• Author Name: Hannah Miller
  • Author Role: Coach
  • Author Image:

Over the last twelve months, workplaces of all shapes and sizes have had to handle the biggest onslaught of change, uncertainty, lack of connection and instability that we have ever experienced. On a micro level, teams and organisations suffer periods of pain, unwanted change and insecurity all the time, but what singles out this last year, is that nearly all of us, in almost any sector you can think of, has been thrown in at the deep end. At the same time.

I’m a Strengths-based coach and speaker for a living, which basically means I support organisations in their development of people and teams, and I have the privilege of working alongside individuals who are in the process of discovering their purpose. I have witnessed both incredible resilience and innovation from my clients, and also (here’s that word) unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety.

Gallup, a research and data company based in the US, have been tracking measures of happiness and employee engagement since 2009. They noticed some interesting things this last year. Usually, they find that well-being and engagement are connected. That is, the higher our personal wellbeing, the higher our engagement at work (and, the opposite). This year, however, has not followed that trend. Engagement has stayed unexpectedly high (many people are so grateful for work, glad to back from furlough, appreciative of all leaders have done to be supportive), but their wellbeing, in the majority of cases, has plummeted. For some of us, wellbeing is at frighteningly low point, with chronically high levels of stress and anxiety being reported.

As part of our post covid rebuild in the workplace, as leaders we need to be aware that many of our team members have hit or are approaching a breaking point, and these breaking points lead to burnout and suffering with long-term consequences.

As people of peace, as leaders that follow Jesus, how can we best navigate our people through this transition season? How can we step in before breaking point?

1. Have eyes to see

We can be so busy with stuff to do, work to complete, goals to meet, that we forget to see the person right in front of us. Leaders do have so much to contend with right now, and rightly so there is a need to focus on growth in order to protect as many jobs as possible, but sometimes we get so focused on the job in hand that we forget to look. We forget to see the person. We neglect to think about how they are doing, what might be going on for them. In the midst of our busyness, we need to be asking the Lord to speak to us about the people that we lead, giving us divine wisdom and revelation as to how to best support each individual. Scan for signs of burnout, listening to that still small voice that prompts you to investigate a little deeper.

2. Create space to talk

As well as having eyes to see the impact on the people that we are leading, leaders need to create room for people to talk and to process. Of course, everybody is different and not everyone wants or needs to talk. But we cannot just ‘press play’ and return to work without processing some of the impact, pain, grief and uncertainty that has hit most homes across this country. We need to work harder on our questioning, keeping our door open, giving opportunities for colleagues to connect and converse, to recognise the impact on their wellbeing in order to begin to move on.

3. Be a dealer in hope

Hebrews 6 verse 19 reminds us that, ‘We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.’ Our most significant responsibility in this season of resetting and rebuilding is to lead from a place of Hope. We have a hope that is firm and secure and sits outside of any earthly experience. As leaders who are followers of Jesus, we are not called to pretend that everything is okay, but we are called to anchor ourselves in a Hope that is beyond our circumstances. What an opportunity we have in this moment to reflect the Hope of our faith, strong and secure, firmly rooted both in and out of season.

So as leaders that are in the process of rebuilding and reconnecting, I’d love to encourage you to have eyes that are open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, room in your diary to listen and give counsel, and a heart of hope that changes the narrative in the culture around you.

Find out more about Hannah, @hannahloumiller on all platforms or check out her website www.hellosidekick.co

Family & Community

  • Author Name: Adam Daubney
  • Author Role: Archaeologist
  • Author Image:

One of the basic principals of archaeology is that ‘what you see very much depends on the scale you are looking’. If we were to zoom right out and view the entirety of global human history, we would inevitably see grand-scale events such as wars, famines, revolutions, inventions, and pandemics. These events would help us to see, on a very broad-level, how and why societies ebbed and flowed over time. However, we would lose some understanding of how individuals and groups can change history.

Similarly, if we zoomed right in – for example, to examine the last 50 years of your village or town – we would see much finer detail. At this scale we would see the effects of individual actions, groups, and localised events, but we would lose some understanding of how and why your village or town appears as it does today.

