Reflections on my internship, week 16

This week has been great and really interesting. In my reading I’ve been looking at the two books for this term, and the combination of looking at what forms culture and how the approach to character has changed is really interesting. I haven’t got many formulated thoughts on the subject yet, but I might do another post with some quotes that have struck me from the chapters.

The intern morning was at All Saints Huthwaite and it was good to see what’s going on there, Charlie Maiden’s thoughts in particular struck me as he seemed to have a real awareness of what’s going on. As someone from a similar ish sort of background, I could really see where he was coming from and how the church has met needs in the area. I was also at the bishops council residential, which as well as having access to a gym, pool and spa, was an opportunity to see all that’s going on in the diocese from a wider, almost birds eye view perspective, and to hear from Bishop Paul’s senior team. Thus is such a good opportunity and I’m really thankful and encouraged by this.

So it has in some ways been a longer week but in others there hasn’t been a lot to do. I’ve got on top of things, particularly regarding odd jobs and admin, but I didn’t do any visiting. Tomorrow I’m leading a family service in Blyth which I’m nervous about, and next week I’m preaching twice so I need to get my head down. I’d like to do some visits too, but need to be careful not to give myself too much to do. I’m feeling the pressure now, but realise that its just a case of my capacity needing to increase. So I am worried but know that I’ve got good support and can do it. As things get busier, I know that the most important thing is to keep my head, work when I need to and rest when I can.

Reflections on my internship, week 15

Technically I’ve been back at work for 3 weeks now but last week was the first intern week back with the YLC so I’m counting it from there! 

There was an introduction to the reading material for this term but I’ve only had a look at the introductions so far so I can’t comment more fully yet. I’m particularly impressed by the road to character, and have only heard good things about it so I’m excited to have a proper read. As for the Andy Crouch book, I’m not opposed the premise and think it’s probably quite helpful in the grand scheme things but I’m taking a little while longer to warm to it! In a word that seems to be increasingly ‘post-truth’, I don’t doubt that there is some significance to the ‘cultural artefacts’ of the world but I’m not entirely convinced that consumers, or even creators of products, associate as much meaning to products as we would like to think. But I’m not sure!
As for a review of my progress, I came in to January feeling quite frustrated with myself. In general I think it can be easy to feel deflated after Christmas and in particular, there were a few things that Jonathan had picked me up on on the first day back! So I was annoyed with myself but feel like I’ve managed to get on with what needed to be done by better assessing what needs to be done and trying to assign particular time slots in my diary each day to do that work. I can only speculate on how that has gone so far but I’m feeling better so hopefully I’ll report back positively on this in the next few weeks. I’m getting steadily busier so I certainly hope it helps!

Reflections on my internship, weeks 13 and 14

This will be my last post before Christmas! Last week was actually the last teaching session on a Thursday, so the corresponding blog should have been posted last week! This is just an end of term reflection though, and it has been pretty busy! So I thought I’d combine this post with reflections on my Diocesan Advisory Panel, which took place this week.

There’s also the spiritual gifts test from a few weeks ago that I couldn’t seem to find the results from, so here they are (my top 5):

Leadership/oversight
Teaching
Faith
Knowledge
Pastoral care

Questions that we were considering last week were along the lines of how we are stepping forward in our calling and towards our future, and I feel strongly that this whole process has been an important part of that. The teaching sessions have been a really helpful way of learning, thinking about things and discussing new ideas with others. The long train journeys have meant that I’ve needed to be organised and have some time to do some reading as well, so that has been a blessing in disguise too! Even tracking expenses and putting receipts together to be sent off has been something that I wouldn’t have thought I’d be learning but I’ll definitely need to do in the future!

I’ve enjoyed meeting new people and the various places we’ve been to. Combined with my parish placement, which has been a really practical and honest look at parish life, I’ve been more determined than ever that I’m in the right place and doing the right thing. It’s funny that I wouldn’t initially have thought to do this year, but I’m really glad I did!

