Leadership is a major focus for Bristol Diocese, not just encouraging the leaders of our churches to hone their leadership skills, but also helping all those in positions of leadership to reflect on how their faith affects, maybe even drives, the way they lead.
The Voyage programme is a very different way of helping Christian leaders reflect on their leadership, bringing together clergy and lay people to share ideas, experiences and challenges, in church life and also in the workplace. I've been lucky enough to share the leadership of the last 2 'Voyages' with my colleagues, Keith Lamdin, Principal of Sarum College, and Tim Harle, an experienced management consultant and Licensed Lay Minister, and we are just about to embark on Voyage 3 with another group of leaders.
One of my favourite moments of the first Voyage course was when one of the lay participants, a rural vet, was describing the leadership challenges she had experienced that week. After listening to a number of clergy share the issues they had faced that week in leading their churches, she described how she had had to work out how to re-insert a prolapsed uterus back into the cow from which it had emerged into her lap, without it touching the dirty floor. I think we all came away from that group with a whole new definition of the phrase 'management challenge'....
Christian leadership is not just about how we lead Christian organisations but how every one of us who follow Christ live out our faith in the workplace. It is not something that every church leader feels confident in preaching on and so Voyage provides a great space in which we can discuss how the Christian values of forgiveness, compassion, blessing, love are worked out in practice in 'secular' leadership, how we can share in God's mission for the whole of creation in the Board Room as well as in the church.