Published by Jeremy Fagan on 10th June 2020

From the new Chair – Vaughan S. Roberts

Vaughan S. Roberts

The editor of MODEM Matters has asked me to write a brief introduction about myself as I take up the role of Chair of MODEM. The first thing to do is express my thanks to David Sims for all that he’s done in his six years in that position. He will be a very hard act to follow in terms of his expertise, wisdom and good humour but it’s great to know that he will still be involved in the life and story of MODEM.

My own background is an Anglican priest who is also a researcher into how organizations work. In my ministry I have served varied church communities in Farnham, Bath, the Mendip Hills and Warwick (where I’m presently Team Rector). Alongside these parish responsibilities I have also been a hospice chaplain, a university chaplain and a diocesan director of ordinands.

In terms of my study and research, I have degrees in biblical studies, theology and management. My PhD from the School of Management at the University of Bath was in how churches function as storytelling and story-sharing organizations. I have continued to write widely about this, most recently with David Sims in our well-received book Leading By Story: Rethinking Church Leadership (SCM 2017). Some of those ideas will be developed further in Kingdom Stories: Telling, Leading, Discerning (SCM 2020) published this April.

I also have a research interest in religion and popular culture, and co-authored Personal Jesus: How popular music shapes our souls (Baker Academic 2013) with Clive Marsh (currently, Vice President of the Methodist Conference). For those who have trouble sleeping, or who want to know more, some of my other writing is available online at:

I am married to Mandy. We met at university where she studied music and has spent her working life in special education, working with young people many with profound educational needs. We have two children and four grandchildren. I am interested in many kinds of sport, and support Aston Villa FC and Surrey CC. I also enjoy reading, TV, cinema, theatre and numerous types of music.

My connections with MODEM go back to the original meetings of CORAT in 1991 and 1992 from which MODEM emerged and I have been involved ever since, including contributing a couple of chapters to MODEM’s How to Become a Creative Church Leader (Canterbury 2008). I always find that our conferences provide stimulating conversations and insights for which I am always enormously grateful.

It is a given that we live in a changing world, which is always presenting challenges for churches and other organizations. MODEM continues to bring together people with knowledge and experience to explore those challenges in creative and perceptive ways, and I’m really looking forward to working with the MODEM committee, trustees and wider membership in those creative conversations about leadership and management over the next few years.

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