The Leadership Journey Podcast: Gary Burnett on ‘Paul Distilled’

Gary Burnett

Gary Burnett is the author of ‘Paul Distilled‘, an accessible introduction to the theology of Paul. He has previously written The Gospel According to the Blues.

In our conversation we chat about Gary’s own story as well as discussing some of the themes from his book.

You can check out ‘Paul in Ten’, a series of ten-minute videos that Gary recorded, covering the themes of Paul’s theology.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Sharon Garlough Brown

This week’s guest on the podcast is the author, Sharon Garlough Brown, well-known for her ‘Sensible Shoes’ and ‘Shades of Light’ series of books.

Sharon will be visiting Northern Ireland towards the end of the month, leading several retreats, including a morning for people involved in leadership and ministry.

In our conversation Sharon talks about her writing, but also about her own journey of faith. We talk about some of the themes of spiritual practice that occur in the book and discuss why men are probably more likely to attend an event promising ten principles for effective leadership than a spiritual retreat!

Sharon also answers the regular podcast question about what she might say to her twenty-year-old self (she’s not sure that her younger self would have known how to take the advice).

Details of Sharon’s visit to Northern Ireland can be found on the Cleopas website and leaders may be particularly interested in the event at Edenmore on Monday 23rd May (not Monday 24th as incorrectly stated on the podcast).

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Richard Venable on ‘Worship Leading Essentials’

This week’s guest on the podcast is fellow new author Richard Venable. Richard and I connected via our publisher, Instant Apostle.

Richard has written Worship Leading Essentials, a thoughtful and extremely practical book that explores a range of areas related to leading corporate worship. Join us as we chat about Richard’s own story and about the topics in his book.

To get hold of a copy of the book, you can follow some of the links on the Instant Apostle page: if you are anywhere near Southampton (where Richard lives), call in with the folk at Oasis Christian Centre in Romsey.

Watch out for future podcast episodes with literary agent Tony Collins, theologian Gary Burnett (talking about Paul on leadership), author Sharon Garlough-Brown, and Patrick Regan, founder of Kintsugi Hope.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Nicki Copeland

Nicki Copeland is an author, editor and speaker: she leads the team at Instant Apostle, a Christian publishing house that is celebrating its tenth anniversary.

In our conversation Nicki talks about her interest in books and her journey to being a writer as she discovered how God had created and gifted her. We talk about some of the history of Instant Apostle and get an overview of what is involved in the publishing process. Of course – as is customary in these conversations – Nicki shares some of what she would say to her twenty-year old self.

Nicki has written two books: Less than Ordinary, in which she tells her own story, and Losing the Fig Leaf, in which she discusses ways we hide ourselves behind such things as possessions and perfectionism.

I’m grateful to Nicki and the team at IA for giving me the opportunity to publish my first book – The Crucible of Leadership – which will be available in June.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Hwa Yung on ‘Leadership or Servanthood?’

This week my guest is Hwa Yung who joins me via Zoom from Malaysia. Hwa Yung has served as a minister and a bishop in the Methodist Church, and was principal of Malaysia Theological Seminary; since his retirement he has remained active, giving himself to working with the Malaysian Church, to writing, and to working with leaders in the Majority World.

As well as talking about his own – sometimes very moving – story, we talk about his book, ‘Leadership or Servanthood’ (which I summarised in a previous post). The book is a challenge to the Church’s tendency to follow the cultural understanding of leadership – something that easily leads to a neglect of foundational biblical themes like discipleship and servanthood.

The book is published by, and available from Langham on their website.

Leadership is the result of practicing genuine servanthood wherever we are and whatever position we are called to by Christ. By living and ministering as servants, our loving and humble service will impact those around us as great leadership.’

Hwa Yung, in ‘Leadership or Servanthood?’

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Debbie Hawker on Resilience

This week’s guest on the podcast is Dr Debbie Hawker. Debbie is a clinical psychologist who works along with her husband, Dr David Hawker, to support mission partners and humanitarian workers. Their work includes providing assessments and reviews as well as retreats and training. The organisations she has worked with include Tearfund, Latin Links, Interserve and YWAM. Debbie has provided training or consultations in a significant number of countries, from Argentina and Australia to The US and the UK.

In addition to her contributions to specialist publications, she has written a couple of recent books that are aimed at a wider audience – including ‘Resilience in Life and Faith’, which she has co-authored with Tony Horsfall, a recent guest on the podcast.

