God at work in Glastonbury Festival.

Whilst I was on my Activist Pilgrimage, I visited Adrian Prior Sanky in Taunton, and was sat in his back garden, we were chatting in the glorious summer sun, hearing about the amazing work he is doing with the various chaplaincies in the local area, and was visiting the Street Pastors project later that evening.

Yet there was one project that I was particularly interested in, and that was his work at the Glastonbury festival (having seen a picture of him with a pink wig and an inflatable guitar) and asked a bit more about the work they did supporting people at the festival.

I had also heard from the Street Angels about Festival Angels and realised this is a much needed area of ministry, as festivals often have been in need of the help that “Street Pastors and Angels” often give, helping people who have had to much to drink (or perhaps taken something they shouldn’t have), got lost or separated from friends and are vulnerable.

I have wanted to go and serve at the festival for a while (and would love to chill out and listen to loads of amazing music). Some of my wife’s family -who wouldn’t call themselves Christians- go every year and amid the music and fun there looks like there are many people engaging in big ideas such as ecology, sustainability, social justice and social action, my late father in law used to paint psychedelic and provocative banners challenging us all to re-think how we do life together on the planet reminding us that “when the last tree is felled, and the last lake polluted humans will realise they cannot eat money”. I have longed for Church to be at the forefront of the discussion about “how we make the world a better place?” -but too often when we as the Church ought to be leading the way, we are lagging way behind.

Yet, rather than just serve with practical support of Street Pastors, or the tea and toast of the Church tent, Adrian was telling me of an exciting work that was birthed at the festival a number of years before.

There was a field that was filled with various practitioners of all sorts of spiritual disciplines and rituals, many of the people who come to the festival are deeply spiritual people, and yet there was no Christian presence here. So, a couple of trainee vicars approached the festival organisers asking for the Christians to be included as well. They ended up having a beautifully crafted Christian tent, offering to pray for people, to seek healing and give prophetic words of encouragement and wisdom. Offered for free.

I was reminded of a story in the Acts of the Apostles where there were many people searching and seeking and a sorcerer called Simon saw the power of the Holy Spirit, realising this was a power that far exceeded his own, and wanted to buy this power (but the disciples refused).

It strikes me as strange how often we as Christians seem to miss these amazing opportunities to bless people and have the privilege of seeing people encounter God; in fact, many Christians would not even attend Glastonbury much less engage with spiritual seekers in this way, missing the amazing opportunities to see the Kingdom of God advance.

I remember from my science lessons at school learning about alkali burns, acid burns because it has a positive reading on the PH scale -it burns because of what is in it- whereas Alkali has a negative reading on the PH scale and burns because of its absence, what is not there. Which struck me as a picture of the Church, by being absent we are removing the light from darkness and the salt from the situation. I believe that for too long many of our communities and much of our nation is suffering from the alkali burn from the absence of the people of God stepping out in faith and blessing their communities.


When you need a Mate.

I met my friend Mark in London, and it was so wonderful to see him, travelling can be a lonely place and sometimes a familiar face can warm your heart. Mutual support is a powerful gift we give one another which not only strengthens and encourages but can stops you getting on the wrong bus!

In many forms of modern ministry there appears to be a focused on the pastor/minister/vicar as a solo heroic individual that too often buckles under pressures, expectations and sometimes crushing loneliness; rather the scriptural picture calls people to go in (at least) pairs, Moses and Aaron, David and Jonathan, Jesus sending out the twelve and the seventy two, Barnabas and Saul or Paul and Silas. In Church history we see Moody having Sanky, John Wesley having his brother Charles (and also John Cennick who is rarely mentioned), Billy Graham and Leighton Ford and no doubt we know some Kingdom partnerships where people have come together to advance the Kingdom cause in love and solidarity.

When humanity was first created, God said (this is before the fall and the birth of sin) that “it is not good for people to be alone”, human beings are relational (even the most introverted of us) and we need other people, and they need us.

The book of Ecclesiastes talks of how “two is better than one for they get a good return for their work, if one falls the other can help them up, they can protect one another and a chord of three is not easily broken”. The Christian pattern for life is not individualism or independence which is rife is our culture, but something more beautiful -interdependence- we need one another.

