Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Questions subvert Mindsets.

Written by: on February 20, 2024

15 growth mindset questions to ask

“A Failure of Nerve Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix” by Edwin H Friedman is compelling, especially the comparisons between the old and new world orientations, summarised at the end of chapter one[1]. The author’s juxtaposition of the two worlds provides an accurate analogy for the goal of a leader when guiding an organisation or church from its current state to its potential future.

In 2019, I was honoured to be voted the National Leader of a Pentecostal Denomination in Great Britain. The great joy of envisioning where the denomination could transition versus the reality of the situation was stark.

In his foreword for Friedman’s book, Peter Steinke introduces the reader to the author’s philosophy that “questions subvert mindsets” [2]. Indeed, any radical transition of our movement starting in 2019 would involve asking the right questions. Friedman’s book provides insights into addressing, at least partially, five crucial questions that our movement needed to address.

  1. How can a movement that is 95 years old (100 this year) transition into a new season with success? The answer to this was to lead by example. Friedman says, “The Old World’s process of reorientation could never have come about if that civilisation had not produced individuals who were willing to go first.” [3] We needed our “Captains Courageous” [4] to lead the way.
  2. How can church autonomy function without independence diminishing a collective vision/mission? Friedman explains that when two individuals undergoing tension seek solace by drawing in a third party, emotional triangles emerge [5]. Similarly, in the context of a movement of churches, tensions between the current state (individual 1) and desired future state (individual 2) may prompt a quest for relief through new leadership and strategies (individual 3) embodying New World ideologies and methodologies.
  3. How can a denomination radically move forward while valuing traditions and people, without dishonouring those who have gone before? Friedman’s chapter on The Fallacy of Empathy addresses this issue in depth. In particular, he writes that “focus on empathy rather than responsibility has contributed to a major misorientation in our society about the nature of what is toxic to life itself” [6]. Responsibility in leadership today is about running with the baton of faith before God, without an over-reliance on what was, focussing on what is and can be. We can honour people, without holding to historic practices that are not explicitly prescribed in Scripture. Historically our empathy and sympathy have cross-pollinated and restricted us from acting decisively.
  4. How do we identify the systemic weaknesses that hold us back and the strengths that will move us forward? Friedman discusses the problem of agendas where “adaptation is constantly toward weakness rather than strength.” [7]
  5. How do we successfully take as many people and churches as possible on the next stage of the journey? In the chapter entitled “A Society in Regression”, Friedman highlights the importance of leaders maintaining a non-anxious presence and demonstrating courage in challenging regressive patterns[8]. The potential to lose leaders/churches on the journey of change can create anxiety in leadership.

“Leading the Revolution[9]” by Gary Hamel articulates powerful assertions that, when reframed as questions, prompt critical reflection for the radical, new world leader.

  1. What would it look like to not just “get better, but get different? [10]”
  2. What would it look like to “not just catch up, but break out? [11]
  3. What would it look like to “not just do best practice, but invent new practice?” [12]
  4. What would it look like to “not just accept your lot, but change your world?” [13]
  5. What does it mean to recognise that “yesterday’s insurgents are today’s incumbents?” [14]

In part, the answer to each of the above questions lay in recognising that our heritage was and is not our destiny. We must be willing to set sail from the shores of our current reality to reach new shores (a modern rewording of Andre Paul Guillaume’s quote)[15].

Change is costly, but so is failing to change[16]. In identifying that living with a crisis is a major part of leaders’ lives[17] or, as Eve Poole describes, critical incidents[18], Friedman prepares the emerging leader and reminds the seasoned leader what leadership involves. To be a cartographer of a new world, leaders need to prepare to lead through the crisis dynamic. His insight into tension in leadership crisis [19] empowers leaders to prepare and handle such events. While the past five years have seen remarkable results as we have sought to answer the subversive mindset questions, inevitable crisis moments have arisen as leadership has been in “the process of influencing others to understand and agree about what needs to be done and how to do it, and the process of facilitating individual and collective efforts to accomplish shared objectives.” [20] Friedman adds to this by underscoring that leadership has a “conceptual and emotional dimension that reinforce one another.” [21] Transitioning from the old to new worlds takes emotional fortitude and is not for the faint-hearted. The team I am honoured to serve with are remarkable men and women, my “Captains Courageous.”

It is sad that Friedman died at such a young age and never fully realised his vision for the book.


