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Thank you to the 1,400 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading 
7 Questions with Mark Macakay
helps you in your leadership.
Jonno White
7 Questions with Mark Macakay

Name: Mark Macakay

Current title: Senior Pastor

Current organisation: Forest Lake Baptist Church

Married to Catherine with 4 kids, I grew up in a Christian home but didn't really personalise my faith until my late teens. I've been a pastor at Forest Lake Baptist for 15 years and, before that I worked as a Chartered Accountant.

7 Questions with Mark Macakay


1. What have you found most challenging as a church leader?

Self-doubt - I put more pressure on myself than anyone else. It's too easy to let the ego get stroked when things are going well and to stress unnecessarily when things are tough.

2. How did you become a church leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

Prior to vocational ministry, I served in various ministries in my Church and it was really a long trajectory of taking on additional responsibility until the call into pastoral ministry became unmistakeable. I never wanted to be a pastor but God made it clear that He wanted me to follow Him in that way.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

Each day starts with 30 minutes quiet time (includes Bible reading & silent meditation & contemplative prayer). I usually do the school run in the morning and then have a set structure for the day/week so that I'm putting in adequate time for both working "on" the Church as well as "in" the Church. Dinner time with the family is a non-negotiable - that's the best part of the day. I try to not be out at night anymore than 3 nights per week. Regular exercise is the missing thing at the moment that needs to be better incorporated into my day - it's too ad hoc at the moment.

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?

Paul Tripp's "A Dangerous Calling" is a book I only discovered about 6 years ago but I wish I'd had it from the start. His basic idea that we can only minister out of the grace that we have received from God was profound for me. It's a constant challenge to recognise I need to preach the Gospel to myself first, before I preach it to anyone else.

5. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

We're going through a time of significant transition in a number of areas at the moment. One of the key lessons I've learned is to not overload the team with change. There are other areas I can see need to change but now is not the time when there's already so much transition. Being patient and playing the long-game is something I continue to learn.

6. How do you develop a healthy leadership pipeline in a church?

We have a strong emphasis on 'team' ministry so that's a helpful way to be able to identify leaders as they emerge. We then have "leadership huddles" for those who do emerge to give them more structured training.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a church leader so far?

A young lady who had never had the opportunity to lead anything, either in Church or working life. She was identified as someone who had potential, who needed investment. As we did that, she has emerged as a key leader for us and leads a significant area of our kids ministry. She's now investing in the next generation of leaders. She is a incredible blessing.

What's one question you'd love to ask other leaders in our audience to generate discussion about leadership? Eg. 'How do you do difficult conversations well?', or 'What's one tip for leading a remote online team?'

We talk a lot in leadership circles about how we train and equip people but the Bible has the main emphasis on the character of the leader. What do you do to help form the character of new leaders and existing leaders?

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