The Africans call this ‘Ubuntu’, which means “I am, because we are” -where we live together in community sharing everything, a living embodiment of the letter from John who asks “if you see a brother or sister in need and have the means to help them but do not, how can the love of God be in them?” In many African regions if you had a tiny bit of bread and you asked “how many people would this feed” the answer would “two” because to not share what you have would be unthinkable in their culture. Ubuntu is the attitude I long to have, but it is a tough and challenging call -especially when selfishness can appear so easy and appealing- but requires us to sacrifice our own wants and wishes for the sake of someone else, another person, another piece of the body and bride of Christ.

Ubuntu reminds me that we need one another, but also that others need us, at the heart of humanity is a need for relational reciprocity. I remember writing (a very poor sermon) on Zerubbabel and Joshua the High Priest, and saying that sometimes we were called to both roles, the pioneer and the supporter; and at times in the journey we will all take different roles, I asked “what are you building?” and “who are you supporting?”.

I have also learned the power of letting people serve us, as too often I have been proud and seen offers of help as a slight on my competence but realised in being vulnerable to being served both myself and the one serving have been blessed. In serving other people -especially when it is not my project or group- I have learned so much about what it means to be the Church -God’s team in a local context- doing what we can, where we can and how we can; to see Christ glorified.

These thoughts buzzed through my head as we rushed around the financial quarter of the city of London trying to find a very illusive 24-7 prayer room that was meant to be happening nearby but we couldn’t find it and in the end, we gave up and leaped on a Tube Train to look at Bromily by Bow.


Erc, Ia and getting to the starting line…

As I pulled into Penzance, that end tip of Cornwall, I crouched by the town sign and filmed a short message saying about the vision to travel from Cornwall to Carlisle and to see what God wanted to show me, and what he might be calling me to do.

I found a bit of a stick (really should have brought some stakes to drive into the ground) and stuck it into the ground with a prayer something like this: “Father, we pray that you will bless the people of Cornwall, may many people come to know Jesus, we pray for those who have drifted away and all those who know and love you here to become more like you. Amen”. It felt the right thing to do.

My heart and my head were racing, but it also felt a bit weird, almost an anti-climactic, sometimes however when we are faithful to what God calls us to do it does sometimes feel mundane, normal and ordinary; in the Christian life not every moment is a theophany.

As I began to wander around wondering if God was going to bring someone or something exciting across my path on my first night, I began to think about those who have gone before us and the rich heritage this area of Cornwall has.

I began to think about some of the Cornish Saints (wishing I had paid more attention at theological college when they taught Patristics!) I was inspired by two Saints Erc and Ia (whose names got changed to St. Erth and St. Ives) brother and sister.

Erc was converted from being a pagan druid Prince in Ireland through the ministry of St. Patrick, at the start of Patrick’s ministry in Ireland. Erc is a great example of an indigenous disciple -he was transformed by Christ, but rather than being holy in some pious seclusion he began to be a fruitful evangelist to the people from whom he came and lived amongst, he became a Bishop, and ended up mentoring St. Brendan -whose craziness for Christ inspired me when I heard about him a week or so later when I was in Birmingham- I wondered often we think of our legacy in terms of programmes, activities and buildings rather than people we raised, inspired and encouraged. Erc was an incredibly fruitful and faithful Irish Bishop, he could have sat back and enjoyed success but instead he gave it all up to start again from scratch to share the message of Jesus by living amongst the people of Cornwall.

Ia was Erc’s much younger sister, she was just 17 when Erc and the others headed for Cornwall and they left her behind, which broke her heart, she wanted to serve Christ with her friends and family. Yet she managed to get herself to Cornwall and joined with some other local Christians. She planted a Christian Prayer Community ‘or Oritory’ in a clearing in the woods, which had at its peak 777 members, sadly Ia was martyred for her faith by Teudar a Cornish King.

I wondered what Cornwall was like in the 5th century, where few people here knew, loved and followed Jesus? What did they do that saw so many people come to faith in Jesus?

I wonder what Saints of pre-christendom would share with those of us trying to follow and make Jesus known in our post-Christendom existence?

How did people like Erc and Ia talk, share and live amongst these people and how did they manage to see an indigenous and authentic Christianity birthed here?
What did the Churches and groups they founded look like? What would they say to someone like me who wants to see this nation reached again for Christ?


An Activist Pilgrimage.

