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  • Who we are | Living Leadership

    Who we are Living Leadership exists to see Christ glorified in the Church through leaders who joyfully abide in Him and faithfully serve Him Our mission is to contribute to growing disciple-making leaders in the Church by providing training, support and resources that promote gospel faithfulness and lifelong fruitfulness in ministry Our values These values are explained, expressed and elaborated upon in three statements that govern our work. Our values as an organisation are grace, generosity and passion for the glory of God. Our Statement of Faith All of our work rests on this foundation, aims to be faithful to this and seeks to promote unity on the basis of agreement with these truths. Our Statement of Faith aligns us with many churches and other organisations with whom we seek to partner. Read our statement of faith Our ethos We want to be and to grow leaders who are: captivated by the glory of God and the wonder of the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ; wise and kind, serving out of a deep relationship with God and love of His Word as the heart of their spirituality; passionate in the belief that taking the gospel of God’s salvation into every corner of the globe is the primary mission of the church; committed to leading out of a clear and life-long enjoyment of God’s grace and dedicated to serving others in love; humble, faithful, prayerful, loving, repentant and forgiving, knowing that secret character before God is more important than skills. Find out about our people How We Work We are committed to serving others with integrity within their needs and interest, and three documents describe how we do that: The Living Leadership ' ' describes how our staff, associates and volunteers work with Christians and churches whose theology and practice in matters that are not covered by our Statement of Faith are not identical to their own. Way of Working The Living Leadership ' ' establishes ethical principles and boundaries around the relationships through which our staff and associates provide pastoral care and mentoring for individuals, couples and small groups. Code of Conduct for Interpersonal Ministry The Living Leadership ' ' describes our approach to disclosures about abuse and allegations of abusive behaviour by people working in the name of Living Leadership. Safeguarding Policy Find out more Our people Meet our staff, trustees, associates and volunteers Read More > What we believe Find out more about our beliefs in our statement of faith Read More > Join our team View any vacancies at Living Leadership Read More > Our ministries Find out how we can support you in your life and ministry Read More >

  • Associates

    Our Associates Growing a dynamic network of pastors of pastors and trainers of leaders across the UK and Ireland Much of our Living Leadership ministry is provided by our associates. You can find out more about any of our associates or contact them by clicking on their picture below. To find out more about the Associates Scheme, please . download the introduction paper here If you are looking for support in your area, you can also to find an associate or ministry staff member near you. explore our interactive map Current Associates Filter by region England Northern-Ireland Republic-of-Ireland Scotland arrow&v Alison Mark Northern Ireland Ministries involved in: Refresh One to One, Refresh Groups, Refresh Network Online, Refreshment Days Find out more Cassells Morrell Republic of Ireland Ministries involved in: Refresh One to One, Refresh Groups, Refreshment Days, Formation Seminars Find out more Helen Willcox South West England Ministries involved in: Refreshment Days, Refresh One to One, Refresh Groups, Formation Seminars Find out more Martyn Dunning Yorkshire and Humber Ministries involved in: Refresh One to One, Refresh Network Online, Refresh Groups, Refreshment Days, Formation Residential Find out more Robert Willcox South West England Ministries involved in: Refreshment Days, Formation Seminars, Refresh One to One, Refresh Groups Find out more Alistair Bill Northern Ireland Ministries involved in: Refresh One to One, Refresh Groups, Refresh Network Online Find out more Dave Burke North East England Ministries involved in: Formation Seminars, Refresh One to One, Refresh Groups Find out more James Crooks Scotland Ministries involved in: Refreshment Days, Refresh One to One, Refresh Groups Find out more Paul Allcock South East England Ministries involved in: Refresh One to One, Refresh Groups Find out more Rowland Clear South West England Ministries involved in: Refresh One to One, Refresh Groups, Refreshment Days, Refresh Network Online Find out more Alli Clear South West England Ministries involved in: Refresh One to One, Refreshment Days, Refresh Groups, Refresh Network Online Find out more Geoff Donaldson Northern Ireland Ministries involved in: Refresh One to One, Refresh Groups, Refresh Network Onlin Find out more John Childress South West England Ministries involved in: Refresh One to One, Refresh Groups, Refresh Network Online Find out more Richard Collins South East England Ministries involved in: Refresh One to One, Refresh Groups, Resources Find out more Sally Childress South West England Ministries involved in: Refresh One to One, Refresh Groups, Refresh Network Online Find out more Bettina Collins South East England Ministries involved in: Refresh Network Online, Refresh One to One, Refresh Groups, Formation School Find out more Gordon Dalzell East of England Ministries involved in: Refresh One to One, Refresh Network Onlin, Refresh Groups Find out more Mark Howson East of England Ministries involved in: Refresh One to One, Refresh Groups, Refresh Network Online, Refreshment Days Find out more Richard Underwood East Midlands Ministries involved in: Formation Seminars, Refresh One to One, Refresh Groups Find out more ​ If you can't find assistance in your area, do and we may able to connect you to other support. get in touch ​

