Season 2 | EPISODE 11

The Good Shepherd’s Nudge: Exploring Missions Through the Serge Apprenticeship

1:01 · November 14, 2023

In this impactful podcast episode, Jim Lovelady and guest Leah Emory delve into the often misunderstood topic of discerning God’s will. Together, they explore how God directs our paths, emphasizing that decisions like job choices, housing, or daily routines are not meant to induce anxiety. Instead, they are opportunities for us to draw near to the Lord as our Good Shepherd, fostering trust that His care prevails even in apparent failures. Leah shares insights from her role as a guide for Serge’s Missionary Apprenticeship Program, highlighting the distinctive nature of the program that transcends typical missionary experiences. This episode helps us see how, within the expansive kingdom of God, every path holds the potential for flourishing. Be encouraged to embrace the journey—even the uncertainties—because God’s goodness and mercy always prevail and turn what may seem like failures into opportunities for growth and blessing.

In this impactful podcast episode, Jim Lovelady and guest Leah Emory delve into the often misunderstood topic of discerning God’s will. Together, they explore how God directs our paths, emphasizing that decisions like job choices, housing, or daily routines are not meant to induce anxiety. Instead, they are opportunities for us to draw near to the Lord as our Good Shepherd, fostering trust that His care prevails even in apparent failures. Leah shares insights from her role as a guide for Serge’s Missionary Apprenticeship Program, highlighting the distinctive nature of the program that transcends typical missionary experiences. This episode helps us see how, within the expansive kingdom of God, every path holds the potential for flourishing. Be encouraged to embrace the journey—even the uncertainties—because God’s goodness and mercy always prevail and turn what may seem like failures into opportunities for growth and blessing.

In this episode, they discuss...

  • How to contextualize a community of faith (9:48)
  • Re-thinking how God gives direction (13:29)
  • What is the Serge Apprenticeship? (16:46)
  • How to count the “cost” of moving into something new and different (27:28)
  • God is both transcendent and immanent, and has made us to need one another (41:27)
  • The difference between extending grace to an individual vs to a system/institution (43:43)
  • How to move from ‘Our Culture Come’ to ‘Your Kingdom Come’ (49:14)

Thank you for listening! If you found this conversation encouraging or helpful, please share this episode with your friends and loved ones. Or please leave us a review—it really helps!

Referenced in the episode...


Our guest for this episode was Leah Emory, who heads up Serge’s Missionary Apprenticeship Program in the UK. This episode was hosted by Jim Lovelady. Production by Anna Madsen, Aaron Gray, Brooke Herron, Ashlie Kodsy, and Sunny Chi. Music by Tommy Leahy

𝑮𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒆 𝒂𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑭𝒓𝒂𝒚 𝑷𝒐𝒅𝒄𝒂𝒔𝒕 is produced by SERGE, an international missions agency that sends and cares for missionaries and develops gospel-centered programs and resources for ongoing spiritual renewal. Learn more and get involved at serge.org.

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Questions or comments? Feel free to reach out to Serge’s Renewal Team anytime at podcast@serge.org



Welcome to the Grace at the Fray—a podcast that explores the many dimensions of God’s grace that we find at the frayed edges of life. Come explore how God’s grace works to renew your life and send you on mission in His Kingdom.


0:00:03.6 Jim Lovelady: Welcome to Grace at the Fray, a podcast that explores the many dimensions of God’s grace that we find at the frayed edges of life. Come explore how God’s grace works to renew your life and send you on mission in his kingdom.


0:00:24.6 Jim Lovelady: Hello, beloved. Welcome to Grace at the Fray. So I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where the roads follow centuries-old trails that were made based on the landscape of streams and lakes and hills and ravines. So when you’re navigating these roads and you miss your turn, that’s it. [chuckle] You’ve just added 20 minutes to your commute. There really is only one good way to get to the movie theater or the grocery store, or whatever. And don’t get me started about road closures. Now, contrast that with the roads out in West Texas, where I grew up, and they were all designed on a grid system. So if you miss your turn, you just take the next turn, and there’s really no bad ways to get to where you’re going.

Now, I think that we can often view God’s will for our lives like those old roads, that if you miss your exit, it really messes with God’s plan for your life. So we spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out exactly when and where God wants us to be, because we wanna get wherever there is as fast as possible. Now, this may be a silly illustration, but it’s actually kind of… If you think about it, a silly way to do life. Of all the things to be anxious about, God’s will for you is not one of them. Now, I’m not talking about the things that he has clearly expressed in his word that would count as sins of omission or sins of commission. When you’re driving down the road of life, there is a clear sign that says, “Do not lie” or “Do not gossip,” and you know not to go down that road.

I’m not talking about that. When I talk about God’s will for your life, I mean those things like, “Should I take that job?” or “Should I buy that house or go to that school?” or even little things like, “Should I buy lunch or should I bring it from home today?” So my guest today is Leah Emory, and she is all about helping folks figure out God’s will for their lives, not by telling them, but by walking with them as a helpful guide and mentor. She leads Serge’s Apprenticeship Program in the UK. The Apprenticeship Program is an 18-month to two-year missions opportunity to join a team of long-term missionaries and experience cross-cultural service, comprehensive training in that service, and personal gospel mentoring while you’re on the field.

It’s an amazing program that stands apart from mere spiritual tourism and study abroad programs, or gap year experiences that primarily focus on an individual growth and development program. This is a distinct opportunity to move outside of yourself and actively participate in meaningful work that positively impacts communities around the world. So, in this episode, Leah and I explore the different ways that God guides us, like a gentle shepherd nudging a sheep with his staff, all for the flourishing of his kingdom. And the fun thing about this is that God has called Leah to take part in shepherding the apprentices, kind of like God’s under-shepherd. And what you’re gonna see is that when it comes to discerning God’s will for your life, there are no real wrong turns or dead-end paths. There’s no such thing as real failure in this. The kingdom of God is a place where flourishing can happen on every path of life.

And it reminds me of Psalm 23, the most famous Psalm in history, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”


0:04:42.4 Jim Lovelady: So hey, Leah Emory, welcome to Grace at the Fray.

0:04:46.6 Leah Emory: Yeah, thanks for letting me come. And that’s just great, I appreciate it.

0:04:48.3 Jim Lovelady: Absolutely. Thanks for being on home assignment, so that this isn’t a Zoom conversation, which those are fine. It’s just way better when it’s three dimensions.

0:05:02.5 Leah Emory: Yes, in real life, it’s always nice.

0:05:02.7 Jim Lovelady: So where in London are you? 

0:05:05.3 Leah Emory: So I live in an area called West Kensington. I often have a hard time claiming it ’cause I’ve only lived there for about a year and a half now, and for the first about nine years of my time in London, I lived in Ealing, which is a little further west and doesn’t come with an address that sounds quite as posh as West Kensington… [chuckle]

0:05:28.3 Jim Lovelady: Oh, okay. Is West Kensington posh? 