I did wonder what St. Brendan would think of my journey, which I had spent days planning and organising? He would probably ask about space and spontaneity -had I created such a ridged programme that I had not left God the space he needed to move?

Then I thought about my car, cramped full of my clothes and things for the journey, and wondered if he would point me to Luke 10 where Jesus says: “Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road” (Luke 10.4)?

I wondered too if perhaps I am too reliant on trusting in my own resources rather than trusting in God’s provision. I remember when I was about eight and got my 25 meters swimming certificate I swam the width with a foot remaining on the bottom of the Poole, just to ‘feel safe and in control’ -yet sometimes taking a step of faith means taking our foot from the bottom and trusting that the water will hold us, the same is true in our walk with God, it is about taking our foot from the bottom and trusting that God will hold us.

The Church planter John Wimber famously described faith as being spelled R-I-S-K, yet the problem is we are all a little risk adverse, a helpful piece of advice I once heard was that “we all feel scared sometimes, but even so do it scared!”

Perhaps a series of visits and activities might not feel as dangerous as floating off to an unknown future on a boat especially when it was only for a fortnight, but for me it still felt a bit scary, although this has come on the back of leaving the security of a stable job with housing within the Church of England and was terrifying as was moving to a new place without a defined role and discovering what God has for us in this next stage of the journey. In doing this, I realised how much of my identity and self-worth was tied to my vicar-y role rather than who I am in Christ).

I wonder whether we all crave comfort which makes us sleepy, and yet the Holy Spirit is calling us to wake up and build up our faith and spiritual resilience?

This new season does feel like chasing a wild goose, it feels unpredictable, hard and at times lonely -feeling mis understood and it never feels like “I’ve arrived and can build a base camp” but rather a continual on-going journey. I used to say that becoming a Christian is not a once said prayer of commitment to Christ, but rather a daily/hourly/moment by moment “yes” to God.

This call has led me to some unusual places, a small United Reformed Church with a small congregation but a building buzzing with people Monday-Friday with a friend whose exploring what is being called New Monasticism and learning from the insights of people like Brendan, Francis, Benedict as well as more modern saints such as Dorothy Day, Mother Theresa and Shane Claiborne; what does it mean to be both an activist and receive deeply from God in contemplation.
The Celtic Christians talked of the Ancient Art of Breathing whereby we receive from God (the inward breath) and live out God’s calling in the world (outward breath), if we just breath in with a faith that may look contemplative but is actually just consumeristic we won’t flourish, nor will we flourish if we are simply activists trying to do everything on one breath! Instead we need to learn how the breath afresh from the breath of life, receiving (inhaling) and living it out (exhaling) as a life of obedience, saying “yes” to God in each moment, every time oxygen touches our lungs we are reminded of our own need and dependence on God.

Brendan is a great picture both of activism and contemplation, someone who went but someone who when the winds dropped, he landed on an uninhabited island took time for rest and nourishment.

The call has also led me to begin a small vision of a School of Mission. Our grand Vision is to “to encourage every Christian in the UK to feel comfortable and confident in talking about their faith in Christ Jesus through actions and words with wisdom and sensitivity under the guidance and leadership of the Holy Spirit”. A grand vision, but how do we carry it out in practice?

A small team have come around me, and we have done a couple of events, and are dreaming of some more.

This vision started with a launch to explain what God had laid on our heart (which is actually nothing short of seeing revival in the U.K!) and with this tour (which grew) and which I am seeking God for the next step of the vision. Somewhere (and I can’t remember when) I began to believe that God was calling me to do a tour from Cornwall to Carlisle.

Initially I called this “a mission tour”, but I felt I had lots to learn rather than all the answers, and felt like “hit and run” evangelism turning up without relationship “preaching to strangers” and then leap in the car and drive off. Instead I wanted something more relational wanting to bless and support those faithful Christians who are already ministering in the context already.

I worry that with too much of Christian and Church mission we have considered ourselves to be Saviours of community, rather than realising that there is only one Saviour -Jesus Christ- and he calls us to go in his power but to “walk humbly before him” (Micah 6:8)

I began to think of an African expression about “insiders and outsiders” -it is only an insider who ‘knows where the shoes pinch’ but often it takes an ‘outsider’ to point out the roof is leaking as everyone has just got used to how it is!