  • Find support | Living Leadership

    Find a ministry or support near you Local ministries Our ministry is conducted face-to-face, at conferences, in groups and one-to-one. The map below shows the locations of most of our regular ministries and the areas in which our Staff and Associates operate. You can scroll over this map and click on the pins to find out more and visit other pages of our site to find out more information. If you want more information about any of our ministries, or wish to be put in contact with someone who can meet up with you to provide support, please . contact us Formation ministries Ministry staff & associates Refresh ministries Online ministries These include , , and, when meeting in person isn't an option, sessions can also be conducted online. Many of our ministries can support you right where you are, across the internet. Resources Formation Courses Refresh Network Online Refresh One-to-One Refresh Network Online Find out more about our beliefs in our statement of faith Read More > Formation Courses Character, knowledge, wisdom and skills for specific aspects of ministry View upcoming courses > Resources Weekly articles to help you live joyfully and serve faithfully Read More > If you are looking for one-to-one support, our ' ' document lays out our commitments to you and the principles underpinning our approach to interpersonal ministry. What to Expect

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Blog Posts (83)

  • Driven

    Hamilton lands the first blow, but Verstappen hits him with a decisive left-hander into the first corner in the second round! This F1 season is shaping up to be a season for the ages. You won’t want to miss a single minute. I’m loving it. Today, more thoughts driven by Formula 1. What makes Lewis Hamilton a seven-time world champion? Being fortunate enough to drive the best car? Certainly, the car has helped. (See my last post on the importance of the car). But it isn’t just the car, is it? Raw talent? Well, he’s an exceptional driver. Sometimes he’s so good, the rest of the field just has to stand back and admire his achievements. Take, for example, his qualifying lap at the Styrian Grand Prix in 2020. He qualified 1.2 seconds faster than the next driver. That’s an absurd amount of time. Toto Wolff described it as a drive “not of this world.” The lap at Imola just recently was also breathtaking. But I’m not here to list Lewis Hamilton’s achievements. This is not a book. I want to examine what it takes to become a world champion. Good car. Check. Talent. Check. But that’s not enough. What it takes is this . . . Focus, focus, focus World champions dedicate their lives to the pursuit of just one thing. The G forces going through their bodies – especially their neck muscles – are tremendous. After two hours in the car, they often emerge dripping with sweat. You have to be very fit to drive to your greatest potential all the way to the end. Footballers can’t do it! Most goals are scored in the last ten minutes when one side is flagging. In F1, you can lose the race from one split second of lost concentration. So what of those who lead churches? What does it mean to focus, focus, focus? Two quotes. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3.13-14 Purity of heart is to will one thing. Søren Kierkegaard It is perhaps the greatest heart-breaking irony in a leader’s life, when the very thing which should be first, ceases to be so. God should be first in our waking thoughts, first in our priorities, our time with him protected from every incursion. He is our sole pursuit. And yet in the busyness of ministry, we are liable to lose our focus. And we do it with the best of intentions, and with a heart which often seeks the good. People quickly become our gods. Aren’t