That Spark Of Inspiration


A spark.  Sometimes that’s all it takes to move someone – to make them feel like they can do it too.

If you inspire enough people, sooner or later, you will awaken someone with greater potential than yourself.

We need to learn to be comfortable with that.

My wife, Liz, inspired me to run.  Liz never asked me or pressured me to run, she just started to run herself and kept running.  Initially I had no interest but soon her progress and commitment inspired me.

Now I’m arguably more obsessed with running than Liz is.

Over the last couple of months, more of my friends are sending me Nike+ friend requests.  It’s actually becoming quite serious.  Ha ha.  For a while I was enjoying a comfortable lead, but now it’s proving more challenging to stay out in front but I still love it.

As I’m writing this I’m worried it may sound pretentious.  If I have influenced anyone to start running it was likely down to one thought only – “if Alastair can do it so can I” – and I’ll take that.

I know one of these days soon I am going to concede to some of these guys.  There is simply more running potential in some of them than I am capable of.

Yes, of course there’s a ministry parallel here.

As we lead our respective ministry teams, our focus should always be on inspiring and encouraging other people to do what we do.  Our passion and commitment to what we do will speak volumes.

While we should work hard at getting better at what we do, we should never be focused on trying to hold on to our positions.  This approach not only blocks potential leaders from rising up, but it also acts as a bottleneck to the organization in which we serve.

We need to acknowledge that sometimes our sole purpose is to inspire and encourage the next generation of leaders, who will go on to do greater things for the Kingdom of God.

There are many examples in the bible.  Joshua took over from Moses and brought the Israelites into the promised land.  Elisha took over from Elijah and received a double share of Elijah’s anointing.

So, recognize potential in your team.  Pour into them as much as you can and if the time comes, move over and let them past.  We’re all in this together for the sake of the Kingdom.

Best Posts, Thoughts

Change Your Course

999884_10151770223991929_927477560_nI’ve caught a bit of a running bug lately.  So several times a week I’m out sweating along a route in our community as I try to get into shape.

I can see progress – that’s the thing that keeps me going most of all – constant improvement.  While I’m getting fitter and have more stamina, I have goals which are still to be reached.

I’m not loosing motivation – not at all – but I couldn’t help thinking when I was out on a run on Sunday about how I could apply analogies from running to ministry.  Yes, even while listening to Daft Punk simultaneously.

Change Your Route

I can get bored of a route fairly quickly.  I regularly need to expand on my route, or explore a different route altogether.  Here is what I find when I do that:

  • It freshens up my run.  I often have a new lease of energy.
  • It heightens awareness of my surroundings.  I’m more observant.  I learn more about my neighborhood.
  • I find new shortcuts and better terrain.
  • It keeps me challenged and motivated.
  • It may be a different route, but goal, start and end destination are the same.

I couldn’t help but run parallels (pun intended) with ministry.  We can get lethargic or apathetic sometimes in ministry because every time we set out, we keep doing the same thing (and getting the same results).  Maybe it’s time to look at a route change?

We shouldn’t keep doing the same thing just because it’s producing adequate results.  What if there’s a better approach?  Wouldn’t it feel awesome to have renewed vision, awareness, enthusiasm and energy?

Then it’s best to keep moving and adapting, because sooner or later you’ll run the risk of getting bored with the same routine.

So, the next time you’re putting that set list together, planning that sermon, or launching church programs, try something a little different.  Get a little creative with how you reach the end goal.

Support Each Other

I run alone most of the time, but I do enjoy talking to others about running.  Sharing successes and even failures.  Letting others know about things I’m learning and also learning from them.  I have just recently been enjoying a little bit of competition with some friends over Nike+ (my preferred running app).

This is important in ministry too.  We need people alongside us that we can learn from.  We need people who have the ability to push us (motivate and encourage).  We need people who understand our failures and believe and share in our goals.  We need people to call us out when the route we’re taking will not help us achieve those goals.

Keep Running

Let me know if you see any other parallels between running and ministry.  These parallels were drawn when my brain was flowing with endorphins and made perfect sense to me at time of writing.

The important thing is, to keep running toward Jesus – “I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.” – Philippians 3:14


Color Vibe 5k #C25K


STORYCHURCH TEAM: Kristen, Jillien, Eric, Liz, Alastair (Me), Morgan

On Saturday past I took part in my first 5k race for many years.  Just getting to the race with this team all in one car was something I’ll remember for a long time.  We got a good day for the run – cool, overcast and dry.

Liz and I ran together around the course – our first 5k together.  We had been training for this run for many weeks using the Couch to 5k iPhone app (C25KFree).  Liz started her training first and encouraged and inspired me to run also.  I gave in a few weeks later and commenced with the 8 week program.

I’m glad I did.  I’ve enjoyed the process and seeing the progress we’ve both been making.  It was so good to finally put all our training into an actual organized run, alongside 6000 people at Color Vibe.

A few of us have signed up for another race in Durham at the end of July and I’m actually looking forward to it.


Liz and I after the race.