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Transforming Scotland: update on Public Leader: Scotland 2019

Inspirational leaders, Christian politicians, relationship-building and much more

On the 1 February, participants on the Public Leader: Scotland, programme, which equips young leaders to live out their faith in their job, headed back to Crieff Hydro hotel in Perthshire for our second weekend together.

The 24 hours that we spent together, which was themed Transforming Scotland, were packed with helpful teaching, practical seminars and personal testimonies from Christian public leaders. Among those who spoke were Brian Souter, the founder of the Stagecoach Group; Dave Richards, rector of St Paul’s and St George’s church in Edinburgh; and Pamela Lyall, a leading commercial mediator. 

With a focus on what our calling is in the transformation of Scotland, each speaker explored the value of conducting ourselves well and building meaningful relationships with work colleagues. Brian encouraged us to connect before we correct”, while Dave challenged us to spend more time being interested in people than trying to be interesting, and Pamela advised us to think through the way that we deal with conflict and consider the other person’s point of view. 

A personal highlight of the weekend was listening to a panel of public leaders. The panel comprised someone who works in politics, a CEO of a company, and a director of a third sector organisation. Each one spoke with honesty about the difficulties and privileges of being a Christian in their workplace. They also explained that God had led them to where they are now. 

As a participant, it was encouraging to hear from people that make a difference in public life in Scotland without compromising their faith. I believe we all left challenged to think about listening to God’s calling for our life and then to live it out faithfully. 

Connections between participants are starting to form, now that it’s the second weekend for the Public Leader: Scotland group. From the car journey there to the car journey home, and in any meal times and free times in between, I felt spurred on as I heard and took part in numerous conversations. 

Participants from different walks of public life –private and third sectors, healthcare, law, and education –took a genuine interest in one another, and expressed words of encouragement and prayed for others. There was a real sense of community, a recognition that in order to transform Scotland, we need to work together as brothers and sisters in Christ. 

In addition to the weekends away, another important part of the Public Leader: Scotland programme are the monthly evening and day events. Our last evening event was a tour of the Scottish Parliament, which was hosted by Murdo Fraser MSP. After the tour, a panel of four Christian MSPs shared with us their experience of living out their faith in a role where they are constantly open to scrutiny, not only from their party, but from the media and the public. 

While this highlighted the difficulties of being a Christian leader in an ever-secularising country, it was an important reminder of how essential it is to have Christians in these roles. Each MSP shared the opportunities they have to display Jesus’ love to their colleagues, which is part of exercising their faith in their public role.

There is a real sense of excitement among the participants of Public Leader: Scotland and the team of organisers. God is moving and equipping leaders to transform the nation of Scotland for His glory. 

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