we supposed to love people? Yes indeed, but those two commandments are written with the order in mind. First, love God. And do so by loving your neighbour. If God is not your primary focus, then it won’t matter how much you give to people, because your priorities are out of kilter. So make the pursuit of your Lord your first priority. Every day. In every action. A time spent with God that drifts from one to two hours is NEVER a careless use of time. Ever. To love God means just that. To place him first before all other things. Listen to John Calvin. We are God’s own; therefore let every part of our existence be directed towards him as our only legitimate goal. Lewis Hamilton prioritises the winning of F1 world championships. He organises his life around that one objective. And so do others. They are straining every sinew to achieve that goal. Our goal? To love God with all that we are, all that we own, all that we do. And no, this doesn’t mean over-working. We at Living Leadership are very clear about that. Servicing Let’s take a look at that car. An F1 car is a thing of beauty. The designers manage to eke out a huge amount of downforce, but they also balance it perfectly between the front and rear tyres. At least, that’s the aim. Do you drive? If you do, do you have your car serviced? Of course you do. So how much work do they do on these F1 cars? There isn’t a nut, a bolt, a duct, a compressor, DRS which isn’t cleaned, examined, tinkered with, serviced and worked on until it’s working as close to perfection as the team can manage. All done within the rules, of course. Servicing the cars isn’t an added extra. It is integral to the success of the team. Think of the race as your public performance. A Sunday service. A teaching engagement. Public prayer. What kind of servicing are you doing on your soul? What’s going on behind the scenes? Recently, I’ve been reading some selections from the classics. Richard Rolle, Frank Laubach, Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, C.S.Lewis, Henri Nouwen. Their wisdom is both challenging and humbling. These were people who dedicated their entire lives to the pursuit and service of God. They engaged in the spiritual disciplines, the servicing of their souls. They spent time alone, they meditated on the Word of God, they fasted and they prayed. They often wrestled with God. If your soul were a car, what kind of servicing does it need? Is your oil leaking? Are your tyres worn out? Do you need to go on a retreat? Do you need a friend to come alongside and encourage you? At Living Leadership, we provide opportunities for leaders to receive prayer and encouragement. The spiritual disciplines are practices which service the soul. They help us draw near to God. They shouldn’t be options. They should be essential. The Tyres Finally, those tyres. The truly great drivers manage their tyres. They are able to drive in such a way that they minimize the wear on the tyres as they drive. Sergio Perez is particularly good at this. So was Jenson Button. I guess you could call this “pacing yourself.” The Lord is not honoured by a servant who burns himself out – working ridiculous hours with little support until the tank is empty, the tyres are shot. That’s not a healthy way to serve in ministry. If you want to pace yourself, you must learn to rest, to recuperate, to relax. The sole pursuit of God doesn’t mean working until we destroy our mental health. It means enjoying him with all of who we are. Listening to his Spirit. A servant strengthened in God is a servant satisfied in God, equipped for service. So pace yourself. Manage those tyres. Focus, focus, focus. Service your soul. And pace yourself. Manage those tyres. So that you’re able to love and serve your God, energized, for the whole race.

