Helping new leaders take centre stage (Ned Lunn)

Ned LunnNed Lunn wants to help new leaders take centre stage.

Graham Cray's words at Spring Harvest this year made me do some serious thinking.

I went to hear him speak on the long term discipleship of those with no church background, discussing the need for training the second generation leaders in fresh expressions of church. He talked about maturing disciples into leadership roles and the commitment needed for this, describing many fresh expressions as losing their 'DNA' when their pioneer leaves.

As an Anglican ordinand at Cranmer Hall, those words made me think long and hard about my placement next year.

Before training for the ministry, I ran a theatre company, el mono theatre, for six and half years. As well as producing and directing shows, I mentored several young directors, advised on education programmes, tutored, managed youth theatres and an education department and was a front of house manager at several large London venues.

On going forward for ordination I decided to hang up my theatre hat and dedicate myself to study. Now there is a further call – to go back into the theatre world but this time to minister to the people who work there, to 'discover' God in the theatre and to help the student drama community here to discover him too. Next year I will be dedicating some time to get to know those involved in theatre work in Durham and minister God's love to them, build a community and, hopefully, lead that community of artists into deeper relationship with God through the performing arts.

But back to Bishop Graham's talk and the challenges it highlighted about self-sacrificial leadership development…

I need to be prepared to begin the growth of new leaders and model leadership training to them

I can only be present in my community for two years. The students, who may gather into a community, will only be in Durham for a maximum of three years. What is the shelf life for this ministry? It's odd thinking about preparing to leave something before it's even begun. It may seem to be jumping the gun but the truth is that I need to be prepared to begin the growth of new leaders and model leadership training to them so they can train the third generation and them the fourth and fifth, etc.

If I fail to model that good leadership training I could be leading the community into an emotionally damaging situation. If I leave without someone in place to continue the ministry there will be a vacuum of leadership and this will leave young Christians without mature guidance. The transient nature of such a community also means that this issue will continue to occur on a two or three year cycle. The challenge in raising leaders has to be two-fold: to mentor them into a leadership role and to teach them to teach others.

It is the work of Christ, not me. So what do I intend to do? By God's grace, model good discipleship as one of the key aspects of the 'DNA', commit to the relationships and be aware of any potential leaders who are emerging and support them in their growth.