Eric Says Sorry


Hey guys, I am excited to announce that tomorrow my latest children’s book Eric Says Sorry is being released. Essentially this is a story that sets about introducing children to the concept of God’s grace and it is, I honestly think, one of the best and most important things I’ve ever written! After all, if our kids can grasp grace at a young age – they grasp one of the most precious jewels that the gospel of Jesus Christ offers to us.

You can listen to the story in the video below (recorded by a really rough looking guy who looks similar to me but has a shaggy beard and an eye infection). And if you like it you can order it from the Good Book Company here (and even post a favourable review if yer that way inclined!)



Post-Sabbatical Reflections


Tonight is the last evening of my first ever sabbatical that began at the start of July and ends in a few hours. It’s fair to say that A LOT has changed in the last 2 months:

  • I spent a week in the U.S (and got fat).
  • I trained for and cycled from Holyhead to Cardiff (and got slim).
  • I got to spend some quality time with my family (and got blessed).
  • We transitioned out of the church we planted 9 years ago (and got sad).
  • We reconnected with our sending church, Highfields (and got loved).
  • We moved from Pontypool back to Cardiff (and waged war on slugs – more on that in my next post).
  • We got 2 rabbits (one of which looks like Chewbacca – pictured above)
  • Our kids got a new school (as of tomorrow).
  • I pretty much stopped blogging!

But what I want to focus is on in this post is where I’m now at with ministry. To be honest I really wasn’t sure what 2 months ‘out of the game’ would feel like, or what effect it would have on me. It’s certainly the longest time I have not done any preaching in over 17 years and the longest I have not had to function in a church leadership position for the best part of a decade. So where does that leave me now as I’m about to dive back in to ministry?

For what it’s worth, here are my 2 overwhelming thoughts:

  1. I don’t NEED to be in gospel ministry
    It’s been so long since I wasn’t in full-time Christian ministry that until I took a step back I could neither remember or imagine what life as a ‘normal’ Christian was like. That was kind of a scary place to be because my ‘reality’ was one of preaching, serving, leading, living and giving as both a calling and a vocation. And I love this life – especially preaching – which is what I believe God put me on this earth to do. But as any gospel minister will tell you – it’s very easy for our identity, value and worth to be rooted in our performances as preachers, our effectiveness as leaders and our fruitfulness in ministry. And that’s certainly been true of me over the years – loving it when people tell me what a wonderful message I’ve preached and feeling crushed when people have rejected or criticised me.

    Which is why it was so encouraging that as I stepped out of leadership and stepped away from the pulpit I didn’t experience any of the withdrawal symptoms I expected. In fact I kind of enjoyed loving Jesus primarily as a disciple again. Studying the Bible for the sake of my own soul and the edification of my family rather than with a view to how well the stuff I was reading would ‘preach’. Praying more from a place of wonder and personal dependency than a place of pastoral obligation. Sitting with my wife in church for a WHOLE service – not just until one or both of us had to get up and minister in some capacity.It was so refreshing!And I guess what I’ve realised is that while I know that I have been gifted, called and anointed by God to preach his gospel and make disciples – I don’t NEED to do it. Now hear me right, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it – I know what my calling is and to do anything else would be rebellious and disobedient. But what I mean is that I am not primarily Dai the preacher. First and foremost I am Dai the disciple of Jesus – saved and made righteous by HIS works, not my own. Yes, I’m saved FOR good works, but they are not where my identity lies. My identity is in Jesus – the resurrected Christ.

    Furthermore, before being Dai the preacher I am called to be Dai the husband, Dai the dad and Dai the faithful member of the local church. These are all far more important callings than my personal ministry and if I were to neglect those things I would be a hypocritical preacher.

    So no, I don’t need ministry. I need Jesus. But by His grace I get to live and speak for Him, and so…

  2. I really WANT to be in gospel ministry!
    As I’ve stepped back from ministry and sought to press into Jesus, serve my family and purge myself of unhealthy ministry experiences and expectations, I have (especially over recent weeks) found myself getting more and more excited to step back into the ring. There have been 2 main reasons for this:

    i) Firstly, God’s Word has been getting under my skin again – encouraging me, shaking me, provoking me, reminding me that God still speaks powerfully and prophetically today. There have been several scriptures these last few months that have so stirred me that I have just had to share them with people. His Word is burning in my bones again!

    ii) Secondly, as we have moved into our new inner-city neighbourhood we have been excited by so much, but have also been greatly challenged by the scale of need all around us. As I have walked the streets and started to pray, often against the backdrop of sirens, idol worship, drug dealing and broken relationships I have been reminded again that the gospel of Jesus Christ truly is the ONLY hope for our world. And I have been given the privilege to seek to share that gospel and make disciples in this new context. What an honour!

So there we have it – my post-sabbatical reflections in a nut-shell. Please do pray for me and for our family as we step back into the fray. This coming week our kids start their new school and as myself and Michelle start to explore what this new church planting, gospel-ministering, disciple-making, community-impacting adventure is going to look like for us.


We did it! #CW4HT

Just a quick post guys to let you know that WE DID!! The bike ride that is!

