Thursday, 29 June 2017

On Missional Leadership, Active Learning Sets…

Don’t be put off by the title! But these are two terms which are on my mind as I write. At the beginning of July I’ll be spending the best part of a week on a diocesan course entitled “Missional Leadership for Growth.” It’s not the whole course. There’s already been a preparatory day, I’ve completed online learning preference and personality insight tests, and there’s another one on learning aptitude to complete before Monday. Then there’ll be a group of parishioners to set up - in the hope that we can share and act on what I’m discovering, followed by another residential week in November and still more work with our parish group to follow. All the clergy of our diocese are doing it at some point - I’m part of “Cohort 3” so they’ve already had one group through and another one half way.

I admit to being apprehensive. There are good intentions in the running of the course. But it will take up a lot of time. Even more, it will require fresh approaches on my part. “Active Learning Sets” are part of it - watch this space to see what they entail and whether they work!

But if they require a new openness on my part - well, that goes hand in hand with a sense that we need fresh initiatives in the life of the Church if we are to be getting on with the task of mission. The danger is always of “initiative fatigue.” But at the same time it’s fatal to do nothing - and received wisdoms do need challenging.

Wasn’t it simpler for the first disciples? Jesus simply said to them, “Follow me.” When they wanted to know more as to what he was doing, he invited them, “Come and see.” And that invitation is still open. The issue is how we extend that invitation in today’s world.

The challenge is also to accept it. “Come and see,” says Jesus - and that requires a response. We need to give up time in the first place. “Take this bread, drink this wine,” he asks us. It’s a simple invitation - but so often we can think of other things we need to do instead. How can we flourish as Christ’s people? How can we be deepened in our faith? That’s what we all need to learn. That’s where we all need renewal.         

Martin Jackson

From our double issue Parish Magazine for July and August 
- find it online here and by using the links from this site's pages

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