Leadership jottings – Systems thinking and process improvement

A good leader has a “systems” mind.  By systems I don’t necessarily mean “IT.” Rather, every organisation functions as a system with inputs, processes and outputs. A good leader has an eye on the whole system. This enables them to be proactive in spotting and responding to potential problems rather than just fire-fighting. Continue reading

The richness of expository preaching

We have just run a series of 13 articles on the subject of justice. These all sprang from a sermon on Proverbs 21.  That one sermon prompted 13 articles reminds us of two things. First of all, it reminds us of one of the reasons why we run the faithroots website, there is a limit to how much you can cover in one single 30-minute sermon. We encourage Bearwood Chapel members to follow up Sunday teaching by using faithroots as a resource, by doing personal study picking up recommended reading, through 1-1, family and small group conversation and by prayerful obedient application to daily life. Continue reading

Justice, The Church and Repentance

My dad tells the story of an occasion when he went to preach at another church. He rode out on his motorbike and arrived at the front door in his leathers with his helmet under his arm. A lady greeted him at the door with the immortal line:

“I don’t think we want your sort here.”

When he explained that he was the visiting preacher, she became extremely flustered. Continue reading

Justice in the Church


One of the fascinating things we see in the New Testament is Paul’s confidence in the local church as a place where justice can be done.

“When one of you has a dispute with another believer, how dare you file a lawsuit and ask a secular court to decide the matter instead of taking it to other believers! Don’t you realize that someday we believers will judge the world? And since you are going to judge the world, can’t you decide even these little things among yourselves? Don’t you realize that we will judge angels? So, you should surely be able to resolve ordinary disputes in this life. If you have legal disputes about such matters, why go to outside judges who are not respected by the church? I am saying this to shame you. Isn’t there anyone in all the church who is wise enough to decide these issues? But instead, one believer[b] sues another—right in front of unbelievers!”[1]

This is fascinating. The first place where people should start to receive and experience justice is in the church.  This happens first of all because as we have seen entry to the church is through the Gospel, membership of this new community comes through faith in Christ. This means Continue reading

What does the fox say? – and the hedgehog know

“The fox is a cunning creature able to devise a myriad of complex strategies for sneak attacks upon the hedgehog. Day in and day out, the fox circles around the hedgehog’s den, waiting for the perfect moment to pounce. Fast, sleek and beautiful, fleet of foot and crafty p-the fox looks like the sure winner. The hedgehog on the other hand, is a dowdier creature, looking like a genetic mix up between a porcupine and a small armadillo. He waddles along, going about his simple day, searching for lunch ad taking care of his home.”[1]

But every time the Fox shows up with a clever strategy to get the hedgehog, the hedgehog simply rolls up into a ball.  It is safe.  The world is divided into foxes and hedgehogs argues Jim Collins in Good to Great. Foxes are those who look at the world and see lots of complexity and have lots of ideas and strategies. Hedgehogs are those who simplify the complexity. [2] Or to quote Isaiah Berlin, “The fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” [3]

From this, Collins developed his Hedgehog principle. This is the idea that great leaders keep the main thing the main thing. They focus on one important thing and don’t get distracted. For Collins this is based on three factors Continue reading

The Numbers Game (part 3): What is the data telling you?

One of the biggest problems with numbers and data is that people (in the church and the world) report and react to data without necessarily understanding it. In fact worse than that I’ve seen people not even try to react to it. Continue reading

The Numbers Game (Part 2): Success or faithfulness

In part 1, we saw the dangers in terms of trying to measure how a church is doing in terms of numerical success. But does that mean that we can’t ever really know how things are going?

Tim Keller is very helpful on this. He starts his book “Center Church” by describing how people often try to measure how they are doing as a church by counting conversions, members etc. He says that: Continue reading