0:05:32.7 Leah Emory: Well, where I live is not posh, but the area of Kensington itself is. That’s kind of the area people think of… That’s where Kensington Palace is, where I think Will and Kate still live there. I don’t know.

0:05:44.7 Jim Lovelady: Oh, gotcha.

0:05:45.6 Leah Emory: And there’s like some other sort of nicer areas, but it’s pretty true to form with London that you will have… Almost anywhere you go in London, you can have some really nice places just alongside, like council housing or just areas that aren’t… Definitely are not posh. So yeah, mine is similar to that, but I live where I live, so that I can be accessible for apprentices who are in different parts of the city to come and gather for classes at my flat. And then also, so I can live within walking distance of my church. So I go to New City in Shepherd’s Bush, which is one of our church plants, and I’m about a 30-minute walk from there, which is great, I love… The apprentices always tease me a little bit about how much I like walking. [chuckle] So I always walk everywhere, and…

0:06:41.3 Jim Lovelady: Add that to the list of things that you like.

0:06:42.7 Leah Emory: Yes, exactly, so…

0:06:46.7 Jim Lovelady: I need the list of things you don’t like. That’s probably…

0:06:48.4 Leah Emory: Yeah, I mean, it’s small olives.

0:06:51.4 Jim Lovelady: You don’t like olives? 

0:06:52.8 Leah Emory: Yeah, it’s one of the weird one things that I don’t like. And I always regret not liking them because so many people love them. So I always say I don’t like them, but if they’re like in something or on something, I can deal with it.

0:07:04.6 Jim Lovelady: All olives? 

0:07:05.8 Leah Emory: Yeah, I haven’t found one…

0:07:06.7 Jim Lovelady: Really? 

0:07:06.8 Leah Emory: That I don’t like… That I like yet. That I like, like. Also, because I do like so many things, it feels like when I find something I don’t…

0:07:14.5 Jim Lovelady: There has to be something. [laughter]

0:07:16.1 Leah Emory: I don’t love, that I should just really like lean into that.

0:07:16.4 Jim Lovelady: Embrace that.

0:07:17.9 Leah Emory: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, no.

0:07:20.5 Jim Lovelady: No, there’s no chance for olives.

0:07:22.6 Leah Emory: Yeah.

0:07:22.7 Jim Lovelady: You know what? You’re the thing I hate.

0:07:22.8 Leah Emory: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like, I’m sorry. I’m sorry, olives.

0:07:24.0 Jim Lovelady: You’re out. [laughter]

0:07:25.8 Leah Emory: So many people love you. You got plenty of love. You can handle it.

0:07:27.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah, yeah. You don’t need me.

0:07:29.8 Leah Emory: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You don’t need me in your court, so.

0:07:32.7 Jim Lovelady: I lived in… My wife and I lived in Spain, so we love olives.

0:07:37.8 Leah Emory: Yeah.

0:07:38.4 Jim Lovelady: Spanish olives.

0:07:39.4 Leah Emory: I love so many other things in Spain. Fresh-squeezed orange juice, I love them…

0:07:40.7 Jim Lovelady: Right? 

0:07:41.5 Leah Emory: So good. So good. So, yeah.

0:07:43.9 Jim Lovelady: But I was in… I was in London last year visiting workers and…

0:07:48.6 Leah Emory: Oh, nice.

0:07:48.7 Jim Lovelady: Everybody is amazing.

0:07:50.5 Leah Emory: Yeah. We have a good… We have a good field.

0:07:52.9 Jim Lovelady: It’s really cool, but I am bummed that I didn’t get to hang out with you and the apprentices, but here you are.

0:07:57.9 Leah Emory: Yeah.

0:07:58.1 Jim Lovelady: So, yeah, I’m looking forward to hearing more about the apprenticeship. You’ve been in London for a decade now.

0:08:05.6 Leah Emory: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Just hit that anniversary in August. So it was technically here in the States, but I still count it as…

0:08:14.4 Jim Lovelady: Oh, it counts.

0:08:15.6 Leah Emory: As 10 years. ‘Cause my plan is to go back. This is a temporary place I’m in right now for home assignment, so.

0:08:22.9 Jim Lovelady: Right. Yeah.

0:08:23.0 Leah Emory: So, yeah.

0:08:23.1 Jim Lovelady: And you head up the apprenticeship in the UK. Tell me about the apprenticeship, but maybe start back farther in like how you came to head up the apprenticeship in the UK.

0:08:34.4 Leah Emory: Yeah. So, I started way, way back in 2007, I think, as an apprentice in Ireland and I loved Ireland. I had actually wanted to go back for another year because my apprenticeship was just about nine months or a year…

0:08:50.8 Jim Lovelady: Oh, okay.

0:08:51.0 Leah Emory: When I was there. And I came back to the States to kind of re-raise support to go back for another year and the funding didn’t come in, so I couldn’t go back to Ireland, but I knew that cross-cultural living had… Was something that I loved that I could flourish in. And while I was in Ireland as an apprentice, part of the apprenticeship is we always do these things that we call prayer and vision trips. So we go somewhere typically where Serge has a team and typically a team that needs help. And just go, pray, see, and hear about what God’s doing in that field. And then, yeah, sometimes apprentices feel called to that place, but every time, apprentices always come back with a bigger view of who God is and of what his kingdom looks like and can look like, and what kingdom building can look like.

0:09:48.1 Leah Emory: And so, when I was an apprentice, we visited London and I fell in love with what our church plants were doing. I think at that time, there were only two church plants there and one of them was baby brand new. And I had never seen a church contextualize the way they were doing it. I had seen like hymns be translated into another language, but I had never seen like new music being written that was in the style of the people that they were living with and reaching out to. The way they were open to really consider and question so many things about how… Like the structure of how we do church. So, not the message of the gospel, but like the trappings of what it looks like to go into a church building; where you sit, how you sit, what the decorations look like.

0:10:44.8 Leah Emory: They were considering sort of, what can we do with a space and with a structure of church that says, “This is for you. And that God is dignified and imaged in your culture”? And I just loved that. That was so exciting to me and just so new and different. And so I knew when I couldn’t get back to Ireland that… And even when I was going back to Ireland, I kinda knew that my ultimate trajectory, I wanted to be London. And so I went back to the States. I needed to kind of sort of hunker down in one place and develop relationships so I could have a good stand in church. So I did that for a couple of years. And then after about two years back in the States in Charleston, South Carolina, I started the journey of pursuing London. And at that time, the apprenticeship had had to move from Ireland to London.

0:11:37.5 Jim Lovelady: Like direction for the apprenticeship? 