Take, for example, the humble ‘green lane’. The countryside is criss-crossed with many public footpaths today, many of which are deeply rooted in the past. Some stretch back into prehistory. These pathways may seem insignificant, but they are examples of the sorts of things that have quietly directed how the landscape has been used over many generations.

What we see very much depends on the scale we are looking.

For many of us, our worlds have become rather small during the pandemic. Covid has forced us to close our doors, keep our distance, and focus our physical relationships on those we are bubbled with. Similarly, daily coronavirus updates on the news have subconsciously trained us to think on short scales of time. We measure life in terms of vaccine rollouts, lockdowns and the easing of restrictions while forgetting the grander narratives of time. All of this is deeply disorientating.

For many of us, our wellbeing is strongly linked to our sense of place. By ‘place’ we mean the village, town, or city where you identify with most. Research has shown that a strong sense of place gives people a stronger sense continuity, a greater sense of connectedness, a greater sense of purpose, and provides an environment in which people can fulfil their goals. Naturally, heritage is a huge part of this. Historic buildings, museums, art galleries, archaeology societies, historic landmarks, streetscapes, monuments and so on are all powerful components of people’s sense of place.

For those of us working or volunteering in the heritage profession the months and years that lie ahead offer great opportunities to serve our communities. Archaeology projects can help gather individuals, families, and communities disconnected by the virus; museums can help people regain a sense of perspective and temporal orientation; Cathedrals, churches, sites, and monuments can provide places for reflection, inspiration, and enjoyment.

In the previous GLX blog post, educationalist Paul Tinsley noted that people are questioning where God is, and the place of the Church in the midst of all this.  Paul also commented that when we come out the other side of the pandemic, we will be much more aware of our fragility as human beings.  “Many will be asking big questions about life, faith and what kind of society we should be in the future.”

For some, the historic environment will help people to process these questions, regardless of whether that process is sought out intentionally, or is just the by-product of enjoying visiting a heritage site. Museums and heritage sites help us to reflect on the fragility and brevity of life and our ‘moment’ in the grander narrative of time. Likewise, historic places of worship help us to understand how faith has helped previous societies in times of crisis. And yet, the redundancy of many historic places of worship today demonstrate that the church is on the move. Empty historic churches do not signal that Christianity is dead, but rather that it now also expresses itself through a flotilla of house churches, café meet-ups, and non-ecclesiastical buildings that leave very few footprints beyond those which are left by serving the communities they live in. Today’s church is thankfully unlikely to leave much for archaeologists to dig up in the future, mainly because it is throwing off its former structures and rising to the challenge set by the early church in the book of Acts. In many ways these new expressions of faith stretch back beyond the medieval Cathedrals that dominated the landscape, and into the artisanal Celtic communities of the Early Medieval period where grass-roots Christianity permeated learning, craft, family life, commerce, and play.

Times are changing (as they do by their very definition!), but heritage will undoubtedly help us to rebuild our societies and learn from the past. For those Christians working or volunteering in the heritage profession, this will involve helping all of us (ourselves included) to regain a sense of place. For some this will improve their overall wellbeing; for others it will mark the start of a journey in faith.  

Culture & Heritage

  • Author Name: Sian Wade
  • Author Role: Community Pioneer
  • Author Image:

 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” Eph 3:20

If we are going to play a role in the rebuilding of our towns and cities, we need to learn the art of prophetic imagination, allowing ourselves to dream some dreams with God and cultivating the courage to pray and walk into those dreams. 

Some people find it easier to dream and imagine than others. Children generally find it easier because their minds are not filled with many concerns, worries, responsibilities, fears of failure and all the things that abort creative imagination and dreaming. 

The reason why teenagers and young adults are so powerful is that they still have the ability to dream and they can start to put some of their hopes and desires into action. 

I believe that God is calling his people to learn to dream again, but it is a gift that you need to ask for and be ready to receive. 

Firstly, we need to recognise that we serve a limitless God with endless resource and power. Place yourself in God’s shoes. If you were going to share some important information with someone, you would want their undivided attention. You would want them to take notes, listen intently and not interrupt!

