Notes from Andrew Heard on the Importance of Clarity in Leadership

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I was fortunate enough to be at a conference last week listening to Andrew Heard on leadership. He has loads of great practical wisdom and insights, and I thought I’d share some rough notes from his first session, in the hope they may be of some benefit to someone somewhere. Here are his seven areas in which clarity is important for good leadership:

  1. Be clear on our role as heralds. First and foremost we are heralds of a message of good news. Never let that become secondary.
  2. Be clear on the priority of ministering for response. Numbers matter. Metrics matter (see early chapters of Acts). Numbers represent people, and people’s lives and eternities matter enormously. It’s not ungodly or unfaithful to think numbers, because numbers represent souls.
  3. Be clear on our role in growth. We’re not hyper-Calvinists. Our inputs do correlate to outputs. In Acts 13:48 we’re told, ‘all who were appointed for eternal life believed.’ In Acts 14:1 we’re told that Paul and Barnabas ‘spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed.’ Both-and not either-or. We need to take much more seriously our part in the results (or lack of) we’re seeing. Hiding behind God’s sovereignty and just ‘being faithful’ isn’t actually being faithful.
  4. Be clear on our role as pastors. Pastors aren’t primarily chaplains. The end of Psalm 77 and Psalm 78 tell us that Moses and David were shepherds of the people. Therefore shepherding isn’t just about the one-to-one. It’s also about large scale organising.
  5. Be clear on what the church is. It’s both organism (Acts 2) and organisation (Acts 6). To provide well for sheep requires a fair degree of organising, management, and leadership. Don’t neglect this aspect.
  6. Be clear on discipleship. This isn’t just for gifted Bible-teachers. Everything we do in church should be helping people learn, grow, and develop more and more into the likeness of Christ. The whole church should be a disciple-making ecosystem. It shouldn’t be seen as the preserve of those who are good at intensive one-to-one work.
  7. Be clear on outcomes. Most of think about the inputs – the things we want to do. We need to be much clearer on outcomes – why are we doing these things? What are we aiming for? How do we get there? Don’t fire an arrow and paint the target afterwards!

I appreciate we may not all agree with everything here, and may want to add nuance to this or that, but I find Andrew Heard immensely stimulating, and I think in the main I agree with his basic theses. If you get chance to check out some of his stuff online its well worth your time.

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