0:11:40.0 Leah Emory: So, Joel and Cindy Hylton were in Ireland leading the apprenticeship when I was there. And while I was gone because of visa issues, they had to leave Ireland. And so they moved to London. So actually, the entire apprenticeship kind of moved to there. Now, since then it’s… There is an apprenticeship in Ireland again, but yeah. So, when I was coming to London, I, at first, thought that I would be working at one of these church plants, but then when I came and visited, I just remember Joel sitting me down and being like, “Would you consider working with us, with apprentices?” And just as he said, just thinking like, “Yeah, that sounds… That sounds pretty perfect.” So, yeah, in 2013, August of 2013, I landed in London. I was on staff for… Staff member for many years, eight years, seven years. I did mentoring. I helped run the summer internship for most of those years. In that time, leadership transitioned from Cindy Hylton to Stephen Jones. And then actually, about a year or so after Stephen came, I started considering going somewhere else…

0:12:47.7 Jim Lovelady: Oh, okay.

0:12:47.9 Leah Emory: To help run or start an apprenticeship on another field. So I visited Nairobi. I visited Cluj. I talked to Ireland. And at the end of the day, I mean, I always remember and share about this conversation I had with Cindy Hylton, where I was just like, “I don’t know what to do. They all seem like great options. They’re all… They all seem exciting to me. The people are all fantastic. I see the need for an apprenticeship there.” I was like, “But I just feel like my heart is still in London.” So I was like on paper, it looks like I should go, but like my…

0:13:27.8 Jim Lovelady: My heart is here.

0:13:29.8 Leah Emory: Yeah. But my gut is saying, “No, you need to stay.” I wanted to stay. And I’ve always struggled with kind of this, “Logic is king,” sort of mentality. And I’ve actually said to Joel one time with mentoring, he was like, “Trust your gut.” And I was like, “Joel, I don’t have a gut.” [laughter]

0:13:45.5 Jim Lovelady: If you said, “Trust my brain… “

0:13:47.5 Leah Emory: Yes? 

0:13:48.2 Jim Lovelady: That would be helpful for you? 

0:13:49.5 Leah Emory: Or like, trust the logic of this or trust your reason. Like the worst thing to me would be for someone to be like, “That’s unreasonable.” But with that, like over time, God has sort of healed me of that. And so I knew even at that point, I still feel this strong desire to be in London. And I know that’s important, but I’m confused. And I just remember Cindy saying, “God knows you, he made you, he knows what you need to make the move.” And she was like, “And he’ll give that to you.” And I remember… I don’t think… I don’t know if she said this to me or if I just thought I knew their story about how they didn’t necessarily wanna leave Ireland, but they… I remember the update they sent out. I think they called it The Divine Crowbar that they got crowbarred out of Ireland. And even though that was obviously like such a hard, sad thing that they grieved, it was like strangely comforting to me because I realized, oh, I can stay here. And if I haven’t made the “right choice,” God’ll get me out.

0:14:56.9 Jim Lovelady: Yeah, yeah.

0:14:58.1 Leah Emory: He’ll do it. And so, yeah. So at that time, I was like, “I think I just need to stay in London.” And so I did. And then two years later, maybe, yeah, we made the transition where Stephen was kind of ready to move on to something else and I was ready to step up as leader.

0:15:14.7 Jim Lovelady: That’s really cool that their experience gave you a freedom to not get it right…

0:15:21.7 Leah Emory: Yeah.

0:15:21.8 Jim Lovelady: You know? 

0:15:22.9 Leah Emory: Yeah.

0:15:23.3 Jim Lovelady: You’re like, “What is God’s will? I gotta get it right.”

0:15:24.3 Leah Emory: Yeah.

0:15:24.5 Jim Lovelady: Actually, that’s not a burden that you necessarily need. It’s definitely not a burden that like troubles Jesus, you know? “Oh, I hope she picks… I hope she chooses to stay ’cause that’s my will for her.” [laughter]

0:15:36.4 Leah Emory: Yup. ‘Cause if she doesn’t… And also thinking that God’s guidance will look like punishment in some way or like a reprimand as opposed to the shepherd’s staff, just kind of a gentle little tap that just says like, “No.” And when you… I think a lot about like Jesus is the good shepherd and what does the shepherd do? And sometimes I think… I realized I was thinking about Jesus as like shepherd’s staff as being like a whack.

0:16:06.2 Jim Lovelady: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

0:16:06.3 Leah Emory: Get in line. But when you think about a shepherd, the tap is just to say, I mean, they’re sheep. They’re not gonna walk in exactly the direct line the shepherd wants them to go in all the time and the shepherd doesn’t expect them to.

0:16:18.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:16:19.2 Leah Emory: So the tap is just to be like, “Just remember, over here.” And it’s, yeah, it’s gentle and kind.

0:16:25.8 Jim Lovelady: Yeah.

0:16:28.9 Leah Emory: And so I think that’s something too that I really wanted our apprentices to see because I… So many people who are coming into the apprenticeship, like one of the big things that the apprenticeship is about and for is for people to suss out, “Is this what God’s calling me to, long-term? Is he calling me to international ministry?”

0:16:46.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. So tell me what the apprenticeship is ’cause that’s one of the purposes…

0:16:50.1 Leah Emory: Yeah, yeah.

0:16:50.9 Jim Lovelady: Unpack it for me.

0:16:51.2 Leah Emory: Yeah. So, yeah. So one of the kind of goals of the apprenticeship is to give people a real-life experience of what it looks like to work as an international worker, to cross into a new culture, to do full-time ministry, and all of those things are often new for people. Crossing into a new culture is usually pretty new. For most of our apprentices, they usually come in one to two years out of university or around that age. So, a lot of times, part of the newness is having to just be an adult in the world and be responsible for things they haven’t been responsible for before, having potentially a more full-time job for the first time and then also full-time ministry is just a… It’s a whole nother ballgame to other things.

0:17:47.4 Leah Emory: So they’re able to experience all of that and see at the end, like does it… Do I think that God’s calling me to this? Which is great ’cause then for our teams, they know if an apprentice is coming to them after two years of an apprenticeship, they know that they’re coming in with a bit more of an understanding of what the realities on the field looked like. So our hope is that long-term, for people who do feel called to it, that it leads to more sustainability long-term for people in the field. And then also for… And I’m speaking somewhat for the apprenticeship as a whole, but obviously, like most of mine is my specific experience in London…

0:18:35.8 Jim Lovelady: Your… Yeah.

0:18:37.3 Leah Emory: They’re helping our church plants. We have… At different times, our churches may put a pause on the apprenticeship for a season, for a variety of reasons, but if they’re open to an apprenticeship, it’s because they need the help. And so our apprentices are very practically just be in the hands and feet of Jesus in their communities with their church. So there’s that practical help. And then what we provide… So like what I and my team provide is a little more support, a little more coming alongside. So we have some curriculum, some training classes that we do with them about once a week. And then we also do one-on-one mentoring with them.

