Last weekend, the fourth annual Public Leader cohort in Scotland gathered for the second of their three residentials in Perthshire, where they reflected on 'culture making' as Christians in Scottish public life.

The diversity, breadth of experience and potential amongst participants in the room made for an incredibly inspiring weekend as we engaged with guest speakers and prayed together.

The newly-appointed UK director of the Evangelical Alliance, Peter Lynas, opened the weekend with a session on engaging culture, showing us how Jesus’ love for the world speaks right into our culture in the west, one which is dominated by the idea of progress’, individualism and consumerism. 

Using the example of Daniel in the Old Testament, he discussed that we can influence our workplaces for good through the way we are distinctive in prayer, purpose and work ethic. One quote has stuck with me: What were you doing at 11am today for the kingdom of God?”


Dave Richards, Rector of St Paul’s and St George’s Church Edinburgh, expanded further on the example of Daniel. He challenged us to think about how great leaders are those who are self-sacrificial, who rather than worry what others think of them are interested in those they work alongside and lead. He also pointed out the wisdom to be gleaned from how both Daniel and Jesus valued close friendships.

We had a deeply thought-provoking Q&A session with Peter Vardy, namesake of his successful car dealership. He spoke about shaping the culture of the business by instilling values which are to be lived out by all staff at the company when they are working in the showrooms.

He also addressed the challenges of leadership and the need to step up in competency in the job, in thinking of yourself last, and in authenticity and integrity – being the same person behind closed doors as you are in the workplace. 

Peter inspired us to think about what our holy discontent’ might be – that issue or field of work that we are both passionate about and competent in working in – and to take the opportunities we have to serve God with the gifts He has given us.

Pamela Lyall, one of Scotland’s leading and most experienced legal mediators, provided a seminar on dealing with conflict. In the session we were able to establish our conflict style’ in order to better understand both how we personally approach conflict and to challenge the assumptions we can make about what those we are in conflict with are trying to achieve. We learnt much about each other as a group through this session!

Finally, we had a session with a CEO about leadership lessons he has garnered from the experience of years of high-pressure work combined with a growing relationship with Jesus. He shared lots of practical wisdom about building and leading diverse teams, stretching beyond our comfort zones, and knowing our limitations.

It is a special privilege to be able to hear from the guest speakers who come to our events and provide deep wisdom and advice on living and working in ways that reflect Jesus and the gospel to the world around us. 

It was a brilliant weekend and we have gone back to our workplaces this week more encouraged, more inspired, and better equipped to transform our spheres of influence for the better.

If you’d like to find out more about Public Leadership, why not register your interest for our 2020 – 21 programme?

Photo by Alexis Brown