Challenged about the degrees of change in our circumstances, contexts, perspectives, relationships and understanding at 2015’s AGM, the Soul Action team spent the following six months intentionally reflecting on our own activities. By the Spring we had concluded, firstly, that whilst gatherings and training – things we’ve become known for – are catalysts, change sticks best when accompanied by supportive one on one relationships. Our various education initiatives, where there has been a combination of one on one investment alongside any gatherings of people, are testament to this fact. Secondly, several team members were feeling drawn back to leaders; to where Soul Action began in ‘07.
(RE)FOCUSING ON LEADERSHIP
Network leaders were invited to gather in November 2015, to explore the potential of refocusing on leadership, and to hear what the team were discerning from God.
Insights leaders shared as part of opening discussions confirmed what the Soul Action team had sensed God was revealing to them during the sustained period of reflection. With well established, focused and quality programs in place, and whilst they were still committed to, optimistic and passionate about change, leaders also shared how they were often overwhelmed by the extent of brokenness in communities, the weight of responsibility, and a lack of encouragement and resources.
“What people need when they are trying to bring about some change is someone to listen and respond as they talk through different ideas and possible courses of action. They need to explore what their ideas really mean, in detail, in practice, through both hearing themselves talk about them and through hearing another person’s response to them. They need a sounding board” (Hardingham 2004:80)
“A SOUNDING BOARD”
Phil shared how in being drawn back to our leadership roots, the Soul Action team felt God encouraging them to be: “sounding boards” – a safe space to test ideas, think, overcome, by:
- meeting leaders 1-2-1 every other month
- connecting leaders to leaders every other month for input, prayer, reflection, etc.
A total of 35 leaders, representing 30 organisations, expressed how they felt they would benefit from, and be committed to, being part of this initiative in 2016.