Books & Blogs from Adrian Hawkes Blog

Do Angels Smoke Pipes?

Do Angels Smoke Pipes?

 Do Angels Smoke Pipes?

Some years ago Pauline and I were on a visit to Nigeria.  I have a rule: don’t carry too much cash.  We had £30.00 between us.  We had flown into Lagos from Accra, Ghana.  We presented ourselves at passport control and one of the officers said, “I need to see the £200.00 that you will change into Naira as you enter the country.”  I explained that between us we only had £30.00, but I had a credit card.
This made no difference whatsoever, he insisted that I was lying and demanded to see the £200.00 or, he said, “We will return you to where you came from.”  What could I do?  The answer to this question was made for me by the officer; he lifted his rifle, stuck it in my ribs, and marched me and Pauline down the long corridor back to the aeroplane on which we had arrived.  It had taken a long time to queue to get to passport control and our incoming plane had already departed.  The soldier then decided that I would have to go to prison and, he said, “Your wife will go to the women’s prison.”  Neither Pauline or I were impressed with this idea so I said, “can I try something?”  He looked at me suspiciously, pushed the gun a little harder into my ribs, and growled “what are you going to try?”  “Well,” I said, “I thought I might ask someone to give me some money.”  He pulled the gun out of my ribs and slung it up onto his shoulder, looked at me steely eyed and said, “are you mad?”
“Not really,” I replied, “but anything is better than going to prison, so will you let me try?”  “Who will you ask?” he said.  I looked around for a friendly face in the myriads of people waiting to fly out, which is what Pauline wanted to do right there and then.  I spotted a man leaning against a wall smoking a pipe, I said to my gun totting guard, “him over there.”  He shrugged and said, “this should be fun, I am coming with you.”  Our party of three made their way over to the pipe smoker.  I opened the conversation, “excuse me do you speak English?”  The man replied, “Just a little.”  I explained that the gun wielding soldier was inclined to put me in prison as I did not have the required £200.00 to change into Naira, could he help.  Much to my guard’s amazement the man said, “of course, I will go to the bank outside and get it for you.”  A few moments later he was back with £200.00 Stirling.  “There you are,” he said.  I thanked him profusely and said, “I need to pay you back, when I get back to the UK where should I send it?”  He laughed and at my insistence wrote something on a piece of paper which I carefully stowed in my wallet.  We said our farewells and my now, somewhat quieter, guard escorted us back to passport control.
At the counter he announced, “They have the £200.00!”  “Oh they’ve found it have they!” The man in the booth responded.  “No,” the guard said, “I have just seen the most amazing thing; a man gave them the money”.  I chipped in, “Well I did pray to God before I spoke to him.”  A hush descended, they stamped our passports, and we were waved through.
There is more to this story which maybe I will save to my next blog, however, while in Nigeria, I took many the names, addresses and business cards of many people, all of which I tucked into the same place that I had put pipe-smoking-man’s piece of paper.  My intention was to write to everyone on my return to the UK including writing to and repaying Mr Pipe-smoker.  On my return to the UK every piece of paper was still safely stowed, and I started and succeeded in writing to every person, all except Mr Pipe-smoker.  His piece of paper was missing, and even though I turned out my wallet and luggage, it was nowhere to be found.  All the other address details were there. 
I wanted to pay back my friend, but as his details had disappeared I was not able to do this.  Who was he, where is he, why he gave me the money I have no idea.  Perhaps if he reads this, he will let me know.  My thoughts about it, perhaps, maybe, it was no ordinary man.  How extraordinary that he gave me £200.00 very quickly, very easily, without any argument, debate, and with very little forethought.  At the time, because I was so stressed, I did not think these elements through.  If angels smoke pipes I want to say thank you to God for sending that particular pipe-smoker at the perfect moment.

Adrian Hawkes
Edited by Edited by Technicolour text
W. 827

ADRIANS BLOG 2012-05-27 19:28:00

ADRIANS BLOG 2012-05-27 19:28:00

A yellow duck dancing – Again.

