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  • Writer's pictureLeadership Victoria

The Advantages of Patient Leadership: Chris Pollock

As Hospitality Pastor at the Mustard Seed Street Church and Food Bank for almost 20 years, Chris gives his all in the service of those who need it most. Drawing on the lessons of those who have gone before him, he does so humbly and passionately, offering comfort to all who turn to him and the Mustard Seed Street Church for support and comfort. It is in his patient attention to the people that he has learned the most important leadership lessons.

2020 VCLA Winner in Belonging and Engagement category. Chris Pollock, Hospitatlity Pastor of The Mustard Seed Street Church and Food Bank.

Born of teacher parents in Baffin Island, he was exposed to community leadership through both his parents. His mother ran summer camps and his father ran the local ball-hockey league. His father’s influence through this community league eventually lead to a 70% decrease in the crime rate in the area.  This showed Chris first-hand the deep power of community leadership.

The founder and other leaders of the Mustard Seed Church also left an indelible mark on Chris. It was during times spent in the poster shop and watching the patience with which he ltruly listened to the needs of others, that taught Chris the deepest leadership lessons.

Leadership is all about patient service.

Chris tells of how being part of the Mustard Seed Church has helped him to become who he is. He has learned that while  ‘belonging’ is about feeling cared for and supported with companionship and kindness, this can be easier to talk about than it is to do.  He is often surrounded by overwhelming need and it a kneejerk reaction can come quickly. Through those mistakes, Chris has learned that listening and waiting patiently in those circumstances has made him a better leader.  He has learned to listen both with his ears as well as his heart.

By knowing his community members well, Chris finds unique and unusual ways to enhance the services offered by the church, including: “The Urban Hermit”, an open mic night for his community; “Beyond the Streets”, which includes hikes and outdoor adventures for the community; and “Street Café”, offering a date-night experience to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it.

Along with his Mustard Seed team members, Chris celebrates the “wins”, offers support through the tough times and is the driving force behind playful team-building events like beach days.

Chris considers himself lucky to be able to help others and to participate on a team that is so passionate and supportive. Small things add up over time. Just as a tiny mustard seed can look so insignificant, given time and opportunity it grows into a large tree, when mature the tree is able to support life and give shelter to the birds. It is in Chris’s patient leadership that he has been able to witness lives challenged and changed over time.

During the pandemic, he is especially touched by all the love that the Church has received from the community and thanks the local community for their support.

By Chandrima Mazumdar, I write on topics related to leadership, diversity, media and gender equality.
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