I have just returned from Melton Mowbray. I’ve been on a week’s residential as part of my “Arrow Leadership Programme”. The pork pie was excellent and the course wasn’t far off either. In fact, it was incredibly inspiring.
In Arrow we are studying three streams on (1) leadership, (2) evangelism (sharing the good news of Jesus) and (3) call and character. Last week the third stream included meeting a psychologist to talk about my personality – it was enlightening – in a good way! Each day began with Bible teaching (on the book of Jonah and the big fish) and ended with a reflective time of evening worship.
Monday was a team building day at Rutland Water – spent walking on high ropes, rock climbing and going for a leisurely stroll around a very small part of the 17 mile perimeter lake. The aim of the activity day was to get to know the other course participants (there are 24 of us from across the UK) and to ‘Identify and enter our Red Zones’.
We were invited to see life in three zones – the Green Zone (where we are most comfortable), the Red Zone (where we are healthily challenged and stretched) and the Ultra-Violet zone (our no go areas). We can be tempted to live life in the green zone but life is so much better for us and for others if however we allow ourselves on occasion – with God’s help – to enter the red zone.
What was the red zone for me when rock climbing? I used to rock climb with both school and scouts when I was a teenager, so for me this was climbing up to the overhang and then falling off (my upper body strength has never been much good). So I learnt about humility. Although I confess I had my photo taken so I could show my kids just how amazing their dad really is.
On the high ropes – I’d never done this before – I set my red zones as completing the course and having a go at encouraging any other novices to do the same. My head for heights being generally ok, it was my confidence in the safety equipment that made me nervous! I completed the course however, and after WhatsApping Rachel, I was delighted to learn that my five year old son now considers me to be a Real Ninja Warrior! (You can guess what our family watches on Saturday night TV). On a more serious note, the team (as by this point we had become) was delighted when one participant who was particularly nervous managed to complete the course.
On the walk – we were invited to engage in conversation with a different course participant on the clock every 15 minutes (!) – a Red Zone challenge if we are more introverted than extroverted (which may surprise you – most vicars – including myself – actually are!).
After lectures and seminars on the three main streams and good food and some socialising, the week then culminated with the task, ‘Discerning Personal Vision’. I thought this was the best part of the week.
We were invited to ask questions of ourselves such as – How do I see my life? What are the aims and goals for my life? (However long or short our life ahead may be). Most significantly, for us as Christians, what is it that we believe God wants us to each achieve with the rest of our lives too?
To help us answer these bigger questions we were invited to think of our lives in five key areas:
Here’s a thought for you – I wonder – why not have a go at prayerfully discerning a Personal Vision for yourself too? How would you answer these questions? For me, I think that my personal vision statement will prove to be an excellent tool – I can see it helping me to assess personal growth, prioritise what’s important and keep me on track in persevering God’s call on my life. Go on have a go yourself too!
In Christ, Adam.
Rev Adam Pawley