In 1970 I was leading a church in the North of England, one Sunday, as I was speaking, I noticed that people were getting very distracted and giggling at inappropriate points in my talk, I also observed that they got especially boisterous when singing, even in the slow songs. I later discovered that one of the young people had rigged up a line on which a large yellow plastic duck danced aloft behind me, becoming especially mobile when people sang. See my story on my Blog 26th May 2010. In November 2011 I published my sixth book, my first fiction book, and as part of the publicity I sent out a picture of the book via email. Imagine my surprise when the book cover came back somewhat adjusted.  I just thought you would all like to see it.
Here is the link to the original story…
Original cover
Cover with added duck

Running an Independent Sector School

Running an Independent Sector School

Running an Independent sector school

I have been running independent sector schools for over 30 years.  We are still small; if I had more money I would have bigger buildings and more students.  Why do I do it?  I believe in it, it works, it’s value for money, and most important of all it gives young people a head start in their lifelong educational journey.

Over the many years that I have been managing Christian schools I have received plenty of flack, partly because of the system that we use; Accelerated Christian Education (ACE).  I am well aware that this system is not perfect.  Has the perfect education system yet been devised?  To quote the inventors of the system, “ACE is a system of education, it’s a tool, and you have to make it work.”  Which we do, we adapt and tailor the system to meet the requirements of our students; a system of education which in my opinion is better than most.

I have keenly watched the success of our students as they go into their chosen life pathways, I know, and they know that some of the success they enjoy is down to the hard work of our school staff as they have guided the students through their early educational journey.

Over the 2011 Christmas period I had the pleasure of meeting some of the older students who have since progressed to college and university.  It was good to chat with them and to ask some pertinent questions.  I think it would be useful to share this anecdotal information with a wider audience.

I asked one student how his first year at Canterbury University had gone. 

He responded, “I missed my London friend but the studies were fine.” 

I asked him for his opinion of our school system; here are some of his comments. 

“One of my uni modules is accounting, I had already done that subject that for my Intermediate exam with International Certificate of Christian Education (ICCE), so of course I had that down as one of my options from the advanced level course.  However when I saw the stuff at University I had to laugh and I said I wish my school studies had been this easy!”

I asked him if there was anything else he had noticed about his uni studies.

He said, “The Algebra, as with accounts, I wish that the school stuff had been as easy as the university material.”

His final comment was, When you have been to a school using the ACE system a fundamental element that you learn is how to manage your study time and how to complete work within a given period. I am finding that my stuff gets  done whereas lots of other students seem to have problems completing work and bringing it in on time.  We all have the same amount of time, and I think some of them are possibly brighter than me, but what they lack is the discipline that has been put into me over the years to complete the work on time.”

I also got the chance to talk with one of the lads who had completed his General Certificate at ICCE level, and asked him how his college studies were progressing.

Great!” he said, “but what is funny is how the other students don’t seem to be able to complete work on time, I have just handed in one of my first essays, the  lecturer said 1,000 words, I was about 400 over so I went to him and asked how critical is the word count?”

“Oh” he replied, “I only ask for 1,000 as most of the students cannot get anywhere near that number, I am happy with anything up to 2000 words, but I would be surprised if many can even achieve 800.”

I asked him if he had made any other observations since he had left school.
He said, “A friend asked me if I could help her with her GCSE material as she had to take an exam in Maths, so I said I would come around and try. I was very surprised at the level, and helped her to complete the work and showed her how to work out the material.  I then asked if I could take a copy of the paper with me.  She agreed and explained that it was an old exam paper used for practice.  I took it home to my younger sister, she is just 13 years old, and said can you do this maths? She said, ‘ Oh crumbs, yes of course, I am doing that stuff now.’”

 For those who know anything about the system this girl is on PACE 1083 which according to ICCE is two units below where we would say a student is who has begun General certificate work.