In the podcast we talk about the book and Debbie shares about a model for thinking about resilience that she sums up with the acrostic SPECS.

  • Spiritual aspects of resilience;
  • Physical aspects of resilience;
  • Emotional aspects of resilience;
  • Cognitive and Creative aspects of resilience;
  • Social and systemic aspects of resilience.

If you’d like to get a copy of the book Debbie and her family have written on creation care, it is ‘Changing the Climate: Applying the Bible in a Climate Emergency’.

For more information on Kintsugi Hope, which we mentioned in the conversation, you can list their website.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Ajith Fernando

My first guest of the year is Ajith Fernando. Ajith was National Director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka for 35 years and since his retirement from the post has continued as a mentor to the organisation and young leaders.

In our conversation we talk about his leadership journey, including the early influence of an Irish Methodist missionary in Sri Lanka, and Ajith talks about one of his earliest challenges as a young leader and how it helped to shape his ministry approach. He shares some thoughts on the state of the global Church and reflects on some of the things that have helped him to stay fresh over several decades of ministry.

We also talk about Ajith’s writing. Among the significant number of books he has written are his NIVAC commentary on Acts and his reflections on ‘Jesus-driven ministry’.

The next episode of the podcast will feature a conversation with psychologist and author, Debbie Hawker when we will be discussing resilience in Christian ministry.

Here is the conversation with Ajith:

The Leadership JOurney Podcast: Tony Horsfall

Tony Horsfall describes himself as a writer, a retreat leader, a mentor, and a friend. He is based in Yorkshire. Tony has had several decades of experience in Christian Ministry – as a church-planting missionary in Malaysia, a pastor in England, a missions trainer, and a retreat leader. He has been involved in membercare, and serves under the auspices of Charis Training: their website will give you links to books and articles he has written – some of which we talk about in the podcast, including Spiritual Growth in a Time of Change, and Rhythms of Grace.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Simon Stuart (A rocha)

Simon Stuart is the Executive Director of A Rocha International, a family of Christian organisations involved in conservation projects around the world. Simon has worked in conservation for many years and in 2020 was awarded the prestigious Blue Planet Prize in recognition of his work.

Simon has also been a personal friend of mine for over 30 years. He worked alongside me as an elder in Westlake Church in Nyon, Switzerland, before he and his family moved to the United States.

Simon’s work with A Rocha brings together his love for God and his concern for the wellbeing of what God has made.

In our conversation we talk about Simon’s journey in the world of conservation and how he integrates faith and science. We touch on the issue of climate change – to know more Simon recommends you visit the website of Christian climate scientist, Katherine Hayhoe, and Simon shares some of what he would say to his 20 year old self.

We’re planning one more podcast episode before Christmas, when the guest will be Tony Horsfall. Tony is a teacher and trainer; he has worked overseas and has authored several books, including ‘Resilience in Life and Faith’, and ‘Working from a Place of Rest.’

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Ruth Garvey-Williams

Ruth and her husband, Andrew, have been living in Buncrana, Donegal for the past 17 years where they have been involved in a range of ways with their local community and have recently facilitated the start of a new fellowship. Ruth is also the founder and editor of Vox magazine and has recently published, ‘Gloriously Ordinary’ which she has written with Andrew and several other people involved in mission.

‘Gloriously Ordinary’ sets out several principles that Ruth believes are key to incarnation mission in Ireland: you can order a copy of the book from Teach Solas, an Irish Christian bookshop in County Cork (Teach Solas is Irish for Lighthouse).

In our conversation we talk about Buncrana’s ‘Amazing Grace Festival’ (are you aware of the connection between Donegal and John Newton?), about team ministry, incarnational mission, and signs of hope for the Church in Ireland.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: ‘Canoeing the Mountains’ with Tod Bolsinger

This week Tod Bolsinger returns to talk about his book ‘Canoeing the Mountains’ (he previously talked to us about his more recent book, Tempered Resilience). The title is a metaphor for the situation church leaders find themselves in when what lies ahead of them and their leadership looks very different from what they have been trained for and grown accustomed to: leaders need to be aware of the changes that have happened in the Western World and of the need for ‘technical competence, ‘adaptive change’, and ‘relational congruence.’

We also get the opportunity to hear a bit about the man behind the books, including what Tod would like to say to his 20-year-old self.

Feel free to add your own caption!

