The Leadership Journey Podcast: Gilbert Lennox

This week’s podcast was recorded with an audience (and live-streamed) at New Horizon in Coleraine.

My guest is Gilbert Lennox, who was responsible for the Bible teaching each morning at New Horizon. Gilbert’s initial career path took him into teaching, but after a number of years left school teaching and devote himself to church leadership and Bible teaching. He was involved in founding Glenabbey Church just outside Belfast, a church that celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2018. Although he has retired from his staff position in Glenabbey, Gilbert is still involved in the teaching ministry of the church.

Once we get over Gilbert’s reticence to describe himself as a leader, we talk about some of the early influences on his life, growing up in Armagh: not only were his parents ‘profound believers’ but there were opportunities to encounter various people along the way – not least Professor David Gooding, who has been an influence for decades: starting a Bible study in an old henhouse became an impetus for regular study with David Gooding

Gilbert taught in school for 15 years before he sensed God calling him to move more fully into church work. As sometimes happens with new callings, his move from school to church was severely tested.

He talks about some of what has helped him to be resilient in ministry: specifically, the part played by his wife, and having a bedrock of Scripture.

Reflecting on leadership, he notes that Jesus talked about what it is not! ‘Leadership [is] a partnership with God and with others.’

His advice to his 20 year old self includes the need not to take himself too seriously and the realisation that you can’t fix everything (though you can help).

The time you spend in Scripture is never wasted.

For your own reflection:

  • Gilbert discusses a couple of significant mentor figures in his life: what people can you identify in your own life and how would you respond to the challenge of being a mentor to others?
  • Gilbert talks about the importance of *learning* to be content: are you learning this?
  • Especially if you are involved in any way in theological education (either as student or teacher) – how do you respond to what Gilbert says about the possibility of theology getting in the way of our knowledge of God through the Bible?
  • How do you respond to Gilbert’s challenge to the thinking where we are often keen to use labels in church leadership?

2 thoughts on “The Leadership Journey Podcast: Gilbert Lennox

  1. Informative, very helpful, much needed, and thought provoking interview! Listening to Gilbert (rant 😁) about the ludicrous model of ‘one man ministry’ that many churches and denominations employ. He says; (I paraphrase) “…why not appoint three people part time who are gifted in different areas of ministry…” (e.g. A preacher who is also a farmer… A pastor who is a retired accountant…etc.) Surely the NT model was more like this? A plurality of Elders in each church, gifted to give the church what God intended it to have! Not the current model of inserting a guy into a church with ‘a vacancy’ because his granny paid for him to study Theology for three years. He’s then expected to be a Charles Spurgeon/D.L. Moody/Robert Murray McCheyne ‘Pastor’/Superman! The evidence shows that Big Egos, Burnout, and Breakdown eventually happen. This interview was like a breath of fresh air.
    The current trends within church leadership need to be seriously examined in the light of Scripture, as Gilbert said; “…ideas are fine, but they don’t have the same authority as the word of God.” Having just returned from the Bangor Missionary Convention with D.A. Carson’s teaching of Isaiah ringing in my ears, the questions Gilbert has raised concerning the essential and practical mobilisation of churches (i.e., Leaderships leading biblically) may hold the keys to unlocking the current ‘professional paralysis’ that has rendered so many resource rich churches ineffective in reaching the nations with the gospel, though they persist in trying new wheels on their church leadership cart. (Here endeth my own rant!😁)

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