An Interview with Ceri Rees, the MI's new Director
Russell Pinson recently sat down with the MI's new Director, Ceri Rees, to hear her reflections on working at the MI thus far and her vision for the MI's next season. Ceri joined MI staff in February 2014, taking the reins from Mark Mayhew, who is stepping down to pursue other horizons.
Q: For those not familiar with the MI, how do you describe what we do?
We see ourselves very much at the centre of Regent’s core vision to equip the whole people of God. We focus specifically on taking the best of Regent’s thinking and teaching and making it available in local churches. We’ve also been privileged over the last few years to be given room to take some risks and try new things – an innovation hub if you like. We’re really starting to see this pay off now.
Q: You’ve been with the MI just over 3 months now. What stands out to you about our work?
One thing that stands out is the extent to which work within the MI is shaped by the broader rhythms of the college. It’s been great to join in with the college’s rhythms of prayer and worship, partly as a way to ground my own work, but also as a point of connection with the whole community. It also means that a lot of energy and busyness is focused around term time, so it was a challenge finding my feet in a new role at the busiest point of the year!
Q: What excites you about working at the MI?
I’m really excited about the ReFrame project we’re working on. I love helping people access ideas and concepts they may not find access to by themselves, and I think this is exactly what ReFrame does. ReFrame is putting a fuller, richer understanding of the gospel into people’s hands, inviting them to encounter God, and then live out of this encounter in their daily lives.
On a personal level, three things excite me: the theological content itself, envisioning people for ReFrame, and strategic development. Some days I’m working through a lecture by Rikk Watts or Sarah Williams, and I can hardly believe I’m getting paid to do it. Or I’m sitting with a pastor or leader of a network of churches, listening to what they’re passionate about, and helping them see how ReFrame could connect with that. I do also enjoy thinking through strategically how we’re going to launch ReFrame, although if I’m honest, this can also be a bit intimidating.
Yes, that’s right. We’ve experimented a fair bit over the last few years, always adjusting, course correcting, and looking to see where we’re being most fruitful. There’s been such an incredible response to ReFrame, both when we ran it live in Vancouver and as we’ve gotten underway filming the course, that it’s clear this is where we need to focus our energies. We’re working closely with The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation & Culture to launch ReFrame—they have some great connections in the US particularly. And of course Regent’s networks will be crucial for us too, particularly in Canada, and also more globally in New Zealand, Australia, UK, Singapore and Hong Kong for example.
Note: More details on ReFrame will be available in our next issue of Aqueduct. In the meantime check out the ReFrame website for more details and to view a short film about the project.
Q: What does success look like for you?
Success for me is seeing the MI and the broader team succeed. In terms of success for the MI, I think that involves seeing lots of groups running ReFrame, encountering Jesus, and finding renewed faith to live joyfully as Christ’s ambassadors in the world. We have some concrete numerical goals that help shape how we go about that, but at the end of the day this isn’t a numbers game—it’s about seeing people encounter God and having their lives transformed by the gospel.
You can learn more about Ceri’s thoughts on vocation and work more generally in a recent interview with Regent World.