I’ve been there before. As you get older, you find you’ve been there before with many things. This time it’s meeting a number of Consultants who may help us with a process of change over the next two years – some tidying up of structures and decision-making; an attempt to describe what it is that we believe we should be doing in this society.
Why the deja vu? First, I am aware that, as a leader, one of the things which afflicts you is the need to move things around just so as to feel you have done something. And sometimes that’s necessary and right and sometimes not. I think I have also long outgrown the idea that any one ‘all singing all dancing’ programme or project will answer all the questions and tick all the boxes. You can put a ‘gloss’ on something that is flat-footed and dull. You can add a necessary sharpness to the engagement of the church with a secular society. But in the end everything comes down to relationships and trust – either relationships work or they don’t; either they can absorb the stresses of trying to change or they can’t; either they model to the world what the church is about or they don’t.
So tomorrow will find me quite modest in my aspirations – but very resolute in carrying out what we eventually agree to do. To me that is leadership. The worst thing is to raise expectations and not be able to deliver on them.