Being a Local Missional Leader is a real privilege

First published on: 5th March 2021

Paul Smalley 

Photograph of Paul Smalley

Tell us a bit about yourself? How does being an LML fit into your life?

In ‘real life’ I am a Senior Lecturer in Religious Education at Edge Hill University. I’ve been married to Ruth for 27 years and have three children.  In my spare time I like cooking and riding my bicycle.

What made you want to become an LML? Did you feel ‘called’ or did something inspire you to find out more?

I’ve been doing some sort of Christian leadership or ministry since I was about 16, in a variety of styles (and denominations) of churches.  I’ve been at St James, Westbrook for over 20 years and eventually gave in to having my leadership formally recognised in some way.  One Sunday we had had a Baptism in our Active Church for Everyone (ACE) which I’d led (with Martin doing the actual priestly bits).  After the service a couple with the family were talking and said, “you introduced Martin as the Vicar, and you as Paul – but what are you?”.  I suppose that was when the usefulness of the title became obvious.

What do you enjoy most about being an LML?

I enjoy being part of a group of people who lead ACE, and helping people develop their own God-given talents.  Since starting ACE, one member has ‘gone off’ to Ordination and one is being ordained locally, other families are beginning to take tentative steps to leadership.  ACE is participatory and based on relationships, it is great to encourage people.

What advice would you give someone just beginning their journey in becoming an LML?

Hmmm…. Realise it is for a fixed time, and consider what you can achieve in that time and how it will continue after your LML time.  Make sure you have a good bunch of people to support you. And don’t worry about your LMLing being different to other LMLs.


Rose Green

Photograph of Rose Green

I live and work in Liverpool city centre, and have attended St Bride's (part of the St Luke-in-the-City team) for over 40 years.  I am LML for A Taste of God, a small group that has met every Tuesday lunchtime since March 2019.  Before lockdown, we were using the church hall at St Michael-in-the-City (also part of the St Luke's team) but we have been meeting online since April 2020.  The St Michael's site is a short distance from where I work, so I was able to walk there and back in my lunch hour.

I first became interested in becoming an LML in about 2015.  At that time, I was literally walking through the St Luke's parish every day on my way to work and was struck by the amount of hospitality offered - by bars, restaurants, hotels, hostels, and educational establishments.  However, all the buildings belonging to the parish are along one edge; there was nothing either in the middle or at the other boundary.  The then rector and I discussed setting something up but then they left.  In conversations with the current rector we identified that I had a definite call to SOMETHING that wasn't ordination, and the idea for A Taste of God grew from there.

Being an LML is a real privilege.  A Taste of God is a safe space for people to meet, discuss scripture and pray together.  Our members come from a variety of backgrounds and include people with a long association with the Church or none at all, and everything in between!  As the leader of the group, I get to meet people where they are, and to offer something of the welcome of Christ.  I also receive a lot of love and encouragement from those who attend.

If you are thinking of becoming an LML my advice would be, don't do it alone.  Gather a team that you trust - even two other people - to support you.  They will help you sort out the 'good' ideas from the 'bad' - or help you turn 'bad' ideas into 'good' ones!  And it's impossible for one person to attend every session; having someone to provide back up means the sessions will run even if you can't be there.

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