Leadership @ BPC
It is a great privilege and exciting opportunity to exercise leadership in God’s church, but it also comes with responsibilities be it paid staff or a volunteer. This article sets out what we at BPC think are some of the key issues when it comes to exercising leadership. If you have any questions, do please speak to one of the senior leadership team.
We make a distinction at BPC between those in positions of leadership and those ‘on their way in’. We are an inclusive church and welcome everyone regardless of their lifestyle. We have a big front door. Everyone is welcome. The church is not a museum displaying perfect people. It is a hospital in the traditional sense of the word – a place of hospitality and restoration. It is a place where the wounded, hurt, broken and injured find healing in Jesus Christ.
General Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of the coalition forces in the 1991 Gulf War, said: ‘Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.’ Character really matters.
We do not put people in positions of leadership if their lifestyle conflicts with the New Testament. Leadership is not only functional, but also involves a responsibility to live as an example to others. Leaders are models for the rest of the congregation. Of course, you do not have to be perfect to be an example. However, we try to ensure that the lifestyle and character of our leaders is in line with the New Testament. Put another way, as leaders we want to model being faithful disciples of Jesus. This will impact everything about us, and as leaders, we should also expect greater accountability as to how we live.
We also want to model the vision and values of BPC. Our vision – Worshipping God, Making Friends and Changing the World – and our goals in implementing the vision ensure that we are all aiming for the same thing and pulling in the same direction. Our values help shape our church culture – how we relate to God, one another in the church and those we seek to reach outside the church.
Finally, we would like to encourage you to prayerfully consider being in a mentoring relationship, prayer partnership and/or accountability relationship. Advice on these options is freely available from the Ministry Team.
We want to foster the sense among our leaders that we are all in it together. Our hope therefore is that you will feel able to come to most of our main events, such as a Sunday service (mornings or evening) and to other big ‘whole church’ events such as the Parish weekend-away, the Annual Meeting and other leaders’ events. We expect, too, that you will be a part of a Connect Group and come along to leaders’ training days.
As a leader, you will be serving in some capacity in the church! But we want you to get a good rhythm of work and rest, of giving and receiving. Neither you nor your team members should be serving every week. We want you to avoid burn out – this often happens when (figuratively speaking) people try to run a sprint instead of a marathon. There should be weeks when you simply come and receive. We want you to enjoy your serving and guard against only coming to church when a rota demands it of you!
We also want you to be the best recruiter for your team; the more members you have in your team, the more the work can be spread without anyone being overworked.
Finally, we hope you will quickly identify one or more persons in your team who you can train up by taking them round the leadership square to eventually succeed you in your role when you move on to other things. This is the leadership square:
We ask those exercising leadership at BPC to show ‘buy-in’ to our vision and ministry by helping fund it through setting up some regular giving. We do acknowledge that at some life-stages we may be able to give more in time than in money but some sort of giving is important.
We think it is scriptural to give a significant proportion of your giving to your home church, i.e. the church that feeds you. But of course, you might also give to mission agencies or other Christian organisations, too. In 2 Corinthians 9, the Apostle Paul encourages us to give generously, cheerfully and what you have decided in your heart to give (between you and God). The Old Testament principle of tithing (i.e. giving away a tenth) is something we aim for. It can seem like a lot so even starting at 5% and increasing by 1% per annum is a great way to start. How much (or what percentage) you give is between you and God and further details and forms are at www.bpchurch.uk/giving.
Prayer is vital and underpins all we do at BPC. We do expect leaders to pray for the areas of ministry for which they are responsible, for those they lead and also to try to attend the regular Prayer & Praise events. Prayer is always hard and always tough to do for the simple reason that the enemy knows what a potent weapon it is for the Church. If we can encourage you further with your prayer life do let us know.
In the wider church at the moment big discussions are happening about issues of sexuality and what the definition of marriage should be. We take these issues really seriously and the leadership team holds an orthodox and traditional view. We want to offer a wide welcome to anyone, but our teaching always follows a traditional understanding on these issues. If you want to find out more have a look at bpchurch.uk/ourbeliefs. Feel free to chat to any of the senior leadership team if you want to understand more.
And finally … Leadership at BPC is rooted in Jesus’ example of leading out of love and with a servant heart. It should not be about us, or about power or prestige. As we look to support and disciple our leaders, they in turn support and disciple those they lead. As we do this our relationships will deepen and we will see the world changed. Leadership is a tall order but we are here to support you in all you do.