Tag Archives: leadership

Making Changes in 2011

I’m excited about 2011!

This year I’m taking a risk, following my dream and stepping out to make things happen.

For a long time I’ve been seeking opportunities to live my passion, to do what I love and be able to make a living from it. I’ve decided that the time is now, if I’m going to be true to myself and true to my value of living an authentic life, then I need to challenge myself, confront my fear and step out and give this a red-hot go.

So, I give you Edwards Coaching!

Coaching, mentoring and facilitation have always been my passion and where a lot of my strengths are. I long to see people, businesses, churches and organisations living their lives to their fullest potential, excelling in what they do, and living with Purpose, Direction and Meaning.

Edwards Coaching is the result of over 12 years of experience helping people find purpose, direction and meaning and helping them to achieve their goals.

This is me, following my passion and seeking to make a difference in this world.

It’s exciting and its daunting, it’s a world full of unknowns but it’s one that I’m ready to embrace because I want to build the life I want to be living!

I’d really appreciate your support in this venture, please visit the website, pass on my details to your networks (twitter, Facebook, etc, I would REALLY appreciate this!) and let me know what you think! 

I’m more than happy to chat with anyone interested in reaching their goals or wanting facilitation or workshop services, the internet means nowhere in the world is out of reach and that’s exciting!

I’m especially interested in helping Churches and Not for Profits so please drop me a line so we can chat about how I can serve you. 

So this is my challenge for 2011, to work hard and follow my dream to establish my business helping others.

What are you going to achieve this year, what are your goals? Let’s share them and help each other to achieve them!

Leave a comment

Filed under About Me, church, Family, God Stuff, leadership, Life Coaching, Random

An Edwards Christmas

Christmas time with the family is always such a blessing and this year was no different.

We spent Christmas Eve with Sam’s brother and his wife. Sean and Kym came round for a roast dinner and present opening, a little prequel to the big day.

We were wondering how early Christmas was going to start for us given that Anabelle (2.5 years) is usually up before 6am on a usual day but this was Christmas! We let her stay up as late as she wanted on Christmas Eve in the hope that we’d get a bit of a sleep in – it kind of worked she got up at 6:30am, we’ll take it 🙂

We headed out to the lounge room and began to open our presents. Anabelle loved the first one she opened so much she wasnt interested in the others – thankfully that didn’t last too long ;).

Levi loved his presents too 🙂

We then got our stuff ready and headed off for to my parent’s place for Christmas lunch with the family.

The kids were utterly spoilt this year, so much so that Anabelle had “present overload” and had to be “encouraged” to open all her presents!

Anabelle and Levi loved Christmas!

Uncle Dan used his amazing talent and made Anabelle a Teepee style tent for Christmas! It’s so amazing, the kids are going to have a lot of fun playing in it. Uncle Dan tried to get Anabelle to have a nap in it (she needed one bad come late afternoon!) but it kind of backfired – Uncle Dan fell asleep while Anabelle ran off to play – so funny!

Thank you to everyone for your generosity and love this Christmas. May you have a blessed 2011!

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, fun, Parenting

Building Young Leaders…part 2

This is a continuation of Building Young Leaders which you can read here.

I spent nearly ten years serving in youth ministry

both within the church and with para-church organisations in my city. In that time I’ve had the privilege to work alongside and mentor some amazing young people on leadership and ministry.

Due to the circumstances, each opportunity was an apprenticeship. Very few of them were formal arrangements, simply an agreement between them and I to spend time intentionally focusing on leadership and ministry development. We simply lived life together and focused on the tasks at hand. In some cases it was a limited activity (such as a camp) and others it was for a year or more as we led a ministry (such as a youth ministry or school based program).

As I reflect, I find that

these were some of the most influential times in my life.

I’ll admit that it was great to have extra pairs of hands around to help with the work, people to bounce ideas off and glean insights into the minds and attitudes of young people. However it was also a very revealing time about who I am as a person. I was sharing my life with these young people, they got to see me in the good times and the bad (like 3am fourth day in of a five day camp where everyone got a stomach flu!). Overall though, this was a positive experience as they got to see that a pastor is human just like everyone else and we all leant valuable life lessons about self-control, self-sacrifice and service.

I also learnt how to manage people and to work efficiently and effectively.

We’ve all heard the phrase “if you want something done right you better do it yourself” and in most cases it’s fairly true. However this attitude is completely useless when working with ministry apprentices because how are they going to learn if they never get to try? Just like my pastor let me try my ideas and helped me if/when they failed, I too had to learn how to do the same. It wasn’t easy at first but after time I learnt how to watch from a distance while still making sure they (and the project/program) was still ok.

The results spoke for themselves.

The programs and ministries blossomed under the extra attention and input they received. The young people grew quickly in ability, leadership, belief in themselves and their knowledge and relationship with God. I too learnt and grew immeasurably. Apart from the practicalities of leadership, management and mentoring, my relationship with God grew as I was ministered to by these young lives.

