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Equipping public leaders for service in Northern Ireland

The first-ever Public Leader course kicks off in Northern Ireland

After the success of the Public Leader courses in Scotland and England, late September marked the start of the first ever Public Leadership programme in Northern Ireland, which is being pioneered as an outworking of our vision to see Christians who work in the public square practice their faith with excellence. 

We believe that, as co-workers in God’s restorative plan for the earth, we are to live out this responsibility into our day-to-day lives. We envision present-day Daniels, who rise up and exercise their cultural and biblical literacy, as they are filled with the Holy Spirit, advancing of God’s kingdom.

Monday evening saw a group of people start this journey together from a wide range of careers – from a trainee barrister to a social worker, from a classroom assistant to a doctor, from a schools worker to a businessman.

We were joined by a guest speaker who previously headed up the civil service in Northern Ireland. He shared wisdom that he had gleaned from his range of experiences, and how he had sought to honour His calling to be an ambassador for God’s kingdom in his work. His teaching pinpointed several key components of public leadership: have a vision, plan how to achieve this vision, consider who will be involved, and help set the culture and values that permeate the workplace. 

Both encouragements and challenges were shared as the practicalities of walking in public leadership were considered. Having a workplace where encouragement is the norm and where individuals are valued and listened to, regardless of their status, was one component of a workforce culture that was identified.

We closed by addressing the topic of failure and discouragement; it was acknowledged that we live in a world where the interface between faith and work is a precarious one. In the public square it can be a challenging task to strike a balance between principles that may be at discord, such as pragmatism and idealism. 

As followers of Christ, we don’t always achieve either the steps that we know we should take in our workplace or in our personal lives. We were pointed to the example of David in the Psalms, who after his colossal failure was given the role of caring for the people with a true heart and skilful hand” (Psalm 78:72).

The programme will include participants meeting monthly and over two overnight residentials. Course content is taught by speakers from the public square who have an array of experience. In the weeks and months ahead, we are expectant and hopeful that this programme will serve as a catalyst for change for individuals in the workforce and the culture that they will be influencing.

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognise what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

Romans 12:1 – 2 

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