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  • Donate | Living Leadership

    Donate to our work Living Leadership depends on the generous gifts of people to sustain and develop its ministry. We are grateful for every gift received and we thank God for your partnership with us in the vision of training, supporting and resourcing leaders for the sake of the gospel and the health of the Church. Donate Online Give regular or one off gifts via our CAF giving page or Paypal Giving Fund Give online > Give via PayPal > Donate by cheque or BACS Please contact our team for details of where to send a cheque or bank transfer Contact us > Leave a gift in your Will We are so honoured if someone choses to leave a gift to us in their Will Find out more > Give as you shop Did you know that you can earn donations while you shop online - at no cost to you? Find out more > Making your gift go further... at no cost to you! Right now we have two amazing opportunities to make your donations go further: Gift Aid Donating through Gift Aid means we can claim an extra 25p for every £1 you give. It will not cost you any extra , all we need it a couple of extra details from you. If you give online, this will all be done through the donations system, and you will be asked to tick a declaration. If you give via another means, we'd appreciate it if you were also able to fill in this Gift Aid Declaration form . Gift Aid Declaration Form Matched funding For this financial year, we have a wonderful opportunity to make your donations go even further. An anonymous donor has pledged to match any donations received in this financial year up to a maximum of £100,000. What’s more, they have pledged that they will double-match donations from individuals! This means that for every £1 donated by churches, organisations and grant-making trusts, Living Leadership will actually receive £2, and for every additional £1 donated by an individual, Living Leadership will actually receive £3! We are excited for this opportunity for people to partner with this anonymous donor to multiply the funds raised for Living Leadership this year, and so partner with us to multiply our impact as we seek to serve Christian leaders in the UK, Ireland and beyond.

  • Pray | Living Leadership

    Pray for us We cannot do any of this without the Lord's provision and guidance, and we deeply value anyone who chooses to partner with us by praying for us. If you'd like to commit to upholding Living Leadership and those we serve in your prayers, the best way to stay informed is to join our mailing list. At the moment we share most about our prayer needs through our "general update" emails, but we are hoping to start a designated prayer email in the next year. Do select those as interests below to stay informed.

  • What we believe | Living Leadership

    What we believe We believe in the fundamental truths of Christianity, as revealed in the Bible, including: ​ GOD The one true God who lives eternally in three distinct but equal persons—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The love, grace and sovereignty of God in creating, sustaining, ruling, redeeming and judging the world. ​ JESUS CHRIST The incarnation of God’s eternal Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin. He is truly divine and truly human and is the only person to have lived a sinless life. The bodily resurrection of Christ, his ascension to the Father, his reign over Heaven and Earth and his mediation as the only Saviour of the world. ​ THE HOLY SPIRIT The ministry of God the Holy Spirit, who illuminates the scriptures, leads us to repentance and unites us with Christ through new birth. He empowers believers to live for Christ, serve him and make him known. ​ THE BIBLE The divine inspiration and supreme authority of the Old and New Testament Scriptures, which are the written Word of God. The Bible is fully trustworthy for faith and conduct being both inerrant and infallible as originally given. ​ PEOPLE The dignity of all people, made male and female in God's image to love God and others, to be holy and to care for creation. The universal sinfulness and guilt of fallen humanity, making all people subject to God's wrath and condemnation. ​ SALVATION The substitutionary atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross. He died in our place, paying the price of sin and defeating evil, thereby reconciling us with God. This is the all-sufficient ground of redemption from the guilt and power of sin and from its eternal consequences. The justification of sinners solely by the grace of God through faith in Christ crucified and risen from the dead. We are credited with his righteousness entirely by his grace and by no effort of our own. ​ THE CHURCH The Church, the body of Christ both local and universal, is the priesthood of all believers. The body is given life by the Holy Spirit and endowed with the Spirit's gifts to worship God and to proclaim and live out the gospel. ​ THE FUTURE The personal and visible return of Jesus Christ to fulfil the purposes of God. He will raise all people to judgement, bringing eternal life to the redeemed, eternal condemnation to the lost, and will establish a new heaven and new earth. ​

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Blog Posts (96)

