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7 Questions with Christine Leonard
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7 Questions with Christine Leonard
Name: Christine Leonard
Current title: Assistant to Worship Leader
Current organisation: St. Andrew Lutheran Church
1. What have you found most challenging as a church leader?
Keeping hours at church separate from home is most difficult. It seems as if the work is never completed. There is always more to do. Having a team leader who respects home time is an asset.
2. How did you become a church leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
It is in my blood. Both of my parents or church leaders as I was growing up. They brought me along to church and I would play with other kids or have an activity at church with others as a result. When I went to college I studied to be a Church school teacher. My job consisted of teaching a classroom of children during the day, adult Choir members once a week and playing organ for all the church services. Every new place I went by fell into the leaders of the church because that's where my interests lay. It was part of my conversation and my social life was involved with the congregation.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Focus was on doing my work at church or school. I would come home at supper time at supper time exhausted only by 8 and return to prepare for the next day. There seemed to be no home time.
4. What's one book apart from the Bible that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. This book helped me understand the people's connection. How can I empathize with others? How can I walk in their shoes and understand their point of view? This was an important point for me to learn. All people are doing their best given their personality, their upbringing and their circumstances. Relating to people as if they are doing their best is a way to approach others.
5. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Don't forget to keep connected with people even during the seclusion we have experienced during the virus. Personal connections are critical. Phone calls, individual connections are important. Do not think that a simple word or discussion with another person isn't important. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
6. How do you develop a healthy leadership pipeline in a church?
Collaboration is key. No man is an island. As lonely as I have felt doing my job I have always enjoyed sharing the burden with others. Let others know how much I need them or how important their contributions to the team have benefited me and the church as a whole is important.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a church leader so far?
There are so many. I guess one story relates to one Vacation Bible School week I was preparing for the presentations for the opening of each day. My team partner had not communicated with me in a timely fashion even though I had reached out to him. I ended up having to scrap my preparations in light of his new, very late idea. I was angry and frustrated and shared that with the team leader who calmed me down and said to overlook it. As a result the opening presentations for each day went very well. The idea was excellent even though it wasn't my first choice. After the Vacation Bible School was completed I received a thank-you note from the team leader. He thanked me for feeling so strongly about the project that I was angry when I had to switch gears. He acknowledged my anger and put a positive spin on it. I appreciated it and it deescalated my anger.