As I thought of God is always at work in mission in his world, in every context, both knowing ‘where the shoes pinch’ and seeing ‘where the roof that leaks’ I wondered whether this journey was about blessing other people, or about learning and growing myself, perhaps it is both?

I began to think of the word “pilgrimage” where the physical journey is also matched with an internal journey; with the expectation of meeting God in other people and places and being changed oneself.

Yet, opportunities arose to join in with things, and Pilgrimage to me sounded very passive and spectator-like. Also visiting and ‘looking at’ things/people sounded a bit like they were exhibits in a zoo, rather than brothers and sisters I longed to partner with and become friends with. I wanted to roll my sleeves up and serve and so the phrase: “activist pilgrimage” was coined: to listen, love and learn to seek to see God at work, but also to join in and get my hands dirty and serve, encourage, bless, share and help in any way I could.

A call for us all, where-ever we go, to be activist pilgrims, we do not go through lives merely as spectators but called to bless whenever and where-ever we can, stepping out with confidence and humility, with wisdom and a teachable spirit, to see to encounter Christ in others and for them to encounter him in us by what we say and do.

Perhaps an “Activist Pilgrimage” is a picture not just of a fortnights tour but actually a call to how we should as Christians live our everyday lives.


Preaching on Hanham Mount.

Hanham Mount is where Wesley preached to the Miners of Kingswood taking over from his friend George Whitefield.

Whitefield had a successful ministry happening preaching to the miners of Kingswood, who were considered the toughest and most dangerous group around Bristol, yet Whitefield got a job in America and wanted to ensure that his miners continued to hear the good news of Jesus, and talked his friend John Wesley into continuing his work. Wesley was reticent believing that the ‘right place’ for sermons was in Church not on a hillside, until he remembered that Jesus himself preached the sermon on the mount. Wesley preached to 16’000 miners and there was an anointing on his words and many responding to the Gospel message with ‘white-tears’ cutting through the rivets of soot on their faces as people turned to Christ.

From here Wesley preached all over the U.K travelling on horse-back the same distance as from earth to the moon (he must have been very saddle sore!)
Hanham Mount has been for me what the Celtic Christians would call a “thin-space” somewhere where heaven feels more accessible, I used to go up there on days when everything felt really tough and cry out to God, I discovered a prayer in Habakkuk that I used to pray there which was “Lord, I have heard of your fame, I stand in awe of your deeds, renew them in our day, and Lord in your wrath remember mercy! On one occasion a group of us were praying up there and some tourists came to take photos, one of these was a lady called “Mercy” who (unlike her friends) was worried about interrupting our prayer time and urged us “keep on praying, keep on praying!” My friend Mark a veteran of the Christian scene in Kingswood said: “I think that was a prophetic word… ‘Mercy calls us to keep on praying!’”

It was at Hanham Mount that my ministry in Kingswood ended as after my last service a few of us went us to Hanham Mount to share communion together and to pray for the city.

The Mount itself is a bit of an unseen treasure, a Methodist world heritage site, but many people in Kingswood do not know where it is, or what happened there. Indeed, many Christians in the city do no know of its existence and have never been there (although ironically some people will travel across the world to come here!).

At the top of the Mount there are several inscriptions one says a quote of Wesley “all the world is my parish” -as he was thrown out of many Churches for preaching the Gospel, the Bishop of London said he “did not like enthusiasm” and the Bishop of Bristol described the manifestations of the Holy Spirit convicting people of sin and bringing to repentance as a “horrid thing”!

The words “all the world is my parish” chimed with me in a new way, as since leaving Kingswood I have been trying to explore where God is calling me and also trying to get re-licenced with the Church of England locally which has be painful and problematic. At the moment I have no Anglican Parish to properly call home and feel a bit rejected and unwanted in the Church I have called home for my Christian life, but knowing too that “the one who calls you is faithful” and that I can trust him with my future.

Wesley also said: “Church or no Church I must preach the Gospel” and I wonder too often our starting (and finishing) point is the Church rather than the Gospel message, as when we start with God’s story of salvation and follow where he is at work in his world Church will born, but when we start with “Church” -or what we have called Church- then we might never actually preaching the Gospel.
Another inscription on Hanham Mount is a verse “blessed are the feet of him who brings good news”, slowly as I waited people from various parts and times of my life in Bristol (and some people I had never met as well) came and joined us on the mount, and my friend Wes began to play his guitar, and there was a beautiful sense of God being with us. One of my friends brought a small child with her who she’s fostering who was running around everywhere, and I was reminded of my time at Dan’s Church earlier that day. I was reminded of a quote which said: “Go with the confidence of a four year old in a batman T’shirt” and looked and something blessed me about how kids just embrace life, people they don’t know and are always exploring new things, climbing things and are completely un-phased about danger. Perhaps there is something of this in Christ’s command to become like little children?