[1] Friedman, Edwin H., and Peter Steinke. A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix. 10th Anniversary edition. New York: Church Publishing, 2017. 56
[2] Ibid, viii.
[3] Ibid,199.
[4] Ibid,199.
[5] Ibid,219.
[6] Ibid, 143.
[7] Ibid,13.
[8] Ibid, 57.
[9] Hamel, Gary. 2003. Leading the Revolution: How to Thrive in Turbulent Times by Making Innovation a Way of Life. Revised edition. New York: Harvard Business Review Press.
[10] Ibid, vii.
[11] Ibid, viii.
[12] Ibid, viii.
[13] Ibid, viii.
[14] Ibid, ix.
[15] Gide, Andre. 1952. ‘Ainsi Soit-Il; Ou, Les Jeux Sont Faits’. 1952. Accessed 14 February 2024, https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Gide.
[16] CCL. ‘Change Comes at a Cumulative Cost’. CCL, 2022. Accessed 14 February 2024, https://www.ccl.org/articles/leading-effectively-articles/change-comes-at-a-cumulative-cost/.
[17] Friedman, 29.
[18] Poole, Eve. 2017. Leadersmithing: Revealing the Trade Secrets of Leadership. Bloomsbury Publishing. 14.
[19] Friedman, 260.
[20] Yukl, Gary. 2012. Leadership in Organizations Global Edition. 8th edition. Boston Munich u.a: Pearson Ed. 8.
[21] Friedman, 3.

About the Author


Glyn Barrett

I am the founding, Lead Pastor of !Audacious Church in Manchester, England. I was born in Manchester, but moved to Australia at the age of two. My wife and I were married in Australia and began married and ministry life in England 28 years ago. After serving as youth pastors for 12 years, we moved to Manchester to pioneer !Audacious Church. As a church we now have 7 locations. 3 in Manchester, Chester, Cardiff (Wales), Sheffield, and Geneva (Switzerland). In 2019 I became the National Leader of Assemblies of God in Great Britain. We have over 600 churches in our movement and have planted 50 new churches since May 2022 with a goal of planting 400 new churches between May 2022 and May 2028. I am the European Lead for MM33, which is the church planting ministry for Assemblies of God Global and also chair Empowered21 Western Europe. I'm happily married to Sophia, with two children, one dog and two motorbikes. I love Golf, coffee and spending time with friends. Looking forward to meeting you all, and creating new friendships.

12 responses to “Questions subvert Mindsets.”

  1. Nancy Blackman says:

    First of all, congratulations on the new position! It’s been a few years since that honor was bestowed upon you. You asked alot of amazing questions of the denomination.

    I love how you referred to your team as your Captain Courageous. It shows a great awareness that you are a part of something bigger than yourself, and not just that you are dragging them along.

    What have you learned about yourself and God in the process?

    • mm Glyn Barrett says:

      Hi Nancy and thank you. Here are two things I have learnt about God and two about myself.
      1. God’s Providence and Guidance: Throughout this period of change, I’ve experienced firsthand God’s providence and guidance. Even in moments of uncertainty or challenge, I’ve seen how He has orchestrated events behind the scenes and provided solutions beyond what I could have imagined. Trusting in His sovereignty has strengthened my faith and reassured me that He is always working for the good of those who love Him.

      2. God’s Faithfulness in Times of Change: Transitioning to a new world has highlighted God’s faithfulness. His promises endure, and His presence remains constant, regardless of the circumstances. Reflecting on past experiences of His faithfulness has been a source of encouragement and confidence as we navigate the challenges and opportunities that come with transformation.

      About Myself:
      1. Leadership Growth Through Challenges: Transitioning the movement has pushed me to grow as a leader. Facing challenges head-on, making difficult decisions, and leading our team through periods of change have been stretching and deepened my resilience.

      2. The Importance of Humility and Learning: This season has taught me the value of humility and continuous learning. I don’t have all the answers, and it’s okay to seek input and guidance from others. Embracing a posture of humility has enabled me/us to learn from both successes and failures, fostering personal growth and enhancing a more effective leadership style.

      • Adam Cheney says:

        This explains why you ask me so many questions! What a journey you have been on. I wonder what will you do to celebrate the 100 year anniversary? What boundaries have you set up with your pastoral leadership to help you remain self-deferentiated so that you have time to focus on what and where the Holy Spirit is leading you?