0:19:21.8 Leah Emory: So they all go through sonship. And then once we finish sonship, we continue a mentoring relationship with them. And it’s always… It’s either myself or someone else on the apprentice team, or it’s someone else on our London field who’s an experienced full-time worker. So they’re getting that mentoring for someone who has been where they are and is a little bit further down the road, so they can listen with sympathy and also have… Yeah. Can give a bigger picture, can give some words of wisdom, can… I always say a big thing that we’re doing is just saying, “You’re not the only one.”

0:20:00.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. It’s a new experience for these folks. And so when you’re experiencing something for the first time, how do you know that you’re not the only one? Unless someone says, “This isn’t the first time that that emotion in that context has happened. So hey, you’re not alone.”

0:20:18.4 Leah Emory: Yeah. And we’re experienced enough to also know, like if something is happening, that we’re like, “This is a little different… ” To be able to flag that too and to help people sort of navigate that. Lately, I’ve been thinking about it as, we’re not necessarily there to make things easier for apprentices, but we’re there to be with them when it’s hard. And I think that’s a pretty important distinction ’cause it is hard and it’s easy to believe that if we have… If I have enough support, if I have a counselor and a really good pastor and a really good friend and a mentor, and my member care associate and… Whatever else your list entails… If I have the support structure, there shouldn’t be too much discomfort. And I think what I’ve… As I’ve done this more and more is I’ve realized that the discomfort is always pretty… Pretty great.

0:21:09.1 Jim Lovelady: It’s just always gonna be there.

0:21:09.9 Leah Emory: Yeah. And there’s always big disappointments because we do live in a broken world and we’re working with fellow sinners, whether they’re believers or not. We’re working with people who are also… Yeah. Not yet redeemed. We ourselves are not yet fully, ultimately redeemed. We are redeemed, but we’re not…

0:21:28.9 Jim Lovelady: We’re getting there.

0:21:29.4 Leah Emory: It’s not to completion. It’s the already but not yet.

0:21:31.7 Jim Lovelady: Right. Right. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

0:21:33.1 Leah Emory: So yeah. To be able to say, “We can’t make it easier, but we can be there.” It’s not easy.

0:21:38.0 Jim Lovelady: I love that the entire program is kind of based on this idea that this is more than just dipping your toe in this kind of life. It’s wading in, maybe. It’s not jumping head first or setting out on the long haul. But it’s a significant, like, I wanna see what this is like, and I wanna live, I wanna see what serving cross-culturally can be like and whether or not God is calling me to this. But what I love about the whole endeavor is how even if this person decides that they’re not gonna go long-term, that their life is changed. Completely changed. And they… You can never do this kind of work and go back the same. And it is going to change wherever you serve, whatever church, whatever town you find yourself in, it is going to alter the way you think about life.

0:22:37.9 Jim Lovelady: Lori and I lived one year in Spain with a different ministry. We call it year zero because everything before that is not the same as everything after. And it completely… The paradigm shifts that took place during that time were profound. Super uncomfortable, devastating in so many ways to like the… Here’s another example. I was telling you about edifices in my soul that the Lord has just raised to the ground. Well, that was definitely one of them where I had built this little, “This is my little chateau for you, Jesus. This is my Christianity.” And Jesus is like, “Yeah. Why don’t you let me build something?” And he just lets… He lets my cross-cultural experience, just raise that to the ground. And all that’s left… All that was left was, was Jesus. But as I live in this country, recognizing that just because this is my home country, I can never not think cross-culturally…

0:23:45.4 Leah Emory: Yep.

0:23:46.1 Jim Lovelady: It’s just forever, I’m thinking cross-culturally. And we happen to live in a country that is very diverse culturally. So the opportunity to live cross-culturally is ever present. And to pursue a generosity toward folks that are not like me, I look… I just I’ll look back to my time of doing cross-cultural ministry as putting this DNA in my soul where I can’t not think that way. And so it’s exciting for me to think about how you’re a part of significantly and very concretely, helping the ministries, the church plants in your area, but you’re also, regardless of whether these folks stay long-term or maybe they go somewhere else. Maybe they do find a place in Nairobi or some other… Wherever. And it may even be with a different organization. Who knows? At the end of the day, the kingdom is… There’s a gigantic impact for… A wonderful and glorious impact for everybody. So, how did you… Why did you choose to do the apprenticeship? I know you said that Joel and Cindy were like, “Hey, you should do this.” And you said you did, but why? 

0:25:05.0 Leah Emory: It’s funny ’cause I… So often in my life, I feel like I didn’t necessarily choose something in the sense that I didn’t pursue it, but God just sort of like slowly, slowly, kindly, kindly, just bumped me along in the right… In the direction…

0:25:20.6 Jim Lovelady: The shepherd’s staff again.

0:25:21.4 Leah Emory: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah. So with the apprenticeship, I think it had been such a pivotal thing for me and such an important sort of like tent pole for me in my life when I was in Ireland. And so I knew it was something that I really thought was really good. So, backing up, I was a summer camp counselor for many summers and then I was a program director for a year. And so oddly, there are like some similarities between the two. So I saw some ways that I enjoyed certain things and was gifted in certain ways that felt like they fit with the apprenticeship. And then, like I said, my own personal experience and witnessing the experience of others, where it had been so impactful, I just saw how it could be really deeply purposeful and important work.

0:26:09.8 Leah Emory: And then also just feeling… I really feel like God has given me a love that’s just grown and grown for the city of London and for the people we work with. And so I think those two things combined on days when it’s hard to live in London, the work I do with apprentices can be placed in front of me in a way that’s like, “Okay. That’s right. It’s worth it.” And on days when it’s hard to work with apprentices and to do the apprenticeship, I have this city that… And these people that God’s like, “Remember how much you love this place and these people.” And so I think kind of those two things. It feels like it’s both combined. It’s the apprenticeship, but it’s also the place and the people in my life in London.

0:27:00.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. ‘Cause the apprenticeship could have taken you… Heading up the apprenticeships could have taken you anywhere that we have apprenticeships, but Jesus… Maybe it wasn’t a crowbar taking you out of, like it was for Joel and Cindy. It was like, he just nailed you down. Like, “No. We’re staying here.” There’s probably something excruciating about the crowbar analogy. There might be something a little bit excruciating about the hammer nailing you in.

0:27:28.6 Leah Emory: Yeah. I mean, there are definitely times that it would be easier for me to not love what God’s called me to or not love the city so much. I mean, I have family in the States, so that’s always hard. I was at a kind of a debrief thing a few weeks ago and I was saying how I thought going in, I mean, true to my nature, over time you develop strategies for things and so they become easier, which is often true. But I thought that applied to saying goodbye to family. And I thought eventually, it’ll still be hard, but it won’t be as hard. But what I’ve discovered is, it just gets harder. ‘Cause Because it gets more exhausting. It’s happening again. And the feelings are the same again. And so that’s… I mean, that’s hard. I mean, and that’s the other thing that we talk about with apprentices and I experience myself all the time, is that there’s a cost to what we’re called to and we all have a cost to what we’re called to. And the only thing that makes it worth it is Jesus. And if we’re looking to anything else to make it worth it, we will most surely be disappointed.

