The Leader's Journey

Power dynamics, a new course, the "Circle of life", a "VMCL Amoeba" and more

publishedabout 1 year ago
3 min read

Welcome to our newsletter. Thank you for being part of our learning community. As a team of lifelong learners we frequently share resources with each other. This newsletter is a space for us to share some of what we are learning, thinking about, and being encouraged by with you. If you enjoyed this newsletter, please share it and keep the learning going. If you've received this from a friend you can subscribe here and get it direct to your inbox.

chess board and chess pieces
Rafael Rex Felisilda


Thank you for engaging with and sharing our most recent newsletter, the response to the new format and resources was encouraging!

Power Dynamics Podcast Series

We've continued our podcast series on power dynamics for trustworthy and transformative leaders. In the second episode in the series, we consider how power dynamics show up in conflict and how leaders can navigate it wisely, creating better outcomes. Then in the third episode in the series, we consider how leaders can balance authority and vulnerability to create space for flourishing.

It seems like this series has struck a chord with many in our community. We have loved your questions, comments, and feedback. We'd love to continue to hear from you! What questions do you have? Do you have any thoughts or resources you can share with us?

New Course

In early February, Jim and Mike announced a new cohort for pastoral leaders who feel like today's cultural context is profoundly different than the one we were prepared for and are tired of trying to figure it out on their own called, Pastoral Leadership and the Missional Church.

It is a 10-week-course that starts on April 26 and will look at how four major mental model shifts that influence the nature of pastoral leadership: mission, systems, discipleship, and change.

If you are tired of attempting to navigate these seismic shifts alone, you can sign up for the cohort here.

If you have questions you can reply to me in this email and I'll get the message over to Jim or you can contact him directly at

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy the resources below.

– Tim

Resources, reflections, and learning

Awareness as a Tool

Shared by Aundrea Baker

Anxiety affects everyone. However, most people do not deal with it in a healthy way. Dr. David Hanscom, an orthopedic spine surgeon who teaches people how to cope with chronic pain, identifies four distinct types of awareness that might be utilized to refocus worry and relax the nervous system in his article, Awareness as a Tool: The "Circle of Life".

Navigate even the most complex challenges with the "VMCL Amoeba"

Shared by Michael De Ruyter

Leaders are constantly being challenged to navigate increasingly complex challenges. It may seem that the complexity is hopelessly resistant to the changes that the leader wants to see. Dr. Stephen Cabrera of the Cabrera Research Lab says that when things get infinitely complex, we tend to get divorced from reality. In other words, we get overwhelmed. And when we are overwhelmed, we tend to lose our ability to focus in constructive ways on the things that matter most.

So what is it that leaders can focus on in the face of complexity? The organization's vision, its mission, its capacity systems, and its learning systems. Every organization exists to do something. That something is the vision. There are actions that bring about that vision (V), and certain systems and structures that support those actions--our mission (M) and capacity (C). And finally, the organization is constantly learning (L), receiving feedback and inputs critical for making decisions that refine the ability of the capacity systems to support the mission and that strengthens the connection between the mission-actions and the vision.

When leaders step back and see the VMCL, no matter how complex the challenges appear, insights emerge and high leverage action steps begin to appear.

A Lifelong Student of Leadership

Share by Jim Herrington

This short blog post is a reflection on my lifelong interest in leadership that was inspired by recent conversations with pastors about our upcoming course, Pastoral Leadership and the Missional Church. So much has changed since I first started learning about leadership but too often it seems the leadership development industry hasn’t kept up.

A beautiful, haunting, meditative rendition of what war does to real people

Shared by Trisha Taylor

Have you seen this? For 8 minutes, this artist uses sand, light, and her own hands to evoke the toll of war on the people of Ukraine. Did you know that 1 in 4 Ukrainians were killed in WWII? I didn't...and war is war is war. This is a beautiful, haunting, meditative rendition of what war does to real people created in God's image. I wonder what it is like for God to create people as fast as war erases them?

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