Hope does not disappoint

The Evangelical Alliance has called the UK to believe for a hopeful future following the outcome of the General Election which returned a majority Conservative government.

In a statement responding to the election outcome, Gavin Calver, CEO, said: “I am hopeful for the future of the United Kingdom as we head into 2020.

“Not because one party has won and another has lost, but because we believe in a God who is powerful.

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What makes us distinctively Christian?

I have commented before on the challenge of being distinctively Christian in an environment which requires certain legal and administrative practices of us.

Not only do we find ourselves forced to comply with legislative practices (often good) imposed on us by secular authorities, but in order to be seen to be delivering on that we often adopt secular business practices.  This is all too easy for those of us who were trained in management in secular employment before we joined the mission field.  And those of us who are already equipped with management and administrative skills are the ones most likely to be selected for senior leadership, which then reinforces further the use of secular practices in our organisations.

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General Data Protection Regulations

In the Bible people’s details are recorded a number of times. In the Old Testament we read about censuses, some to establish the number of the people of Israel, others for determining the number of men eligible for military service. Solomon even undertook a census of the number of foreigners in the land for the purpose of allocating labour. This was a very different world – no reference to data protection regulations, there are no ‘opt out’ tick boxes and no record of canvassers harassing people for donations.

Today data is recognised as a very valuable commodity. It is necessary for wise allocation of government resources such as adequate health and education facilities but it can also be misused leading to identity theft or the targeting of particular segments of society who could be termed vulnerable.

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Cross fertilization

  • Does your organisation have a policy of encouraging staff (including senior staff) to take on trusteeships with other Christian organisation?
  • Does your organisation make provision (e.g. paid leave) to facilitate that policy?
  • Does your organisation monitor the benefits?

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Time and Seasons – Transition

Last Thursday the Global Connections Council met for its twice yearly meeting to think and pray about the future. As I retire from GC in June, it was my last time with them. I had the privilege of sharing some thoughts about the last 13 years and my time here. My successor Anna Bishop was there and it was great to think through together some of the many challenges that she will face over the coming months and years.

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Three in a marriage? – reflections of a ‘team directorate’

Let’s be honest, team-working is often only an aspirational value in both church and mission agency. I say this because it’s fine until we talk about doing it in top-leadership – i.e. a “team directorate”. This is ‘sacred ground’, which provokes questions such as “Is it biblical?”; “Someone has to be the buck-stop?”; “What when you disagree?”; “How does accountability work?”

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Global Connections conference reflections – Part 3

This is the third in a series of blogs on the Global Connections conference in May 2016, From Where I’m Sitting, where we sought to explore mission from different perspectives. You can listen to the talks on the Global Connections events page. I had the privilege to seek feedback on what was heard on the last morning and made a wide range of points.

Another key point raised was “Agencies and churches need to do something about their Governance”

I was very challenged by Chris Kidd’s comment about trustees. It is vitally important that we are well run, but legislation is now taking that to an extreme. It is only a part of a trustees’ role whatever the Charity Commission says. Being well run and balanced books is not the “be all and end all”.

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Let’s just carry on as we are

Some people are a bit strange – and I confess to being one of them. I enjoy serving on Charity Boards. Though often having to turn up after a long day at work, or take unpaid leave, when there are good meetings I come out energised and grateful to God. When the charity has clear direction and purpose, even more so.

But what makes a good Board of trustees? The Charity Commission seems to be putting increasing burdens on trustees in the areas of compliance, financial accounting, risk assessment, policies of an ever expanding nature – and I could go on. Sadly it means that this can often dominate meetings and take up disproportionate amounts of time. Who wants to be a trustee just to do this sort of stuff?

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