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  • Pastoral Care Courses | Living Leadership

    Pastoral Care Courses Gospel-Shaped Pastoral Care Course (Live Taught) Register your interest today! This 12-week course explores the heart, wisdom and skills involved in pastoral care to equip anyone in a caring role to care well for others, in a truly Christian way. Find out more Pastoral Care Foundations Course (On Demand) NEW! Across these six, approximately one-hour long videos, you and your teams will be taken through the foundational principles of pastoral care; what it is and how it should be shaped by the gospel. Find Out More

  • Staff

    Our Staff ​ Filter by country Filter by region Filter by Ministry Areas Claire Reynolds Operations Manager England Ministries involved in: Ministry Support Staff Find out more Marcus Honeysett Executive Director England Ministries involved in: Refresh One to One, Formation Seminars, Refreshment Days, Resources, Refresh Network Online Find out more Wendy King Ministries Administrator England Ministries involved in: Ministry Support Staff Find out more Graham Cooke Ministry Development Lead: South of England England Ministries involved in: Ministry Development, Refreshment Days Find out more Melinda Hendry Ministry Development Lead: Women in Ministry England Ministries involved in: Women in Ministry, Ministry Development Find out more Helen Read Associates & Refresh Ministries Support Manager England Ministries involved in: Refresh Community for Spouses, Ministry Support Staff Find out more Paul Coulter Head of Ministry Operations Northern Ireland Ministries involved in: Refresh One to One, Refresh Groups, Formation Seminars, Formation Courses, Refreshment Days, Formation Residential, Refresh Network Online Find out more Jess Coles Ministry Support & Communications Manager England Ministries involved in: Formation Residential, Ministry Support Staff Find out more Phil Sweeting Ministry Development Lead: Midlands England Ministries involved in: Refresh One to One, Refresh Groups, Refresh Network Online, Refreshment Days, Ministry Development Find out more 1 1 ... 1 ... 1 Related links Frequently Asked Questions What we believe Our People Who we are Annual Reports How we work

  • Staff, Wendy King

    Wendy King View all: Affiliates Associates Staff Trustees Wendy King Ministries Administrator Country: England Areas Covered: Nationwide Wendy joined Living Leadership in April 2024. She has attended and served at Knighton Free Church, Leicester since 2000; alongside her husband and his family. She also works for a local Christian charity which serves the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in society. Ministries involved in: Ministry Support Staff Get in touch If you are looking for one to one support, our 'What to Expect ' document lays out Our commitment to you and the principles underpinning interpersonal ministry.

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Blog Posts (228)