Ten years down the track I look back at those times with fond memories. Some of those young people have gone on to become pastors, others are involved in leading ministries in their local churches and some are even leading others in far off countries.

If I had my time over I wouldn’t change a thing.

Mentoring young leaders, taking them through an apprentice’s journey has been a highlight of my life that I will not soon forget.

In a nutshell here’s a list of things I have learnt from apprenticing young leaders:

It kept me humble. There’s nothing like having another person living life with you to help you realise that you simply don’t have it all together as much as you think.

It kept me accountable. I made a commitment to mentor these young leaders and I had a responsibility to see that through. There was no way I wanted to give them the impression that I only wanted them around to help me with my work, I was there to build into their lives because they are important, regardless of how much they might have helped me out!

It made me think about the important. Time and opportunities to build into their lives was limited. I needed to know what the “must haves” were and make sure they were passed on.

It fired me up! There was no way I couldn’t be excited by being around all the enthusiasm young people have. Their optimistic outlook on life is infectious and it fueled my passion and drive daily.

I learnt to trust others, to delegate and to keep people accountable. These were three vital keys I learnt. I had to trust others with programs, people and tasks. I learnt how to delegate and then how to help them learn accountability. These are key skills every leader must have and ones that need to be passed on.

It freed me to focus on other tasks. Put simply, with tasks delegated we got more things done. Sure I needed to keep an eye on what was going on but by establishing trust and accountability, I knew that things were getting done. I was able to focus on things that only I could do.

I learnt how to relate to people on a deeper level. There’s something amazing about sharing life with others this way that brings you to a deeper level of relationship. Trust is stronger, shared vision is deep and sense of ownership is shared. It’s synergy – the whole is greater than the sum of its parts – and it’s amazing!

I saw the fruit. Right there and then in each young person I saw God grow fruit in their lives. I saw them learn and grow, stretch themselves and rely totally on God to provide for them. I saw both their knowledge of God and their skills develop, and the blessing that was to the ministries and to the people they served.

I would do it again in a heartbeat. I don’t know what’s in my future, whether I’ll be in a formal ministry position anytime soon but I know that what God has already taught me is applicable to every area of my life. I pray that God will allow me to continue to build others up to be the men and women He has called them to be regardless of where I am or what I’m doing.

So how about you? Do you think its worth rethinking how we build young leaders in today’s church?

I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions/comments 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under About Me, church, God Stuff, leadership, Life Coaching, Worship

Building Young Leaders…part 1

The other day I asked the Church (myself included) if we think we set up young pastors to fail. You can read it here.

I want to build on this question by sharing how I think we can support young leaders to develop into great leaders and pastors. My comments and thoughts come from my own experience both as a young leader and as a leader of young leaders. I admit that I haven’t done a great deal of research and study into this of late but I have lived it.  Today I’d like to share how I was encouraged as a young leader.

My path into church leadership was somewhat unconventional. 

At the age of sixteen I was regularly working with young people on camps and was part of various groups working with young people in high schools in my city. At the age of eighteen my pastor asked if I’d be part of the youth ministry he wanted to start at our church. I said yes and this began some of the best and most challenging years of my life. 

My pastor took a punt on me. 

He saw something in me that gave him the confidence to let me, a young person, lead a ministry. I had no formal training, hadn’t been to Bible College, all I had was a desire to share Jesus and some knowledge of what young people were into. 

I’m so grateful for what happened next.

My pastor allowed me to fail.

He allowed me to try what I thought was right, to let it play out, to assess how it went and think about how I’d do it differently in the future. He didn’t leave me alone to my own devices, he made sure we met regularly and he asked me a ton of questions. He showed up from time to time at events to show his support (or check on me, still not sure to this day ;-)) and he always encouraged me. 

And I learnt a lot! Through my successes and failures. I learnt what it meant to be a leader, to work in a church and how to live every day with people who think differently to you. I learnt to relate to all age groups, to communicate effectively, to know what I believe and why, and how to share that with others.

In essence I did a ministry apprenticeship.

I think when it comes to ministry; apprenticeships are something we often overlook. Ministry is a “hands on” role; it involves being with people, working with people and living life with people. All these things you can’t learn from a book, principles sure, but they are no good unless you can apply them, you can only do that through experience, by actually doing it. 

Don’t get me wrong, a theology degree is important; in fact I think it’s vital for long term ministry, but we need to think long and hard about the benefits of allowing people to do it while working in ministry. 

Let me explain 

The opportunity I had to serve in ministry and study at the same time was invaluable. It helped me put complex thoughts and ideas into context. I was able to test and apply theories right away and it turned information into action, which in turn made me remember it. It was obvious talking to other students that this was a genuine advantage. 

Secondly, I simply don’t understand the purpose behind uprooting someone from a ministry and sending them away to study subjects that are supposed to help them be better in ministry. Isn’t that a little backwards? Shouldn’t we be supplementing their ministry efforts by educating them while they are doing ministry? Most of these uprooted students don’t have a ministry to go back to because in their absence, and the need for the ministry to continue, someone else has taken it over. 