This week Christmas services are coming up so that’s sure to be busy, and then in the New Year things will step up a notch as I don’t think I’ve been productive as possible, particularly with worrying about my DAP! But more on that in a moment. So I’ll be taking more on, becoming a bit busier on Wednesdays with more assemblies to do, and trying to visit more people as this is something I’ve neglected a bit.

As for the DAP I was very worried, kept going over my presentation trying to get it right and spending time thinking about all of the possible questions that could trip me up. I stayed in Southwell the night before at Sacrista Prebend, which I was glad about as I had a really restful time which set the tone well for the day. I was pleasantly surprised on the day itself because I really enjoyed it, didn’t feel under too much pressure during the interviews, and my presentation went well. The other candidates were lovely too.

All in all it went really well and I got an email the following morning from Sue to say that I had a very positive report and need to organise to meet Bishop Paul before moving on. So with any luck I’ll be on to a BAP soon!

I’ll post more updates in the New Year. Merry Christmas!

Reflections on my internship, week 12

For my blog this week, I’ll be reflecting on the Bill Hybels chapter on self leadership, and the questions that were raised in the teaching session on this.

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For my life circle, I put relatively high numbers across the board, but there could perhaps do with being a bit lower in some cases. Here’s a basic explanation of each:

Physical Health – probably my strongest attribute, I think I do fairly well at this. I exercise regularly and eat fairly well, though maybe not quite enough, but I’m aware that I don’t sleep enough really. Definite room for improvement as always!

Finances – I’m not amazing at managing money, but I have some basic ideas about budgeting and tracking expenses when I actually do it. Could be better, could be worse.

Spiritual Growth – Maybe this number is a bit high. I’ve improved on this, definitely, but is definitely a weaker area for me.

Rest and Recreation – I put this quite low because I’m aware that sometimes I probably rest a bit too much if anything. Other times, I don’t rest properly.

Personal Development – This is an area that I’m fairly happy with my current progress in, I am trying to develop personally. This year is great for this.

Work and Career – Similar to above. I’m passionate and focused about what I want to do. If anything, number should be lower as I don’t always get enough done and procrastinate.

Home and Domestic – I’m pretty messy! Improving though.

Relationships – I could do a lot more to invest in quality relationships. An area for improvement.

And the questions from the session:

  • Which areas am I strongest in weakest in?

Physical health, personal development, work and career?

  • What can I improve to lead myself better?

Finances and Relationships.

  • What one thing can I do today to push myself forward?

As of today I’m back on tracking my finances. This is definitely an area of weakness, even if not in a huge way. I haven’t been intentional with my finances and this is something I can solve fairly easily.

I’ve also done the test that was mentioned. Here is a section of the results from the Personality and Values test: (I couldn’t seem to do the spiritual gifts one, I thought I had done so already so will have to try and find my results!)

Goal: Obliging and accommodating

Judges others by: Their warmth Influences others by: Friendliness and interpersonal skills

Value to the organization: Communicates the ‘big dream’, ability to bring a team together
Overuses: Dependency on others and optimism

When under stress: Emotional, too trusting
Fears: Not being liked enough

Reflections on my internship week 11

This week’s blog is late, sorry! Ironic given that I’ll be talking on Self-Leadership later this week!

This week’s blog is about the decision making process that is spoken about in the Bill Hybels chapter of last week and that we discussed in the teaching session last Thursday. It was interesting to note that so many decisions are made subconsciously or unconsciously; through laziness, taking the easy option, or not being aware that there are better alternatives. In answer to how I make decisions, it can be quite difficult because so much of the time I’m not actively thinking about how and why I respond.

In answer to the questions posed through the TED talk ’20 is the new 30′:

1. What am I doing that adds value to who I am?

This year is all about this, with the ordination process, the YLC internship and my ministry experience in Bawtry all contributing towards my personal growth. The reading we’re doing and my attempts to keep moving forward will all help me to make better decisions moving forward, and to grow and mature.

