearing material on the topic of leadership. The conference sought to frame leadership from a biblical perspective. Colin Smith, the keynote speaker, reminded us of the Bible’s emphasis on shepherding. He divided the shepherd’s role into three aspects, anticipated in the Old Testament offices of prophet, priest and king.
- Prophets heard God’s voice and spoke his word.
- Priests brought people into God’s presence.
- Kings brought direction, protection and leadership.
I particularly appreciated Colin’s emphasis that Christian leadership is always concerned with godly character. In Deuteronomy 17 the profile of a leader is set out by the Lord. They are to be someone who walks with God (v 14), loves God’s people (v 15), trusts God (v 16), is loyal (v 17), not greedy (v 18), immersed in Scripture (v 18), as well as obedient (v 19).
I was able to use some of this material alongside some other ideas as I recently delivered a training session for BCUK interns on “equipping leaders”.
Probably the best part of FIEC Leader’s conferences are the chats that happen beyond the sessions. An insightful chat with Alistair Chalmers (a leader from Bruntsfield Church in Edinburgh) gave me ideas about how to run an intern programme and pointed me in the direction of the Bonar Trust. Given developments that were starting to happen with GIC, I was able to discuss with Alan McKnight (Harper) how they are integrating Iranians into their fellowship.
The main sessions (Colin Smith particularly) were excellent, and it was also a personal highlight to see a laddie from my youth group in Edinburgh years ago, delivering the final address at the conference (Andy Prime). Beyond the main sessions, a seminar on “emotional intelligence in leadership” was unusually insightful.
I am always struck at the FIEC Leader’s conference by the fact that God is doing much more than I think. Beyond our small patch on the southside of Glasgow, churches are being planted and revitalised up and down Britain, while serious investments are being made in training and reaching the lost. I genuinely came away encouraged!