  • The Big Break

    When was your last big break? I don’t mean the time when opportunity knocked, and someone opened a door for you into your dream ministry role or the longed-for maximum score of 147 in a frame of snooker. I’m talking about a significant period away from your usual working routine. When was the last time you took a fortnight off? Since joining Living Leadership in April 2019, I’ve listened to dozens of leaders describing their work and life patterns. I’ve been impressed by their sincerity and sacrifice. And I’ve been saddened at their hurts and woes. I’ve also been surprised at their unhealthy life rhythms. Or, at least, I would have been shocked had I not been a serial offender on the same point myself, who has needed the rebukes of wiser people than me. I’ve written before in this blog about the importance of a weekly Sabbath. I’ve noted that even many leaders who take a Sabbath weekly seldom take longer breaks. Some have felt unable to take holidays during the pandemic. Some thought the weekly service production machine would grind to a halt without them. Others have told me that their congregation or denomination expects them to preach unless they’re away, so no travel meant no break. Still, others have no excuse that I can see. They’ve just never booked two weeks off at once. I’m sure that’s because of a mixture of noble motivations gone haywire (over-investment, saviour mentalities, love turned possessive) and ignoble ones (insecurity, control-freakery, lack of faith) left unchecked, but, whatever the reasons, the result is often disastrous. So here are three reasons why you need at least a fortnight off every now and then: IT’S GOOD FOR YOU I can’t be the only person who finds that a week off just isn’t enough for me to fully refresh. If I’m off for a week, I spend the first half winding down, and the second half winding up again. If I’m off for a fortnight, I have a whole week in the middle when I can be properly switched off. I think this is universally true when your work entails caring for others, bearing their burdens, and thinking incessantly about complex issues. A proper break lets you come back with fresh vision and a lighter heart. I learn to live again so that I can do out of being rather than be out of doing. IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR FAMILY The value of a prolonged break in my work for my wife and children – and even my parents – is incalculable. The patterns of ministry life entail sacrifice for your family. A big break allows payback for that loss and it’s an investment in those who are closest to you. IT’S GOOD FOR THOSE YOU LEAD Trust me in this – I know it’s hard to accept – but God can do his work just fine without you. Remembering that doesn’t diminish your joy; it turbo-boosts it. And remember there is some (albeit limited) ministry wisdom in the old proverbs that say, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” and, “Variety is the spice of life.” A few weeks without you in the pulpit or director’s chair might be just what is needed for you, your church or organisation, and the relationship between the two. So, if you haven’t already, book two weeks off. Two full weeks. Properly off. Not preaching on the Sunday before you go off or on the Sunday after you return (that means three Sundays off). Not off from your main work but doing something equally taxing. In fact, if you can get three weeks or even four, that’s even better! Just take a big break. In Living Leadership, we’ll be practising what we preach this summer. This is the last blog post before a five-week break. (We’re back on 2 Sept.) We’ll continue episodes of our brand-new podcast, Nigel Lee Archive, throughout August, but they’ve been cunningly prepped and scheduled in advance. Our staff won’t be off for the whole time, but our rhythms of work will be different. A big break in the blog will help us achieve that. (It’s especially important for the wonderful Jess Coles, who manages our communications!) Our summer staff meetings will be different too. We’re not tabling any new work, (unless there’s a genuine emergency) we’re just catching up and praying (tip: bad things come from big breaks from praying!) Maybe you can adjust your rhythm of work in the weeks around your big break too, so you don’t have the common scenario of over-work before you go off and after you return. To help our staff team make the most of our big break, I’ve written a prayer which seeks to recapture the original meaning of the words we use for breaks from work, and which echoes well-known words from Psalm 51.10-12. I invite you to make it part of your daily prayers during your summer break, however big or small. Father, You are the giver of every good gift and I am your finite creation and beloved child. I receive the gift of days without work as a good gift from you. Free me from false guilt and help me to make the most of this time. May my “holiday” be a sequence of holy days, encountering and enjoying you. In my “leave,” may I abandon burdens I was not made to carry, and rejoice in you and your creation. In my “vacation,” help me to be unoccupied with work and its stresses. In my “break,” fracture the grip of unhealthy attitudes and patterns in my life. May my “days off” be unhurried days of delight in those closest to me. Recreate in me a clean heart during this time. Refashion my rhythms in tune with your heart. Restore my joy in your salvation. Renew a right spirit within me that honours you in rest and in work. Refresh my love for you and others. May I live each day without work, aware of your presence and alive by your Holy Spirit, Through Jesus Christ, my Lord, Amen.