  • Coppers With Compassion

    Do you dream of a kinder, more compassionate, more just world? I do. Let me introduce you to the TV show, Unforgotten. It presents a world in which police officers are kind, upright, caring and compassionate. That’s not what we get in most crime dramas, but in Unforgotten, that’s exactly what we see. The show is hugely popular. Unforgotten follows an historic crime department in the Metropolitan Police, solving crimes dating back decades. Each season starts with the discovery of a body – normally just the skeletal remains. The lead detective is Cassie Stuart, played by Nicola Walker. She radiates intelligence, care and compassion. She speaks softly and carefully, and is adept at asking one final question as she leaves. Just like Columbo. She’s a smart woman. Her partner is Sunny Khan, played by Sanjeev Bhaskar, quiet and intense. Together, they lead their team with diligence and integrity. No blundering plods here. In this show, you will never see police officers accusing people, shouting at them or harassing them. And there are no car chases. It’s a breath of fresh air, which is worth gulping down. What makes Unforgotten so . . . unforgettable? The illumination of human drives and desires. It is a show with an intense focus on secrets and lies, and it proceeds along two tracks. Track one is the detective work itself – the forensic evidence, the search for documents, the unearthing of connections. Track two is the behaviour of the suspects. As in all crime dramas, these two tracks collide. As the truth emerges, the suspects, who have been lying, find they can’t hide. They make silly mistakes, revealing their guilt. Or they can’t keep their stories straight. All the characters have something to hide. Truth is lurking underneath and for various reasons, they seek to hide it. On many occasions, the stories reveal the devastation of sexual abuse. Often there is shame. On occasion, it is the desire to protect a child. In other cases, it is guilt. Anger, revenge, family brokenness, misunderstandings, fear, they’re all on display in Unforgotten. Which is why it’s so powerful. It is a show with heart. Because it seeks to reveal the human heart. *Secrets and lies – great drama so often revolves around those two. Shame and fear – two of the most significant drivers of human behaviour. Secrets, lies, shame, and fear pretty much describe Genesis 3. Everything that follows in the history of the world emerges from that brief interaction between Satan and the first humans. We could, of course, insert pride here, but for now, let’s just stick with these four. We are lied to, then we lie to each other. Afterwards, we apportion blame. We seek to keep our behaviour secret because we feel shame. Then we fear the one who made us. Finally, we are cursed and must live under a curse, which cements these behaviours into us for generations. We’re still there. All from a few short verses. So here’s the first application for us as leaders. Do you have secrets? Do you feel shame for something, which has not been properly addressed? Do you fear God’s wrath, instead of embracing his love? What are you afraid of? All of us, to some extent, carry fear in our hearts. Even if it’s simply that our loved ones will perish or leave us. Do you have someone in whom you can confide? A friend or counsellor to whom you can unburden yourself? We at Living Leadership are here to help with mentoring and pastoral care, should you wish it. Most of us know the antidotes. Perfect love casts out fear. The truth will set you free. Resist the devil and he will flee. But it’s not enough to trot out the right verses. We need to live in them. Fully and intentionally. We need to live in the light. The recent shameful accounts of prominent Christian leaders, whose hidden lives have now been brought into the light, should give us fair warning. There is no hiding place from the truth. Not really. So what are you hiding? What are you running from? God sees all, knows all, and his love is everlasting. The second application has to do with the people we serve. How good is the pastoral care in your church? When a person presents with significant emotional anguish, do you have a way of helping that person find counsel and healing? The truth may set us free, but it is also akin to ripping off a scab. Health may follow as the wound heals, but it hurts like hell during the healing process. Will we walk with those who have held in secrets for decades? Will we be slow to judge and quick to listen, ready with a compassionate heart? Perhaps the reason why Unforgotten is so popular has to do with its stories of redemption. A woman with a shameful past hides it from her partner. The past is revealed. Rejection follows. Her anguish and misery cause anyone with a heart to cry out, “But what she needs is grace! Give her grace!” And grace she finally receives. Stories of grace will always touch our hearts, and they should. Grace is right at the heart of our experience of God. Unless you’re missing a pulse, it’s hard not to be moved by a character who receives grace. We Christians understand this, but so, it appears, do many in our world, who long to find a way out of their secrets and lies. What a powerful message we’ve been given. A message of God’s unmerited favour towards all those who would draw near. One final observation. At one point, someone asks, “Does the passing of time change the seriousness of the crime? Just because it took place thirty years ago, it’s still a crime.” (Paraphrase) Unforgotten’s foundational value is something we recognise instinctively. The astonishing value of each human being. That’s why even decades later, each victim is a person who should never be forgotten. Hence the title. That is a value we cherish dearly. For God created us for himself and we bear his image. We are precious to him. Infinitely precious. Today, let us give him thanks for the gift of life, for the chance to live in the light. Every day is an opportunity to banish secrets and lies. Every encounter with our heavenly Father bears within it the invitation to put our fear and our shame to death. For perfect love drives out fear. He has nailed our shame to a Roman cross and it binds us no more. How wonderful to serve a God of compassion, who bore our shame, who offers us new life. *I recommend Secrets and Lies, the 1996 Oscar-nominated and BAFTA-winning movie by Mike Leigh. The title tells you what to expect

