Lessons I learnt in pioneering

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Lessons I Learnt in Pioneering

by Yan Nicholls 9 Nov 2010

How to begin to refine and filter vision? How to figure out when it is God and when it is not? Sometimes you have to move quick, but other times you have to move really slow and make sure it is God. In my 20's, vision was a lot from other people, even if I thought it was mine. In my 30's, vision came that was not so much shaped by other people.

When it comes to pioneering teams, God is teaching you how to refine that vision and move on. Understanding and Learning. God has been speaking to me in a new way in a very quiet voice. It wasn't the way He normally spoke to me.

Look out for those shifting of seasons of vision.

How to build a team

My first attempt at building an evangelism team in Derby. I didn't pick my team. A guy just out of prison for three months with anger issues. A guy sleeping with his girlfriend. A deep Korean intercessor. This is not the way I would want to build a team.

When you build a team, pick people who you want to work with. People who are your friends and whom you want to work with. You should like the people you work with. Not just work, work, work. But to be social with, as well.

I wish someone had told me how to recruit people really well. Loren said: "Staff your weaknesses. That's why I have 16,000 worldwide workers."

I would have loved to have learnt to recruit a lot earlier. Servant leadership. Not just someone who will believe in them and believe in what God will do for them. People want to be loved and given a platform.

They want to do something which maybe they can't quite do in their church. We need to be able to help them serve their visions. It is a two way thing. I serve you and you serve me. A peer to peer thing.

Communications. Sometimes I would just put my foot in it. Sometimes I tried to rescue the situation but I just made it worse. How you speak to churches.

Jeffrey Grobecher -- a man who used to be chaplain to the queen and prayed with the Queen Mother. Read Paul's letters. What do you need to learn from these letters? These are newsletters. Look at the way Paul requests things at certain times. You need to learn how to do newsletters.

Another thing: Accountability

I was looking for that perfect person that could bring accountability into every person in my life. Then I realized I wouldn't find that one perfect person. Jesus worked with the one and then the three and then the 12. There must be a process for me getting mentored. I need some cross-cultural accountability. I started looking for people who could mentor me and I found 10 people. Some were my mentors but they didn't know it. I didn't tell them. Just offered to drive them to the airport. Michael Jones led me to the Lord and he is still my mentor to this day. He retired as an Anglican minister. He prays for me every Tuesday and sends me a text. But I need to help him learn how to mentor me.

You are going to be the best person that brings accountability in your life. You have to be more proactive than you want to be. You have to make it happen. I have tried to learn in recent years how to be more receptive when people speak to me. Even when I am not sure they are on the money.


Who supports you and what happens when things go wrong? In one city it went badly wrong. Another leader didn't understand YWAM and what YWAM was about. It started going around that I wasn't in YWAM. I was only 23/24. Steve Jones, one of YWAM's area leaders went and sorted everything out. It is really important for people to know who is your boss. Who is going to cover you when things go wrong. That you know who my line leader is and who you go to if you have a problem with me. You need that.

How to pass things on

When I finished the Derby team, things just stopped. There are certain times in pioneering that they are only to be there for a season. Other things are to continue on. How do I think about the outcome from the beginning? Who am I investing in?


I wish someone told me how to raise money. My Dad bought a VHS video recorder. Cost a thousand pounds. Another company made BetaMax and they were better, but VHS swamped the market and became the norm. Sometimes ministries seem to survive just because they have the financial support. It's not always black and white. Some people are very good at raising money. You need to know from God and how to raise funds.

If I had led more people to the Lord when I was younger, they would support me now that they are businessmen! Some of them do!

Paul Pennington is the first person I ever mentored in YWAM. Decided I was going to take someone with me on the journey. I would work a million miles an hour. This guy would work with me for two weeks and then go home and sleep a couple of weeks. I loved it, but it wasn't healthy. I turned up at my SOE and was sick for the first two weeks of the school.

Learn to relax and be refreshed.

Pioneering has changed a little bit. We have to be more consultative. When YWAM started doing outreaches in this country there were seven other organizations doing outreaches. Now there are over 300.

Second Life

Very few people pioneering on the internet in evangelism. Said we will plant five teams in the next year. What is God asking us to do on our part as a community and as an organization?

  • Pray and Give us time for God to speak to Us.

Thank You for the men and women who have gone before us! You are a radical God who does new things in New Ways. Are You asking us to pioneer, to plant, to reach a new context, to do something that hasn't been done before? There is room for YWAM Harpenden to plant more teams.

Lord what do you want to say to us? A simple Wesleyan prayer! More! More! More!