Spiderman was once famously told, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” This phrase hit home to me recently, watching the media’s coverage of interactions between US President, Donald Trump, and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un; both squaring up to each other, rather like a playground battle of wills, but with the stakes considerably higher than any game.
Good leadership is hugely important in any context. In this issue, we highlight one of PCI’s latest training programmes, Emerge, which is supported by United Appeal and designed to equip emerging leaders in our congregations. Ministers and kirk sessions are encouraged to identify people in their church, from a variety of leadership contexts, who might benefit from the new course in early 2018. Kathy Craig, a course facilitator and a youth associate at Lowe Memorial, identifies a key issue about leadership highlighted through Emerge. She says, “We’ve talked a lot about how leading isn’t always leading in the conventional sense – it’s an influence.”
The influence of a good leader can have a massive impact on those around them, and in a Christian context, the result can be eternal. In this edition, we celebrate 150 years of Scripture Union, an organisation that many Presbyterians have close links to. Karen Jardine encourages us to remember our SU memories, whether from CSSMs, school groups or camps. I imagine that many of us (myself included) will fondly look back at these memories and it will be the impact of the leaders that will come to our minds first.
In these technological times, our spheres of influence do not stop with those we are personally acquainted with; rather our online personas can have a seemingly infinite audience. There is a heavy responsibility to exert this electronic influence wisely as individuals, but perhaps even more so when it comes to our congregations. With the phrase ‘social media’ striking fear, confusion or apathy into many church committees, Sara-Louise Martin, a social media expert offers some helpful and practical tips for churches to consider. She says, “It’s like building a house – you want to ensure you have firm foundations in place before you decide on your wallpaper.”
Whether or not we feel we are leaders in our work life, social life or church life, we are all influencers who are in need of firm foundations to guide us. As Kathy Craig encouragingly reminds us, “God has given us His Spirit, so we’re all capable of leading in wherever God has placed us.”
The Presbyterian Herald is the official magazine of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. It provides a forum for debate and discussion on a wide range of topics and aims to challenge and encourage Presbyterians, as well as inform them about what the wider Church is involved in. It has a readership in excess of 25,000 and is distributed throughout Ireland.
To find out more go to www.presbyterianireland.org/herald