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This piece can be used in a variety of ways: As an item of celebration, as a discussion starter, as a means of meditation and reflection, as an inspiration for those who want to make a difference but don't know how.

What is the role of the local church in bringing good change in local communities?

It’s a unique role. It’s an essential role. It’s a role that is built on relationships. It’s a role that is overlooked most of the time. It is a political role. It’s a role that confounds narrow agendas. It’s a Christ-like role. It’s an on-going role. It’s a glorious role. It’s an empowering role. It is a role that changes the atmosphere. It’s a role that brings the Kingdom closer. It is a role that includes everyone. It’s a provocative role. It’s a role that sees something of the image of God in all people. It is a ‘Yes!’ role. It’s a role that affirms God’s love for all. It’s a role that says we are all God’s children. It is a sacremental role.

The role is:

A convening role, bringing people and groups together. A facilitating role. An accompanying role. A listening role. A networking role. A stimulating role. A brokering role. A role that affirms the strengths present in all people and communities. A celebratory role. A catering role! A role that seeks to change the conversation about the future. A role that unsettles things. A role that encourages people to take ownership and responsibility for their lives. A role that sees the strengths in people first and foremost and enables them to address concerns by building on strengths. A role that sees work and mission as worship. A praying role.

What are good leaders in the church like?

They have small egos. They listen a lot. They give power away. They do not seek to control. They see, name and affirm the strengths in all they meet and work with. They are not ‘up tight’. They live with messiness. They are custodians and champions of a vision.  They are not optimists. They are not pessimists. They are prisoners of hope. They take risks. They understand how people-movements work. They understand that development is a process, not a project. They know about social media! They know how to think theologically. They don’t favour one over another.  They don’t flaunt their theological credentials. They help people to express concerns and aspirations. They spend more time thinking about a good question to ask, than a clever answer to give. They stimulate local responses to shared concerns and hopes. They are patient. They are spiritually alive and reflective by nature. They have social and emotional intelligence. They do not glamorise leadership but see it as a gift in all people.

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