2012 will be my 28th year of serving the people of God, when I was 28 years old I was asked to consider leaving the building industry, laying brick and mortar down, to give my focus into building a dwelling through people’s lives. It has been an amazing adventure to date and it is not over yet. Myself, Sandra and our family have served in so many ways. I was once told ”try everything” to discover the grace on your life, which we did with eager abandonment. Serving in different capacities of influence and leadership, being administrators, running children’s ministry to 1000’s, leading outreach teams across the UK from cities and towns, serving in a mission environment, teaching, preaching, imparting, painting, digging trenches, carrying bags, repairing cars, caring for and loving the ministers of God, leading congregations, envisioning people, being known as prophets and laying our lives down as apostolic servants of the body. The list is quite endless when we think of it.
In our journey we have been schooled by some wonderful men and women, been imparted to, impacted by and had understanding laid down in us over the years, some things we learned no one could have taught us or prepared us for. Here are some of these lessons we hope will empower and advance you in your journey.
People told me about loving God and loving people, but they did not teach me how to love. That came through experience, joys and often challenge.
I had not fully understood how complicated the lives of people were, I learned the need to engage with people in the long journey as well as immediate situations with constant love
I was surprised at how judgmental and cruel Christian people could be. I was not warned or perhaps I did not listen at the time.
It would have been helpful to have more insight into problem solving, and crisis management.
I thank God for my business training, as not much attention or training was given to financial management.
Although we began more than 20 years ago we heard much about family integrity, we still have many that did not listen as within families of leadership much pain is left to one-side, I recall some saying, “You just go out and serve the church. God will take care of your family.” Many families fractured through it.
There is no way anyone can prepare you for the loneliness of leadership. The importance of friendship with colleagues should have been reinforced. We have to help each other, aloneness is a necessary skill to learn and occupy. To understand aloneness is empowerment but loneliness is a killer.
Another problem that is on ongoing for us all to learn on the hoof was that the church was God’s church … not mine. I was an under-shepherd. We all subscribe to the notion that the church is His church, but the practicality of that comes into focus when we deal with vision, competitiveness, pressure to conform etc.
I had to learn how to be myself and build on my own strengths. People, ministry and peer-pressure can make us conform and be as the USA would say “cookie-cutter” copies.
Loving and caring is not for the faint of heart. Probably, if I had been told everything, I would not have completed the course, perhaps not even begun, but discovering my love for God and for His people enabled me to continue the course. I am so glad no one told me everything, and I am so glad I am pursuing.