For the third year running Christ City Church will be running a leadership course for anyone who is interested, starting on Wednesday 24th January 2018.
In 2016 14 people completed the course, based on the book of 2 Timothy, and last year 25 people finished the course based on the book of Nehemiah. This year we are going to focus on Mark’s Gospel and consider how Jesus is prepared and equipped for ministry; how he enters ministry and the battles he faces in ministry; and then how he prepared his disciples to continue his work.
We’ll be basing our course on a book called A Jesus Driven Ministry, written by Sri Lankan theologian and leader, Ajith Fernando. I read this book a few years ago and greatly benefited from it. Whilst it is a practical book, it is not a book about ‘techniques’ for leadership. Rather it’s about who we become as leaders, how prayer and the Bible must be our tools, how we must lead in teams and disciple young leaders. It is full of inspiring and humbling stories from Ajith’s own life, lots of practical wisdom and good biblical exegesis. Much of the book focuses on what God needs to do in us before he can use us… or even better, what God does in us as he uses us!
The Modern Challenge To Leadership
When we first started the church I wrote a blog about tall poppy syndrome, which is the idea that if you grow too tall among your peers (if you take on a position of leadership and responsibility), you should be chopped down and cut back down to size. Tall poppy syndrome is very common in Ireland and, whilst there is a humility and servant-heartedness that is required in leadership as described in the Bible, it will take courage, initiative, ownership, guts, passion, dedication and focus. And you will have to stand up and be counted… and people will take a chop at you.
So into that context many potential leaders find that it is very easier to criticise from the side and remain within their comfort zone. It is easy to form around you many others who will agree with you about what is wrong, whilst none of you take any practical steps to make a change. Very famously Roosevelt talked about ‘The Man in the Arena’, which epitomises how we must counter tall poppy syndrome and the desire to stay comfortable and criticise from a distance. He said
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
We’re putting on a course for anyone who wants to ‘enter the arena’ to be counted instead of jeering from the side. Whoever you are, however experienced or inexperienced you are… the only requirement is that you are willing to step into the arena and take steps of faith for God. Let me ask you:
- Do you want to grow in your relationship with God?
- Do you want to be used by God?
- Do you want to overcome fear, take risks and not bow to peer pressure?
- Do you long for God’s kingdom to advance and for many people to become disciples of Jesus?
- Do you want to ensure you don’t stagnate and stay comfortable as a Christian?
If you want any of these things, you’re going to need to stick your head above the parapet, enter the arena, and put yourself in a position of vulnerability. 6.30 Leadership is to equip you for this task.
Here is an outline of each session, based on different chapters from Ajith Fernando’s book:
24th January: The Leader & Identification – Identifying with people
28th February: The Leader & Power – Empowered by the Holy Spirit
28th March: The Leader & Identity – Affirmed by God *hand in 1st essay
25th April: The Leader & Rest – Retreating from activity
23rd May: The Leader & Enemies – Facing wild animals
27th June: The Leader & Discipling Others – Raising up younger leaders *hand in 2nd essay
11th July: Leadership Lessons & Reflections – group discussion & testimony
The course will take place from 6.30-7.30am on the fourth Wednesday of each month (except the last session) at 28 Bachelors Walk (10 seconds’ walk from O’Connell Bridge). Each session will be split into two parts:
- 6.30-7am: Upfront teaching from Mark’s gospel with application for leadership
- 7-7.30am: Discussion and reflection in small groups around tables
Here are the requirements for the course:
- Pay €20 – either in cash through the letter box on a Sunday or online, before the course starts. This covers all our costs to run the course.
- Submit two essays on time, no more than 1000 words (bullet points is fine).
- What lessons have you learnt (so far) and how does this apply to you and your leadership?
- How have you grown personally (character) and developed as a leader (skills and outlook) this year? How does this align with what you have seen and learnt from Mark’s Gospel?
- Attend seven out of seven sessions. Part of the course will be the table discussions and community that forms from learning together. Apart from unforeseen circumstances, please only commit to the course if you can do all seven sessions.
- Belong to a Life Group or a City Group where you can start to invest in others. This is the first part of being a leader.
- Turn up at 6.25am – we only have one hour, so please be on time. Get your cup of tea/coffee and a pastry and be ready for 6.30am.
Who is it for?
In summary, this course is for anyone who wants to grow in their character, biblical knowledge and gifting; and to grow in those three areas for the sake of serving others. Leadership in the Bible is primarily summed up by the term servanthood. So if you want to grow in your ability to serve others and be an agent of change in their life, then 6.30 Leadership is for you.
Here are a few clarifying questions:
- Do I have to be in a position of leadership to be part of the course? No. All we ask is that you are committed to a Life Group or City Group (ideally both!), and are therefore looking to build relationships and invest in others.
- Do I have to have great ambitions for leadership to be part of the course? No. If you want to grow and serve God and others, then we’d love to have you on the course
- Do I have to be a part of Christ City Church to join the course? No. This open to all churches and we really welcome others to join and share questions and thoughts, though we ask that you respect any theological or philosophical differences we may have to your church. We understand that you won’t be in a CCC Life Group or City Group so ask that you find the equivalent in your church family.
- Do I have to be a Christian to be part of the course? No. We will be teaching the Bible and praying each week and our overarching worldview from which we will be teaching on leadership is that ‘Jesus is Lord.’ If you’re happy with that we’d love for you to join us and to bring your questions and thoughts, though we ask that you respect what we believe.
- What if I feel timid or scared or under-qualified or inadequate or unworthy? Then you’ll be in good company alongside the likes of Moses, David and Timothy. God looks at the inside, not the outside and God loves to use the most unlikely people. If you feel you can commit to the requirements above, then please come along; we’ll be delighted to have you.