  • Transition

    We boarded the plane with heavy hearts, one-way tickets in our hands. Settling into our seats, we watched the city we had grown to love, with its sandy beaches and scrubby bushland, receding into the distance. Over the past few weeks, I had been focused on the logistics of moving a family across continents, but now as the aircraft gained height, my emotions slowly began to surface. The sorrow and pain of goodbyes. Bewilderment and confusion at what God was doing. Fear of what lay ahead and how our children would adapt. Guilt for walking away from friends with whom we had been serving. Transitions come to those serving in ministry in many different guises. They might be big and obvious, like crossing continents and cultures, or moving across the UK. They might be ‘smaller’, such as a move to a new home in the same town, or a new ministry role without actually needing to move. Sometimes, a transition may involve something more subtle, such as a much-loved and servant-hearted family leaving your church, or colleagues moving on. A few years ago, my husband was appointed pastor of the church we attended. We didn’t appreciate it at the time, but this transition was subtle and so we weren’t immediately aware of its impact. However, our kids were. They continued to attend the same school, with the same friends, but their profiles shifted. They became more visible. They no longer felt ‘anonymous’, since it now seemed that everyone knew our business. For one of them, this was especially difficult. TRANSITION IS INEVITABLE Transition is inevitable, but it does seem to be particularly prevalent in the lives of those in ministry. It is not unusual for ministry families to be adept at reciting the number of roles they have had, homes they have lived in, or schools their children have attended. As a child growing up in a ministry home, I used to love counting out the number of moves we had experienced. Someone once compared transition to the moment when a trapeze artist lets go of one trapeze, but hasn’t yet caught hold of the other. It can seem like there is no solid ground to stand on, and emotionally, we might feel like we are in freefall. For adults, there’s a lot to process but for children, the impact can be even greater. It’s very common for children to feel bewildered. Their lack of agency, the inability to understand why mum and dad would want to move at all, plus all that goes into adjusting to a new life; it’s a lot to process. REMEMBER THE CHILDREN A friend of mine grew up as a PK (pastor’s kid). I remember her telling me that her father would inform her of a move by picking her up from school, and telling her that it was her last day; the family was moving on. No time for processing. No time for goodbyes. This was a repeated experience throughout her childhood. Unsurprisingly, she struggled to form friendships as she grew into adulthood since she never knew when those relationships would be taken away from her. No doubt her father sincerely believed he was doing the very best for his family by taking this approach. So how can we help our children transition as well as possible through the changes that come from being part of a family involved in ministry? As a family, we have been hugely indebted to David Pollock, whose book ‘Third Culture Kids’ has had a significant impact on us. He writes insightfully about cross-cultural transition, as well as transitions big and small. Perhaps most helpful is his advice to families about building a metaphorical RAFT to carry them through transition. R = RECONCILIATION - This about relationships with those we are leaving. Are we leaving our relationships as healthy as we can, leaving an open door to return to them? Are there relationships that need work, people with whom we need to reconcile? Is there a need for forgiveness or apology? A = AFFIRMATION - This is about affirming the good in the people you are leaving behind. Are there people you need to thank? Should you encourage your children to do the same? What specifically has this person done for you and your family? Write a list of those people and suggest your children do the same. Give thanks to God together as a family, and then let these people know how grateful you are for them. Encourage creativity in your child—cards, pictures, etc to give them the opportunity to express their hearts. F = FAREWELL - What is a good goodbye? They’re important, but easy to get wrong. That’s because we’re all made differently. As we left South Africa, I thought I knew what would be best for my boys, so I suggested a large farewell party for all their friends. How wrong I was. One of my boys immediately poured cold water on that idea, telling us he wanted to say goodbye to each special friend, one at a time. What followed was several weeks of sleepovers as he had a final special moment with each significant friend. And of course, we don’t just say goodbye to people. We also bid farewell to special places and pets. Each requires time and attention. T = THINK DESTINATION - This is about focusing on where you’re going. What’s ahead of you? What will it look like? Where will you live? What will school be like? How can you prepare your family by exploring the road ahead? Internet searches, maps, images, and ideas can be shared around the kitchen table as you look ahead to what God has in store for you all. As I sat surrounded by open suitcases a few days before departure, my eyes welling with tears, I was prompted to read Psalm 121. Verse 8 resonated deeply; The Lord watches over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Ps 121.8 As I finish, a short caveat. However well we build our RAFT, it will not, and cannot, protect us from all sorrow, confusion, fear, and anger that arise from transition. Even trauma of various kinds. However, Psalm 121 reminds us that the Lord watches over us. And that should give us courage. He sees and knows the pain we and our children are experiencing. He is our helper, our protector, and our shade. We don’t walk this journey alone. He knows the path ahead even when we don’t, and we can trust him. Not just for ourselves but for our children.