It begs the question;

do we need to rethink how we train leaders and pastors?

If an apprenticeship is the way to go then we need places for apprentices to learn. This in itself is tricky because most churches simply aren’t set up to do this. For whatever reason there seems to be a reluctance to take a chance on young leaders, probably because its time consuming and can be messy. It’s hard work to mentor someone, it’s messy cleaning up mistakes and let’s be honest, correcting and teaching through discipline is not something many like to do. 

It’s also very personal. An apprentice gets to see behind the curtain of your life, the good times and the bad times. If we‘re honest not many of us are comfortable in being this authentic with ourselves let alone someone else. 

I think Jesus gave us a great example of an apprenticeship model.

He took twelve no-bodies and trained them to become twelve of the most influential people in history!

Jesus taught them as they lived life together. He instructed them, corrected them and never missed an opportunity to teach. He didn’t send them to the local synagogue to get a degree, He taught them through life itself. As I mentioned earlier I believe theological study is a requirement for long term ministry so don’t jump on me for using this example –

But isn’t this something that we need to think about?

Shouldn’t we be taking the time to assess what the most effective ways are to develop and build young leaders?

Dont we owe them, God and the church that much? 

So tell me, what do you think? Have you been or had a ministry apprentice? How did it work out?

In my next post I’d like to share my thoughts from the other side, as a leader responsible for leading young leaders.

1 Comment

Filed under About Me, church, God Stuff, leadership, Life Coaching, Worship

Fellowship and Community

I need your help.

I was having a discussion with a friend about the church and its use of the words “fellowship” and “community” to describe what it does and the “atmosphere” it feels it creates for those that attend etc.

We mentioned that often the church uses those words interchangeably (e.g. “we enjoy great fellowship here at…” or “we enjoy great community here at…”) and to be honest I don’t think you can.

I think there is a distinct difference between the use and meaning of “fellowship” to that of “community” and to use them out of context begins to give false impressions of the church to those who attend and to those who don’t.

I have my thoughts on the differences but before I post them I’d like to hear from you.

What does “fellowship” and “community” mean in the context of the church?

3 Comments

Filed under church, God Stuff, Random

Tithe Journal #3

This post is part of the Tithe Experiment series

Giving (04/02/10)

$250 to tithe account

Needs

24/01/10 Been chatting with my folks about the need for us to take over the mortgage on our house. We currently rent it from them but with dad retired they need us to buy the house is coming. Have no idea how we’d qualify for a loan on only my income and if interest rates go up that will make it even harder – really need God to step in here and lead us, trusting that God will provide for us

04/02/10  Am looking for an affordable laptop to use for study this year but so far haven’t been able to find one in our price range. Any one know a good place to get one at a good price in Australia? 

05/02/10 Feeling the need (prompting) to get involved somewhere I can serve God and others. Have no idea where that might be, I have a few ideas but nothing I’m ready to share just yet. Sam and I still need to figure out what we’re doing about church attendance (stay where we are or find somewhere new) would really appreciate your prayers

God’s Provision

24/01/10 Was able to save $140 by buying my theology textbooks on eBay, who knew eBay would have theology books! Awesome God!

 26/01/10 Australia Day!! A great day to celebrate our nation and all our achievements, so what better way then to sponsor Sam’s sister Kimberley in her run for Special Olympics Queensland. Kim has Downs Syndrome and competes for her state in ten pin bowling and swimming. 

 03/02/10 Was able to give to a friend in need in the US who we know through blogging, love the global connect the internet gives to us all!

As always we’d love to hear from you so please feel free to say hi 🙂

1 Comment

Filed under Family, God Stuff, Tithe Experiment, Worship

A Time to Learn

So yesterday my last lot of textbooks arrived and it hit me that, yes I’m about to dive back into the world of education once again.

I’ve decided that it’s time to finish my Theology studies in order to better prepare myself for what God has for me in the future. If you know my story, you’ll know that I was a youth pastor for ten years and worship director for three before leaving those positions because I needed fulltime work to provide for my growing family.

I know deep inside that ministry is my calling, it’s what makes me want to get up in the mornings. I don’t know where or in what capacity it will be, but I know that its wise for me to prepare now for what it to come.

I’ll be studying part-time by distance education while continuing to work fulltime, at least for now. I’m exploring if we can afford for me to go part-time at work but for now it’ll be five days of work and then my study.

Sounds a little crazy and if you’ve been following our Tithe Experiment you’ll know that we’re taking a huge step in faith this year with our finances and that our second child is due in August, so to be honest I’m not sure how I’ll cope, but I know that I have to trust that God will lead us through.

I’m after some advice, have you had any experience working and studying at the same time? Do you have any tips/time savers/advice etc that you can send my way? I’d appreciate all the help I can get!

2 Comments

Filed under About Me, Family, God Stuff, Life Coaching