The Evangelical Alliance is committed to developing public leaders across the UK and seeing a culture of public leadership throughout the Church. This will develop into a wider programme to provide training for public leaders, facilitate networks of leaders, and inspire people to action.
Public leadership is about people and not programmes. Change happens when people lead.
But what do we mean by public, and what do we mean by leadership?
Leadership: we take a big view of leadership, but it can become a catch all term that loses its meaning. It certainly relates to people who have formal positions of authority, whether in politics, or leading a business or charity. But in some way it also applies to many of us. Not everyone will have a public leadership role, and not everyone is best suited or has the character for it, but we can all grow in better leadership.
There are countless definitions of leadership, sometimes it’s about casting vision, sometimes bringing people with you, and sometimes affecting change. And it’s all of these, or at least some combination. But perhaps at its core leadership is about the use of authority and influence to achieve something. This means you can have the title of a leader but not lead, or have no formal position but still be a leader.
There are leaders in politics, in business, in academia, all across society. There are leaders in our families, and in our communities, there are leaders in our churches, but our society needs more and better leaders.
Public: very broadly, this means outside the home and the church. I suspect no area of society is better at training up leaders than the Church. We have church leaders, worship leaders, youth leaders, small group leaders, coffee rota leaders, seat arranging leaders, we have leaders for almost every area of church life. And to go with this we put considerable effort into training up new leaders.
There are so many leaders in the church it’s a wonder it doesn’t overflow. Except that might be the very issue Public Leadership is looking to address. The church is great at leadership development for the life of the church; wouldn’t it be great if the church was known as a great place training leaders for the life of the world?
So a public leader is someone exercising authority outside of the church. This might be in a highly visible position, or it might be plugging away in your neighbourhood day after day working to bring a little light to places which need it.
Public leadership as a non-programme programme.
The Evangelical Alliance is running training days, hosting weekend gatherings, producing resources, and working in whatever way it can to inspire and initiate public leadership. But it is you, the people who are leading in public life, in whatever form that takes, who will make this into a reality. What you do matters far more than what we do.
Public leadership is about being a voice and taking responsibility for wherever God has placed us. Bringing leadership to situations and speaking up where it matters.
Public leadership is about action. Our action can help form opinions and influence important decisions, whether in our neighbourhoods, our workplace or our nation.
Public leadership is about service and working for the good of all. Whether we have a formal position or status or not, it’s about modelling servant leadership.
Public leadership is about unity. Working together leads to transformation and takes the church out of the building helping to develop a voice to speak for good.
Public leadership is about taking responsibility for the public sphere in the knowledge that we speak and act under the authority of God.
We want the church in the UK to have a strong culture of excellence in public leadership. We are determined to see God’s people become effective voices for good in every part of society. For God and for good in our communities.
‘Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But …’ 1 Cor 1: 26