Recently I read this quote from British politician Vince Cable in his memoir Free Radical written before he achieved a Cabinet position in the Conservative / Liberal Coalition government. He was reflecting on his period as acting leader of the Liberal Democrats in opposition during a tricky time of party leadership transition.
I have always moved effortlessly from the spotlight to the shadows and there is a particular pleasure to be had from enjoying prominence and (in my case, modest) power without feeling the need for them.
Free Radical: A Memoir Vince Cable
I thought… thanks, Vince, that’s encouraging.
You see, I was contemplating a transition myself.
My big change came just after Easter as I handed over my role as Wycliffe Bible Translators UK’s N. Ireland Coordinator to my colleague John Young. John is now UK assigned after six years in the Philippines where he ended up as Acting Philippines Director. So I’m happily handing over to a capable and experienced successor.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not comparing my role in Wycliffe Bible Translators UK with Cable’s role in British politics. Politicians often talk about serving, but to be successful it seems that they must ambitiously seek power and influence. I see my various roles in my 25 years with Wycliffe as a privilege that God allows me to be part of His Mission to His World. All the power and all prominence belongs to God.
I have never in my various roles with Wycliffe seen myself as enjoying prominence or power, modest or otherwise. But I was struck by the idea that a politician could contemplate a step down in position and accept it honestly and graciously. It was an encouragement to read Cable’s words as I know only too well that leadership transitions, whether in politics or in the church and mission, are not always smooth and can sometimes be rather messy.
So I have stepped down from the Wycliffe NI Coordinator role. I am not however retiring. John, my successor, wants me to stay on as part of the N. Ireland Church Engagement Team.
I am looking forward to my new role. I am fairly confident that I can step down and work within the team under John’s leadership.
I look forward in God’s strength to this new role with the same aim and passion that God’s Word will become available to everyone in their heart language.
For those of you who have ever visited the WBTUK office in Belfast, we’ll see about posting a few photos of how we have re-arranged it recently…