Blog predictions for the year ahead usually turn out to be works of fantasy rather than examples of foresight. New Year resolutions are less an anticipation of transformation than illusions of self-improvement.
Last January we knew that our time with BMS would be finishing later in the year. I knew I would need to find a job (or some sort of financial support). I was hoping that this might involve a mix of global mission, being based in the UK and using my ministry skills…… But I had no idea that the Latin Link job would come up and that I would now be doing it.
These last few months as I’ve taken on the role have been a steep learning curve in five main areas.
- HR and other legal / admin stuff. In church life these things come up occasionally and, usually, one at a time. Now they come up every day and I have to decide when to trust my own instincts and when to seek advice.
- Joining an organisation with a history, culture, values I’m trying to listen, learn and understand while finding my part in it.
- Working out how to do the job. People have expectations of me (both reasonable and other!). The way things are structured reflects the way my predecessors worked and their particular skills and strengths. Then there is what my job description said and what this actually means in practice!
- Getting to know the team and what makes them tick. I don’t do most of the work, they do, and while they are a great and gifted bunch I also want them to be as effective as possible – hopefully, we can have some fun working together at the same time.
- Finding a way of being me. As well as working out how to do the job and trying to figure out how I will do it. It’s like wearing a suit; doing the job requires wearing the different garments but there’s no point wearing a suit designed for someone else – I need my own style and size…..and maybe the waistcoat can go.
Looking ahead to the New Year there are three things which I hope to include:
- Interacting with mission thinking: In recent years I’ve read a variety of mission-related books. I’ve also attended several discussions on the “future of mission”. But diagnosing problems and articulating challenges is only part of thinking through future pathways. As well as interacting with people I’d like to write a decent paper or journal article that contributes to this debate.
- Preaching and Teaching: the one thing I miss from local church leadership is regular preaching. The weekly discipline of grappling with a text to preach from it as opposed to talking about a familiar theme. I’m praying for some invitations to share about Scripture, mission and ministry.
- Travel and visiting new places: I’m hoping to have opportunities to get out of Europe and spend time in other cultural contexts. (I’d also like to be more environmentally responsible which is a challenge, especially since one country on my bucket list is Papua New Guinea).
So I’m looking forward to seeing what God might have in store. Watch this space to find out.