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7 Questions with Ron Simms
helps you in your leadership.
7 Questions with Ron Simms
Name: Ron Simms
Current title: National Leader
Current organisation: The Full Gospel Churches of Australia
Ron placed his faith in Christ in 1972. He joined the local Methodist church and later a Pentecostal church. Ron joined Full Gospel in 1989 as the pastor of a local fellowship. Ron has, over the years, served in a variety of ministry-focussed positions from youth work to missions, in local churches and para-church organisations. He has taught in Bible colleges and ministry training schools as well as engaging in a number of successful businesses. He currently serves with his wife, Justine providing support and member care for pastors throughout Australia and is the Dean of the College of Ministry Leadership.
Ron holds a master’s in ministry with a major in Leadership (Harvest), an Executive Master of Business, Leadership through Coaching and Mentoring (EMBA - LCAM) from Queensland University of Technology [QUT], and an Executive Graduate Certificate in Business Administration (QUT).
Ron and Justine have two adult children, four grandchildren and two little white fluffy door-bells (dogs). Ron enjoys sudoku, writing and people.
1. What have you found most challenging as a church leader?
This is a much thornier question than it first appears, as different leadership positions and situations present differing complexities. As a youth leader, my main challenges were either from within, my immaturity leading to actions which I have later questioned (Fire-Ball football on the beach, for instance – a marginal activity in the 1970’s but an insurance nightmare today!), or from the youth themselves, or from the church oversight being ‘too strict’ (remembering the infamous fire-ball activity).
On the mission field, I sometimes encountered dangerous and life-threatening situations (a challenge in anyone’s book). As a para-church leader, pastor, and more lately a denominational leader, I have found that each position of leadership holds its unique intricacies.
Today, the challenges I face are still within and without. Within, my challenges are my own incompetence, inability to understand situations and lack of foresight, not to mention timidity. Outside, the challenges range from political and COVID related strictures on the Churches, to pastors-behaving-badly, to financial and other material constraints.
2. How did you become a church leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I felt the call for church leadership when I was 15. Of course, back then I had no understanding of how that call would affect my life. Nevertheless, I began to follow it, relinquishing other opportunities and expectations to satisfy the call. This call manifested itself as a longing, a deep knowing and a series of opportunities and challenges which ultimately led to where I am today.
I started where many have: in youth ministry. It was a wonderful, confusing, stretching position which I thought at the time was the pinnacle of ministry. This led to study as I engaged with all sorts of courses, collecting certificates and diplomas along the way. During the seventies through to the nineties, the Church was not really as organised as it is today educationally, so I did what I could while staying in ministry.
I was often a ‘tentmaker,’ working either for myself in business, or in some position. Looking back, I see that this has repeatedly allowed me freedoms which other ministers did not have, although at the time it did not seem so liberating. Ministry opportunities came along, and as I followed through with them, they led to other ministries.
Sometimes it would seem that I was finished, that an insurmountable blockage was in my way and that for me at least, ministry was finished. Each time this happened, it brought a great sense of grief with it, however, after each time, God brought something else along, which ultimately led to a greater victory. Leadership attends to those who attend to it.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Prayer, study and people, as well as administrative duties crowd my days. I try to hit the office early, as I’ve noticed that early is better for me; there are less interruptions in the mornings. I tend to structure interviews, pastoral visits or calls, ZOOM meetings and other people-related activities from say 10 AM through to 7 PM (depending on other people’s schedules) and I like to finish my work-day by 7:30 PM. Dinner and relaxing with my family from 7:30 to 9:30 PM, then try to go to sleep as close as I can to 9:30 PM.
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?
Faith Under Fire : What the Middle East conflict has taught me about God. By Reverend Canon Andrew White, 2011, Monarch Books, Oxford, United Kingdom. 160 pages.
I read this book at a difficult time in my life and ministry – the author’s continual assumptions of the Lord’s love for those who mistreated him and those he loved and ministered too, both profoundly affected and challenged me. I found myself reading this book as a devotional: reading and praying; reading and repenting; reading and praising God. The story of this minister’s journey with the love of God but brought wonderful insights into our Father, which I carry to this day.
5. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
I must lead myself, if my leadership is to be effective in other spheres. I must not only love my wife, but she must also know my love experientially, my children must be the recipients of my love, so, my grandchildren, pets, neighbours, the people I meet in my daily doings, the people to whom I minister. Jesus was not one for making up rules and regulations for leadership as we do. However, he did mention some things which I believe are inseparable from leadership at all levels "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." – Matthew 20: 25-28 ESV.
6. How do you develop a healthy leadership pipeline in a church?
If you want to develop good leaders, give leadership away. Of course, there’s room for study, for apprenticeships and training, do these too. Let leaders lead. Guide them, encourage them, wipe up their messes after them, but let them lead. Make opportunities for their leadership and cast vision for them. They will love you forever and they will be better leaders for it.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a church leader so far?
One time, as a young leader, I went to my senior pastor (I was pretty much in awe of him) and told him of a situation I had gotten myself into and which was about to go very badly for me. I felt he understood me, took my side and prayed for me and for the situation in a way that took me by surprise. I had expected to be disciplined, but instead was lifted. Yes, discipline came in a loving and effective manner.
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?'
Thinking about your personal relationship with God, are you able to describe the key waypoints of your journey from your beginning to now?