7 Questions with Steve Dixon

Name: Steve Dixon

Current title: Facilitator of Youth and Young Adult Ministry

Current organisation: Baptist Association of Churches (NSW and ACT)

Baptist Pastor with a focus on the equipping of Christian leaders - specifically in their work with teens and young adults. I have the joy of leading a team who serve local Baptist churches across NSW and ACT and provide opportunities for networking, training, and combined experiences for young people to encounter Jesus.

I am a learner and a lecturer. I am a dream-er and a do-er.

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

To know that my worth is not based on my work. We live in a world that has elevated the performance of individuals above who they are as people, and yet I know God’s love for me is not dependent on my abilities or achievements. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy sinking my teeth into a challenge and exercising the faith God has given me to attempt big things - but I need to be reminded of the sufficiency of His grace, and that His power is expressed in my weakness.

Leaders often sit or stand in front of people - they are looked to for insight, ideas, and decision making. This is a place that a leader needs to be both comfortable and uncomfortable. Comfortable to be the person God has called them to be (and do the things that He desires), and at the same time, uncomfortable with the unrealistic expectations often placed upon them. This is an ongoing challenge for me personally as a leader.

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

By seeing a need and asking to be involved. I came to faith at the end of High School and immediately looked for ways to be involved in local church leadership. I am grateful for the vision, values, and culture of the first church I found myself in and for the way they looked to both provide me with leadership opportunities and nurture my faith.

I had access to some wonderful Christian leaders in those early years and the lessons I learned about what it means to be a leader are still with me today. Three that comes to mind are that leadership is about influence, the Pareto Principle, and the need to work both ‘on’ the ministry and ‘in’ the ministry.

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

They’re honestly all different but I guess the areas of focus are coffee, learning, diary, team, projects, reflection, planning, and family. I try to break each day into 3 and give attention to the things that take more of my energy before lunch rather than after.

The broader picture for me is ensuring I have clear, measurable, and communicated goals for the year and that I take the time to plan how these will occur.

4. What one book had the most profound impact on your church leadership? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

Integrity by Henry Cloud. I read it a couple of years ago as part of the Arrow Leadership program. The key tenet of the book is built around his definition of integrity - the ability to cope with whatever the world throws at you. This has served me tremendously in recent years as life and ministry has become both larger and more complicated. It’s a great read no matter the season you're in.

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

If you stop growing your leadership stagnates. Christian leaders must keep learning - learning about people, about the Bible, about issues, and ideas. Curiosity is one word that captures this. To remain curious is hard work and time consuming, but it provides a way of promoting exploration and creativity.

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

You seek to ask questions around what God wants to do in and through an individual. This includes prayer and discernment yes, but it’s also ensuring you don’t have a one size fits all approach. From there you look for ways to invest in people's character and competency. You model the way and invite others into opportunities. Providing timely and specific feedback is critical for any leader's development.

7. If you had to pick just one story, what would be the most meaningful story from your time as a church leader so far?

When a teenage boy asked me how long I was going to be his youth pastor. He was all of 14 years old at the time and I was only just starting out in the role. His question was unexpected, yes, but it caused me to consider why he was asking this question. Why did it matter to him? What was his background? His family life? His fears? His hopes? It taught me about the need to ask good questions, to seek to understand the things that shape our lives, the impact of long term investment, and over time, the power of Jesus focused leadership.