  • Opening Up

    It’s all opening up. Schools, shops, businesses, they are all opening up. And so are churches. How do you feel about that? Nervous? Excited? Relieved? Fearful? As you face the next few months, some thoughts on how to navigate the challenges. DISCUSSION AND CONFLICT Some church communities have been meeting for a long time now, and the coming changes will be small. For others, the big change will involve communal singing and the ability to sit physically closer to others. When communities have been separated for a long time, there is an adjustment that takes place as people acclimatize to the new setting. As they arrive, people will carry their expectations and also their fears. These will vary wildly and it is likely that conflict will take place. Some will want mask-wearing. Others will refuse. Some will want social distancing to continue. Others will not. What is a leader to do? Limited discussion Some churches will hold meetings to discuss the way forward. As democratic and sensible as that may sound, it can unfortunately be a Pandora’s box, releasing all kinds of opinions and emotions which cause problems. If you are going to hold a church meeting to discuss the way forward, you need to be very clear about the topics you want discussed, and more importantly, what’s up for discussion and what is not. Limit the discussion or you will be faced with more problems than you started with. But most importantly, lead. Yes, lead. At times like this, leaders must lead. That means consulting with people in the church who lead ministries, making decisions and communicating them clearly. Avoid, at all costs, the urge to please people. This is not a time to please people. It’s a time to be clear in your mind what you’re deciding and why. Once you’ve weighed up all the factors, make your decisions. If you don’t, the church will descend into chaos, with the loudest voices taking control. An unhappy vocal minority can do untold damage. Don’t avoid these people. Talk to them. Listen to them. But don’t bow to ungodly pressure. So . . . How will you address mask-wearing? Will you address the issue of physical contact, when some are still fearful of it? What to do with the huggers? What’s the distance between the chairs? Will your greeters offer to shake hands? Listen. Pray. Talk. Pray. Decide. Pray. Lead. Then pray. THEY’RE ALL GONE! This is perhaps the greatest fear. The true numbers can only be known once we completely open up. Once we do, what will I do if we’ve lost half our people? I’m terrified. A couple of responses. Your God does not evaluate your performance by the numbers who show up on Sunday. Especially during the summer. Remember, it’s the summer! People go on holiday. Students go home. Please, please ignore the numbers. Don’t allow the spaces to fill your vision, when there are people sitting there waiting to hear from God. Even if there are few of them. The quality of your leadership is rooted in two things: God’s calling Your obedience to your calling I won’t wrap you up in cotton wool, and tell you that you’re a great leader, because I have no idea who you are. I don’t believe that massaging a person’s ego is the answer to their fears and insecurities. So if half the people haven’t come back, I have no idea if that’s related to your performance over the past year or not. What I can tell you is that if God has called you, and you are committed to serving him, then the size of your congregation is irrelevant. There is only one fixed point, one stake in the ground that can be used to evaluate leadership, and that is obedience to the Lord Jesus. If you lay down your life in the service of your Lord, and you serve him humbly, learning as you go, then God will provide all that you need. If you lose half your people, then God will be with you. If people are unhappy, but you serve him in all due humility, then you will be secure in his love which bears you up and sustains you. Trust God, for he is faithful, good and true. He does not abandon those he calls. He remains faithful, as long as we are committed to him, and we serve him in all humility. DO NOT FEAR Fear is an emotion and it can paralyse a person. There are two responses to fear which can help: Truth Love The truth anchors us. It is a constant reminder of what is, when the Enemy’s lies call attention to what is not. He is a deceiver, and must be repelled with the truth. That’s why Bible memorisation is so helpful. It calls up the truth, when our fears are assaulting us. St. Paul talks about “taking every thought captive.” When you’re speaking the truth to yourself, your thoughts are focused on God, who is your father, your protector, your strong tower. The truth will encourage you and lift you up. So choose some promises from the Bible, which you have always loved. Memorise them. Speak them out to yourself. Speak them out to others. And love. Of course, love. Why not memorise that wonderful verse in John’s first letter: There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. 1 John 4.18a When you’re afraid, remember that you’re loved. So very loved. Which is why you should focus on the one who loves you above and beyond all others. FOCUS ON JESUS Not sure what to preach on? These are not days to venture into the long grass of contentious subjects. At some point, leaders must address the role of women, gender, spiritual gifts, baptism, suffering. But not now. Unless the Spirit is very clear, there is only one subject for your sermons: The Lord Jesus. Your people need to be re-introduced to the glory of God exhibited in his Son. Christ is how we live, why we live and for whom we live. Call attention to who he is, why he lived among us, why he died and most importantly, how much he loves us. People are finding their feet again after a very difficult time. Some have lost relatives. Others have lost jobs. Many have been ill. They need a shining vision of the Lord Jesus to guide and inspire them. They need to know that God is faithful and good and cares for them. There’s no better way to communicate that message than with a series highlighting how glorious is the Lord we serve. Call your people to love and worship him. If you do that faithfully, there is nothing to fear.