There was another young lady at the New Years Eve party who had been to a school using the ACE system, but not at one of the schools that I run; she is currently reading English at Liverpool Hope University.  I asked how she had found it, and if anything she had learnt from the system was useful in ongoing university studies. 

Her reply was amusing, “Well,” she said, “I am the only student in my group who knows how to  break down an English language sentence into its component parts, the whole class were saying, ‘we don’t even understand what we are being asked to do.’  So I ran my own tutorial group for my friends.  They asked how I knew how to do this, and I told them that I did it all when I was quite young in my Christian school, that it was standard practice.  I am just surprised that such basic things are part of this English course at university.”

Flack or no flack, the results speak for themselves.  You might say to me, are you trying to sell your system to us?  The answer to that is; you bet I am!

W. 1011

Adrian Hawkes for

Edited by Technicolour Text

In the Beginning there was nothing – which exploded.

In the Beginning there was nothing – which exploded.

  In the Beginning there was nothing – which exploded

My Blog: ‘Where does my tax pound go?’ has generated a lot of comments, thank you for joining in the big bang conversation.  I note also that some of the ‘followers of the way’ are getting a little excited by my response about the need to have the right and freedom to talk in school about creation and actually to teach creation.
I am not, at this stage, concerned with the thought of evolution or not, but want to make you aware that there are many people who want to silence the those who are followers of the way; who believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead; who believe that there is a ‘God who is there’ who is the source of all things; who created the universe and the earth, time and space outside of himself.
Those who oppose the teaching of creation are not just advocating ‘you must teach evolution’; what they are advocating is that you must not say that there is a God who created the world, however he did it.  God must be kept in the private place of religion so called, or special dedicated buildings, or maybe we will let you talk about that ‘myth’ in the confines of religious instruction, though we rather you didn’t!
I listened to humanists discussing the subject on TV last Sunday morning they were vehemently opposed to bishops in the house of Lords, I might even agree with them there, but when pushed they slipped back into the usual rhetoric, ‘why should we allow schools to talk about God or faith, these myths belong outside of those areas and should be stopped as well as bishops in the House of Lords.’  It isn’t evolution that they want taught, it’s God and the fact of the Lordship of Christ, and the fact of the resurrection that they do notwant taught, or talked about in the public arena.  That has always been so, there has always been the pressure to keep your beliefs private, but that is not the way of it.  We are commanded as followers of the way to share the good news that God is a personal God, He is there, He is not far away and a way of reconciliation has been made to Him via Christ and that all goes back to the beginning, that likeness that we have to the God who is there, that ultimate responsibility / answerability we have to Him and that we actually, as humankind, rebelled against Him.  That is a public place announcement and must remain so!
Let’s go back to the beginning shall we.  Which beginning? The humanist theory of beginnings is that there was nothing, then there was a big bang and after billions of years you have you and me, and a few billion others.  However because the bang ‘just happened’ we need to understand that there is no meaning to it,  as many of the people I am talking about, when pushed will of course be honest enough to tell you.  There is no meaning in love, justice, and morality.  When you are dead you are dead there is nothing else to it, no purpose, in life it’s all just a really bad joke.  Of course you can enjoy life while it’s there but don’t think that any of it means anything, Love is just the firing of neurons in the brain, a chemical reaction with perhaps a physical outcome.  It is about pointless survival, there is nothing there and no reason for it, a great big accident of nature, whatever nature is.  God is dead, in fact God never existed, man is also dead.  If we think about it for a moment we will move into total despair at such a pointless, meaningless existence.
Rather I would want our students and everyone else to know, the fact that we do have meaning, because we were created in the image of a personal and loving God.  That gives us meaning, that actually is true truth.  That is why we need to respect each other, that is why we can have meaningful love, both to other humans and to God.  That is why love can be reciprocal, that is why life, the universe, me, and you have real meaning and value.
My old friend George Canty used to say to me, ‘why do people think that they can have faith in faith that is so irrational.’  If you are in despair, without faith you might have faith in faith, or drugs or alcohol or sex without love, or take a leap into any nonsense.  Rather George would say, ‘put your faith in God that is something rational, true, checkable, reasonable, and verifiable.’  Being a follower of the way is not illogical or irrational it is truthful and sensible and rational.
There are those who would say science has replaced the need for God; interestingly Julius Robert Oppenheimer, a scientist, theoretical physicist and professor of physics, who was not a Christian butacknowledged Christianity was needed for modern science to exist for the simple reason that Christians create a climate of thought which put men in a position to investigate the form of the universe in which he exists. 