Knowing that he is the God of the impossible, when we spend time in his presence and marvel at who he is and what he can do, we need to place ourselves under his authority. He is the architect, he is the one who has the design mapped out, it is HIS will that we are wanting, not our own. 

When I come into God’s presence, I have to go through a process of writing down all the fears, anxieties, and worries that are already clogging up my thinking. One by one these are spoken and given to God – a process of weeding! I then spend time on my knees, bowed low in an act of submission and an understanding that I am simply here to serve and see God’s will be done. There is a power in this that we often overlook. Throughout the Old Testament, prophets would physically do symbolic acts to show God that they were serious, but it also sends a clear message of authority to our mind, body, soul and spirit. 

From this place of clearing out the potential blockages, and submission to who God is, we have cleared the way for God to speak and plant his dreams into us. 

We need to be prepared for God to speak throughout the day as well as at night. He may speak through the most mundane activity, or simply through a few words you hear spoken by someone. He will give you dreams through the night that have clear significance for the present and the future. Writing these down in as much detail as possible is really important. I was given dreams 15 years ago that have materialised only recently. 

My one piece of advice is this, dreams from God need protecting, nurturing, watering. They sometimes need to be shared with others, and sometimes they need to be sheltered for a while. God is a loving Father who cannot wait to share his heart with us – he is just waiting for us to be ready.

Culture & Heritage

  • Author Name: Dave Pennington
  • Author Role: Local Government Head of Service
  • Author Image:

Lockdown was announced and we went into exile-living, much like the Hebrews were exiled from Israel in Jeremiah Chapter 29.

But God said the Israelites would only be in Babylon for 70 years and the end would soon come. Equally, we are on the tantalising cusp of freedoms and ‘normal’ life.

Except: what is normal?

I imagine when the Israelites prepared to return to Israel that they had to think about what they would take.

Do I need to pack that extra set of clothes?

What about the lean-mean-fat grilling machine? Do they have an Argos in Jerusalem if I leave it behind? (We found our George Foreman Lean Mean Fat Grilling Machine the other day in the cupboard, and what an awesome find it was!)

And so I think we need to challenge ourselves now.

Not about the Lean Mean Fat Grilling Machine, but perhaps we need to question what we really need in our work-lives for 2021 and beyond.

In the process of adapting to exile I was forced to abandon 20 years of office working and everything that it entailed; water cooler moments, corridor conversations, Friday afternoon chats, building relationships in an easy way.

Equally, I cut out a lot of waste in my working day and became far more productive.

But I’m not convinced I’m more effective working at home all the time.

So what do I need to bring with me for the return from exile? What practises can I leave in the dustbin of life pre-2020?

The most important thing I’ve realised is this:

It’s all about the people: my colleagues and team.

With that in mind here are my thoughts about how we rebuild and reset into 2021 and beyond…


Keep turning up, keep going

This is more than just being you at work.

This is about chasing the Father heart of God and understanding what this looks like in our 9-5 whilst the world continues to change around us.

It’s about becoming a ‘safe person’. Where colleagues come to you for advice, because they know and trust you – and you’re not going to gossip about their anxieties with others.

It’s about maintaining your integrity in all that you do (but also being shrewd – perhaps a topic for another blog?!).

It’s about developing a reputation where you say what you’re going to do, and do it.

It’s about being caring and compassionate when colleagues are facing tough times, and if you’re in the privileged position of leading them, cutting them some slack where you can.


Because whatever the future holds I’m sure of this:

Life will never be the same again

As we reset and re-build one thing is certain: 2020 changed the world forever.

The economy will never look the same, who can say whether the High Street will ever look the same again? I’m sure you can think of retail brands that have disappeared in the last year…

COVID is here to stay.

Jobs will change.

The public sector will change.

We will re-build in a different way.

And that’s why we should challenge ourselves – what world do we want to build?