  • Chronos, Kairos and the Fat Controller

    Some years back, I was anxious to improve my leadership skills. “Hmm,” I thought, “what about a time management course?” When I asked my boss, he just laughed. I was Assistant Principal at Dumfries and Galloway College at the time, and my nickname was taken from a character in Thomas the Tank Engine. No, not Cranky the Crane or Mighty Mac. Not even Samson. Perhaps you guessed it. The Fat Controller! Without missing a beat, my boss turned down my request. “You’re the last person who needs a time management course,” he said. I have always had a fixation with being organised. Combine this with the advent of the digital age – electronic diaries synching across all devices – and I have transformed into a time geek. Not to be confused with a time lord. Recently, I was asked to provide counsel to a pastor in the area of time management. It gave me a wonderful opportunity to pass on my experience as a “human doing” rather than a “human being.” My mistakes have formed me as much as the good things I’ve learned. With age comes experience and, in God’s grace, some late-learned wisdom about how not to do things! As in so many areas, the Greeks had a rich and diverse vocabulary for expressing concepts and ideas. They had two words for time: chronos (χρόνος) – chronological or sequential time. E.g. Matthew 2:7.Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. This is used 54 times in the New Testament. kairos (καιρός) – an opportune or seasonable time for action. E.g. Romans 5:6. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. This is used 86 times in the New Testament. WE Vine helps us understand the distinction. He includes this entry: Chronos expresses the duration of a period, kairos stresses it as marked by certain features. Thus in Acts 1:7, the Father has set within His own authority both the times (chronos), the lengths of the periods, and the seasons (kairos), epochs characterised by certain events.* As leaders, we are often obsessed with the ticking clock version of time, when perhaps we should be far more conscious of “numinous” time. Here’s a definition of numinous: having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity. Time that is filled with opportunity rather than limitations. Many of us have experienced the difference between chronos and kairos in church. One Sunday, we’re sitting listening to a dry-as-dust preacher trudging through an obscure text before a congregation of the impossibly patient. Eyelids are sagging, but he just keeps going. Chronos – ticking time – never passed so slowly. The following Sunday, we’re giving rapt attention to a preacher whose presentation is inspiring. Every heart in the room tingles in that one sacred moment – that kairos – when we hear the voice of our Lord speaking to us. A typical response is “I heard from God in that moment (kairos) so that I didn’t notice the time (chronos) passing.” So how can we live ‘kairologically’? What about setting our time devices to “airplane” mode more often? Get rid of the endless notifications. Close the multi-screens on the computer. This will help us to cut out the distractions. It will give us the opportunity to connect to our surroundings, our people, and our relationships. It creates space for kairos – those moments when God speaks to us. In the New Testament, “now” is also a time marker. St. Paul uses the concept of present (νῦν – nun) time (καιρῷ - kairos) in his second letter to the Corinthians. Your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 2 Cor. 8.14 The “now” idea of time is expressed in the Latin motto, “carpe diem,” (which, by the way, has nothing to do with fish). It means, “pluck the day,” or is more commonly rendered, “seize the day.” Remember Robin Williams standing on a desk in the movie, Dead Poets Society? Carpe diem! What does it mean? It’s not about instant gratification or self-indulgence. Nor is it about impulsive behaviour, “striking while the iron is hot” or violently grasping for something. Rather, it is a profound moment of deep joy, a gentle, meditative, joyous “living in the moment.” Consider Elijah who stood at the mouth of the cave après-storm. Can you see him? He breathes in the smell of warm rain and hears a voice carried on the rain-scented breeze. He’s experiencing kairos – a sacred moment in tune with his God. Today, I encourage you to join Elijah in that moment – that kairos – fully conscious of the presence of God and the nearness of his Spirit indwelling you. Especially if you’re one of those who is weighed down by the demands of chronos – the ticking clock of condemnation that constantly tolls your tardiness – just stop for a moment. There’s a reason why we use that phrase “smell the roses.” Or “smell the coffee.” Mmm, breathe in the java smell; inhale the beauty of a rose garden. Stop for a moment – a kairos – to enjoy the majesty, the wonder of your beautiful Saviour. *Vine, WE, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, electronic media, Olive Tree Bible Software, 1998-2021

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