        • mm Glyn Barrett says:

          Ah 100 years is special. Our National Conference is in May, but the big celebration is in London in July. We have booked one of the iconic halls and are planning 6-8 hours of celebrations which will trace each of the decades for the past 100 years. Singing popular worship songs from each decade, telling the stories of the movement with mini preaches based on some of the significant leaders from history. We are inviting everybody!
          The act of self-differentiation as a leader is a disciplined daily act. Some wounds from specific people run deep and it can be a challenge to bounce back, but the answer lies in clarity in my why. Why am I here, and what is God calling me to do? The specific focus on answering those questions gives the leader the ability to act as Nehemiah did with Tobias and Sanballat. He refused to come off the wall he was building. With a sword (Word of God) in one hand and a trowel in the other, he dealt with the challenge from Tobias and Sanballat but turned back to focus on his why. I’ve often used that analogy n my thinking to help me remain self-deferentiated. It’s not foolproof for the above reasons, but it certainly helps stay focussed.

  2. mm Ryan Thorson says:

    Thanks for your insightful post Glynn. I am not envious of the challenging role you are in but am grateful God has you there for such a time as this.

    As you’ve implemented change and adaptation, what are some strategies you’ve used to highlight the strengths emerging in your movement when the temptation is to focus on weaknesses or problems?

    • mm Glyn Barrett says:

      Thanks Ryan. We have regular leadership sessions where we spend the time celebrating what God has done. I have just come from a meal table with 19 of our key leaders. We spent approximately 90 minutes eating, with each team member sharing significant God moments since the start of 2024. We always do this when we meet, either for prayer, strategy sessions or even social time. This is something we started in 2019, and the familiar themes and patterns that come through not only give us a chance to celebrate what God has done but also make us aware of the strengths that are the USPs of the movement. We have naturally honed in on the strengths of the movement as a result. Whenever weaknesses are identified, we try to assess whether or not that is something that we need to be concerned by and therefore address. Clarity of strategy for achieving the vision helps us to stay on track with what we are gifted/called to do.

  3. Graham English says:

    Glyn, those are great questions to ask and attempt to answer. I pray that you will continue to maintain a non-anxious presence amid the emotional swirl. Sometimes people feel threatened even when the question is asked.
    How do you plan to manage your emotions when you face a personal attack?

  4. mm Glyn Barrett says:

    Thanks for your prayers buddy. The emotions are a big one. We are created to feel things deeply, and that is often a challenge. In John 15, Jesus says He chose us to bear fruit, fruit that will remain. He also challenges us to remain in him. The word remain is used 10 times in that chapter. Biblically, the number 10 is considered to be the perfect number. We are also reminded that the first time something occurs 10 times in the Bible is in Genesis 1, where it says, “God says” 10 times. To remain in Jesus is, in part, to be in a place where you are hearing God speak to you, and I think in that we have a master plan for dealing with our emotions. God’s Word trumps my emotions. When God speaks, It is good. So when I am under emotional attack, God speaking makes all the difference.
    Sadly, leadership longevity is the art of dealing with personal attacks.

  5. mm Jennifer Eckert says:

    Glyn, what an audacious task! Fitting that it is the name of your church. This is a bit of a personal question, but your beautiful family is all in with you 1,000 percent. How do you prepare them to best support you as you realize the highs and lows of merging generations to invent new practices for your denomination?

    • mm Glyn Barrett says:

      Hi Jennifer, yes you are right, the family are brilliant. Joshua 24:14 says, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” My wife, the kids, and I have lived with this principle. I don’t do it, we do it together. The family are all involved in their various ways. Both kids are in our bible college, and both serve the church throughout the week with amazing tenacity and resilience. When it comes to big moments in the denomination which may have challenging ramifications, I sit and talk with them. They are used to the positive and negative attention that goes along with leadership. I think that God is preparing them for something significant.

  6. Diane Tuttle says:

    Hi Glyn, Thank you for sharing the work God has called you to accomplish. Something that stood out in your post were the questions you posed from Gary Hamel. Each one could be a game changer for the work I do. I particularly see #3 from “best practice but invent new practice” as inspiring. My question is, how has God equipped you to lead at this time and in this place?

    • mm Glyn Barrett says:

      Hi Diane. There are many factors in answering this question. It could be that God equipped me through my upbringing as a pastor’s kid or the seasons in the utmost cave (Hero with a 1000 faces.) Honestly though, the answer has to be in the team God blessed me with. We have been together for over 15 years and with some over 20. As my “Captains Courageous” (Leadersmithing), they are the ones who make it possible. When my wife and I left our family and friends in Australia 28 years ago to move to England, God gave us a new family, who became our team. God is good, we have been blessed by some world-class people.

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