Friday, 13 December 2013

Carol Singing Life Group!

One of our life groups, on the initiative of Geoff White, went out carol singing last night.  They visited many homes around West Village, the new development of flats and houses down near the Oxford Road Tesco's. An intrepid bunch went knocking on doors and singing. Left people surprised as instead of being asked for money, they were given chocolates by the carollers!  

It had such an impact that not only did the official West Village Face Book page thank the RFC carol singers but they have also advertised our carol concert on their page!  Quality!

Something to think about and store away for next year maybe!

Attitudes of a Leader @ RFC # 5

(Week five of this 5 week series taken from a talk given at the RFC Leadership Summit.)

5: Ready to learn
This is our 5th and final attitude.

As we look at leaders at RFC and actually across the board, we must be those who never got to a point when we think we have made it.  We will always be a faint reflection of the great leadership that Jesus brought to bear as he walked on the earth and we must recognise that and remember that we are a work in progress.  

his takes great humility. Being learners means we need to acknowledge we are not the finished article and that we are just on a journey of developing our gift the same as any one else.

We need to be those who are learning about ourselves constantly.  Now to deliver this with integrity, you need to know that I find self reflection very hard.  It’s not natural for me and so I have to work on it.  Sean is a trusted friend who is able to draw stuff out of me to help me to reflect and over time I have become better at this, but it isn't my default way of thinking. 

As leaders we are under the microscope and we make mistakes.  It’s not always easy to hear that especially when we feel we are giving our all. Over the years I have received criticism that has been really painful and at times have felt that it has been harsh, but at the very core of what has been said there has been something to learn from. If we shut out criticism and don’t sift it we will miss the learning point.  Even the harshest criticism will teach us something if we let it.  This therefore means we will be teachable, ready to receive criticism well and ready to learn from wherever the learning may come, even if it’s from the new person on the team!

Being ready to learn also means that we will take seriously our walk with Jesus. As his disciples we constantly need to be growing in our understanding and knowledge of our God, who sent his son to display these five attitudes and more.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Attitudes of a Leader # 4

(Week four of this 5 week series taken from a talk given at the RFC Leadership Summit.)

4: Eager to listen

As a guy with a reasonably strong leadership gift and the experience I have this is something that I am constantly working on.  

Have you found yourself in a position when you have been trying to speak about something but all you sense is that the person has heard your first statement and is just waiting to put forward their wisdom, their expert take, their opinion that of course is the considered best practice! 

Actually you just want help to process an issue or just want to be listened to. 

I know that I have been that person who hasn’t listened and I know  that that has not been constructive at all, but I want to be a leader that is eager to listen.  

To know when to speak and when to be silent.  

To feedback reflectively when someone is speaking to me.  

To take time to really hear what the person is concerned about or is proposing.

The truth is when someone feels listened to, you may not agree with the content and you may not come to an accord on it, but the person will feel valued.  They will feel their voice has been heard, that they haven’t wasted your time and it keeps the relational bridge open. This results in everyone being able to move forward together living with differing opinions.

Let's work our attitude of being eager to listen.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Attitudes of a Leader @ RFC #3

(Week three of this 5 week series taken from a talk given at the RFC Leadership Summit.)

3: Easy to lead

Are you easy to lead or more like this dog?
At a leadership summit we must be aware that a leader must be one who can also be led and led easily.  How could you ever expect anyone you lead to have a good attitude to leadership if you yourself do not display that?

What does this mean?  

It certainly does not mean being yes people.  Being easy to lead doesn't mean you just have to agree, although agreeing is also fine. 

It means that we are 'can do', willing to see problems, but talk about them positively, with potential solutions. 

It means we are flexible, the very nature of working with volunteers in a growing setting, where the Holy Spirit can lead, means we can’t just live in our trenches or silos of thinking.  Flexibility is so important in an ever changing environment.  Now this does of course meaning having a positive attitude to change, I know that I don’t like change but I have tried to cultivate a positive attitude towards it because change is inevitable as the kingdom of God advances.

It means we are willing to do whatever is needed.  Again we will not always be engaged with the things we feel we are necessarily good at.  I remember being the church administrator for a while, now for some of you that know me well you will now that this was me playing well out of position, but as leaders at RFC we need to be those who are willing to do whatever the church needs, whatever will help her to flourish.

Do we exhibit an attitude that says that we are easy to lead, or is this something that we need to ask for God's help on? 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

ITP update #2

This Monday I went for my specialist appointment at he hospital.  I've got to be honest I went with high expectations of getting some more clarity as to what the next treatment was going to be.  This drug that they were going to apply to put me on.

As I sat in his room he told me that he was pleased that the platelet count was over 30 and that we could leave it now for a while to see how things will progress.  At this point I asked about playing badminton and cycling, after al he had said he was happy with my count.  At this he scoffed and said that I should still steer clear of those things!  He also said that the drug that had been suggested the week before was not actually the next line of treatment, the next line of treatment was to remove my spleen.  ( I thought that the ritoxamab was instead of this.)

He also sent me for another blood test to check for some stomach bug that may cause ITP to come on.  in fact this specialist was surprised I hadn't been checked for this already.

So in all it was a visit that left me with little clarity at all.  I see a specialist again in 4 weeks time to see how the count is doing, as they are leaving time for the ritoxamab to work. In the meantime I remain on a low dosage of steroids reducing slowly over a longer period than was first stated to reduce the side effects of withdrawal.

The only thing that did bring some clarity was some understanding as to why I feel tired most of the time.  He was very clear that the reason for this is because of the low platelet count.  he is the first of the doctors and nurses who have treated me to make this clear to me, it's not the steroids or any other treatments, it's the fact I have low platelets.

The last thing I want is for anyone to read this is as me moaning.  This must be such a hard thing to treat as there is no clear cause and I know that it is all trial and error and having to wait.  I have been generally looked after so well and I now have to get used to the long haul care of a people who are stretched to the limits.  My prayers are with the medical staff and I ask that yours would be too.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Attitudes of a Leader @ RFC #2

2: Embracing generosity

Generosity is a thing we practice but starts as a heart attitude.  Generosity basically says I am open handed with what I have.  Of course it does have financial implications.  As leaders at RFC we know that we are given the great responsibility of being stewards of the resources that God has given to us and we take that seriously and with great joy.  When we lead others into gift days and regular giving we can only do that if we have a positive attitude ourselves, an attitude that says this is not always easy or convenient, but is a blessing to us that helps us to display our faith and trust in Jesus.

This has time implications. Leadership often means that we will be those who go the extra mile and put in the extra hours and that takes a positive attitude as time is precious and there is so much we can do with it.  With a generous attitude we can guide against bitterness and thinking others should be doing more.

However embracing generosity also means that we are generous with our words, with praise with affirmation and with encouragement.  We can be so keen to get the job done that we forget to take time to congratulate and recognise effort, and this needs to be done far more than we think.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Anticipating meeting with God

This Saturday the RFC Alpha course travels to Beaconsfield for the Alpha Day Away. There are 24 of us travelling over and we look forward to a time where we will further build relationships with each other and eat good food.  

However I am also in anticipation that we are going to encounter God powerfully. I am believing that the Holy Spirit will change hearts and minds as he comes and meets with individuals just as he did in the home of Cornelius in Acts 10.  I am also looking forward to meeting him again personally as I speak through three sessions and lay hands on those who come forward for prayer.  

Our God is a Father who loves to see his family grow and I am believing that Saturday will be a day of growth!  Please pray for salvation and tangible experiences of meeting with our God, that get people moving further on in their journey with Jesus.