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7 questions to 7 mentors

7 Questions to 7 Mentors: Archie Coates

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Archie was Associate Vicar at HTB before leading HTB’s first church plant outside London, to St Peter’s Brighton, in 2009.  Since then, St Peter’s has church planted five times, twice within Brighton, and further afield to Hastings, Crawley and Portsmouth.  Archie also has a role with the leaders of the wider family of HTB churches, and Focus.  He is married to Sam and they have four children.

What is your morning routine?  Or do you have certain daily habits which keep you productive?

I am fortunate that my children are old enough now to get themselves up and off to school, so I have the early mornings to myself.  I try to not have any appointments before 9.30am and do only “deep work” in the early mornings: reading the bible, praying (sometimes while walking, and always for the same several ‘big ticket’ items that our currently ‘beyond me’, either at home or in the church), journaling, reading, strategic thinking, preparing for meetings and talks.  Then whatever happens in the rest of the day, I feel I’ve managed to be proactive and at least push something ahead!

Can you pinpoint three books that have greatly influenced you in your life and work?  

“What got you here won’t get you there”, Marshall Goldsmith

“The Circle maker”, Mark Batterson

“Emotionally healthy leader”, Pete Scazzero

If you could tell people one thing to do or one thing not to do in the first year of a church plant what would that be?

To do: communicate a vision and then create a series of easy “next steps” to create momentum and take everyone on an adventure 

What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess or try to cultivate?

Kindness.

What do you do if you feel temporarily unfocussed?  

Take a break, forget about it, do something else – and come back to it fresh another time.

Can you describe a failure or very difficult time you’ve been through and how you dealt with it and learnt from it.  Perhaps you have a 'favourite failure?’ 

A couple of times in the past 8 years at St Peter’s, I’ve become exhausted and ‘low’ and wanted to give up.  I have learned that, although I should not live in fear, nor should I be complacent when it comes to the possibility of burnout.  So I am learning to take drastic action to become more self-aware, especially of my limitations, overcome pride, and trust in God’s sovereignty.

What is a new realisation you’ve had in the last year?

Creating, promoting and protecting the kind of culture you want in a church is more important than I realised and the major job of the leader.  “You get what you allow” says Brian Houston.  So true!

Martha Bryant
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