  • For I know the plans

    "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future". Jeremiah 29.11 You may have heard this verse used to encourage you when things are tough, or you are not sure which direction to go in. But is that Jeremiah’s message? Was this his intention when he wrote these words? We live in a society that focuses on the individual and stresses the importance of our own personal fulfilment. We’re encouraged to look after ourselves and to ‘fulfil our potential’. What does this mean for followers of Jesus? The following might provide a start. We should take responsibility for our well-being and our souls. We should make the best use of the talents and gifts that God has given us. We carry the primary responsibility for ensuring that our needs are met, so that we can fulfil our purpose. Part of that is spending time with God to allow him to feed and nurture us. We should be self-aware, maintain healthy boundaries, and know when we have reached the limits of our capacity. We should take action to protect ourselves and others. We must recognise our total dependency on God for our very breath, admitting our own helplessness aside from bowing the knee and acknowledging Jesus’ total and complete gift of redemption. So how should we read these verses in Jeremiah? The words were spoken by the prophet Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon. God spoke through him to encourage the remnant of his people to live by faith and remind them that he had not forgotten them. Their current situation was not a disaster. God still had a purpose and a plan even if it was very different from their expectations. The plan was for them to continue living as they had in Israel before they were exiled. It did not include putting their lives on hold, waiting for their return. There is a lesson here for us who live thousands of years later. When we too are unsure of a direction, or we’re facing challenging times, so often we hold our breath and wait. We hesitate and take our eyes off our primary goal of serving Jesus with our whole lives. These verses, however, urged those first readers (or listeners) to keep breathing and doing the ordinary things as before. Continue praising and talking to God about all things; continue meeting with people; engage in all your regular activities. Exercise, social, work, community as well as church. In truth, we share the same purpose and plan that God had for his people in exile in Babylon. As with the exiles, God desires to have a relationship with us, to grow in intimacy with us. He wants us to delight in him, and to live lives that glorify him and point others to him. In the New Testament, when Jesus prays for us in John 17 or when Paul writes out his prayers in his letters, it is notable that their primary focus is the importance of an intimate relationship with Jesus or God. To increase in our knowledge of how much he loves us. For strength to live the Christian life, for unity. The apostle Paul writes these words to the Ephesians. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called - his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. Eph 1.18 (NLT) Notice, his prayers don’t focus on knowing which job to choose, or even where to serve in the church. Could it be, then, that God created us with our unique character traits and skills with the expectation that we use them for his glory in whatever context? His primary purpose for us is to have an intimate relationship with him, with the ultimate goal that in time, his name is known and glorified throughout the world. Although we live in a particular place and time in history, God has a much longer and broader perspective. After all, he knows the beginning from the end, and all the in-betweens. People have been expecting Jesus to return for over two thousand years. Yet, to God, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. Frustrating as it is, when we want to know what’s next, or where the Lord wants us to serve, maybe we should just prioritise seeking him first—without other motives or other things on our minds. Perhaps as we do, he will show us the path. It might not be as exciting or dramatic as we would like or expect. It might even seem mundane, but as we each play our part, we can rest in the knowledge that God is working his bigger purposes out. In certain circles, there is the familiar call to ‘fulfil our purposes’, as though this requires us to ‘do great acts for God’. Sometimes, the message seems to be that unless we have demonstrated great power, or done something that draws attention to the spectacular, then we have missed our potential or failed in our calling. But while ‘great acts’ may be laudable, is the idea of becoming known for ‘great acts’ an aspiration we should value? In many ways, it is much harder to be content with an ‘ordinary’ life, and to allow God to do extraordinary things in us as he changes us little by little into his likeness. It may seem mundane simply to pray for our families and friends and to reveal God through our actions in the everyday. Yet this is our calling and our privilege. The (seemingly) little things really do count for much in God’s economy. Our attitude when kept waiting at the check-out. Responding in love to the unlovely ones in church. Exercising patience, love, and grace towards our loved ones at the end of a long day or week. These are the ‘great acts’ we do for God. They are the very things that display his glory in our lives. These are . . . ‘the plans I have for you . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’

