“Leading a Multicultural Church” by Malcolm Patten – A practitioner and a thinker who lays a beautiful theological cushion from which we can stand and become a genuine practitioner who engages with the multiple cultures of our cities. There is a depth and reality to this book that should be on the shelf of every ministry in an urban setting, practical, real and helpful. 10/10
“The World on our Doorstep” by Dewi Hughes – This book answers questions about other faiths, gives tools for how to engage them with Christendom and pitfalls to avoid. A useful book for those seeking to step into evangelism in a multicultural context. 8/10
You know that you want you community to be a place where Jesus is seen and accepted but how do you begin with a missional community. Most communities start with a team but there are occasions when you have nobody…..what then?
1)Adopt the posture of a learner – it can be easy to make assumptions and to think that you know a community well. However, demographic studies, stats, maps and more stats are no replacement for legwork in the community and getting under the skin of the place. You need to be ready to learn more, listen more, observe continually and accept things may be different to what you perceive. Be ready to learn, be willing to learn and spend a great deal of time listening. Adopt a learning attitude.
2)Seek someone who will inform you – who is the person of peace, someone who imbibes the community, who will share their knowledge and is a friend. They do not necessarily hold your beliefs of faith but they are willing to share with you. Their willingness usual strengthens when you adopt the posture of a learner and not that of teacher.
3) Build relationships – as you talk with people, seek them out again, develop friendships, go deeper and let this rootedness in the community help you to flourish. Not all relationships will be tight, see it more of a spiders web with a central strength and a growing network beyond the fringes. Relationships are critical.
These first three steps are very practical and the holy people reading will ask, ‘what about prayer?’ Prayer is the most necessary component and I have assumed it will underpin, surround and inhabit everything. Without prayer you have nothing and the steps above only help begin a social club, not a missional community. Prayer is the blood running through our veins….do not abandon it.
All the above takes time….it is worth it!
What are your values? Not your stated values but those you truly live by? It is important to know the difference because it will determine your effectiveness as a leader and impact the culture you are creating in your organisation.
This week we have seen a major upheaval within the political landscape of the United Kingdom and the values of our political leaders have been seriously tested. A number have resigned. All politicians state that they are representatives of their people and will uphold democratic process. However, it appears that some may have forgotten this. It is easy to knock public figures, what about our organisations?
So often, we have values that we state, mention and uphold publicly. Yet, they are aspirations rather than heartfelt passions, so that when troubles come…..they can be forgotten. Our values have become a management tool rather than a code we live by. People notice, recognise it and respond in kind. If you don’t truly live by your values, there will come a point when it is tested and you will pay a heavy price.
What are your values? What are your real values?
Found this little nugget in my notebook but have lost the reference to who wrote it…..big apologies…..but felt it was still worth sharing.
“My advice to leaders: Don’t cling to every aspect of the way your business works as you scale up. Stick to your core values, but recognize that you need to lead (or at least be ok with) the evolution of your culture, just as you would lead (or be ok with) the evolution of your product. But be sure you’re sticking to your values, and not compromising them just because the organization scales and work patterns need to change. A leader’s job is to embody the values. That impacts/produces/guides culture. But only the foolhardy leaders think they can control culture.”
Found the writer…..it was Matt Blumberg….thank you Matt
It is all too common to hear excuses, unfortunately many without basis or need, that are used to hide blame or ignore problems. Far better to be in an environment that accepts responsibility than using excuses for why things are not as anticipated.
“That was before my time here”
“I was not consulted on this”
“I did not know enough detail”
“there is always a significant lead-in time that we had not anticipated”
There are many more, but these are an example of an excuse culture – once in a while they may be valid, often they are not.
The cultural norm is that we have a dress code for certain events or activities. The older generations would usually point to a decline in ‘standards’ for the way people dress, what they really mean is that people dress in a different way.
In one office, the staff normally dress ‘smart but casual’, so it is shirts and open collars. However, one day many staff members came in with ties and jackets leaving just one person in the usual attire. He was feeling put out when he recognised that he was the only one who had not dressed up for a senior management meeting but that changed when one of the staff said;
“you can think of it another way, you have no need to dress to impress, you are confident in your own skin and more certain of who you are.”
What wise and powerful words. Whilst I do not advocate scruffy dressing (whatever that may be!), hearing this story helped me realise that it is not my dress code that will help me to impress others, it is the confidence in who I am, in my words and actions.