The guest on the next episode of the podcast will be Ruth Garvey-Williams, editor of VOX Magazine.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Tod Bolsinger on ‘Tempered Resilience’

In this (shorter) episode of the podcast the guest is Tod Bolsinger from Fuller Seminary in California. Tod is the author of several books, including his most recent book, Tempered Resilience: How Leaders Are Formed in the Crucible of Change.

It’s a follow on from Tod’s previous book, Canoeing the Mountains in which he discusses what it means for Christian leaders to lead in the uncharted waters of a rapidly-changing culture.

In Tempered Resilience, he walks us through a blacksmith’s forge and compares the steps in preparing a metal tool with the spiritual formation of a leader who is being prepared to ‘hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope’ (quoted from Martin Luther King).

The smithing process involves working (‘leaders are formed in leading’), heating (‘strength is formed in self-reflection’), holding (‘vulnerable leadership requires relational security’), hammering (‘stress makes a leader’), hewing (‘resilience takes practice’), and tempering (‘resilience comes through a rhythm of leading and not leading’).

Next week Tod will return to the podcast to talk about his previous book, Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: David Cupples

This week’s guest on the podcast is David Cupples, minister of Enniskillen Presbyterian Church in County Fermanagh. David had been minister there for over 30 years, having arrived in the town in September 1987, just weeks before the community was devastated by a Remembrance Day bomb.

In our conversation David talks about some of his experience as a minister at that time. He also talks about some of what he has found to be important in sustaining a long ministry in one place. he shares a bit about his time on the Camino Santiago and, as with other guests on the podcast, has some advice for his 20-year-old self.

David has written a book on his Camino experience and you can order a copy by contacting him via Enniskillen Presbyterian Church.

The guest on the podcast in a couple of weeks will be Tod Bolsinger who will be talking about his most recent book, Tempered Resilience: How Leaders are Formed in the Crucible of Change.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Chris Green on ‘The Gift’

This week’s guest on the podcast is Chris Green. Chris leads a church in North London and this month IVP has published his most recent book: The Gift.

I’ve already written about the book, so you can get a quick idea of what the main ideas of the book are. In our conversation, Chris talks about some of his other work, including other books he has written, including The Message of the Church, a biblical theology of the Church, part of the Bible Speaks Today series, and Cutting to the Heart, on application in preaching.

He talks about the key ideas of The Gift, including some cautions about whether and how we should think of Jesus as the Model Leader, why church leaders could think of their work in terms of the twelve slices of pizza, and what he means when he defines church leadership as ‘Corporate Application’.

Along the way we mention the work of Patrick Lencioni and his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, which is well worth your while checking out.

And we have a discount code: you will pick up the code if you listen to the podcast and it will give you IVP’s best price when you order from their website.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Justyn Terry on The Five Phases of Leadership

This week’s podcast episode features another author interview. My guest is Dr. Justin Terry and the book is The Five Phases of Leadership, recently published by Langham (you can order a copy from their website). You can read a quick overview of the book on the blog and the podcast conversation will allow you to get a bit more detail.

The basic premise, as the title suggests, that there are five phases to a leadership assignment. You could almost call them stages, but thinking of them as phases allows for some overlap between them.

  • Establish trust
  • Cultivate leaders
  • Discern vision
  • Implement plans
  • Transition out

Justyn Terry is Vice-Principal at Wycliffe Hall in Oxford. Previously he served as Dean/President of Trinity School of Ministry in Pittsburgh and as Minister of St Helen’s Church in North Kensington.

The guest on the next episode of the podcast will be Chris Green, and he will be talking about his book The Gift: How your Leadership can Serve your Church. The book will be launched next week and you can read my review on the blog.

The Leadership Journey Podcast – Rick Hill on ‘Deep Roots of Resilient Disciples’

This week Rick Hill returns to the podcast (you can listen to the story of his leadership journey here and here) to talk about his new book on discipleship. Rick has written out of a deep concern to see followers of Jesus put down deep roots that will enable them to persevere in the long haul.

I had the opportunity to read the book ahead of its publication and write an endorsement.

Rick Hill is an outstanding young Christian leader, and this book expresses his heart for his generation and for those of us of any generation who are willing to listen. Simply put, it’s a renewed call to follow Jesus. Rick writes out of a deep and authentic pastoral concern and grounds his message in the realities of everyday life. What he proposes is a fresh discovery of the heart of discipleship - a call to follow Jesus and obey him, to cultivate a relationship with him, and in the process be changed to be more like him. While his style of communication is fresh and relevant, he is never faddish; and while he writes with compassion and genuine understanding of the issues that turn some people away from the Church, he never softens the call or downplays the cost. In a rapidly changing world, here is an invitation to rediscover the significance of a two thousand year-old message. Read it and digest it. Then go out and buy another copy to give away! 

