Over summer the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to dominate the news in Australia and New Zealand, as cases, hospitalisations and deaths attributed to the virus have escalated dramatically in some places.

We had hoped 2022 would be different – safer and less stressful than the past two years. And perhaps it yet will be. But for now, things remain uncertain.

At times like this, we crave wisdom and reassurance from our leaders in government, health, business and the church. It’s a difficult time for those making decisions, impacting lives and livelihoods. They need our prayers, as encouraged by St Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1,2.

But what makes a great leader? Commanding respect by decisive actions or forthright words? Being consultative and willing to delegate and trust those in their charge? Is the best leader someone who can enact a plan, bringing their team along with them?

We expect a lot of our leaders. We demand that our political leaders deliver prosperity, security and opportunity. We call for the axing of our sporting leaders if they and their teams don’t win premierships, series and championships. We believe our church leaders should oversee our return to the so-called glory days or enact whatever changes we deem necessary to move forward.

And we expect them all to be perfect, without a character blemish or skeleton in the closet. We stand ready to judge them harshly.

But what Jesus asks of all leaders though is both far simpler and far more difficult. He says that to lead, to be first, to be great, we must be servants (Matthew 20:26, Mark 9:35 and 10:43).

Jesus’ model of servant-leadership is the ultimate template for Christian leaders.

This year, there are leadership changes in the LCANZ, so we thought it was appropriate to focus on this topic and to thank God for raising up leaders for each new season. The church welcomes its incoming bishop, Pastor Paul Smith, who will be installed to this leadership role later this month, and we farewell his predecessor Pastor John Henderson. You’ll hear from them both in the following pages, including through Bishop Paul’s first monthly column for us.

You’ll also meet members of the General Church Board and learn more about this crucial governance body of skilled, gifted and committed volunteer leaders. And we’ll also introduce you to the newest pastors of the LCANZ as they begin their parish ministries.

And, along with a Bible study on the theme, our devotional and prayer pages are back this year, in addition to news, views and information about resources and events.

Thanks so much for your support. God bless,

PS. Our popular column ‘Going GREYT’ will return next month.

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