I looked around at this group and was going to preach my sermon about: “if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, confess their sins and seek my face, then I will hear from heaven and heal their land” -but for some reason that talk didn’t feel right, so I prayed “Lord, help me know what to say”, because although I’d seen lots of amazing stuff, I was also exhausted and was worried about babbling incoherently -also I was still chewing over what I was thinking about stuff too! Two thoughts spontaneously lit up in my mind, one was a quote from Shane Claiborne who asked: “are you a believer (passive but full of head-knowledge) or a follower (someone who is actively pursuing Christ)?” the second was the vision of the School of Mission: “Our aim is to see every Christian in the UK comfortable and confident in sharing their faith in Christ Jesus, through deed and word, with wisdom and sensitivity under the guidance and leadership of the Holy Spirit”.

Following my talk, my friend Mark let us in prayer for Kingswood, Bristol and the nation, and he led us all to the stone with the verse inscribed about “blessed are the feet of those who bring good news” and as a response to God’s call, if we wanted to, to put our foot/feet on this stone, as a pledge to God of our desire to be bringers of good news.

My friend Paul had a prophetic word he shared about kids at school do “show and tell” where they bring something in and tell the class about it, and that this was a call for the Church to live out our faith in deeds and actions but also to speak about our faith too. Slightly embarrassingly I was reminded of the kids song which says: “Shine from the inside out, that the world will know you live in me…” with the chorus “know me, love me, fill me, send me…” which seemed a suitable blessing to send them off with.


Meeting Teresa at the Eucharist.

I crept into Church late on the Sunday morning during a hymn, I was less surreptitious than I would have liked as everyone had turned around to look at Dan the curate who was adjusting the CD playing sound-system at the back, he gave me a quick hug and I crept into a pew and I joined in the service, a traditional Anglican Eucharist, which I had not been to for quite a while. e.

Dan had been a placement student with me whilst training at theological college for a month whilst I was in Kingswood as part of his ordination training. It is an unusual experience having someone watch and reflect on what you do, in some ways it feels a bit vulnerable -although fortunately Dan was very gracious. I knew Dan would be a fantastic minister and it was great to see him ‘in situ’ and seeing the call of God on someone’s life be recognised and see them flourishing in the context where they have been called.

Dan introduced me briefly in the service and they prayed for me and the tour, which I found really moving. It was a great reminder that even though these people had never seen me before, in Christ we are joined together and on the same mission.

During the service Dan’s daughter wandered up to see him, and ended up holding hands with one of the servers, which was lovely as it showed how the Church clearly loved this family and were very relaxed about the presence of children in their Church. Sadly, I have come across too many Churches where kids do what kids do and have heard older members “tut” and “mutter”.

Welcome being so much more than just saying “hello” on the door, but is something that permeates everything we do, and who we are. It is through welcome that people feel loved, valued and accepted, through this we move from feeling like guests to feeling as though we belong to part of the family.

As part of the service there is a moment called “the peace” where we greet one another, I wandered around shaking hands with people I suddenly recognised two of them, Chris and Teresa. I was surprised to see them as they were out of context. Teresa had worked with me as an associate minister for a while in Kingswood before moving to a parish up the road in Mangotsfield and had been part of a steering group I chaired wrestling with the question of what God was calling us to do with the new housing estates that were fast rising up all around the outskirts of the city.

I remember being at a Deanery Leadership Team and I said about how we really ought to be talking about how our deanery (collection of local Anglican churches) needed to think about the vast amount of new growth and housing springing up all around us; the area dean somewhat fobbed me off with a “if you’d like to do it Andy go for it!” So, a small working party was born, it was great to hear various clergy colleagues exploring how they could reach out to their new neighbours as they arrived in their newly built homes (often surrounded by mud and building work).