0:28:33.0 Jim Lovelady: It’s interesting that you talk about cost, counting the cost and everything. And I think I’m fascinated by that because I think that there’s this expectation or preconceived notion that like, we have an idea about what the cost is gonna be and I think maybe Jesus and his mercy doesn’t tell us exactly because it is. There are these little surprises of, “Oh, I didn’t realize that not getting to do that would be so difficult for me.” Or that… Does that make sense? 

0:29:04.1 Leah Emory: Oh, yeah.

0:29:04.8 Jim Lovelady: Do you like…

0:29:04.9 Leah Emory: Yes. The cost is unique to each person. So there are things that are a high cost for someone else that I work with or for one of my apprentices that are no cost to me. Or even a benefit to me. And there are things that are very costly to me that for other people are not.

0:29:22.2 Jim Lovelady: There are easy ones where it’s like… [chuckle] I remember silly things that just peanut butter’s not a thing in Europe, you know? 

0:29:32.9 Leah Emory: Oh. It is in London and so…

0:29:33.0 Jim Lovelady: Oh. It is? Okay. Well, so…

0:29:35.3 Leah Emory: So, I don’t have to pay that cost, thankfully. Yeah. [laughter]

0:29:36.4 Jim Lovelady: Right. Right. Well, it’s just… I found myself really one day, just really upset that there was no peanut butter around. [chuckle] And it’s… And I was surprised by how trivial that was and how much that trivial little thing affected me. And how I was just mad. And it always points to these deeper things of like, you’re not mad ’cause there’s no peanut butter. You’re mad because you think no one cares about you. You’re mad because you think that you don’t have a Father in Heaven who loves you and wants good things for you. And you think that having peanut butter will solve that in your… I want what I want right now. Like a child. And except I was a 20-something year-old who was being surprised by how petty I could be in my wanting what I want right now. Yeah. You know? And that actually isn’t a thing that’s gone away. I always want what I want right now. I recently… It was my birthday a few days ago, and…

0:30:41.4 Leah Emory: Oh. Happy birthday.

0:30:42.6 Jim Lovelady: Thanks. Well, so I… And so I go, the longstanding it’s-not-funny-anymore joke in my family is Lori’s like, “What do you want for your birthday?” And I’m like, “Whatever I want, whenever I want it.”


0:30:56.9 Jim Lovelady: Great. And so, the pettiness of wanting… I want my peanut butter and when I can’t have it, it’s the same that is fueled deep down by this, this longing to get whatever I want and the inability to trust Jesus to take care of me.

0:31:17.7 Leah Emory: Yeah. And that he’s gonna give us something… That he’s still gonna give us good things, even if those aren’t the things that we think we want in that moment. And that he doesn’t begrudge us, those wants… Yeah.

0:31:31.4 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. He doesn’t yell at me for…

0:31:33.5 Leah Emory: Yeah. He’s not like, “How dare you want peanut butter?” He’s…

0:31:36.7 Jim Lovelady: Don’t you know how petty that is? 

0:31:37.9 Leah Emory: Yeah. He’s like, “Of course you want peanut butter. I can’t give it to you right now but… ” It’s like…

0:31:42.5 Jim Lovelady: You’re not gonna have peanut butter.

0:31:42.7 Leah Emory: Yeah.

0:31:43.5 Jim Lovelady: But there’s a… You have a community of people around you, who… Since they aren’t fixated on the petty need for peanut butter, they can say, “Hey, hey, you wanna go do something else?” And I go, fine, I guess. And then suddenly, I find in community that I’m being wrapped up into something better.

0:32:01.7 Leah Emory: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think some of the things I think of are, like I have some friends in London who don’t love the city as much as I do, and also don’t love the work it requires to plan to get on a train, to plan a route to look up a place to go to, to go…

0:32:22.4 Jim Lovelady: To walk 30 minutes to church.

0:32:23.4 Leah Emory: Yeah. To go… Or even like on a weekend to be like, “What should we do this weekend?” And for a lot of people… And I mean, I have these moments too, but it can feel exhausting to be like, “Well, if I do anything, I gotta figure out what I wanna do.” There’s a billion things to do, which sounds wonderful, but it’s a lot of things. So, what do I choose? What do I wanna do? And then from there, it’s like, okay. I’ve gotta figure out how to get there. Are there train strikes happening? Is there… There’s a lot. There’s planning involved and if I want to be there at a certain time, I need to leave at a certain time. So, a lot of people find that whole process exhausting. And for the most part, I love that. To me, the planning in some ways is almost as fun as the thing itself, like planning for the thing. And so that’s a way that this is a high cost for them, but it’s like a net gain most of the time for me.

0:33:16.4 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. And together, you make something beautiful. Yeah.

0:33:22.1 Leah Emory: Yeah. And then for me, an example, which this isn’t… This isn’t someone who’s on the field with me, but I hate anything that I consider to be tedious. I say like, if it’s fiddly, that’s the word I use. I hate anything that’s like fiddly. And one of those things is taxes. I hate having… And I mean, not that anyone loves doing their taxes, but I just… It feels like death to me. And so this past year, normally I try to just get someone else to do my taxes, but this past year that wasn’t gonna work out. And so I have a friend back in the States, one of my best friends, who, she just got her…

0:34:01.6 Jim Lovelady: CPA? 

0:34:01.7 Leah Emory: Finished her Master’s in accounting.

0:34:02.7 Jim Lovelady: Oh, okay.

0:34:03.0 Leah Emory: She’s not quite CPA, but she’s got her Master’s in accounting. And I was like, “I don’t need you to do my taxes for me, but you know what you’re doing more than I do.” And I was like, “Can you just be on the phone with me while I do it?”

0:34:15.4 Jim Lovelady: Be with me.

0:34:16.5 Leah Emory: Basically, keep me in the room doing it.

0:34:18.2 Jim Lovelady: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

0:34:19.8 Leah Emory: Because I need someone there with me ’cause otherwise I’ll get in it, I’ll hit the first roadblock and be like, I am done. I’m not doing this. And so, things like that, where for her, she’s like, “Yeah, sure.” That’s like zero cost to her, but for me, it meant that my taxes got filed this year. [laughter]

0:34:37.6 Jim Lovelady: Right. Right. Yeah. Success.

0:34:38.6 Leah Emory: And the thing with that is that actually requires like humility in each of us to acknowledge that and to ask for help, which is really hard… I mean, it’s hard for me. I know. And I think it’s hard for a lot of people.

0:34:49.1 Jim Lovelady: Oh. I think we would overwhelmingly choose to help someone before we choose to admit that we need help.

