Life and Leadership – Tracee McAtear – 3
Interview series from 2019 with church leader, Tracee McAtear.
What happened next?
The headline in the newspaper said ‘Now is not the time to resign from your job!’ For us it was too late, plus we had an incredible sense of peace and adventure that God was leading us in an Abrahamic kind of way to a place that he would show us.
We started living in a zone where God had to come through with many miracles in the many steps it took to pack up life in one country and start a new one in another. A friend of mine encouraged me, as she had done when she moved from Australia to work in Vietnam, to keep a diary of the miracles God was doing each day – it’s a good thing to look for them whether they’re big or small as it builds faith and confidence that you’re on the right track. It’s also a good reminder once you have arrived in your new location as it’s tough to remember the journey of how you got there.
We felt drawn to the UK, especially as Kirk’s dad was British by birth, and so we decided that Kirk should use his airmiles to come and ‘spy out the land’. We had some friends with connections in the UK so Kirk got in contact with them to talk about possibilities. One of them was Pastor Glyn Barrett (Audacious Church, Manchester) who suggested Birmingham. We had printed out a map of the UK and liked the location, the size and that it had its own international airport as we hoped to also travel into Europe and work there as well.
We started to pray very specifically for a vacancy in a Birmingham church where a senior pastor was retiring which was big enough to be able to support us with a salary. A week after we had begun to pray this, Kirk was at a conference where he had a conversation with Steve Penny, one of the speakers. During the conversation Steve asked Kirk about his work and Kirk told him how we were in transition but that we hoped to minister in the UK. Steve told Kirk that he knew of a church in Birmingham, where the Senior Pastor was retiring and looking to hand the church on to a new pastor. Kirk called me over and Steve repeated what he said, initially I thought they were playing a prank on me until I realised Steve was telling the truth.
The information was a perfect match to our prayer! Steve passed the details of the church to us, and we made contact with Kings Christian Centre Birmingham, later to become Connect Church. The conversation with Steve was such a setup by God – we had never met him before and have not seen him since, but we are very grateful for the role he played in our story.
Kirk made his first trip to the UK in November 2008 and toured around the country, following up on the leads given by our new friends. Kirk had made contact with the Senior Pastor, Dave Lakin, and visited the church in Birmingham where he was given the opportunity to speak and spend time with people from the congregation. It must have gone well because two months later I was invited to travel back with Kirk to have a look at Birmingham for myself and for us to be interviewed by the Leadership team. We were offered the senior leadership of the church and returned back to Australia to apply for visas for myself and our two children who were 9 and 6 years old at the time. We packed up our lives into four suitcases and 6 tea chests.
Looking back the journey sounds quite straight forward but there was much uncertainty. We wrestled at times over location, clarity, provision and simply learning to be patient while waiting for the next step to unfold or for an answer to arrive.
We were able to move due to the generous support of our former pastors, friends and their churches who responded to our faith journey. They still cheer us on ten years later. Funnily enough, one of the perks of the global financial crisis was the Australian Government gave one-off stimulus payments to families to help boost the economy. Those payments helped to get us here!
Tracee is the Executive Pastor of Connect Church in Birmingham UK. Tracee is passionate about effectively stewarding resources to release greater vision and impact not only in her own church, but across the Kingdom of God. A former mathematics teacher, Tracee has learned that faith requires action beyond calculations. Tracee moved to the UK with her husband Kirk, son Josiah & daughter Ruby, 11 years ago from Australia to undertake a big faith adventure. They have fallen in love with the people of Birmingham but still occasionally miss Tim Tam biscuits.
Life and Leadership
–is an interview series with leaders involved in the Global Leadership Network and the Global Leadership Summit. Interview by Will Salmon.