Upcoming projects and trips

I’ve mentioned in previous updates about Agapé UK working more closely with our global movement when it comes to Technology. Unfortunately the trip to the US this past autumn was postponed due to a hurricane.

I am going to the US in January for the purpose of reviewing the functional design of our new financial system. This is to join the project team I’ve already had many video conferencing calls with. Stewarding our resources well is so important. Not all the countries in the world where Agapé are present have the ability and resource to develop these tools themselves. By working together we get to achieve more than we could ever dream of on our own. In some countries where we are not officially present, where we have to keep under the radar, money is literally walked across the boarders.

Then in February my UK team will be attending the Global Technology Leaders event, this year hosted in the US. This is the one that was postponed in the autumn. This is when we get to meet other Technology Leaders around the world. We’ll have fun together, learn together, and grow this community. Each on my team will have specific objectives on this trip. Pray we can get much accomplished in the limited time we’re there.

Then in March I will be heading back to the US. Yes, this is the 3rd trip. There are a number of opportunities I have to share about the vision of Agapé UK. This is with the view to individuals praying for and financially supporting my work. I have some friends who have kindly offered to pay for my flights and others are hosting me. Please pray this trip is fruitful.

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The Team and how we work.

One of the things I’m really keen to get right is how my team work together.

Our planning board.

I spent some time reflecting on Matthew 5 in preparation for our planning time last week. The Beatitudes are something I’d like our team to keep each other sharp on. Together we have a massive contribution to help Agapé be successful in what God has called us to, and this is how we should be.

Jesus mentions in Matthew 5 that we (believers) are the light of the world. We shouldn’t light our lamp and put it under a bowl. We should put our light on a stand and allow it to give light to everyone in the house. My prayer for my team is that we can shine, light the path for where Agapé need to go – in terms of technology – and that people will see and glorify our Father in Heaven.

Please pray for us as we move forwards.

Two becomes Four

We are ending the year on a high.

The technology team I lead at Agapé has grown. Steve and I have been working alone but for the last month we’ve had Chris and Sarah working alongside us. Chris has joined the team full-time from our Agapé Family Life team. Sarah is volunteering with us for a few months. Here’s a photo of the team at work.

We’ve already been able to accomplish so much and I’m very grateful to the team and to God who has supplied more people just as the workload is about to increase lots!

CHRISTMAS IS COMING

Christmas seems to have arrived early in Birmingham. Over the weekend we’ve had an incredible amount of snow. However, I reckon it will have melted by Wednesday. Here’s a photo of my road.

For Christmas this year I will be staying with my parents and spending time with my family. I’m hopeful to avoid email between Christmas and the New Year! What are your plans this Christmas?

NEXT YEAR

I will drop a longer update in the New Year – I’ve already a number of overseas trips planned for the first quarter – I’ll let you know what they’re about in January.

For now, I just want to say thank you. Another year has passed and you’ve kept on supporting me in my role with Agapé. I just really appreciate your prayers and involvement in different ways. I am thankful.

Do let me know how you’re getting on. I love to hear from you.

Indigitous #HACK

The more I’m involved with technology within Agapé the more opportunities I have to use my skills for Kingdom purposes. Indigitous is a global community, co-founded by our global movement, which engages in ideas and each other to advance God’s Kingdom through innovation.

Once a year there is a global coordination of technology specialists to gather for a weekend to create and make a difference. Last year 1426 people gathered in 28 cities.

I’m going to join with the London gathering. We are partnering with two charities; Christians against Poverty (CAP) and Home for Good. CAP have set the challenge, “How can digital tools engage churches to serve the poor and save the lost in their local communities”. Home for Good have asked how they can better use digital tools to inspire people, support them in their fostering and adoption journey and enable them to be part of a growing movement. There are more detailed assignments so we’re not starting from an entirely blank sheet.

Although these projects are not related to Agapé we highly value partnership and collaboration, so it’s a pleasure to be part of this 48 hour, caffeine fuelled, event.

Disappointed by Irma

Sometimes the best laid out plans just don’t come to fruition. That was my experience last month when our trip to the US for the annual-ish Global Technology Leaders network was postponed at the last minute due to hurricane Irma.

Picture1

Obviously the first priority is the safety of our staff, so it was a necessary call to make. However, on a practical level I was very disappointed we hadn’t been able to pull the event off. For Agapé UK, it wasn’t just about the core meeting, but all the meetings I had arranged on the side which would set the direction for the core technology Agapé would use in the next decade. As a consequence I’m now in lots of conversations where I simply can’t move our projects forward…

It’s hard to lead when I’m disappointed and frustrated. I feel a responsibility to cast vision and keep up the morale, but to be honest, I’ve frequently not felt like it.

Since, I’ve spend more time on video conferencing calls than I care to remember, often in different time zones. Collaborating across cultures is also an interesting thing to be learning. Sometimes my critique on a point is seen as negative, and sometime my absence is seen as an approval to the steps forward.

So I’ve been working through all that. The Global Technology Leaders meetings have been postponed to February so at least we can start to re-gather our plans.

On screen

Global NetSuite team

To help us (Agapé UK) be effective in our mission we are at the start of replacing our financial tools and supporter databases. Agapé UK have had our current tools for the last decade, but, although we’ve installed most of the software updates over the years, we’ve found they are not helping us move forward in the current world. At the same time our global movement has experienced the same and we are therefore working together to adopt the same software on a global scale.

I was recently involved in 30 hours of video conferencing meetings reviewing our ‘business requirements’ for the tool we have selected. A lot of people were able to travel to one place but I was unable to travel. The photo shows me on the screen!

The Program Manager for Global Operations projects said, “Your endurance on WebEx was remarkable! Thank you for participating so extensively. Your input was valuable and your participation was a huge encouragement to all of us!”

Next week, for two weeks, I will be in the US to meet with the Global Technology Leaders network for our annual conference, and then staying on to discuss matters relating to Agapé UK.

Please pray for us. I want to be able to give our field staff and team leaders what they need to be effective. I also want to be able to serve our supporters well. Pray for a clear mind and great unity across the regions of the world.