Embracing this leadership season: Facebook Live

13 Oct 2021
We're in a particularly strange season, and if you are a leader you can feel strung out and just not sure if you are doing the right thing.

In one of our Facebook Lives for children's, youth and family leaders, Rachel Turner talked about how we can discover a biblical model of leadership that will serve us well in this season.

You can watch the video below, or skip further down to see short notes.

We can fall into a hole that says: leadership is strategic. It's a straight trajectory, building up and building on, and over time we will see and grow more and more success and impact. And if that's our belief, then any time we find we're not on that straight line, we can feel that we've failed.

Strategic leadership is important, but how does that sit with what the Bible says about leadership?

James 4:13 says this:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

There is a tension that exists between the vision of strategic leadership and the journey it takes. Just as when you walk somewhere, you know where you are going to end up, but the journey is full of changes of direction. And on a long journey - a day's hike, for example - there are seasons: seasons of pressing forward, seasons of tiredness, seasons of resting. 

Scripture shows us that leadership is never a straight line. Moses' long journey of leadership had many seasons. He led the people triumphantly out of Egypt; but then there were seasons of disobedience, seasons when he needed to learn new skills, seasons of delegation. Moses had to lead in each season he found himself.

And so do we, because when we embrace the season we are in then we can work with God and be fruitful. Seasons in nature have a purpose - warmth to open the blossom, coolness so the seeds ripen and fall to the ground. When we eat fruit perfectly in season it is so much better than fruit out of season.

So as leaders, we need to recognise the season we are in and embrace it.

How do we embrace the season of leadership? Four points.

1. Discern the season

Psalm 127:1-2 says this:

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat – for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Things to help you discern:

  • Constantly listen to what God is saying and doing (for example Paul and the man from Macedonia, Acts 16)
  • Pay attention to what you see in front of you and trust what you see. Is it working? Are people responding? What does that tell you about the season?
  • Ask, who has God provided? If he provides for what he has called us to, then pay attention to that.
  • Take a step back and ask what's the opposition and what does that tell you: is the hardness of this season because I'm not meant to be doing this?
  • Is it your pride driving you to fulfil things or pursue things you think you ought to?

2. Lead according to the season

We need to give ourselves permission to be different sorts of leaders than before. You may have been a pioneer, a team leader, a settler. But in this season, what sort of leadership is needed? Moses' leadership went through seasons: a pioneer, a delegator, a mentor, a rebuilder. You may be called to be different to your natural leadership style, and that's OK.

3. Manage people's expectations

A lot of people we lead may expect us to be getting back to normal, to where we were. We need to help them go on the journey of discovering this season, understanding what we're doing in this season and spotting and celebrating it with us.

4. Watch for the seasons changing

We sometimes expect seasons to finish quickly - but just like in the UK, the transition between seasons aren't always very clear! Look for the signs things are changing, what shifts do you feel, what are you noticing, what are people talking about?

Be confident to embrace the season - we're not further on or further back on the line - we're on the winding journey God has planned for us.

Questions Rachel answered: 

How do you manage it when different leaders differ in the season that they think we are in?

My team are all in different seasons! How do i persuade them to identify with where we are at?

What practical things have you done to help you 'discern' the season you're in? What things do you practically look out for? What practices do you put in place during the 'discernment' phase? How long do you let the discernment process take place?

Image acknowledgements

Winding road by Getty Images via Canva Pro