  • Trading places

    Join me in one of my favourite movies from the eighties. Trading Places (1983). (This post containers plot spoilers.) Two extremely wealthy financiers, Mortimer and Randolph Duke, observe one of their commodities traders, Louis Winthorpe III (played by Dan Ackroyd), mistreating a black street hustler, Billy Ray Valentine, (played by Eddie Murphy). So they make a wager (of a paltry $1) to test their opposing theories of nature versus nurture. They manufacture a switch between the lives of these two men located on either end of the social spectrum. Who will rise? Who will fall? After having Louis falsely accused and fired from his position, they invite Billy Ray Valentine to live in Louis’ old home, surrounded by luxury. Will their genes determine their outcomes? Well, Louis proceeds to descend into despair, while Billy Ray excels at his new position as a commodities trader. Question answered. But this is also a story about injustice and greed. Billy Ray and Louis eventually discover they’ve been duped, and not only that, Mortimer and Randolph plan to reverse the switch. So, our two ‘heroes’ team up. Cue Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd, along with Denholm Elliott and Jamie Lee Curtis, executing a wonderful plan to triumph and walk off with an awful lot of money. Looking good, Billy Ray! Feeling good, Louis! Let’s return to the scene in which Billy Ray is invited to live in Louis’ home. This particular scene is packed with theological insight. And it’s all about grace. I DON’T THINK HE UNDERSTANDS The scene is entitled ‘It’s all yours’, a title we could use to describe grace. Randolph says, ‘William, this is your home. It belongs to you. Everything you see in this room is yours.’ Mortimer, however, can see that Billy Ray is still in the dark. ‘I don’t think he understands, Randolph’, he says. And sure enough, seconds later, while the elderly financiers’ backs are turned, Billy Ray proceeds to place valuable items inside his jacket—a cigar case and a silver ornament. Later, as Mortimer removes the cigar case from Billy Ray’s jacket, he says, ‘These are your personal possessions. You will only be stealing from yourself.’ The scene works, because of course, in our world, no one gives away such wealth for free. Hence Billy Ray’s sceptical riposte, ‘I could really dig this, Randy, you know why? This kind of thing happens to me every week!’ This is the perfect scene to prompt a discussion about grace, because our response to grace is often to ‘steal from ourselves.’ We’re watching Billy Ray, but he is simply a mirror, a reflection of the darkness in our souls. WE DON’T REALLY UNDERSTAND GRACE Like you, probably, I have heard hundreds of Christians talk about or interact with the idea of grace. In my experience, they broadly fit into three categories. [i] They don’t understand it at all, and when questioned, they demonstrate their lack of understanding. They can say the ‘right’ words, but quickly, they stumble and it’s clear that they haven’t really understood it. Legalism, works, workaholism, judgemental attitudes etc betray that their espoused theology isn’t actually driving their lives. They have the right theology, and they revel in the wonder of grace so that it transforms all their human relationships. Why do we struggle so much to understand grace? Some thoughts. OTHERWORLDLY Grace is otherworldly. Well, of course it is. It comes from the heart of a compassionate God. It’s his idea, not ours. Furthermore, it’s hardly surprising that we struggle when we already know that ‘my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways’ (Isa 55.8). Perhaps most importantly, though, is the impact of our human experience. From our earliest childhood, we are introduced into a world of consequences. Cause-and-effect is written into every single one of our human relationships. As children, when we behave well, we receive a cookie, and when we don’t listen, we end up sitting on the naughty step. (Choose your own childhood discipline method.) We reach school and start handing in homework. Perform well and we are praised; perform badly and we’re in trouble. Then we get a job and the whole saga continues. Reward for good work, consequences for poor performance. So when we’re told that God will give us something for nothing, our minds and our hearts can’t really take it in. It’s like the first time a kid hears about trick-or-treating, as described by the comedian, Jerry Seinfeld. Remember the first time you heard about Halloween, your brain can’t even . . . what is this? Who’s giving out candy? EVERYONE WE KNOW IS GIVING OUT CANDY?! I gotta be part of this. Take me with you! I’ll do anything they want . . . (pregnant pause) . . . I can wear that! (Cue laughter) Free candy? Impossible. Because we struggle to believe in free. FREE IS NEVER FREE Ever received one of those letters announcing that you’ve won a FREE prize? It doesn’t take long to ask, ‘what’s the catch?’ Because there’s always a catch. No one just gives stuff away. Not without an ulterior motive. And so it is with our response to grace. We’re looking for the ulterior motive, when the only motive is love. Could it also be the case that we pride ourselves on our faith? Grace may be free, but to receive it, you must have faith. So you see, we do contribute in some way. How clever we are to have figured out the gospel. It’s not such a small step to continue along this road . . . and how clever we are to live better lives than others. Surely God must approve and credit to our account some of our good choices. Law-keeping is so embedded in us, we can’t or we won’t let it go. Little wonder, then, that we can describe what grace is, we can recite the theology, but it’s so counter to our human experience that we struggle to accept it in our hearts. We know it’s true, but for many, it just doesn’t seem real. So we struggle to apply it in our own lives. This is why the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18 is so instructive . . . and damning. The forgiven servant, the man who has been forgiven an astronomical debt, appears to have no understanding of how this should shape his life. The church is littered with such people, and if I’m honest, I’m sometimes one of them. Make no mistake, I’m as guilty as the next person. Not only do we judge others harshly, but we allow a judgemental attitude to reside deep in our hearts. Well, after behaving like that, they deserve it, don’t they?! We continue to believe that good people should prosper and bad people should suffer. Well, they deserve to suffer, don’t they? We’ve read Job, but we’ve forgotten that God condemns this attitude in Job’s friends. We can’t help believing that if we behave well, God should bless us. And I don’t mean that when we make good choices, good things should naturally come to us. I mean, that God should answer our prayers. We deserve a healthy serving of his grace and favour because of our virtue. Why isn’t he answering me when I’ve been faithful to my calling? As for the parable in Matthew 20, in which vineyard workers who arrive late are paid the same as those who’ve worked all day, well, that continues to sound absurd. Why does the vineyard owner treat the latecomers the same as those who’ve worked all day? That’s unfair. Just as it feels unfair that a repentant sinner aged eighty receives grace after a life of greed and selfishness while ‘good life-long Christians’ receive the same grace. Why do we think and behave in these ways? Why do these errant thoughts and attitudes linger in our hearts when the entire focus of the biblical account is supposed to lead us the jewel at its centre: God’s grace. I don’t think he understands. Perhaps we should start there. Grace is otherworldly. It is a jewel of such shining brilliance that it blinds us with its wonder and beauty. Certainly, the Lord desires that we grasp the idea with our heads, but grace is something we receive in our hearts. It is a gift and we receive it by faith. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Eph 2.8-9 We must cast ourselves before the Lord, confessing our inability to take in the enormity of his gift, the overwhelming nature of his love, and pour out our thanks. In response, we would do well to bow before his throne with grateful hearts, and worship. And what is the source of this gift? How was it created? How was it achieved? “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2.24 Dare I say it but this beautiful gift was achieved for us by . . . trading places. A free gift that cost everything. So receive it. For when we live by law, we steal from ourselves. How shameful. We act like Billy Ray. And we do more than demonstrate our lack of understanding, we denigrate the sacrifice of our Lord. So, today I invite you to live in God’s grace. To revel in its wonder. Be thankful for the riches you have in Christ Jesus, and when you reach the point where you just can’t take it in, then bow down in worship before your holy God. Ask him for eyes to see and ears to hear. Then receive by faith. For only by so doing will you be able to extend this beautiful gift to others. For by grace you have been saved. How amazing is that?! [i] - This list is not exhaustive, of course.

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