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The Unproductive Season


fallow land;

fallow land, cropland that is not seeded for a season; it may or may not be plowed. The land may be cultivated or chemically treated for control of weeds and other pests or may be left unaltered. Allowing land to lie fallow serves to accumulate moisture in dry regions or to check weeds and plant diseases.  

This was the not so encouraging information that stared at me from my computer screen as I followed a prompting from God to do a little research on the concept behind the word ‘fallow’. I had kept hearing the word in my mind for some time. It wasn’t an audible voice, it wasn’t loud, it wasn’t condemning, I could ignore it if I wanted to. But there it was and kept coming up again and again over the months. I am not a farmer, I even struggle to look after my pot plants properly, but I knew that fallow was an agricultural  term which had the connotation of emptiness, to my mind. My suspicion was confirmed as I researched this notion a little. Words like ‘unseeded’, ‘unaltered’, ‘left to lie’, ‘unused’, ‘may or may not’, ‘still’, ‘wait’ and ‘patience’ kept appearing before my eyes. Continue reading The Unproductive Season

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Leadership Design and Cake


(This post first appeared at Arrow Leadership)

I remember very well the time that a wonderful elderly lady from the church I was leading, made an appointment to see me. On the day, she came to my office holding a scrumptious cake she had made so we could eat together. She sat down, then proceeded to tell me what a terrible pastor I was. Even though this scenario sounds terrible, it actually wasn’t a bad experience, we had a good discussion- and there was cake! However I did find it interesting to hear her rationale regarding why she thought I could do a little better at pastoring. The issue lay with my title. Since my title was Senior Pastor, the logic went, that meant that I was the one responsible for the overall care of the congregation. The care of the congregation was ultimately up to me and no other. It didn’t matter that we had a Care Pastor and a care team who were responsible for and gifted to care for the congregation, because I was the Senior Pastor, it was basically up to me. That day I became aware of the expectations that some in the congregation may have had around my role and also that I did not share those expectations. The responsibility was all on me and there was little room for a shared sense of ministry with other leaders in the church. I remember feeling burdened by that sense of responsibility. Of course, a role which oversees an organisation will always have that sense of weight and pressure that comes with it, however I feel that leadership should and can be shared. Essentially, there was a dissonance in this encounter around how my friend and I defined church leadership.

Continue reading Leadership Design and Cake