LEADERSHIP "ENGINEERING". Part 2.
February 2nd 2021
I came to faith when I was 21 years old through a work place Christian group. I was halfway through an electrical engineering cadetship with a state electricity utility and had already begun learning about leadership from the people at work.
I joined a Christian group at University. Someone pointed out the connection between being a Christian and attending Church and so I attended church in a variety of towns as work moved me around the state. Apart from Sunday School as a small child I had little experience of Church, little awareness of denominations, and no concept of para church organisations.
I spent a lot of time reading the Bible, reading Christian books, getting to know God and spending time with Christian people. I learned a lot… grew in my faith… saw how churches do and don’t work… watched Church leaders in action and took on leadership roles myself… I saw the routine and mundane, experienced the excitement of seeing God in action, and felt the heartbreak caused by sinful and ungodly actions.
A miracle: I was helping lead a youth group in a country town. A couple of kids made a commitment to Christ and we began serious Bible study with the kids. We had more kids coming to a serious mid-week study than the Friday night group with fun, food and a devotion. I learnt to write Bible studies, I learnt the value of prayer and fellowship as we met weekly to prepare, I experienced the reality of spiritual warfare, and saw that God really can show up and do something.
A disaster: I was transferred to another town and joined another church. We had a pastor, a power broker (without a formal role apart from member) and an increasingly divided diaconate and membership. Thirty years later and some people still have not recovered. I am very thankful to have been transferred before it reached its peak. What a nightmare!
What did I learn from this… taking the easy way out and not dealing with ungodly behaviour can cause huge problems later on… it is very easy to deceive yourself, think that you are in the right, think that God is on your side and will vindicate you… humility is a wonderful virtue often missing in leaders!
A dark cloud and a silver lining: I went to Bible College, worked youth in a church for a couple of years, and then headed off to Ecuador where I completed two terms (4 years each) of missionary service. As I embarked upon my calling into Christian ministry I learnt many useful things, but this has been most important by far…
I had already discovered that I am powerless to change myself, but that God can and will change me in his own good time. I quickly learnt that this is the case for everyone. That’s why we teach people the Bible and pray for them. (I already knew this intellectually but understanding is a different thing).
Further to that discovery I learnt that if someone is determined to work themselves into the ground or engage in any other self-destructive behaviour, I cannot stop them! I also discovered that the weight of worry about many such people leads to burnout. I knew I was getting tired and was not coping well, but I had no idea how much damage I was actually doing to myself.
I got to the point where I thought that my life was not anything any sane person would want to emulate and so I stopped. I came home. The one decision I made was to attend church every week regardless of how I felt as I did not want to lose my faith – I knew God was real and wanted to walk with Him. Thankfully my church was great. I attended services and went to Bible study. I never felt any pressure to serve in any church ministries but was allowed to serve as I could. I greatly enjoyed helping out with the kid’s club. I met up with a couple from church fortnightly who had a prayer ministry and slowly worked through all that had happened.
My health slowly returned. I learnt that other people’s destructive behaviour is not my responsibility. I can talk to people about their behaviour, I can ensure that their workload is reasonable, and I can pray for them. If they insist on doing too much, or worrying, or whatever it may be – that is their problem.
As leader I can insist on godly behaviour in a limited number are areas, but I can’t make them look after themselves. Really understanding and believing this has transformed my life and my relationships.
As I emerged from this recovery phase and started to engage with society, the opportunity to apply for the position of Global Recordings Network’s CEO came along. God made it clear to me and then to GRN that this was his will and I have now been serving in this role for eight years. I could never have survived in this role without being transformed as I was through this very difficult experience. I am very thankful for God and his grace.
In summary God has taught me:
· He does show up and do amazing things
· Humility is a vital characteristic for leaders
· Personal growth comes slowly
· Deal with problems as they come to light
· I am not responsible for other people’s decisions and life choices
These events occurred over the space of about twenty years and did not happen one after the other. Obviously this is not the whole story, but these three events loom large as I reflect on my journey and how God prepared me for Christian leadership.
Christine Platt has served as CEO of Global Recordings Network Australia (GRN) from 2012 until now and has been a member of GRN's International Leadership Team for most of that time. She served with SIM for ten years (2000-2009) completing two terms in Ecuador, South America, where her electrical engineering background proved useful in the establishment of a Christian radio station.