Around 15 years ago a young lad approached me at an event in Manchester.
I was promoting Pais and he told me that he was interested in joining the Movement. To be honest, I actually prayed there and then…
“Lord, please don’t let him apply.”
Pete Baker had long scraggly hair, a beard and looked like a hippy. Hippies weren’t my thing! However, within a few weeks he had passed his interview and was accepted as a Pais Apprentice. 15 years later, he is a Pais Legend. Pete is now our National Director in Great Britain and along with his beautiful wife Bryony, they are seeing great things happen!
Pete is now one of the men I most respect in the world… and believe me, I know a lot of people. Yet how did he go from a guy I didn’t want to accept, to one who will soon have a Pais Honor given in his name? Well I believe that there are three key decisions that Pete made which we can all learn from:
1. PETE DECIDED NOT TO GIVE UP WHEN HE HAD FAILED.
A few years after joining us, Pete was asked to lead Pais in England. In some ways it was a little too soon. The person we originally wanted in that position chose not to accept it and so Pete bravely stepped into the gap. Initially working alongside another great couple Ben & Gale, Pete attempted to lead. Eventually, Pete headed things up alone and became responsible for our work in the UK. Due to a lack of experience and a set of leaders who left to start Pais in other nations, Pete really struggled. And I mean, really struggled! Pais shrunk and the high quality apprentices who we needed to stay to lead teams, were often the ones we failed to recruit for longer than a year.
Consequently it’s wasn’t long until Pete and Bryony told me that they were looking to step down. They knew it wasn’t working. On occasions like this I will often accept people’s resignations but not this time. Pete’s problem was one of timing, not competence. Due to unfortunate circumstances he had come into the position too early but I believed he had what was needed… I knew he had qualities that could take him far; teachability & humility.
He agreed to stay and, despite feeling like he was failing, he chose to learn the job while still in the job. Now, many years later, Pais in England has grown not just in numbers, but also more importantly, in influence. Pete has created a fantastic team with a heart to impact a nation and that’s exactly what they are doing! Why? Because despite having failed, he never gave up, and was soon to make his second great decision.
2. PETE DECIDED HE WOULD ALWAYS APPLY THE ADVICE HE WAS GIVEN
Some people fight against advice they receive that they don’t like the sound of. Some accept it verbally but only pay lip service to it, leading to half-hearted attempts at change. Pete always practically and efficiently applies the advice he gets. He is a fantastic leader who is loved by everyone due to being a fantastic follower in fear of no one.
Not only does Pete have the courage of his own convictions, but the courage to try the convictions of others who he respects. Perhaps this is something, which influenced his third great decision.
3. PETE DECIDED TO BECOME A SMALLER FISH IN A BIGGER POND.
A few years ago, Pete chose to move the Pais national headquarters to a new destination and partner his national team with Life Church in Burnley, a church that believed in our vision. This meant he would go from being a superstar in his own world, to someone with a lot to learn, in an environment with higher standards than his own. Again, this in my opinion took both courage and humility, two ingredients that Pete has in bucket loads.
Pete put himself and his team into an environment that represented a ‘positive perfect storm’, surrounded by people who believed in him yet would also challenge him. During these last few years Pete has done many things that haven’t come natural to him. He was challenged to set higher goals and standards and that’s exactly what he has done. I have never heard him say, “I can’t do it because it’s just not me”.
15 years after threatening to join Pais, he is now positively changing it. Influencing it for the better and moving us forward. Pete Baker has become one of our most well-loved and respected leaders.
Thanks Pete, you are still a hippy at heart, but I kind of like you now.