0:35:00.5 Leah Emory: Yeah. Yeah. So to ask for help and to ask for help with a posture that is not demanding or is not entitled, but that just says, “This would be great if you could help me.” And like most of the time, people rise to that and they’re happy to be a blessing. I mean, you see… You see the image of God in that, that he created us. He’s blessed us to be a blessing. And so there’s a part of that where we enjoy it and sometimes people say no for a variety of reasons and that hurts, but that’s part of the… That’s part of the risk and that’s part of the trust in Jesus that when we take the risk and if we are disappointed, that he’ll still be there in that and he’s still providing. So, yeah.

0:35:43.5 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Well, it makes me think about one of the jobs of being on home assignment is to do support raising. So I know that you… Yeah. That’s a thing on your list. That’s like taxes.

0:35:55.1 Leah Emory: Yep.

0:35:56.7 Jim Lovelady: For a worker, it’s death and taxes, and support raising. [chuckle]

0:36:01.1 Leah Emory: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I always tell people support raising is both the best and the worst thing I’ve ever done in my life.

0:36:07.1 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. It is. But understanding it in terms of… Well, I need help to do this ministry and they need help learning to see and be a part of what’s going on in God’s kingdom, in ways that they can’t be physically present, but they can be prayerfully and financially present. And so it’s the same. It’s the same as someone who’s really good at getting out of the city versus someone who’s not good at getting out of the city. Someone who has money and wants to give it away for the kingdom. And someone who wants to go somewhere and live life and minister, providing for needs that could only be met if they were there.

0:36:52.0 Leah Emory: Yeah. Well, and like with support raising, I think it’s always hard for me because I feel like, which this isn’t true, but I believe the lie that like what I have to offer is very small in comparison to what supporters may be providing for me. Whether it’s…

0:37:06.7 Jim Lovelady: How do you speak against that lie? 

0:37:08.6 Leah Emory: So, I think it’s remembering that what I have to give is the work that God has called me to in London, and like what God is doing in London, and how big he is, and how I’ve gotten to witness that. And I think it feels… The reason I have a tendency to believe the lie is when I believe that what I have to offer is something I’ve created. ‘Cause when it’s something, if it’s something I’ve created, I’m like, well, it’s not that much. But when I remember what I have to offer is actually that I have borne witness to what God has done, and that I have been privileged to see that. And I did not, I did not make myself want to live in another country. I didn’t make myself love London. I did not… There’s so much of… I didn’t do any of it.

0:37:54.7 Jim Lovelady: It happened to you. [laughter]

0:37:57.8 Leah Emory: Yeah. And so to think like that is, that is what I have been blessed with. And what I have to offer is to be like, our God is big and his kingdom is broad and wide. And there’s so many things that we worry about and that we get kind of really upset about that are small in comparison to how big our God is. And I know that because I’ve seen it and I’ve experienced it, and I’ve been forced to face it. Not because I’ve got some, I don’t know, like high-minded philosophy that’s gotten me there. It’s because God has, yeah, has been like, no, this is…

0:38:38.4 Jim Lovelady: You’re not speaking about this from the top of a mountain. You’re speaking about this from a place of desperation, independence on Jesus.

0:38:46.1 Leah Emory: Yeah, and because I’ve had to be challenged in ways that have been really hard and have sometimes felt very unsettling. And then what they’re offering to me is they have been blessed. A lot of people have just been blessed with being in a place, with being at a church that has a real solid structure and stability that can offer me some stability and chaos in some way. And so, just thinking like we’ve all, we’ve both been blessed, and it’s not because of anything we’ve done. And then how can those blessings just sort of be compounded when we share them with one another? 

0:39:25.0 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. And one of my favorite John Piper quotes is he talks about two kinds of churches. There’s the cathedral, and what each church says about who God is. The cathedral says God is not going anywhere. God is transcendent. God is beautiful and glorious. God is awe-inspiring spectacular. And then there’s the little church plant that pulls up their little van and drags the speakers out, and sets up every Sunday. Folks get there at the crack of dawn and are moving and shaking, getting into this is a church that can get into places that the cathedral can’t get into. It can reach people that can only be reached in this way. And so, when I was in London, on the Sunday that I was there, I was… My trip was tight because I did a wedding. And then from the wedding, I went straight to the airport. And when I flew back from London, I went basically straight to another wedding. [laughter]

0:40:30.7 Leah Emory: Oh, wow. Yeah.

0:40:33.2 Jim Lovelady:That was tiring. So I was there for one Sunday.

0:40:35.6 Leah Emory: Oh, wow.

0:40:36.2 Jim Lovelady: But that Sunday, we were in West London and we visited one of the churches, and we sang this beautiful song and I don’t know what language. But the English translation was down below and I was like, the English translation was, Christ, the richness of Christ exalting… And I think it was a Christmas song ’cause it was Christmastime. I don’t remember, but it was just this Christological depth as I’m reading the translation, and trying to sing in that language. So fun. And this little, this little church that’s just plugging away, doing its thing. And then from there, we went to the center of town, we went to Trinity. I think it’s Trinity.

0:41:20.9 Leah Emory: Trinity West? I don’t know. There’s Trinity West. There’s also All Souls. There’s…

0:41:24.0 Jim Lovelady: All Souls. It was All Souls.

0:41:24.4 Leah Emory: Yeah, All Souls is like the kinda the big Anglican… Yeah.

0:41:27.6 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. So we went to All Souls. Actually, now, I don’t remember. My friend Andrew, who went with me, who’s from London, he’s gonna be like, “Dude, come on. You couldn’t remember that, the name?” I’m sorry, Andrew. Anyway, that represented for me this transcendent. And we went to their Christmas presentation.

0:41:45.2 Leah Emory: Oh yeah, and they have a wonderful choir.

0:41:45.6 Jim Lovelady: It was glorious. And so I went from this little church that’s a moving and shaking church, getting into the nooks and crannies of London, to this church with lots of gravity, and was able to pull together lots of resources to do a lot of really wonderful good in London because they were able to pull together lots of resources. And Jesus is moving in both of these ways, and everything in between. And so, it’s the same with, you’re the moving, you’re the mover and shaker. And the churches that you visit while you’re on home assignment are these places that go, “Hey, we’ve pooled together our resources so that we can together bless you and participate in what God is doing, both because God is transcendent and because God is imminent. He’s in every nook and cranny… And nook and cranny of his kingdom.”

0:42:39.3 Leah Emory: Yeah, and just the support that they provide. Obviously, through prayer, and just in so many ways, that is… To me, the financial part, the money part is obviously important. We need food. We need money to buy food, but it feels like the real tangible symbol of all this other vast array of things that people are doing to support…

0:43:06.8 Jim Lovelady: That’s exactly right.

0:43:09.4 Leah Emory: It often feels like the end all, be all ’cause it’s the tangible part or the part that feels more tangible. But it really is just the token that represents all that other support that’s behind it. And I love the, like what you were saying about the churches because just like I was saying earlier at some point that we as individuals need each other, that God has made us to need each other. He’s made us to, I would believe, he’s made us with strengths and weaknesses, because he’s made us to need one another and to work together.