  • Simplicity, Sincerity, Integrity

    Editor’s Note: The following post is based on short talks by two of our Associates, Jim Crooks and Martyn Dunning, delivered at Pastoral Refreshment At Home in February 2021. They have been adapted by Richard Collins. Tall Poppy Integrity – Martyn Dunning It’s only recently that I came across Tall Poppy Syndrome, a phrase more common in Australia. You’ll have noticed that poppies in a field usually grow to approximately the same height. If one is taller, it might easily be blown over. Why? Because it stands out! Tall Poppy Syndrome is a way to describe those who stand out. Several Australian management studies have explored whether, because of their principles, certain people are cut down to size by their colleagues. How? By being ostracised, gossiped about, or becoming the target of ridicule and derision. It’s those with integrity, those who are sincere, who are the “tall poppies.” These studies call to mind the experience of Job in the Bible. Having listened to the accusations of his three friends, Job responds, “I will not deny my integrity . . . my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.” (Job 27.5-6) Margaret Thorsborne is managing director of Transformative Justice, Australia. She once wrote about the “Big Three” of Leadership – Integrity, Truth and Honesty. She surveyed employees across a broad range of organisations and came to some enlightening conclusions about what it means to be a person of integrity. Respondents described their co-workers who exhibited integrity as follows: Strong character Steadfast and resolute Doing what they’d promised Authentic and straightforward Clear understanding of right and wrong The Bible teacher, Jonathan Lamb, draws our attention to Thorsborne’s description of Sarah, a middle manager in the public sector. “Sarah is one of two people I can name who possess (a serious amount of) integrity,” says Thorsborne. “She takes great care of people. Utterly reliable. She’s regularly called in to fix things . . . her commitment to staff wellbeing is enormous, often at some personal cost. She’s reliable and trustworthy. Her increasingly high profile means she’s been subjected to Tall Poppy Syndrome . . . by walking her talk, she’s shamed other, less principled, colleagues, who’ve taken opportunities to punish her. Snide remarks and open hostility have hurt her very much. Despite this, she refuses to deviate from her work of transforming soured workplace relationships.” Brilliantly, Thorsborne concludes, “Sarah is a quietly committed Christian; this obviously plays a significant role in her values.” The Reformer John Calvin observed that it’s a basic strategy of Satan “to seek some misconduct on the part of ministers which may tend to the dishonour of the gospel.” The need for tall poppies – for integrity – arises because, as Jonathan Lamb says, “Christian leaders have been called by a faithful God, whose character is steadfast love and faithfulness, grace and truth, love and light.” The Greek of 1 John 2.6 is clear. The apostle’s concern is that those who claim to abide, or remain, in Jesus “walk as He walked.” Martyn Dunning Such challenging words. The cost of integrity is high, but perhaps the cost of failing to live honestly and faithfully is even higher. The way of the cross is Jesus’ way. He understood the cost and paid it; he calls us to do the same. It’s worth remembering that Jesus’ most intense ire was reserved for hypocritical Pharisees. Saying one thing and doing another repelled him. Perhaps today as you read this, there is some area of your life which requires examination. Praise God that his mercy and grace extend even to the hypocrite, to the person struggling with guilt and shame. Now Jim Crooks . . . he writes, In 2 Corinthians, St. Paul says, For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. (2 Cor 1.12) Simplicity: ἁπλότης haplotēs. AV (8) - simplicity 3, singleness 2, liberality 1, bountifulness 1, liberty 1; the virtue of one who is free from pretence and hypocrisy Sincerity: εἰλικρίνεια eilikrineia. clearness, i.e. (by implication) purity (figuratively): — sincerity. AV (3) - sincerity 3 I have just completed an essay for Edinburgh Theological Seminary on the Simplicity of God. In spite of the title, it’s a really difficult concept to express. In this attribute, we attempt to describe something that belongs uniquely to God. By it we mean that God is identical with each of His attributes. One theologian says it is easier to explain this by saying what God is not. “The perfections of God are not like a pie, as if we sliced up the pie into different pieces, love being 10%, holiness 15%, omnipotence 7% and so on.” I suppose I have to conclude with Isaiah, “To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One.” St. Paul’s desire for simplicity appears to be a desire for consistency. He wants to be free from pretence, and he wants to be free of hypocrisy. He wants the reputation of “what you see is what you get.” But it’s not just consistency he is seeking, because he could be consistently obnoxious or consistently hard and unforgiving. Instead, what he seeks is to be consistently pure in his whole life. The word is only used three times in the New Testament; it’s always used by Paul, and it’s only used with reference to Corinth as a church. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Cor. 5.8) Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God. (2 Cor. 2.17) The message is clear, isn’t it? The root word in eilikrineia (sincerity) is εἵλη heilē which means the sun's ray. The idea is that we’re judged by the sunlight. This is like holding up our washing in front of an open window on a sunny day. As the light passes through, we catch sight of the remaining dirt, the imperfections. St. Paul aspires to live in the sunlight. He wants to be found consistently pure and transparent in all his dealings. I think we should join him. It’s a good aspiration. Let me finish with a story. I once offered someone a sincere compliment on their moustache – suddenly she wasn’t my friend anymore! So it’s not just sincerity we’re after, but godly sincerity. We aspire to be like him in the expression of our sincerity. Jim Crooks I find myself challenged by these two messages from Martyn and Jim. Two applications spring to mind. First, the simplicity, sincerity and integrity of Jesus. He never ceases to amaze me. He walks off the page and into my life, but in so doing, he doesn’t leave me as I am. The second application is, of course, the awareness of my inadequacy, my falling short. Aspirations are all well and good, but unless there is a means by which to reach them, then they remain frustratingly remote. The beauty of the gospel is that God isn’t just interested in saving people for the future, but transforming them right now. The integrity we seek, the sincerity to which we aspire, the simplicity we long for, are character traits formed in us by our God, through the work of his Spirit. Heaven is here right now in the wonder of God’s transforming Spirit, who lives and breathes, who challenges and changes us, who calls us into new life. A life of simplicity, sincerity, and integrity.

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