The Apprentice Rule

I was reminded about this recently from a number of different sources ~ who is my apprentice? Who am I investing my life in to, pouring my life in, spending time with so that they can learn from me. Not just words, books or articles but through experience and opportunity to.

When we write our story too often we want to be the protagonist, the main character, the hero. Instead we should place ourselves in the role of the guide, the one that this character looks for, the one to learn from, the one who can help make sense and bring order from the chaos.

Play this role. Find someone who can be the hero, the one who has the potential to go beyond your own achievements, that certain individual who just needs the right voice, challenge and encouragement to help see that potential fulfilled.

So question yourself. Who is my apprentice? Who is the learner in my world? Then ask yourself, when was the last time you purposefully sat with them and spoke any words of wisdom to them? When was the last time you included them?

If we all did this for one we would soon have a sea of champions, not just willing but ready and able to bring the change, the dream, the vision, their adventure to fruition. What a privilege to help make this happen.

Who are you doing this for? Who did/does this for you?

Life as a Pastor…

Had the Connect Group [CG] leaders round last night. They brought loads of food, lots of conversation. We squeezed them in.

Spent a lot of the day putting the final pieces in the CG puzzle as we make some changes to the structure. Change is never easy. It has to be for the right reasons not just because we can. CGs have been a huge success for Xcel this year, growing by nearly 20% in attendance. From our perspective they are how we measure the health of the church. People connecting, doing life together, sharing the journey, caring for one another, encouraging, supporting and praying – it’s priceless. It’s church at its very best.

As we talk vision, it’s important to recognise those things that work in accomplishing that vision. CGs help us do this. As we grow larger, the community of CGs grows in importance. I’ve never been great with names and with new people joining Xcel all the time, I don’t suppose it will get any easier. CGs provide a way for people to belong to Xcel and find their place. To feel, connected.

We are excited about the future of CGs.
Changing the structure will facilitate growth.
Changing the structure will grow those who are part of a CG.
Changing the structure will help us focus on equipping the leaders
, pastoring people on their journey with God. This is a culture shift for many church-goers who only count a visit or prayer from the Pastors as genuine pastoral care. (Doesn’t mean we don’t do this – just in case you were concerned)
Love that the leaders embrace it wholeheartedly. That certainly makes the change easy.

Begs the question why some people who could be part of a CG aren’t. Don’t get me wrong – that’s not a criticism, just a question. We can only encourage everyone to get involved – the choice then is up to you.

[What do you think?]

Book Review: No Perfect People Allowed by John Burke

Some books come across your path at just the right timer and this is definitely one of those books. As someone who holds the role of Service Pastor for Xcel Darlington, how to connect, create growth and love people has taken on a new level of meaning. This book then was very challenging and thought-provoking.

Occasionally you read statements and the simplicity of what you are reading is like ‘WOW’. Taking on board the real-life stories just adds the right dimension, proving a convincing point.

Challenging thoughts: My focus needs to change!
‘Our responsibility is not to make people grow or change. Our task (as Church leaders) is to create the right soil, a rich healthy environment, in which people can grow up in faith…’ ‘God is responsible for the growth, for changed hearts, but the soil is the responsibilty of the leader and Christ-followers who make up the Church.’

To give someone the chance to grow spiritually, they must be given the right food. That’s one of the roles of being their Pastor. That’s a continuous challenge.

To be honest I enjoyed the journey that John Burke took me on through this book – helping to build a picture of what it takes to reach the emerging generation. Building trust, answering the right questions, creating an environment of acceptance and a culture of growth. The chapter on creating a culture of family was read at just the right time, reminding me that life in Church is about people, not about programmes. Being part of the family can help change someones life.

Difficult to express how this book impacted me, except to say ‘Thanks’ to the author for putting pen to paper and being ready to share honestly what it takes to grow a life-changing, hope bringing church in the 21st Century. I would recommend this to Pastors and Church leaders. Get your copy here