0:43:43.9 Leah Emory: And that, that’s true. It’s really easy, especially in the West, because we are a bit more individualistic to think about it in terms of individuals but then to think, but no, that is true of we are not called to live as individuals, we’re called to live in community and he does that with communities as well. And one thing that I just feel, I guess, really passionately about, like as I’ve worked with apprentices lately, is I think we’re in a season understandably where churches and religious institutions have failed. That’s happened like throughout history, but I think we’re in a season right now where we’re sort of seeing more of that…

0:44:25.7 Jim Lovelady: We’re seeing it happen all over.

0:44:28.9 Leah Emory: We’re seeing more of that come to light. And it’s not that it hasn’t been happening, it just feels like it’s coming to light more, which actually is a really, it’s sad to see, but it’s a good thing. It’s coming to light. And so, in the same way that we want repentance as individuals, we want to live lives of repentance and faith, where we aren’t keeping things in the dark, we’re bringing it to the light, so it can be redeemed, and so it can be healed, and so there can be justice. We also though, talk about having grace for individuals as well. And I think that’s one thing in this past year even, that I’ve had a bit of a paradigm shift of, is I’m willing to extend grace to an individual, but am I willing to extend grace to a church or to a system? 

0:45:15.2 Jim Lovelady: Oof. Amen.

0:45:16.4 Leah Emory: And that feels harder. And extending grace doesn’t mean there’s no justice because grace is something you’re giving to someone that they don’t deserve… [chuckle]

0:45:22.9 Jim Lovelady: Exactly. Yeah.

0:45:25.1 Leah Emory: And so yeah, just thinking, what does it look like to really… I don’t know if demand is the right word, but like, demand repentance, but at the same time, what does it look like to have grace? And I know like systems and communities are different, and churches are different than individuals in some ways, but just trying to think about it in that way.

0:45:45.3 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. You’re recognizing the complexity of it, but that doesn’t change the fact that there’s a desire that grace should abound, that repentance is possible, that reconciliation is possible at an institutional level. Lord have mercy. Lord, let that happen. Because we feel that brokenness at a certain kind of level that’s, it’s different. I don’t know if it’s worse than at the individual level because there’s all sorts of unreconciled relationships in my life, and the struggle and the agony and the sorrow, the lament of all of that. But the institutional level, I think that that’s a… It’s convicting for me. Hey, we offer grace to individuals. We should do that… We should offer grace to the church as well, especially a church that just hurt you and it’s happening.

0:46:42.6 Jim Lovelady: And yeah, like you said, not to diminish the fact that that hurt is real, and that justice needs to be brought. And in expecting Jesus who is the judge, the just judge to do that in his time… Okay, the agony of waiting. But that doesn’t change the fact that there’s an invitation to show love, show grace, at least at a postural level.

0:47:09.6 Leah Emory: Yeah, and there are different, obviously different circumstances that mean that that will look different. But I guess my hope is that our apprentices would leave the field with a greater sense of the nuance that there… I guess just there are a lot of different ways to be legalistic. There’s a lot of different ways that we can be Pharisees and there’s a way that we can do it that paints the failings of churches and institutions with the same brush and using the same, putting them in the same category as some others when maybe they’re not quite in the same category. And so, I think what might keep us from that is allowing space for real repentance and for grace. And yeah, just for patience, I think, too, like having patience that it’s… And it’s hard to have patience. How long, oh Lord but…

0:48:08.7 Jim Lovelady: I’m tired of waiting for that.

0:48:09.0 Leah Emory: Yeah. But we have a God. I was talking with Laura Morgan yesterday, and like she said, we have a God that operates outside of space and time. And so, that’s the other thing that I love about the apprenticeship is I think our apprentices do walk away with, I call it a bigger scope. So it’s a bigger scope in so many ways, a bigger scope of who God is, of how he can move and work in this world, of how we can be a part of that; of how big His kingdom is, of all the different ways it can look, of all the different ways we can get glimpses of God’s kingdom, and a bigger scope of all the different ways that God can bring flourishing to them wherever they are. Because it’s easy to think, I need, in so many ways, I need this set of criteria in order to flourish. And what I hope for our apprentices is that a lot of those criteria get kind of blown out of the water. Not because they aren’t important, but because they’re limiting.

0:49:14.6 Jim Lovelady: Right. We weren’t meant to live that way. There’s a better way of living life. And you have to say something like that with faith, because when your ability to see isn’t quite there yet, that’s something audacious to say like, hey, your world is too small. Those expectations are revealing that your world is too small. Hey, come be an apprentice and we’re gonna blow your world so that the scope of what the kingdom looks like for you from now on forever is just a little bit bigger. And ever getting bigger and bigger.

0:49:47.9 Leah Emory: Yeah. And a successful apprenticeship is if someone decides to stay with Serge in London, a successful apprenticeship is if someone decides to work with Serge somewhere else, it’s successful if they decide to work with another company, it’s successful if they decide to do full-time ministry in the States, and it’s successful if they decide that God’s calling them to kingdom-building by working as a financial planner or working at Starbucks, or wherever God’s calling them to going back to school. And so all of those are a successful apprenticeship because ultimately, what we just want is for people to be not just following God’s call, but just being with God wherever they are. I think about the elder brother in the parable of the two lost sons, where he’s like, “I slaved for you and you never gave me this.”

0:50:42.8 Leah Emory: And the father’s response is, “But you were with me the whole time.” And so, yeah, wherever apprentices are, I just want them to know, like, it’s not about, going back to the beginning, it’s not about making the right or the wrong decision so many times, it’s just about being with God in it, wherever we are. And so hopefully, like that’s what we’re modeling in that coming alongside of apprentices is, again, we’re not here to make it easier, we’re just here to be with you in it. And that’s what God is offering us as well, is to be with us in the most perfect way.

0:51:16.5 Jim Lovelady: You’re using your words to describe something that is hard to describe, it’s something that you just have to experience. But as you’re describing it, I’m like, oh, yeah, there’s no way you can do… Well, there’s no way that this can fail, even if it “fails”. And you are inviting people on a journey relatively early in life of investigation. It’s almost like they’re on this freeway and you’re kinda like, “Hey, pull over right here. Pull over. Try this. You may think of it as a scenic route. You may think of it as like a new road. Who knows what the Lord is gonna turn this into? But you should come check this out,” and just over and over again, I’m hearing that the way that the Lord brings a newfound wisdom, a newfound understanding of how a person fits into the kingdom, and a newfound love for a people, a newfound love for the place they left, a newfound appreciation for the diversity of the way that God works. And how he can… He does church differently over here, because the gospel, people hear the gospel, the same gospel that it never changes. They hear it really well like this. And now you can translate that.

