Difficult times require real leadership.

However, without meaning to tread on any political toes,I do not think it is unreasonable to suggest that in wider society ours is an age not overly blessed with courageous and capable leadership. We continue to lift up our hands in prayer for our political leaders, at the same time as we often find ourselves throwing those same hands up in despair and frustration.

What then of leadership in the church?

One of the aims of EFAC is “to function as a resourcegroup to develop and encourage biblically faithful leadership in all spheres of life.”. Many of the elements of this edition of Essentials touch on that issue of leadership. We hear from the new Archbishop of Sydney,Kanishka Raffel, as he begins his new responsibility in leading that diocese forward. Andrew Katay and Simon Manchester both reflect on the nature of preaching as a means by which Christians are led to real gospel transformation. Mike Flynn wrestles with the paradox that church leaders matter both more and less than we think.

Alongside these contributions we attend to the sobering reality of failure in church leadership. Such failure may or may not be more frequent in the present moment, but it is certainly being played out in a more public and seemingly disturbing way than at any time in recent memory. Peter Brain faithfullyand calmly guides us through answering that difficult question, ‘what can we say in response to sexual sin in Christian leaders?’. Similarly, Chris Porter draw sour attention to a recent book guiding churches in their healing from emotional and spiritual abuse.

In all of this we turn continually to one who cleanses, defends, and preserves his church, prayingthe Collect for the 16th Sunday after Trinity: “O Lord, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church; and because it cannot continue in safety without thy succour, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness; through JesusChrist our Lord. Amen.”