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Who is Jim Lyon?

I am grateful for this opportunity to introduce myself in this last edition of the Congregationalist and would like to thank David Kinchin for all the work done over the last ten years.

In November I was appointed as Chair of Council and am finding my feet in this new role, working with the lovely group of people who comprise the CF Council and also serve as directors of Congregational Federation Limited.

I have a professional background as a senior manager in an international IT company, and from 2008 to 2018 was responsible for running a business overseeing a team of consultants with representation in most European countries. In my business role I sought to operate as a servant leader, enabling and supporting the people on my team to do their jobs.

For most of the last twenty-five years I have also been in church leadership, and am used to switching between business issues, and pastoral and church management issues. I completed a Master’s degree in Missional Leadership in 2010.

Jim Lyons and familyI am privileged to have been married to Jan for nearly forty-three years and to have three sons and two grandsons. In 2013 I moved to the village of Yelvertoft, Northamptonshire, and quickly became an active member of Yelvertoft Congregational Church, with no plans to take on leadership. However, when Barry Osborne decided it was time to retire I offered to take on a leadership responsibility. Since then I have taken an interest in the CF but not been involved in historic discussions of the many issues the Federation has faced and come through.

Last summer I learned that Council was seeking to appoint a new chair, I felt that my combination of skills and experience might be helpful, so I put myself forward for consideration. I am honoured that council have asked me to take on this role and look forward to supporting the team of faithful servants who in turn serve CF churches for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

I love to teach from the Bible and explore the context, meaning and application of different passages. As well as speaking in local UK churches, I have been privileged to be connected with an indigenous Christian mission in India which has planted over 7,000 churches. The mission started in 1976 with a young ex-soldier and his wife being called to take the good news of Jesus to villages in the Himalayas, with nothing other than faith in a God who would provide. Over the next forty years God multiplied that ministry so many times that the mission now has churches all over north India. My connection with them afforded me the honour of making seventeen short-term mission trips, sharing the gospel in villages, teaching in hundreds of seminar sessions and encouraging amazing missionary pastors in their lives of evangelism and church planting.

As congregationalists, we sit on the shoulders of pioneers in this country. At Yelvertoft our roots go back to 1662, where people risked death and imprisonment to meet and worship outside the structures of the organised church. As in the book of Acts, our predecessors sold land and houses to provide a church building where worship could take place and where the children of non-conformists could receive an education that would otherwise be denied to them. Many other CF churches have similar histories.

In our generation, we have a responsibility to ensure that the material and spiritual treasures that we inherit from our forebearers are constantly used to bring the maximum value to the Kingdom. I hope that in my time as chair of CF council I can help to facilitate this.

Jim Lyon
Chair of Council