One of the group, Howard, greeted every neighbour with a welcome pack, a hamper and a bottle of wine. He also was part of all the new neighbourhood groups and could be found flipping pancakes or lighting fireworks or some community event. Another colleague Rachel used to say “never underestimate the power of a McMillian Coffee Morning” who had a real gift for gathering small groups of people together, she also dressed as a banana for the whole of fair-trade fortnight which was a unique (but very surprisingly successful) way of getting to know the neighbours and builders.

As the service finished and we went to get our coffee, Teresa came up to me and saying that her parish now have a small church called ‘Inspire’ meeting in a school in the new area with local people coming to it which I was delighted to hear.

I shared with her about the work my friend John Good, a Baptist Pioneer Minister (known as John the Baptist) is doing in the area of Hamworthy that I am living in, as we prayer walk each week, have done a neighbourhood survey and actively seeking to be a blessing most recently giving out to the local people lots of frozen ice-pops as a random act of kindness.

Dan came over to join us and had a chat, his training incumbent (the Vicar who is meant to be looking after him and overseeing him like an apprentice) is leaving which is going to leave Dan looking after the parish. As the congregation disappeared it was great to pray a blessing on him as he prayed for me too.

As I drove away, I had thought I could easily have missed this morning as I did not actually ‘do’ anything but I was so grateful that I had gone along to the Church that morning as it had encouraged and inspired me afresh with seeing and hearing about God at work in various different settings, and a reminder that God is always at work reaching out in mission to his world.

I stuck my car into gear and headed towards Bristol.


Unlikely Travel Companions: Barnabas.

As I think about mentoring, my mind goes to Barnabas, who is one of the great unsung heroes of the bible, his name means ‘encourager’.

Barnabas is a sacrificial guy he sells a field and lays the money at the apostles feet (when I was at college my friend ‘Mad-Dog’ -now an archdeacon- said that he wondered if the unnamed rich young ruler -who walked away from Jesus as he loved his wealth too much- might have been Barnabas and in laying the money at the disciples feet was him realising what truly mattered! I’ve no idea if this is true, but part of me sort of hopes it is!)

We read of Barnabas taking a risk on Saul/Paul gives him opportunities to go on a missionary journey with him when no one else was prepared to give Paul a chance because of his horrendous past. I believe Barnabas saw the potential in Paul and invested in him, giving him opportunities to grow and thrive. It was through this that I believe Paul became a fantastic evangelist and apostle. So much so that in Acts 13 the narrator (probably Luke) stops writing “Barnabas and Paul” and begins to write “Paul and Barnabas”.

Giving people opportunities to serve can be a difficult thing to do, if they do not do something as well as you can that can be challenging, and if they do something better than you that also can be hard too!

As Paul began to excel, we see an amazing model of humility, Barnabas retreats quietly into the background. Echoes of John the Baptists statement about Jesus “I must decrease so he can increase”, a quote I used to have on my desk when I was a youth worker was: “Let our ceiling becoming their floor”.

Barnabas clearly has a Christ-like character with a lot of wisdom as he mentors Paul, yet I wonder do I know many people who are like Barnabas? In our world we have many people who are opinionated but few who are wise -James counsels us “if anyone lacks wisdom, they should ask God who gives generously”.

Yet sadly, even this mentoring relationship goes a little sour, with Barnabas wants to take the risk on John-Mark who had previously let them down on a previous task. Perhaps a bit of the older brother syndrome here from Paul, forgetting what he was like when Barnabas first took a risk on him?

Anyway, Paul and Barnabas fall out, and Paul goes off with Silas and Barnabas goes off with John-Mark and the gospel flourishes -but was no doubt painful for both Barnabas and Paul.

As we follow Paul in the scriptures we see him starts to mentor, we see this in
the letters he writes to a young Church leader called Timothy, these letters are full of encouragement, I get the impression that Timothy is someone full of potential but a little hesitant by nature, needing someone like Paul to call him from his comfort zone to be all that God has enabled him to be.

Mentoring is a bit like a relay race, if Barnabas hadn’t taken a risk on S/Paul and S/Paul hadn’t done the same with Timothy, we might not be sitting here.
Who is mentoring us? -Are we humble enough to let people speak into our life positively? “Iron sharpening Iron as one person sharpens another”.

Who are you mentoring? -Are we looking to encourage those around us and taking a risk on people, even if they might appear to be unlikely people?