Ps. Paul Counsell

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You can stay up to date with Ps. Paul’s latest blog posts. These leadership and life lessons are always challenging and insightful, and they will certainly make you think. We hope that you find these posts helpful.

Leadership Engine Room – Pt 2

As part of our calling as leaders we have to be great communicators. If anything the bar is being raised all the time on communication. You only have to look at an old news cast, TV advert or documentary on You Tube to see how far things have changed, and how communication has developed and improved. We need to continue to press on to be the very best communicators we can be.

We need to always be learning new skills and developing our current ones in this area of communications. Probably the first step for us to think about is finding our voice. There are many models available that help us, but I was challenged to consider Ephesians chapter 4 where the Bible talks about the ministry gifts. Now whilst these are ministry gifts, they are also communication styles as each of these ministry gifts have at their heart communication.

Depending on what our predominant style is, will define how we communicate and will free us from trying to hit every style all at the same time. Once we understand our style, we can focus on maximising the positives that come with it and focus on using it to the very best advantage.

So what are they?

Ephesians ch 4 lists Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Teacher and Evangelist. All are different and have a unique style. If we consider these as communication styles, then some of the characteristics may be :

Apostle – is an initiator, can operate across multiple locations, can be involved with other leaders, can often operate in background supporting other leaders
Prophet – has a real cutting edge, operates with revelation of new thoughts, and brings what God is saying , can be quite black and white and can be provocative
Pastor – looks after peoples needs, encourages people and comforts people who are hurting
Teacher – explains what is already known in a systematic and logical way, is often well read and can bring clarity to complexity
Evangelist – is very gospel focused in bringing the good news to people, often drives for decisions in the way that they communicate, and can often be persistent

Having these characteristic doesn’t necessarily means we have that ministry gift, But it can help us find our voice or our style of communication. Once we have found it, we can work with it to communicate clearer and better.

Maybe we need to enlist the help of those around us who we trust to tell us what they see, and add that to what we think we do ourselves. Sometimes the results can be ver enlightening.

Speak Out

Last week I had the privilege of spending a few days at the AoG Leadership Conference held in Manchester at !Audacious. It was a great time of listening to God speak in many different ways. The interesting thing for me was that God didn’t speak to me directly through a person or a single sermon, but rather through a whole series of what were really throw away comments. I’d like to share some of them with you, as I believe these are important as we make our next moves forward.

The Bible says in Heb 11:3 that God created the whole world by the word of his mouth.

We cannot underestimate the power we have in our words (remember the session I did recently on Breaking Strongholds?).

In Genesis there are eight occasions where God speaks and it is so, on the very first page of scripture.

A powerful principle established!

The primary reason and purpose for speech is therefore not communication (that’s the second reason) the first and primary purpose is prophetic creation.

Pause for a moment and ask – what am I speaking out over my life? What do I keep repeating? Is it positive or negative? Does it bring life or death? Do I need to change what I speak out over my life, my families life and the churches life? (James ch 1&3 is good reading on this ) if you look carefully you will see things in your life that you spoke there – that’s why we shouldn’t look in the mirror and say ‘wow I look ugly!’.

Notice that in Genesis 1 the Bible says that darkness covered the earth, but God does not speak to the darkness, rather he speaks to create the light. Gen 1:3. Maybe we need to learn to stop speaking to and about the things we don’t like or want, and start to speak prophetically and creatively in faith to the things we do want. The things we prophetically and creatively want to see.

Notice too, that when the twelve spies that Moses sent into the promised land came back to Israel and ten said that they could not take the land and two said yes they could – all twelve were right. The twelve spies all prophetically spoke out and created their own future – they were all right! The ten who said they couldn’t do it, never did. The two who said they could, did indeed take the land and enjoy the blessings of the promised land.

So what kind of church should we be creating? No one else but us will do it! We are the leaders! The church will only go where we take it! The truth is that the church we have now is the church that we have prophetically created by what we have spoken in the past. Start to think about what a great church would be like. This is one of the elements we are praying through on a Saturday morning – come and join in if you would like to.

So how do we start to do this?

We have to choose to make a move, make a change, start to purpose to think and act differently, and step up to be the leaders God is calling us to be. We have to be continually moving forward – there is no standing still option.

In Mark 4, Jesus and the disciples crossed over to the other side, and there was a significant shift in the ministry. So how do you cross over to the other side

Mark 4:35. Says …That day when evening came – it talks about the closing of a day.

We must close the past and step into the future. Shut out the old stuff – it’s the conclusion of a season. It has been a good season, but to get from Good to Great we have to close off a season and cross over to start a new one. A new one with different disciplines, practices and thinking. The past and current has been good, but we are pressing onto ‘great’.

God has created us to go forward not backwards. We honour the past, but close door so we can step forward.

If we keep looking back and dwell in the past, we will make it a year that is largely about academic thoughts, rather than a prophetic year. Let’s create by faith our future as God intends.

I am still praying at church for an hour on Saturday mornings, from 7:30 to 8:30, and if you would like to pray through some of this and start to speak prophetic creative words, then you are most welcome to join with us. We are always stronger together.

This is our day.

It’s our shift!

Let’s do it together!

Leadership Engine Room – Pt 1

It’s often quoted that organisations rise or fall on their leadership. Another quote that is also poignant is one that became common after the First World War, which said that the British Soldiers were “Lions led by Donkeys“! Sobering stuff.

We need to be clear that leadership is key to what happens in our organisation, whether it’s a business, a church or a ‘not for profit’ organisation, the same key principle applies. Leadership decides the direction, sets the pace and overcomes the obstacles. If we as individuals really hold the responsibility and accountability of leadership (rather than just holding a title) then we have to ensure that we are genuinely providing leadership in these three areas. I often ask the leaders around me,

“if everyone did what you do, would the organisation be better or worse?”

It’s the reality of leadership – if we are playing a role but not discharging a responsibility with passion and integrity, then actually we are kidding ourselves, and we are in danger of sliding down the Lion – Donkey Scale! Never good.

What is the cure? A ‘Leadership Engine Room‘.

Everyone wants to stand on the bridge and dial in the changes, call the direction, command the speed and take the accolades, but the reality is that whilst part of leadership includes some ‘bridge’ work, that on it’s own is pointless. It needs the engine room. That’s where the sweat and tears are put in, the coal is shovelled into the boilers (or the dilithium crystals are put into the warp drive – choose your picture) and the power needed for movement and change is generated. Engine rooms are generally places for teams to work together, for innovation, for risks, but also proactively being prepared for anything. A command from Captain Kirk, “Mr Scott, get us out of here“, could only then be responded to by a switch to warp speed and a cheery “Aye, Aye Captain” if all the warp drives were ready and fully charged with dilithium crystals!

Have we understood the ‘Leadership Engine Room’ disciplines that we need to work at? Communication skills, personal discipline, consistency and many others that are key if we are to move even further up the Donkey – Lion scale to fully become the Lions we are called to be.