Here are my 4 top suggestions for rebuilding in the workplace:

  1. I’ve found that the tree of office gossip was felled in one swoop with remote working, let’s leave it on the ground and not pick it up. Gossip destroys integrity. It divides teams and people.
  1. Make time for the people around you and invest in building relationships. This, for me, was highlighted during lockdown; my job is so much easier because of authentic relationships.
  1. Resist the urge to retreat into a silo. I found lockdown encouraged me to focus on myself and my team  – it’s easy to focus on what’s in front of you and be task focussed when Zoom rules the day.

Take time away from the treadmill of meetings to think and reflect, to bounce ideas off colleagues and collaborate. This will allow you to be future focussed and, dare I say it, allow the Holy Spirit to guide you and prompt you into the right direction.

  1. Last, but by no means least; be hopeful.

Let’s face the inevitable change knowing that our Champion is Jesus and our Father God will never let us down.

Let’s place our confidence in knowing that He has a place for you and me, whatever that looks like.

Let’s remain a positive force for change in our work places, seeing the opportunities for the Kingdom to shine through us in how we perform our roles.

Let’s hope for better. Let’s influence our workplaces for the better.

The world has been fundamentally shaken, but we can face the future with hope as we return to Israel and re-build the wrecked city to reflect the glory of our Father in Heaven.

Government & Politics

  • Author Name: Zoe Bell
  • Author Role: Foster Carer and Church Leader
  • Author Image:

In Ashwood, we have started 2021 by digging into the story of Nehemiah as we unfold our vision for this year. As we looked at what this amazing story has to say to us, we noticed a cycle of 4 key principles that can lead to flourishing:



Nehemiah was exiled at the beginning of the story: cut off from his people and his natural place of worship. Sound familiar? Yet he was not cut off from God, and he did not cut himself off from what was happening in the world. He asked the right questions: 


Nehemiah was curious, inquisitive. He wanted to know what was happening in the world, in his community, to his people. He was AWAKE to the plight of his people.

We need to get in a position where we are asking the right questions, and really hearing the response, being AWAKE to the real issues facing those around us. Let’s not assume we know what is needed to make things better, let us not even assume we know what the problems are. Let us have eyes to see, ears to hear, and awaken our souls to the plight of our people.



Nehemiah’s response to hearing the situation of his people was to weep. Are we weeping for our communities? Does the plight of our people, God’s people, disturb us so much that our hearts break? Or are our hearts hard, accepting of the trouble that is before us? Are we so overwhelmed by the need that we are frozen, disabled by our inability to help? Or are we so used to the troubles facing our society that we have become apathetic?

After he wept, Nehemiah repented. The act of repentance is one of the greatest gifts the church can give to society in this moment. 

Repentance is more than just a mumbled ‘sorry’ for our personal sin, but an owning up to the fact that our society has got it wrong. To call out the fact that there is a problem. Nehemiah’s prayer acknowledged both the sin of the nation and the role of himself and his family. 

Repentance is also saying: NO MORE. It is turning away, rejecting what has been, and walking, with faith and hope, towards what can be.

As Christians, we have a vital part to play in acknowledging and bringing to the plight of our people to the attention of those who need to hear about it and getting on our knees before God on behalf of our nation, and saying no more! We have the hope and certainty of a better future to declare!



Nehemiah is a man of action. He doesn’t stay on his knees but gets up and goes to the King. With incredible boldness he asks to be released to go and do the thing he knows he is called to. And not only that, he has the tenacity to ask for every resource he needs while he is at it. When he encounters opposition, he steadfastly faces up to it without compromise. Maybe we have something to learn from his boldness in our approach to secular authorities. When we are doing a good thing, appointed by God, let’s believe for resource and blessing to be poured out from every arena!

When he encounters opposition, he steadfastly faces up to it without compromise – so often we fail at the first hurdle.

Nehemiah fully immerses himself in the building project. He brings the people with him, working together to rebuild the city. For those of us involved in mission in any sphere, this is so key. Doing WITH, not TO is something we have so often missed as Church. We have something to offer, but so has every member of our community. Every single one, made in the image of God and blessed with Kingdom assets. As we look to rebuild our cities, our communities, let’s not storm in with our solutions, but rather assess the land, listen and take people with us. This earns the authority to speak into people’s lives, When the people were tempted to give up, or fell into sin, Nehemiah’s people were willing to listen to him: he was able to lead them to repentance too. 




