Before I began Artizo, it would be fair to say that I was lost in many ways. I didn’t know it at the time, and neither did those around me. On paper, things looked great. I was 32 years old when I began Artizo, and had received a call to full time ministry at the age of 16. After many years of discernment I had enrolled in theological training, and my community was thrilled for me. Looking back, however, I had little idea of the what, the where, or the how of church ministry. Now that I’m serving full-time as a priest at The Anglican Network Church of the Good Shepherd, I realize Artizo provided the structure and guidance that helped shape me as I was learning to answer God’s call.
Artizo took my conviction to pastoral ministry and expanded my understanding that I was called to be “set apart for the gospel” (Romans 1:1). Together with other Artizo apprentices, we spend time weekly in God’s Word and think through how to live out the gospel in all the areas of our lives. I was given opportunities to proclaim the gospel from the pulpit in different churches on Sundays. Several experienced preachers trained us, gave us feedback, and helped workshop our sermons to be ready for Sunday. At my home church, I did workplace visitations with believers to help them connect their vocation and work with the greater purposes of God’s great story of redemption. This helped me understand the holistic nature – God’s redemption is in all things. Behold, God is making all things new! (Revelation 21:5)
The Artizo small groups provide spiritual companions who help portray the crucial role of prayer, fellowship, and mutual support. A significant struggle for me as a younger Christian leader included a tough experience of burnout. The many needs of ministry often tempted me to self-rely. During my Artizo apprenticeship, I instead learned how to share and bear each other’s burdens. This helped transform my understanding of ministry. To this day I have learned to come in prayer with brothers and sisters before God. Many other ministers in my circles are former Artizo interns, and now this seems natural for us to share and pray. The DNA of Artizo’s training has endured in our lives. The role of prayer has reminded me of the primacy of God. The story of redemption is His not mine. He alone is the source of our strength, power, grace, forgiveness, and redemption. He is the great Shepherd who skillfully guides his flock (Psalm 78:72). What a joy and freedom to remember our reliance on God and others!
These are just a couple of the many areas where my experience in Artizo has deeply blessed me. As I begin my first year of full time parish ministry, I am deeply grateful and cognizant of how God is present with me as a result of my time with The Artizo Institute. I am so grateful to the trainers,my fellow apprentices, and the many who support this important ministry. It made a difference in my life. I am thankful for the opportunity to share this with each of you.