Many early scientists had the view that a reasonable God had made a reasonable universe, and having created reasonable man we could scientifically examine this reasonable universe and discover how it works.  The problem for the modern humanistic is that all the time they try to examine the irrationality of the universe and the accident that we are here they discover that they are examining a rational world.

Going back to that TV programme the other Sunday morning, I noted what they said about bishops in the House of Lords, the humanists said, ‘we don’t want them there,’ and as I have said, maybe I agree.  Then they said we don’t mind people being Christians, but they must not impose their ideas on others, particularly children in schools, even though they feel it is perfectly okay for them to impose their ideas wherever they like.  I know their answer to that criticism, as I have discussed it with them, they say, ‘ah but what we are teaching is true!’ As if they have the monopoly on truth!

Well I don’t want what I have discovered to be pushed into some private corner, limited to a religious education class, or a special building.  And what I have also discovered is truth; it’s a person!

Adrian’s Blog

W 1110

Edited by Technicolour text

Thanks to Mal Kelly for the title

ADRIANS BLOG 2012-03-10 20:47:00

ADRIANS BLOG 2012-03-10 20:47:00

How pointless life is for humanists and atheists. How do they get up in the morning?

Fleas Chickens Elephants

Fleas Chickens Elephants

Chapter 5 of Breaking the Mould

Book Published by
Kingsway Edited by Gerald Coates first published 1993

Having a Vision-Making It Happen

By Adrian Hawkes

My Profile in 1993: Written
by the Editor of the book. (i.e. Not Me)

Adrian Hawkes leads a network of churches and ministries
entitled ‘New Living Ministries’ which is a part of the Pioneer work. The main
church is based in the famous rock theatre, The Rainbow, on Seven Sisters Road
in North London. They are involved in a number of church-planting initiatives
in North London and have inroads into the Tamil community and are church
planting with them in France, Switzerland and New Zealand. Adrian is married to
Pauline and they have three children.
Chapter Five – of
Breaking the Mould-
a Vision—Making It Happen


If you take a jam-jar and fill it with fleas (the jumping
kind), placing the lid firmly on for your own protection, you should note that
the fleas will jump up and down until they bang their heads on the lid. At that
point they will reduce the height of their jump to a point just below the rim.
Fleas, apparently, don’t like bumping their heads. I am told that if you later
remove the lid, the fleas will continue to stay in the jar because they are
conditioned to believe in a lid.
I have not done this experiment myself, but you are welcome to
try it. The point is they are conditioned. Most of us are conditioned by what
is around us. It encloses us, it limits us, it controls us. If we understood
what a big God we have, we would understand that he has taken the limits off
and we can jump out
the vicious circle

People come to look at the work that has been
achieved in our church here in North London and often say things like, ‘If only
I had . . . then I could. . . It is foolish to look at what is and assume that
it has always been, or that everything floated down from heaven, ready made,
just for that pastor, team, leader, music director or whatever, to take charge
of and enjoy the fruits.

In every situation there is always the vicious
circle. It goes something like this. We do not have enough people; if we had
the right money we could get the people; we also lack resources. To some extent
that is often a correct conclusion, but somewhere those circles must be broken.
We have some choices to make, and the key to those choices is vision–not looking
at what is, but at what could be. Not looking at who you have with you, but at
what they are going to become. Not looking at the money you don’t have, but at
knowing how much you need to spend.