The Jewish people certainly knew how to party! Celebrations full of food, wine, worship and praise were a regular occurrence throughout the Old Testament and Nehemiah was no exception. If we allow ourselves to always focus on the problem, or our dedicated hard work which we are called to, there is a danger we can be overwhelmed. Let’s make sure we pause to celebrate, thank God, to worship, to have fun together along the way!

Family & Community

  • Author Name: Paul Tinsley
  • Author Role: Educationalist
  • Author Image:

I had just started a new contract with Bury Council.  The news was still full of Brexit, Harry and Meghan, oh and there was some mention of a new virus in China that was spreading.  Before anyone had used the phrases ‘lockdown’ or ‘lateral flow test’, we were all advised to wash our hands regularly whilst singing ‘Happy Birthday’ a couple of times.  

My line manager asked me to check that all my team had access to remote working; I thought she was being a bit over cautious to be honest.  This was the UK in the 21st Century, we had the NHS and we were an Island that had not been conquered despite the best efforts of the Nazi regime.  But this was no ordinary threat and, as we were all soon to discover, these were not ordinary times.

As I write this article, it is now almost one year since the first national lockdown.  What once seemed inconceivable has become normal life; facemasks, virtual meetings, shops and churches closed, empty offices and sports stadia….and home education for most of our children and young people.  So now we have a roadmap, a route out of this strange world of restrictions and anxiety, what lessons can be learnt; and what will be the new normal?   

No doubt there will be a feeling of national euphoria once we can all meet together again, send our kids back to school, get a haircut and go on holiday!  But the world has changed, these have been times of great challenge, anxiety and those most vulnerable in our nation have paid the ultimate price.  One thing has become very evident; we are all connected across one global community.  This national crisis has brought out the best and worst of humanity; our health and care workers and teachers have been magnificent.  Captain Tom inspired a nation, people across the world clapped and sang with their neighbours, others broke rules to have illegal raves or pretended to be elderly to get an earlier vaccination.  

People are questioning where God is, and the place of the Church in the midst of all this.  When we do come out the other side we will be much more aware of our fragility as human beings.  Many will be asking big questions about life, faith and what kind of society we should be in the future.  Before I share some general reflections let me say a little about my own work sphere of education inclusion.      

I have spent much of my career working with vulnerable and disadvantaged pupils.  For as long as I remember there have been efforts to close the ‘attainment gap’ between this group and their peers.  As a nation we have struggled with the concept of social mobility.  Even in 2021 our top university places and professional jobs are taken by those from more privileged backgrounds, many of whom have had the benefit of a private education.  The Pandemic has highlighted these gaps even more.  Less able and disadvantaged pupils have fallen further behind their peers, anxiety and poor mental health have been an increasing concern amongst our children and young people.  More worryingly, some vulnerable children have become less visible to care services and teachers throughout lockdown.  

As a virtual school headteacher, I work to champion the education of children in the care system; these are the most vulnerable children and young people in our nation.  Whilst I absolutely believe we should support these young people through the education system, as their ‘corporate parents’, I do not necessarily believe this is just about academic outcomes.  I recently heard a young woman talk about how she had left school with good GCSE grades, but got involved in an abusive relationship which almost destroyed her life.  Academic qualifications should not be the end game in our education system and it is my firm belief that the system will continue to fail many of our young people until we realise its true purpose, that is to help all of our young people to understand their giftings and callings.  What is the point of coaching our children to pass exams yet leaving them without the lifeskills to make good choices, or an understanding of where their specific gifting lies?  We all have to have a basic grounding in numeracy and literacy but unless you work with mathematics every day, when was the last time you applied Pythagoras theorem in you work?  

I love the story about the animals that decided to open a school and adopted an activity curriculum of running, climbing, swimming and flying.  The duck was excellent at swimming, ok at flying but poor at running.  He had to drop his swimming class and do extra running.  This caused his webbed feet to become badly worn, meaning that he dropped to an average mark in swimming. 

