Tuesday, 2 October 2012


The LibDem Conference in Brighton last week was my first experience of a political party gathering. Being part of an inter-church group (with URC, Baptist, Quaker and Salvation Army)was a helpful sharing of differing expertise. Meetings with people such as Lord David Shutt (ex Chief Whip in the Lords), Steve Webb and David Laws enabled the group to voice concerns to ministers. It genuinely felt like a conversation in which the views of the Churches were being listened to. Clearly, it was a difficult Conference for the LibDems, so unused to being disliked; an unexpected reward of being in power and taking decisions! Leadership isn't easy, of course, especially so as instant universal knowledge is available to everyone via the internet and other media; giving rise to the tendency for too many to become armchair experts. Fortunately the Methodist Church is blessed by having young people who are willing to take leadership positions. An initiative that Stephen Poxon and David Walton began during their Presidency year was followed up on Saturday and Sunday in Birmingham with the Emerging Lay Leaders Conference. Nearly every District sent reps and it was inspiring and energising to share with a group of young people with so much to offer(See the photo). An NHS manager, Andrew Bennett gave a helpful opening address on Servant Leadership.
What will be so important now for these young people, so keen to follow Jesus, is to go back to church and circuit situations where they can be nurtured and encouraged into leadership. I wonder if as a Church we give enough thought or resources to mentoring programmes which allow leaders at all levels to grow into positions of authority in the church at an appropriate pace? Learning through example was, after all, what the early disciples did.

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