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Focal leaders: Alan Davey's story

First published on: 7th December 2023

As focal leaders are now active in parts of the diocese, we have been finding out what the role entails. This week we spoke to Alan Davey, who has been attending St Paul’s in Rawtenstall for three decades. 

He told us, "When the role of focal leadership was first discussed, it stood out to me as something that was absolutely needed. I’ve got a bit of a passion for lay involvement in the church”. 

Focal leadership can adapt to suit the needs of each church, and for Alan, there are two important aspects of focal leadership: to encourage people to participate in the church, and to recognise when people are doing too much so he can look for ways to help them share tasks and lighten the load.

“I view my position as like leading a team of good people with different skills who do things in church, and I’m passionate about people being released into their gifting”, he says.

Alan draws people into the action of the church so that all can take part, and encourages people to pursue what they are passionate about. For example, if a member of the church or community is a gardener and would like to help in the church, he can encourage them to attend St Paul’s Flourish Gardening Project which takes place every Saturday. Along with helping with the church’s gardens, this also involves a reflective half-hour service and a brew for people to connect and get to know each other.

Alan also works closely with other focal leaders in the mission community to ensure the vision of each church is shared. He says, “Within Rossendale team, we meet as focal leaders and clergy every six weeks to plan and set out mission objectives. Events, ideas, encouraging each other; it’s a very different building team culture compared to people just belonging to one church, as we have a shared mission and priorities.”

“We’re all learning together, benefitting from each other and learning what each church is good at, whether that be messy church, coffee mornings or something else.”

Overall, it is a sense of encouraging people in their gifts that lies at the heart of Alan’s focal leadership. “If you have a good team around you who are hard-working and gifted, it’s about releasing people in their own service and ministry and encouraging them to give it a go. Let them know that if things go wrong it doesn’t matter; we’re all in this together.”

If you are interested in finding out more about focal leadership, get in touch with

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