The last month…

Last week I was in Switzerland for the Agapé Europe family gathering. We have this gathering event every six years. Last time it was in Estonia and this time we got to experience a new country. The week had the usual passionate worship, excellent speakers and the leadership set out and clarified the calling and direction of Agapé across western Europe. Aside from the excessive and inescapable heat, the week was fun and really encouraging. It was good to chat with friends and colleagues from different countries too.

For me though, it wasn’t a case of launching ahead to the next season with Agapé, but a calling to the next season in the workplace. I may be leaving Agapé at the end of this month but I still feel called to making Jesus known wherever I may end up working.

On that topic, although I’ve applied for over 60 jobs, had several interviews and numerous conversations with recruitment consultants, I still don’t have a job to go to after this month. It’s a reminder for me about us all living by faith and not by sight. Please keep praying for me and for provision beyond the end of this month.

Your Financial Giving

My work with Agapé has only been possible because of the generous giving of people like yourself. There’s nothing I can really say that would express adequately how much I appreciate you all, but this thank you comes from the bottom of my heart.

I leave Agapé at the end of August.

If you have a standing order setup to Agapé for my support, please go ahead and cancel this standing order with your bank AFTER the August donation has been made. Agapé cannot cancel this for you.

Agapé’s mission and vision obviously still continues after I have left. They’re committed to making Jesus known and have some of the most incredible people involved. You may still wish to continue supporting Agapé’s work financially. Please consider continuing your giving to Agapé by supporting my colleague and friend, Steve Abbots. I’ve worked with Steve for the last few years. Steve continues to make an incredible contribution through his daily involvement in the day to day running of the I.T. functions. If you want to do this, just let me know and I’ll arrange an introduction to him.

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The one where Pete announces he is moving on from Agapé.

16 years ago God clearly called me to leave my current employment and to take some time to seek where He was taking me. That led me to Agapé. After 7 years in student work and 8 years in an operational and IT role, after much thought, I feel now is the time to continue that journey.

I will be leaving the staff of Agapé later this summer.

I am not sure what is next so please pray for this time of transition. Pray that God will guide me to the next place. At this time I do feel it will be out of full-time Christian ministry and heading back into the marketplace.

I leave Agapé feeling incredibly grateful for the impact these years have had on my life. I’m overwhelmed at how much I have grown and all the friends I have made along the way. I am also soooo thankful for the support, in prayer and financially, of friends who have partnered with me along the way. I would not have lasted so long if it wasn’t for you—thank you!

Your support.

My work with Agapé has only been possible because of the generous giving of my ministry partners.

I will continue working with Agapé until the end of the summer. If you have a standing order setup to Agapé for my support, please don’t cancel it just yet!

When I finish working with Agapé, if you have been financially supporting me, please consider continuing your giving to Agapé by supporting my colleague, Steve Abbots. I’ve worked with Steve for the last few years as part of the I.T. team. Steve makes an incredible contribution to the work of Agapé through his daily involvement in the day to day running of the I.T. functions. You can subscribe to Steve’s email updates by clicking here and entering your details.

If you’d like to continue your giving to Agapé to support Steve, please let me know. You can just continue your standing order as normal. If you prefer to stop your giving to Agapé you can do this by cancelling your standing order with your bank. Please don’t do this until I’ve left Agapé! I will be in touch! Do let me know if you have any questions, and thank you again for supporting me so faithfully!

 

More privacy updates?!

Question: What do the EU data privacy laws have in common with telling people about Jesus?
Answer: They both demand a high degree of integrity of how we look out for people.

The last few weeks I’ve been keeping my head down a bit. Just like all organisations and charities in the UK we have been preparing for new laws which come into force later this month. These laws impact how we communicate with people, particularly in terms of postal mailings, bulk emails and fundraising.

Last week, in coordination with our Communication team, we updated our website and asked hundreds of people to update their communication preferences with us. In one sense, it’s just six new tick boxes on our website. In another sense, if I could open to you the complexity of the data and management behind the change it’s a whole other world.

We’re committed to a high level of integrity in how we steward the information we hold on people and we hope the changes we have made both comply with the spirit and word of the law.

It’s another proud moment for me. It’s another project completed successfully. The office-based staff of Agapé are unsung heroes of the movement. The professionalism, skill, high-capacity brains and patience of these people is amazing.

March update

“Sounds exhausting”. That was the response of my team leader when I was explaining my schedule back in January. 3 trips later, 32 days overseas and 20,000 air miles, I’m back in Birmingham for two weeks. I’m then heading to my hometown for a few days over Easter. It’s just like the buses in the UK – wait ages for one and three come along at the same time.

Setting out for the first trip was quite hard. I was having a hard time emotionally and it took a few friends to coach me into keeping the schedule. The purpose of this first trip to Orlando, Florida, was to be involved in the design of our new financial software tool. In the next 15 months over 150 of our countries are adopting this tool to steward our finances To be involved at the requirements and design stage is a privilege and responsibility.

The trip went well but I was also glad to get home for two weeks – to rest and to be with my close friends again.

Some of the software team at work, Orlando, Florida

During these weeks I had my boiler replaced at home. It was beyond economical repair, so I took the plunge and spent a ton of money. I was grateful some friends were able to contribute towards the cost.

For the next trip to Orlando, Florida, I was able to take two of my team to Agapé’s Global Technology Leaders gathering. All regions of the world were represented, and we heard snippets of experiences in these different locations. I was proud to see my team engaging in different workshops and presenting on issues like internet security and supporting people using technology.

Lunch with Switzerland and France in Orlando, Florida

On the day before we flew home, Steve and I spent a fun day out at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Disney say it’s where dreams come true. I wouldn’t quite go that far, but it was amazing, and I loved every minute of that!

Steve and I on one of the Disney rides, Orlando, Florida

I was only home for three days before heading out again to Texas. Coming up was an 18-day trip, travelling with my team leader, Thad, to meet people from his home church. This trip was with a view to see who might be able to support me in prayer and financially in my role. On reflection the trip went really quickly. There were periods when it was slow, but we did meet people for breakfasts, coffees, lunches and dinners. Throw in a trip to the cinema, the botanical gardens and many miles driving to different places, and the trip was complete.

Left to Right, Me, Thad, Phil and Susie (Thad’s parents)
Botanical gardens, Fort Worth, Texas

I have a love and dislike of travelling. I love the opportunity to be away and to be part of what God is doing in the Agapé ministry around the world. I also love the familiarity of my home city and the contact I have with my close friends.

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.

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.

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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.