It takes vision plus faith to break the circle. You
might break it at the financial point; you might break it at the resources
point; you might well break it at the point of people whom you do have and know
and who are willing to be with you to help.

people have what I call tunnel vision: they see what they want to see. They see
what they are conditioned to see, what logic tells them they should see. The
mind fills in the details. Almost like the fact that the action of the mind
prefers to compensate for the blind spot in the eye, filling in the details from
past experiences. We need to jump out of that mind-set. We need new thinking lateral
thinking. ‘Put on the mind of Christ,’ the Bible says. Dream dreams! Have a


Chickens could tell us a lot. A farmer once told me
that, as a child, a hen, firmly push its beak to the ground and then, with a
finger, draw a line in the farmyard dirt. The hen would watch from the right
eye the line being drawn nearer and nearer to its head. When the finger got to
the head, he would run the finger firmly across the chicken’s head so that it
really felt it, and then down the other side of the head. He then continued the
line along the dirt, which the hen watched with great suspicion with its left
eye. The hen could see a line with the right eye and a line with the left eye,
and it surely felt it go across its head. Then he would gently release his hold
on the chicken which would stay right there, tied to the floor. It could see
the rope with both eyes. The chicken had felt the rope over its head; it knew
it was tied down.

Some of us can see what we see, but we see it only
with our human eyes. We fail to see with vision that is clear. We can only see
the reason why we have not succeeded, the reason why we have been tied down,
the reason why we did not get the breaks.

You are not too old. It is not too late to have a
dream, to have a vision and to plan the first steps. You will then discover
that the things that tied you down were actually illusions, and were only there
to limit you in what you need to do for the kingdom.


They tell me that the way to train an elephant is
very simple. Again, I have not tried it, but will be glad to receive the
results of your research. I am told that you find a sturdy tree stump and tie
the elephant’s leg to it with a strong chain. You then put food for the
elephant just out of reach so that as he moves towards it the chain cuts harder
into his leg, creating considerable pain. After a few days, the elephant learns
that to try and reach the food simply causes tremendous pain and is
unachievable. You can then feed the elephant. You can change the chain for a
light rope that normally the elephant would snap, but the light rope will now
be sufficient to restrain your elephant.

elephant has been conditioned to believe that moving his leg, if it is tied,
would cause him pain. So he has learned to move only in the area where the
slack would allow. Conditioned, controlled and tamed, the mighty elephant is
now limited. There is one thing, however, that will spoil the training of an
elephant. Should you have completed your training and then be unfortunate
enough to suffer a fire (one that comes towards your elephant), the fire would
enable the elephant to overcome the conditioning, overcome the pain, overcome
the fact that he knows he is tied, and he would break loose. The breaking loose
would mean that never again could you train him or condition him. You have lost
your elephant!

our thinking

It is very obvious that the way God changes people
is by changing their thinking. ‘As a man thinks, so he is,’ says Proverbs 23:7
in effect. ‘Be transformed by the renewing of your mind’ (Rom 12:2). What we
think about ourselves, our situation, our upbringing, our God, is
all-important. ‘I am unable‘means you will not be able to. ‘I can’ means you
will. Paul says, ‘I can do everything through him who gives me strength’ (Phil
4:13), and he could!

fire changes the elephant and makes him free once again. The fire of the Holy
Spirit should burn into our minds and set us free. Maybe some of us speak in
tongues, but we somehow need the fire of the Holy Spirit to burn up the old
negatives—the disillusionment, conditioning, upbringing, old hurts, laziness,
worldliness, wrong conceptions of God—and free us to be visionaries who will
take action and change the world. This is how it happened in the Bible. I am
not trying out a new doctrine. Danny Moe, a Canadian friend of mine, takes
seminars for sales representatives for some very large companies. He told me
once that fewer than 1% of all groups (and he does seminars for Secular as well
as Christian organisations) have any goals, plan or vision of where they are
going or what they plan to be or do. A pastor of a church in North London spoke
to me at a Ministers’ Fratemal. When I asked him what his goals and aims were,
his answer was, ‘I am just waiting to be led. I do not plan anything. I just
want to see what God does.’  That sort of
nonsense showed in the life, or non-life, of his church! I am sure that God is
still willing to speak with us, guide us and redirect us, but there is a
broad-based plan in Scripture that offers scope for us to change the situation.
God is with us to do just that.

do we get started?

