In September 2021, after 13 months of thought, prayer and discussion with a few trusted friends - I shared with the Board of Trustees my desire to transition from my role as Executive Director to a new role of Ambassador. Since then, the Trustees have been prayerfully working on the timing of my transition and a recruitment process for my successor.

Explaining why I came to that decision is not easy, but here goes:

An organisation’s relationship to its founder is more complex and inter-related than to a typical CEO. Some of that is healthy, some isn’t. Founders can be an impediment to what God wants the organisation to become - gradually seduced by the control and authority, fooling themselves into an over-inflated sense of their own importance, falsely believing in their indispensability. I feel it right, for Hope into Action, to model a different style of leadership – empowerment (a core value of ours at HIA), at its heart, involves letting go.

In its early years an organisation can be highly dependent on the founder but now, after more than 12 years, the main responsibilities in Hope into Action are delegated, the values well embedded, the vision secure, the brand established, the vast majority of our KPIs are strong, we have regular income streams, solid reserves and highly competent people are managing well developed systems, policies and procedures. 

I believe the brand of Hope into Action needs to outgrow its founder, (‘Jesus must become greater’ to quote John the Baptist).

I also know and trust it will continue well without me, not least because the founder was always God, the rest of us have just been in partnership with Him. I trust in the words of Jesus, where seeds produce ’30,60, 100 times’ ‘all by itself’.

I am loving my job more than ever, I still have energy, excitement, vision and good relationships. The last 12 months have been my most enjoyable at HIA as I’ve seen and admired so much good work around the country. Counter-intuitively, that strikes me as a good time to leave.

One of the best parts of this role has been meeting and interacting with church leaders whose commitment and sacrifices have always inspired me. I have also been lucky enough to have selected (or had a say) in many of the people I work with. I have found tremendous joy in being their colleague, friend and co-worker for Christ. I will miss my current role and the day-to-day sense of team I have with them and all reading this. The pain and loss of that will be very real to me. In that grief, I am trusting in the Christian paradox of needing to die to yourself, like that kernel of wheat which had to be buried (John 12), for new life and HiA growth to take place.

I remain utterly passionate about our mission and vision. I’m as convinced as I’ve ever been that with faith as small as a mustard seed we can see, in our life-time, the mountain of the UK church move into a new sea where it becomes normal for churches to be running a home for the homeless, the dispossessed, the disinherited, the marginalised, the unloved, the ostracised, the disinherited, those with disabilities, the vulnerable. If I understand anything with confidence from the scriptures, it is God’s heart for the above – indeed, his final command from the cross was to house the vulnerable! It’s that understanding which so strengthens my faith. 

I will remain in my role as Executive Director until my successor is appointed. After I deliver the best handover I can, I will transition into a new role of ‘Ambassador’ where, for 2 days per week, I will focus on promoting the organisation and developing strategic partnerships. I will have no managerial or governance responsibility. I trust that entirely to others.  Being freed from the day-to-day concerns of running HIA will afford me the time, space and prayer to think more creatively about promoting HIA. In this new role I believe I can still add value to our cause as we seek to advance God’s Kingdom by serving the church and those experiencing homelessness.

I may also add that I trust completely in the ability of trustees to appoint my successor. I respect and admire each of them individually and more so corporately. They have been meeting for 9 months now, preparing diligently and prayerfully for this recruitment process.  (Watch this space for an advert and do consider anyone who could apply)

I want to  end by thanking everyone reading this for your support, love, care, prayer, giving, investing, partnering and most of all you unerring friendship. Mostly thank you for standing in solidarity with those experiencing the tragedy of homelessness and the believe the church has the power to make a significant difference! I would not be leaving unless I believe in the organisation, the staff and the trustees to continue the excellent work. I’m sure we would all be grateful for your steadfast support moving forward as well.

Always a friend and brother,