August 2015

A photo of Alastair GledhillWhat’s new?

As you know, from September I will be working as an Apprentice at All Souls Church, Langham Place. This letter explains a bit more fully what the year will entail and how you can support me in it.

It’s going to be a big change. At the end of August I’ll leave a job I enjoy at the company I’ve been working with for the past three years to pursue a vocation in the church.

And yet… it’s not that big a change. All Souls has been home for almost 20 years: I’ve benefitted from and grown through the children’s work, youth group and recently Springboard. The difference will be that I will have a lot more time to devote to what I believe God is calling me to do.

Why become an Apprentice?

Over the past several years, as friends have encouraged me to seek opportunities to work for the church full-time, I have said: ‘not now, but in the future when the time is right.’ But I have felt for some time that I am ready to see how God might use me for his service in church ministry.

I have been serving in practical ways, leading Bible study groups, giving occasional short talks, and taking opportunities to immerse myself in church life. As I have done so, it has become clearer to me that I should pursue full-time church ministry and, in time, leadership. The Apprenticeship scheme is a natural progression for me.

The Apprenticeship scheme at All Souls is a well-established programme that combines ministry and theological training with service alongside experienced members of the ministry team. Joining the scheme seems a wise next step to take as I look towards more formal training in the years ahead.

What will I be doing?

Pastoral work

I will be working alongside Dan Wells, the senior minister responsible for pastoral ministry and fellowship groups. In practice, that will look something like:

  • Leading a fellowship group
  • Helping Dan to run a termly training course
  • Predictable things like assisting with marriage preparation courses, meeting one-to-one, etc.
  • Unpredictable things like pastoral visiting, responding to needs as they arise, and so on.
  • Preparing and giving occasional short talks

Training

I will be one of twelve Apprentices. Melinda Hendry oversees the scheme, which incorporates one day of training each week. The training is designed to be both biblical and practical, applying what the Bible teaches to the life of ministry.

In addition to the regular study time, I will attend a conference in September and complete a personal project during the course of the year.

Practical service

The church has various practical needs that I will assist with on a regular and ad-hoc basis.

Mentored supervision

Working closely under Dan’s supervision, we’ll be talking through what I’ve been learning and planning together.

Six key values that underpin the scheme

Prayer: The work of the kingdom is God’s. He has called us into His work and therefore we are dependent upon God through prayer.

Scripture: God’s word will transform people. Our ministry must be submitted to it and based upon it.

Mission: Lost people matter to God and need to hear the gospel.

Growth: To be engaged in Christian ministry, we ourselves need to be growing in character, knowledge and skills.

Relationship: Learning is in the context of relationship. Together we seek to build an atmosphere of mutual care, trust and honesty.

Flexibility: Each person is unique in their experience, gifts, personality and calling. They have different needs and will make a unique contribution. Their longer-term gospel ministry will look different.

How will I be doing it?

Prayerfully: I’m committing my plans into the Lord’s hands and trusting him to lead where I should follow. Amid the inevitable uncertainties that lie ahead, he is the great certainty in whom my dependence rests.

Dependently: As I rely on the Lord in prayer, so I’ll rely on others for their support. I’m asking my friends to support me firstly in prayer, but also in financial giving. All Souls is providing a grant and will cover my ministry expenses, and I will be working for a few hours a week under a freelance contact with my current employer.

However, I will need to raise an additional £5,000 in order to cover my living costs. Could you consider helping me to raise the support I need to take this step? If so, I’ve included some further details about how you can do this below.

How can you support me?

If you are able to contribute, you will be making it possible for me to devote my time to the pastoral work of the church and my own spiritual development as I look towards future gospel ministry. I’ll be very grateful indeed of any support you’re able to offer.

There are two ways you can give:

  • A regular gift each month
  • A one-off gift at the start of the year

Stewardship: UK Taxpayers (but not family members!) can give via Stewardship. This enables Gift Aid, adding another 25p in each pound you give. Visit my Stewardship giving page.

How can you pray for me?

As I take this next step, I am encouraged to know that many friends will be supporting me in prayer. If you would like to join them, please do sign up to receive my monthly newsletter. There is plenty to pray for in the meantime, though:

  • For a smooth end to my current job
  • For strong relationships with Dan Wells and other members of the team
  • For wisdom in balancing an unpredictable and varied workload
  • For spiritual growth and formation
  • For real joy through serving the church

About All Souls, Langham Place

All Souls Church is an Anglican church, evangelical in outlook, situated at the top of Regent Street in London’s West End. It is next door to the BBC’s headquarters at Broadcasting House and within sight of Oxford Circus. Our mission statement is: ‘Growing an international community to reach a multicultural society for Christ.’

About the apprenticeship scheme

All Souls has run a scheme for apprentices for several years. It aims to develop men and women committed and equipped for gospel work by providing training and experience in ministry, and to resource the ministry of All Souls in outreach and discipleship.