For more on the book, visit Rick’s website, where you can order a copy.

Rick Hill on Resilient Disciples

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Ray and Jani Ortlund

The guests on this episode of the podcast are Ray and Jani Ortlund and the interview was carried out in conjunction with the Keswick at Portstewart Convention where Ray has been delivering some online Bible teaching. If you’d like to watch the interview you can catch it on the Keswick at Portstewart Youtube channel.

Ray and Jani have been married for almost fifty years and for most of that time they have served in ministry together. Ray has pastored several churches, including Immanuel, Nashville, whose leadership he handed over to TJ Tims in 2019. Together they oversee the work of Renewal Ministries.

Both have authored several books: Jani most recent book is Help! I’m Married to My Pastor while Ray’s next book, to be released in September, is The Death of Porn: Men of Integrity Building a World of Nobility.

In the next episode of the podcast, Rick Hill will be making a return visit: this time he will be talking about his new book, Deep Roots of Resilient Disciples.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Darran McCorriston

Darran McCorriston is the minister of Ballyloughan Presbyterian Church in Ballymena, where he has served for fifteen years. Alongside his ministry in the church he chairs the committee for the Keswick at Portstewart Convention – an annual gathering on Northern Ireland’s north coast that is part of the family of the wider Keswick movement.

In our conversation Darran talks about influences he experienced growing up, about some of his early ventures into Christian ministry, and about people from whom he has learned various aspects of leadership. He also talks about some of the challenges he has faced and about the things he’s say to his twenty-year-old self.

The fruit of your life depends on the root of your life.

The guests on the next episode of the podcast will be Ray and Jani Ortlund. Ray will be providing Bible teaching at this year’s Keswick at Portstewart event (Sunday, July 11 – Thursday, July 15) and you will be able to watch a video of our conversation during the week of the convention (from Tuesday, July 13 at noon), on the Keswick website. The audio will also be available here, and via Apple Podcasts and Spotify, also on Tuesday, July 13.

It is still possible to benefit from the special offer on Terry Virgo’s new book, God’s Treasured Possession: the code mentioned in my recent conversation with Terry is valid for the whole of this month.

Speaking of books, Rick Hill‘s new book, Resilient Discipleship launches next week and you can order a copy here.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Terry Virgo on ‘God’s Treasured Possession’

This week Terry Virgo is back on the podcast and he’s talking about his new book, ‘God’s Treasured Possession: Walk in the Footsteps of Moses’, which has just recently been published by IVP.

We start our conversation by asking ‘why Moses?’ and go on to talk about a number of the themes arising from the book.

There is a special offer for listeners in that IVP, the book’s publishers, are offering a discount when you order from their website: you can get the code at the beginning and end of the podcast.

Terry was previously on the podcast in November when we discussed his leadership journey. You can listen to that conversation here.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Dawn McAvoy

This week’s guest on the podcast is Dawn McAvoy from the Evangelical Alliance in Northern Ireland. As well as he work generally with EA, Dawn leads the work of Both Live Matters a movement that has tackled the emotive issue of abortion with a commitment to advocate for both of the lives implicated in a pregnancy. Part of their aim is ‘to create a life-affirming culture that values each woman and her unborn child.’

In our conversation Dawn talks about growing up in a family of faith and how her life took an unexpected turn while she was at university in a way that changed her direction and began to develop in her a sensitivity to the issue to which she has subsequently devoted so much of her energy.

Dawn’s advice to her 20 year-old self is drawn from something she picked up from the recent HTB Leadership Conference:

  • Be secure in your identity with God,
  • And walk in obedience to him.

You can get more information about Dawn and the work of Both Lives Matter by visiting the website.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Reggie McNeal on ‘A Work of Heart’

This week I am joined by Dr Reggie McNeal to talk about his book A Work of Heart. Reggie is a writer, and leadership coach who is passionate about God’s Kingdom. He is the author of some ten books, including Practicing Greatness and, his most recent book, Kingdom Collaborators. He is also the host of The Reggie McNeal Podcast.

The book we feature in this episode of the podcast was actually published just over twenty years ago. I was very struck by it at the time and have recently been suggesting it as reading for some younger leaders.