0:52:37.1 Leah Emory: Yeah, and it’s really good for me to hear it in their way because it shows me the ways that I have married my own… We always say, it’s not our culture come, it’s your kingdom come. And so being with someone who’s very different from me sheds a light on ways that I have married the gospel with something that is not the gospel, that is just my cultural preference, which isn’t bad, but it’s not a must have.

0:53:05.7 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. He who do not consider his cultural preference, a thing to be lorded over, but humbled himself even to death by going to serve in some other country and give up their life and all their expectations, following Jesus into his death, so that they can experience his resurrection.

0:53:24.6 Leah Emory: He became, God became one of us, and I think it’s a Tim Keller quote from his book, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering. Suffering taught Jesus what it was to be human, and suffering..

0:53:42.0 Jim Lovelady: Is where we learn how to be like Jesus.

0:53:44.4 Leah Emory: We have an experience what it is to be like Christ through our suffering, he experienced what it was to be like us through his suffering. And I see how that plays out with, even in my own life, and I know this happens with apprentices, I think about having to get a visa in a different country. When I am back in the States, I’m like, I know how hard it is to get a visa in another country, and I am privileged and blessed to speak the same language, to have people who are knowledgeable, who are helping me, who are not charging me money to help me. I have the resources to pay what I need to pay to get that visa. I am fairly likely to get that visa because I work for an organization that the government looks kindly on.

0:54:32.2 Leah Emory: So even with all of that privilege, it’s still really hard. And it’s still exhausting to always, I don’t have to do that anymore, thank the Lord. But it was exhausting to live, thinking, well, I’m like, I have to remember when I need to get the visa, and I’m like, will we get it this time? And I just think, all the people, I never had to do that because I was an American citizen. And to experience that reality in another country, and then to know all the ways that they have roadblocks, that other people have roadblocks that I don’t, it just… Someone could tell me about that and it would give me a certain amount of sympathy, but living it, oh, just getting that tiny taste of it, it’s another level of how I pray for them, how I relate, and it impacts like other ways that I interact with people, and that sort of thing. So I think having the experience of being a foreigner, of being the one who’s one of the only one of whatever, my different kind of like identifying markers are in a group, that’s a really important experience to have and that’s what Jesus did. He came and he experienced that, that and being God is what made him able to be the sacrifice for us.

0:55:45.4 Jim Lovelady: Yeah. Oh, that’s so good. Well, I think it’s amazing the work that you’re doing, and I loved during prayer meeting today, how everyone was just like, “She’s such a great leader.” And so it’s fun that I get to like reiterate that. So I’m really thankful for the way that you are trying to set these folks up in such a way where, whatever the Lord wants to do in their lives, you can give them that shepherd’s nudge as Jesus is like, “Hey, Leah, nudge them,” you know? And he uses you to nudge these folks. So I’m really glad, I’m really glad to hear your story, and I’m thankful for the apprenticeships, in general, just realizing how much that kind of thing has impacted my own life and how impactful it is for folks. So anyway, thanks for coming by.

0:56:50.6 Leah Emory: Yeah. No, of course. And my hope is that it is everything that I hope it is, and it’s by the grace of God that I, yeah, that in any way, I am beneficial to apprentices, and I will reveal my age with this, but as you were talking, it made me think of the show Reading Rainbow.

0:57:12.8 Jim Lovelady: Reading Rainbow.

0:57:14.0 Leah Emory: Butterfly in the sky… But I used to love Reading Rainbow, and there was always a time where they talked about like a certain book and how good it was, but then the host LeVar Burton would say, “But you don’t have to take my word for it.” And then he would go to children who had actually read the book, who would talk about how they liked it. So that’s what I feel like saying is, I’m like, but don’t take my word, go talk to some apprentices and see what they tell you about the experience and about me as a leader.

0:57:42.6 Jim Lovelady: Yes. Well, send me some apprentices to the podcast and we’ll get them on.

0:57:43.9 Leah Emory: Yeah, I will, I will.

0:57:44.0 Jim Lovelady: That’s amazing. Well, thank you, ma’am.

0:57:46.3 Leah Emory: Yeah, thank you. It’s been great.


0:57:55.1 Jim Lovelady: And surely, goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Why is Psalm 23 the most popular Psalm in history? I think it’s because it’s all about God being with us at every step of our journey and the sweetness of fellowship with him. So, as God shepherds you, what are the paths that God might be asking you to investigate? Where do you feel the nudge? Maybe it really is to be an apprentice or consider long-term mission work, or maybe you feel God’s nudge to send a missionary. So, support them financially and pray for them. Maybe it’s the nudge to host a missionary when they come back to the States to visit or to encourage your church to be involved with cross-cultural service, or to listen to a story from a missionary or about a missionary.

0:58:52.7 Jim Lovelady: In that case, go to the episode where I interview Hunter Dockery, and you’re gonna get some really amazing stories or share this episode with someone who’s wrestling with God’s call on their life. And you can be a part of getting this episode out to people who you don’t even know by leaving a rating on your podcast platform or by giving a thumbs up on YouTube. It’s really, it may seem silly, but it’s that simple. But you should definitely go to serge.org and explore the apprenticeship program. And when you do, you’ll see this video, and I wanna show it to you right now.

 The apprenticeship is a one to two-year opportunity to fully be a part of God’s work on a team overseas to receive mentoring and training, and to do it in a place where you open up your life to see, is this what God is calling me to? 

If you’re considering being part of the apprenticeship, it will only benefit you. There’s no downhill.

You have a mentor that you meet with, either once a week or once every other week, you have a team that you’re accountable to, and these people love you and want you there, and they’re with you on the journey. And so they look into your life and they ask you the questions that you’ve never been asked before.

Without Serge in my life, without the friendships I’ve made, without the relationships that have been built through this community at Serge, I don’t know where I would be.


But what does God want me to do? I think it’s as simple as this: Stay close to him. When the Lord is your shepherd, there are no wrong turns. Even your failures are under his tender care. What the enemy means for evil, your good shepherd means for good, for goodness and mercy all the days of your life. So, as you follow your good shepherd, bringing his goodness and mercy to the places that he’s called you, you’ll quickly see that you desperately need his blessing, so receive his blessing now.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to smile down on you. May the Lord be gracious to you and turn his bright eyes to you and give you his peace. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God, life everlasting. Amen.


Leah Emory

Leah Emory is the Team Leader of Serge Apprenticeship in London. She has been living in that global city for a decade. She is honored and amazed to witness the miracle of God’s glory in her life and in the lives of others.


Jim Lovelady

Jim Lovelady is a Texas-born pastor, musician, and liturgist, doing ministry in Philadelphia with his wife, Lori, and 3 kids, Lucia, Ephram, and Talitha. He is passionate about the ministry of liberating religious people from the anxieties of religion and liberating secular people from the anxieties of secularism through the story of the gospel.

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