How do we change if we are visionless at the moment?
Where do you get dreams from?

I believe the first place we ought to go is to the
word of God in order to gain understanding of who God is and what he is able to
do. Fill your mind with it. Fill your mind with the fact that he is a mighty
God, a God of miracles, a God of power, God who is love. Know that he is with
you, for you, plans for your success, is just waiting to be involved with your
work, and for you to be involved with his plans.

Secondly, start to dream—not necessarily while you
are asleep! Dreams without inhibition, unlimited dreams. Do not limit your
dreams by what your qualifications are, or what you don’t have, or what you may
or may not need, or what resources you lack. Dream as if you have them all.

begin to have a vision of the dreams fulfilled. See it, taste it, walk round
it, hear from God, tell him what you see.

Fourthly, set goals—real goals, long-term goals,
short-term goals, medium-term goals—and say: ‘My goals take me there. My
long-term goal is to arrive.’ The goals must interlink. It is not usually
sensible to go south if your ultimate plan is to end up in the north. Write the
goals down. Review them regularly. Life is made up of choices and some things
have to be rejected in favour of others. Don’t get side-tracked and channelled
into the wrong direction from your goal. God is for you, so go for it! Remember
that destiny is a matter of choice not circumstance.

Fifthly, and here is where many people get frozen
in their tracks (where dreams and visions may die), have a plan of where you
are going. You must have bite-size, achievable objectives. To put it another
way, the goal must be broken down into small pieces. What will you do tomorrow?
These composite part of your vision must have time limits. They must be
measurable. You might miss the time or not quite make the measurement, but if
it is not stated, then it is not measurable and you will hit nothing and go
nowhere. (Unless of course you are like the farmer who hit a bull’s eye every
time on his barn door. The only problem was, he painted the targets after he
had fired the bullets.)

Sixthly, we need a philosophy of ministry. We need
to be reminded at this point that we are kingdom people, children of the
heavenly Father. We cannot regard what we do as simply employment, though we
may be employed. We cannot see it as just work, though we may have to work very


The best way of describing what we do to accomplish
the vision, is ministry. That means you and your vision are not only working
something out, you are a gift to the church. Not a cheap copy that will break
down after a couple of uses, but a real valuable genuine article. What is
ministry? Where do we minister? It seems that many definitions of ministry have
a very narrow band—preaching, visiting, studying. There are some who would tag
other gifts to the church with that, such as teacher or pastor. From my own
perspective, it has been a great tragedy that many denominations see the
pastoral role as the main ministry and only pay lip service to the other
ministries. We need a philosophy of ministry that is broad based, enabling,
involving and one that will allow us to be inclusive of the whole church

have tried to work out a philosophy of ministry as follows:

To be an enabler— which usually means getting out
of the way to let the church work.

To have the broadest possible vision. I would see
that as the local church being involved in every angle and aspect of human
happening—-worship, praise, evangelism, education, business, medicine. politics
and social concern.

To have a vision broad enough to allow me to
incorporate other people’s vision into my vision making it our vision, and to
help them exercise their ministry in the widest possible way.

To seek to obey the biblical injunction to pass on
to faithful men that which I have learned, that they in turn pass it on (2 Tim
2:2), and to allow that participation across the whole ministry. I do not
imagine that I will always be the preacher, teacher or whatever, or that the
team around me will always be doing what they are doing. They must be passers-on
and developers of others.  To seek to
have structures that teach the church and then the community at large to bring
forth facets of ministry, so that care takes place for the whole church.