The squirrel was excellent in climbing, but he encountered constant frustration in flying class because his teacher insisted that he start from the ground up instead of from the treetop down. The eagle was a real problem student and was severely disciplined for being a non-conformist.  In climbing class, he beat all of the others to the top, but insisted on using his own way of getting there!  We each have our own strengths and need to be working hard to maximise them, not trying to succeed at something that isn’t natural for us.  This is both true of the education system and life in general. 

After the euphoria comes the ‘counting the cost’, the Budget for example.  Children have got left behind in schooling, mental health and anxiety are huge challenges, teachers are stressed and exhausted.  So is it now time to grit our teeth and work even harder?  I don’t believe so.  In fact for myself I feel that God is speaking the opposite.  Slow down, be still for a while, listen to the rhythm of life, breathe in….breathe out.  Perhaps our problem is not that we haven’t tried hard enough, rather that we have tried to do too much, crowded out our lives, forced the pace.  In a choir, it’s important to listen for the beat and follow the direction of the choirmaster or we just end up with a lot of effort and a cacophony.  I, for one, will be listening closely for the beat of the Heavenly Choirmaster in the weeks and months ahead.

Education & Learning

  • Author Name: Joy Blundell
  • Author Role: GLX Team Leader
  • Author Image:

As we watched the events unfold on our tv screens this time last year, the low grade discomfort I sometimes feel when I see something out of line or unjust turned into a strong ache in my body for the peace, shalom of heaven, for a world with no more pain, or sickness or hunger, for the stability and security of home, not my home in Lincoln, but the place I really belong, which is the kingdom of heaven, here in part but promised to us in all its fullness - one day.

Lockdown has felt uncomfortable and disorientating, a bit like a sort of exile. Exiled into our houses yet feeling not quite at home in this socially distanced world. We were just not created for this restricted way of life. It feels foreign and uncomfortable.

As the government announced the new road map to unlock the nation, it feels like we are beginning a transition into a new season - like the start of spring and new beginnings

We are at a hinge point of history and the history books will record how our generation rebuilt after this covid season.

Looking back at the story of the biblical exile and the subsequent return of God’s people to the ruined, broken down city of Jerusalem, it strikes me that there are one or two things we can learn from this great rebuilding project in the Old Testament.

In order to get the job done, God raised up Nehemiah, a marketplace leader. He was a Hebrew but also a high official in the Persian empire, serving the Persian king, he had a huge amount of influence.

Nehemiah had some prophetic imagination and was inspired to leave his status and safety to go back to the rubble of his people’s land and begin a rebuilding effort to restore the walls around the city.

Nehemiah inspired and mobilised an army of fix-it people, to begin to work on plugging the holes in the walls in front of their houses, to create the kind of home their hearts were longing for, a home with a culture of worship and where righteousness and justice was the plumbline.

As we transition into this post covid season, we need to live and pray the kingdom of our heavenly home to earth, to administer peace and justice to the streets and cities that we live in.

It’s my belief that God has been preparing an army of sacrificial and compassionate people for this moment and He will be speaking to each one of us, showing us what it could look like for us to begin to repair the gaps in the walls of communities, our society and our nation.

I want to invite you to ask God to show you the holes in the walls in your community and what partnering with Him to rebuild might look like.

Maybe it's a friend whose marriage broke down over lockdown or a neighbour who lost a loved one, rebuilding the walls could just look like kindness, empathy and friendship.

Maybe it’s the sense of groundhog day in your work team, repairing the walls might look like arranging something different or fun to build a bit of relationships and connection.

Perhaps its other wider issues like unemployment or mental health problems in your community. As God highlights the gaps that need repairing, we can be certain that He will equip us and guide us in the rebuilding.

As a means of sparking our imagination for what our contribution could be to the rebuilding, we are running a series called “Reset” on the GLX social media platforms.

We are excited about this opportunity to dig into ideas from practitioners and servant leaders in their workplaces on what the nation will need to do to reset and rebuild and how as Christians with a contribution to make, we can get ourselves ready to rebuild.

Join us on the journey as we share the stories of people preparing to reset and rebuild, to advance the kingdom everywhere.

Family & Community

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