As the subtitle says, the subject of the book is ‘understanding how God shapes spiritual leaders.’ The book falls into two parts. The first tells the story of four biblical leaders whose stories are recounted in quite some detail in Scripture – Moses and David from the Old Testament, Jesus and Paul from the New. The second part highlights six heart-shaping themes that are discernible in these leaders stories, but which each merit a chapter on their own.

In our conversation, Reggie and I discuss these six themes:

  • Culture – leaders are not born into a vacuum;
  • Call – ‘something you orient your entire life around’;
  • Community – what part do others play in the shaping of a leader?
  • Conflict – hard to avoid, but essential to know how to navigate;
  • Communion – the challenge of maintaining a walk with God;
  • The Commonplace – learning to look for God in the ordinary events of life.

Along the way we talk about self-awareness (‘the single most important body of information you have as a leader’) – without it, Reggie suggests, a leader does not know why they do what they do.

Meantime, if you’ve not read A Work of Heart, do yourself a favour and get a copy. If you have read it, buy a copy to give to another leader!

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Derek McKelvey

This week’s guest on the podcast is Derek McKelvey. Derek is a retired Presbyterian minister who served congregations in Bangor, Ballygilbert, and Fisherwick, in the university area of Belfast. In addition to his congregational ministry, Derek is well-known for his prayer ministry course that operates under the auspices of the Kairos Trust.

In our conversation we talk about Derek’s upbringing and his conviction from early childhood that he would one day be a minister. He would discover later that God was answering a prayer prayed by his mother before his birth. Derek also talks about a challenging season of exhaustion in his ministry that led to a remarkable encounter with God and opened a new vision of ministry.

Among the wisdom he shares are these valuable gems:

  • Seize the God-moments!
  • Believe all of God’s promises!

If you would like to know more about Derek’s ongoing ministry with the Kairos Trust, feel free to contact him via their website.

The podcast will be back in a couple of weeks when I hope to be chatting with author Reggie McNeal about his excellent leadership book, A Work of Heart.

(PS – the episode with Reggie McNeal will be in May.)

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Gareth MacLean

Gareth McLean is Minister of Orangefield Presbyterian Church, a thriving congregation in East Belfast. He’s been there for almost three years, having moved from First Presbyterian Church in Ballymoney, in North Antrim. Gareth is also the cohost of a new podcast, Greenways podcast, which aims to share stories from followers of Jesus as they live out their faith in the context of their real world vocations.

Gareth grew up in County Armagh and became a Christian after a remarkable series of events when he was eleven but it was an unforgettable conversation with a fellow student while at university that had the effect of really turning his life around. After completing a degree in business and IT, he took on a youth position in a Belfast Presbyterian church before training for ordained ministry.

In our conversation Gareth talks about some of the experiences and people that have had a big impact on him, including the serious illness of his young son.

He also talks about the advice he would have for his twenty-year-old self, including underlining the importance of time with God.

Coming up on the next episode of the podcast, my guest will be Derek McKelvey, former minister of Fisherwick Presbyterian Church.

The Leadership Journey Podcast: Dave Landrum

Dr Dave Landrum is Director of Advocacy and Public Affairs at Open Doors UK and Ireland.

Open Doors traces its origins back to 1955 and the visit by a young Dutch Christian to a Communist youth congress in Poland. So began the work of Brother Andrew and today Open Doors is a ministry that seeks to support and strengthen persecuted Christians in some 60 nations.

Dave has been working with Open Doors since the start of this year. Previously he worked with The Evangelical Alliance and with the Bible Society. Before his work with these Christian organisations that has spanned the past two decades, Dave lectured in politics and social sciences at Edge Hill University College.

In our conversation we talk about the work of Open Doors and what is involved in Dave’s role. We also talk about Christian attitudes to politics as well as some of the key things Dave has learned about leadership. There may even be a reference to Everton!

The Leadership Journey Podcast: John Dickinson

John Dickinson is the recently-retired minister of Carnmoney Presbyterian Church in Newtownabbey – a congregation he served for nineteen years. Previously John served in churches in various parts of Northern Ireland, including Seaview, in North Belfast.

In our conversation John talks openly about the recent loss of his wife, Christine, just a few weeks after a cancer diagnosis in 2019. He talks about growing up in a ministry family, about some of the people who have influenced him, and about his growing awareness of God’s presence in the ‘now’ of ministry. Looking back over his nineteen years in Carnmoney, he talks about aspect of his ministry that most stands out, and he shares two things he would like to say to his twenty-year old self.

The next guest on the podcast will be Dave Landrum, Director of Advocacy and Public Affairs with Open Doors.