To seek to be expansionist in every area of church
activity. Remember that evil is expansionist and therefore the kingdom needs to
be as well.

To continually find other people’s ministries and
develop them. I do not mean that you must adopt my philosophy of ministry, but
you do need one. Many do not have one. They are going through the motions of a
tradition, or they have a job, or they have never taken the trouble to define
what they are about. Think it through, define it and go for it! If you are not
planning to hit something, then most likely you won’t! This may put some off
because of the ‘hard work’ factor.


We had quite a substantial work in North London and
God blessed us in many ways. We spent considerable time showing people around
the numerous facilities. Most of the people we showed around were church
leaders of various ilk. The reaction concerning what God had done usually came
in three forms:

Those who regarded me, or the team, or both, as
something unique, specially used of God, a one-off. This is not a compliment
because we are very ordinary people. Usually visitors said, ‘If I had your . .
. and named some aspect of our church’s talents, ministry or plant as if it had
fallen down from heaven. It did not. It took battles, disappointments,
despondency, misunderstandings, stickability, faith in God and sheer hard work.

 (b) The
second group, who perhaps were a little more honest, looked around and said,
‘Oh, it’s great, but it looks like hard work to me. I would not want to cope
with so much.’ Sadly, that group seemed to be the largest.

The third group, and by far the smallest, looked
and said, ‘I can see what God has done for you. He can do similar things in my
church town/area. I am going to become the catalyst for change in my sphere of

I believe in models. I believe in setting trends,
in challenging what is. It is only as some do, in God, what has not been done
before that others will follow. I don’t think it is wrong to want some of the
good things God has done for others. They are my chance to know him more, to
enter into a deeper relationship and to experience his working. I noticed that
Jesus called busy people in the New Testament to follow him. He did not call those
who were sitting around doing nothing. I think work can be great fun,
especially when it is kingdom work.

8. I do
believe leadership must set goals so that visions do not become a one-man show,
or just personal vision. Their vision must be something the whole church can
see and go for. I often go into other churches and I am told what the vision of
the church is. Sadly many times there isn’t one. Worse still, people often say
to me, ‘Tell our pastor what is going on in your fellowship so some of it can
go on here.’ It is not as simple as that. Many pastors don’t want to hear or
know! It is possible to have a people-led revolution, but it is usually bloody,
hurtful and often does not succeed. Much better if a leadership has vision,
translates it into goals and persuades others to own those goals.

Some years ago I came back from a Pastors’ School
with what I believe was a vision from God, or word from the Lord—a goal. It was
to become a church that is an effective visible voice for him in our area of North
East London, with at least 3,000 people coming together for celebrations. We
have not arrived there yet, but if you had asked people in our fellowship, one
year later, ‘What is the goal of the church? 
10% would have said, ‘A congregation of 3,000,’  If you ask that question now, 90% would give
you the same answer.

9. You have to start somewhere and the
best thing to start with is what you have got. Too many people claim they are
going to do ‘so and so’ when God sends the person with ‘such and such’ a gift
or talent to the church. They will do it when finances are right, or, worse
still, when the church is right.

gives the increase

need to learn from the two little ones who were late for school. One said,
‘Let’s stop and pray that the bus will be late.’ The other one said, ‘No, let‘s
run and pray.’ It seems to me that God wants to do a great deal with the little
we do have. We need to see and be willing to use the little we have if we want
God to move for us. God’s miracles always seem to have a human element in the
Bible. Here are three examples to demonstrate what I mean.

(a) ‘What have you got?’ asked the
starving Elijah of the starving widow. ‘Nothing,’ was the first reply. The
second reply was, ‘Except some oil and meal.’ ‘Bake it and give it to God,’ was
the answer. God gives the increase (see 1 Kings 17:7-16).