2. Who am I surrounding myself with?

Equally the other interns, people at church, friends from Mattersey and those who mentor me. I need to do more to take in more different perspectives and opinions though.

3. Am I helping Catherine to be the best version of herself?

Not always! I certainly need to do better at this. I do try and become the sort of person that I need to be to help Catherine, and help her to do the same, but it’s not always easy!

I’m not too sure what else to say on this, I found it difficult to put in to tangible terms!

Reflections on my internship week 10

My main reflection this week is on how good God is and the need to keep that central and to worship at all times. This is promoted in part by the discipleship teaching session for this week which was led by Joanne.

At the start of this week there were several things that were bothering me: an upcoming driving test, lots to do, miscommunications surrounding certain tasks. I wasn’t feeling happy that I was getting as much done as I needed to. As we near christmas I was beginning to get quite stressed and tired and was in need of real encouragement and progress.

As the week has gone on, however, God has really come through and helped me. On Monday I had a conversation to sort out some difficulties that had arisen, on Tuesday I passed my driving test which was a huge relief and blessing, and on Wednesday and Thursday I’ve managed to get more done and feel more on top of things as a result of this.

In regards to worship, I’m not saying that I can only worship God when things go my way. Rather, its all about living a life which is turned towards God. I recently have been trying to focus more fully on God, to pray daily and bring my problems to him and to submit myself and my worries to his grace and love.

As I’ve been doing that, things are starting to come together. Exciting opportunities are coming my way, I’m feeling more organised, I’m behaving generally better. At times like this especially I need to remember to thank God and give him all of the glory and honour, but I’m also encouraged that when things aren’t going my way I need to do that too.

Talking today about writing Psalms and I remember a time where I was really struggling and kept listening to a song daily that was based on Psalm 14: ‘how long, o lord? Will you forget me forever?’ and as the Psalm goes on it changes focus towards god’s unfailing love. I had completely forgotten about this but it was such a help at the time and continues to be my experience. So when we were asked to write our own Psalm, that’s where my mind went. And here is what I wrote:

The Lord is mighty and lifted up.
He answers the prayers of the broken
and the oppressed.
Those who call on his name,
will be answered.

How long, O Lord, must we lie in wait?
We do not see your face;
We do not know you among us always.
Daily we waste away,
Out worries keep us awake at night.

But we know that you will answer.
God of the ages, you hear our prayer.
Sacred God, high above all powers,
Bring us to your throne.

In the day of your salvation,
We will see your face.
We will rise up and be glad,
For you are our rock and redeemer;
And in you is eternal life.

So bring us to your table,
Feed us with your love.
Redeem us in your mercy,
And restore within us hope.

reflections on my internship, week 9

This week, we went to the offices in Nottingham of Capital One and M&S. They were very different experiences with vastly different methods, but you can see that the main thing in both cases was a focus on leadership, learning and improvement.

This was more flashy in the case of Capital One, but something that can be learned by the church was the importance given to constantly moving forward; not just in the skills needed for that specific role, but in general and in every area from time management to personal health and eating. Our job is to create leaders in every sphere of life and this should be reflected in our training. We could be great with people but awful in our personal lives in areas such as money or fitness and this, whether we like it or not, impacts us as leaders. I was particularly impressed by this holistic approach at capital one, and have personally found that the church for me has also allowed me to take time personally to develop on the whole.

I’m reminded of this article on marginal gains, and how small improvements in every area can improve the whole: http://jamesclear.com/marginal-gains

On a personal note, this is becoming relevant as I get more and more used to my roles and all that needs doing. I’m becoming able to focus on what is important and what isn’t, when I should be doing what and which tips on how to improve will help me. Things like managing my emails and calendar better have helped a lot, but I now need to make sure that I keep things simple and focus on what is actually helpful, rather than using productivity tips as an excuse to procrastinate. This is becoming clearer though, and I feel like I’m making improvements every day. That said, I wasted too much time last week on my DAP form; it still isn’t done and really should be!