(b) ‘What have you got?’ the man of God
asked of the widow who says her children will be sold into slavery. ‘Nothing,’
was the first reply. The second reply was ‘Except a little oil.’ ‘Go and
collect vessels and use your oil,’ said Elisha. God gives the increase (see 2
Kings 4:1-7).

(c) ‘Feed the people,’ Jesus commanded
the disciples. ‘How?’ they asked. ‘What have you got?’ asked Jesus. ‘Nothing,’
was the first reply. ‘Five loaves and two fishes,’ was the second reply. God
gives the increase (see Matthew 14:1S—21).

ask many leaders, ‘What have you got?’ The reply is often that they have
nothing. Because my eyes are adjusted to seeing, I go to their churches and see
talents of music, witnessing, service and caring, and I long to have them say
to God, ‘I have these and I “give them to you. I will use them. I will start.’
Then they will see God give the increase.

Having started— continue. So often we want to give up
because it is hard, it is not what we expected, we were misunderstood, it is a
pressure, those we trusted have left. But in the end is not just yet. The story
is not finished, the climb is not over. Stay with it. Don’t cancel, don’t close,
don’t sell. Invest instead. Don’t call it a day, don’t give up. Stay in there
and God will give you the increase. Sow liberally and reap the harvest. There
are lots of great starters, a few good continuers, even fewer finishers. Be one
of the few finishers. Finish what God has called you to do.

10. When you start to go forward, you will need an
essential ingredient—real friends. Friends who will support you. Friends who
will understand you when you are hard to understand. Friends who are real
enough to tell you when you are wrong. Friends who will be with you when nothing
particular is happening. Friends who will stand with you when it seems the sky
has caved in. It will take time to earn such friends. They will need
cultivating. Enjoy meals together, work together, play together. They will help
you and you will help them become all that you both need to be in the body of

11. The eleventh thing we need on our
way forward is a lack of neatness. Yes, I did say ‘lack’. People who have
everything sewn up have usually stopped church. Those who have everything in
neat tidy committees are not going anywhere. People who want every ‘i’ dotted
and every ‘t’ crossed before they start out will probably never leave home. Our
Western minds like the tidy approach, everything in its place. We think
structures, and of course we need structures to make us function, but they
don’t always have to be as tidy as we think!

pastor visiting my church one day said, ‘It is so untidy, more like a circus.’

like circuses,’ was my reply.

‘What is your leadership structure?’ some say to me.
I know what it is at the moment, but it is also like a kaleidoscope,
continually changing. The holder is stable but that is all. We change things
around to meet the changing needs and doors of opportunity. I am very
suspicious of neat answers, neat churches. Long live the ragged edge! Long live
anomalies! Long live exceptions!

  12. It is
dangerous to become too introspective. When I was a little boy my mother
allowed me to plant some seeds in the garden. Every day I went along and dug
them up to see how they were doing. They didn’t do very well! We must not do
that with ourselves, nor with that part of the work that God has entrusted to
us, but we do need to look back.

need to look back to what we were before God saved us.

We need to look back at what has been done. We need
to remember that rough diamond and observe some of the polish now beginning to
show. We need to remind ourselves that a life once wasted is now bringing forth
fruit. We can go forward. We can conquer. We can be more than conquerors—never
mind the toil, never mind the hard work, God is worth it! When you do look back
and see those things, it will make you want to rejoice. I believe that God
wants us to rejoice in him. Be glad in the Lord, even if there is nothing else
to be glad in. But there is, for we can be glad in what we have accomplished.

Adrian Hawkes

Breaking the Mould Book

Published by Kingsway Publications

ISBN 0-86065-699-3

Editor Gerald Coates

Published in1993


NB Life is a
journey.  Life in knowing God and
learning His ways is also a journey of developing relationships.  Some of what I wrote in 1993 are still
principals that I would find useful and would want to encourage.  In terms of the way I would now use the word
‘church’  and other areas like Kingdom
and what that means then I would have to say that my relationship with God has
developed me and changed my thinking;  If
you want to know how and more you would need to ask me.  My email is