It was a fantastic, though at times gruelling, 4 days of riding, friendship and encouragement – all in the context of breathing in the beauty of God’s creation! (The Lon Las cycle route must be one of the most stunning rides in the UK). We also managed to fit in 3 awareness raising nights in Barmouth, Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff Bay. On top of all that we have been able to raise some significant money for IJM and AIM. The target we set ourselves before the ride was £5,000 and as things stand we are just short of that amount. Therefore, if you feel you could help us reach our target you can do so here.

Thanks so much for all your prayers, support and generosity. For all of us who were involved it has been a memorable, life-giving journey that will live long in all our memories! It’s also got me feeling fitter than I have done for years!

Check out this little video I made to capture something of the adventure:

Through the eyes of a child

On Saturday the Hankey family went to the cinema in central Cardiff. After the film we hurried back to the car along St Mary Street in two units – me and the girls in one, Michelle and the boys in the other. As we dashed though the drizzle we passed several homeless guys sat on grubby blankets in doorways seeking shelter from the elements. Having spent many years in Cardiff this sight was nothing new to me, so I just walked on by as quickly as possible in a bid to get the kids back to the car before they got too cold and miserable.

But that’s when Anastasia spoke up:

“Daddy, why aren’t we helping those men?”

I was stunned to a standstill.

“What’s wrong?” Asked Michelle?

“Ana wants to helps those homeless guys.” I replied.

“Yeah, Ezra just said the same thing!” She replied.

So after a brief family street conference we decided that we should offer to buy the men a hot drink each, and Ezra accompanied me to go and take the order, which I phoned through to Michelle and the others in a nearby Costa. I then went with the kids as they delivered the drinks to the grateful guys. It was a beautiful moment,but one that I have to confess challenged me deeply!

Why did it take the intervention of my 5 year old twins for that to happen?

I mean I had seen the same men as they had just seen. But whereas my instinct had been to rush on by, theirs was to reach out and help. My response was the most cost effective – we could have saved time and money if we had just passed by. Their response was more costly…but certainly more compassionate!

Now I know that historically I have not generally been indifferent to the poor. Indeed much of my  ministry has involved a great deal of serving the impoverished and the downcast. And certainly when I was younger and less time-pressured I’d regularly take time to sit with, eat with and pray with the homeless in Cardiff and beyond. But not on Saturday. In fact the truth is – the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind!

Why not?

  • Have I got cynical about helping the homeless over the years.
  • Have I lost sight of the world beyond my immediate family and their needs.
  • Do I deep down feel the need to protect my kids from the realities of the streets?
  • Is there a lack of love in my heart towards other people right now?
  • Am I just too busy?

To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s any, all or some of the above. All I know is that I have much to be thinking and praying about (and probably repenting of!) And as we begin our new gospel adventure in the inner city of Cardiff, I thank God that He has blessed us with beautiful kids whose eyes are open to the broken world around them, and whose hearts are soft and courageous enough to dare to believe that they can, and should, do something about it!

Father, forgive me for being so cold-hearted, bitter, cynical, busy and selfish that I don’y always see the opportunities that you surround me with to make Christ known in this broken world. Please forgive me for the times that I have modelled the example of the Priest and the Levite more than the good Samaritan to my family. Thank you for the lesson you have taught me this week through the faith and kindness of my precious kids. Please bless them. And please give me the grace to once again see the world through the eyes of a child. For your glory. Amen.

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” – Jesus

Riding Wales for Human Trafficking


unnamed-2Hey guys next week I’m attempting something kinda crazy and would really appreciate your prayers and support.

Riding Wales for Human Trafficking is a 4 day bike ride across Wales from Holyhead to Cardiff that will include several awareness events along the way (including Barmouth, Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff Bay). We (myself and a small team of mad-heads) are doing this ride to raise awareness about human trafficking and modern slavery, and to raise financial support for IJM.

This might not sound like the biggest challenge in the world, but trust me, it’s going to be a big challenge for me! Until a few months ago the furthest I had ever cycled was 15 miles (as a teenager), so to cover that kind of distance is going to be hard graft. However, while it’s been a crazy season for our family with the house move etc., I have been blessed to be able to get out on my bike quite a bit over the last few months and am therefore in more likely to make the distance than I otherwise would have been.

Anyway, I’m posting this to ask if you would consider sponsoring me and the guys. All money raised will go straight to IJM and will be put to very good use! If you would like to support us financially you can do so here.

If you would like to come to one of our awareness raising events they are taking place at the following locations and we’d love to see you:

Thursday 25th (7:30pm)
Barmouth Elim Church, Barmouth

Saturday 27th  (7:30pm)
Hope Church, Merthyr Tydfil

Sunday 28th  (6pm)
Costa, Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay

If you’re interested and are on Strava you can check out some of the training rides that I’ve been doing.

Blessinz dear people. See you soon.


A New Chapter for the Hankey Family


Sunday was a VERY emotional day for the Hankey family as it was our last Sunday in Hill City Church, at least for quite a while.

From July 1st I will be taking a 2 month break from ministry (I believe the posh word is ‘sabbatical’) and when that break is over, by God’s grace, we will be living in a different home, in a new city, with a fresh adventure ahead of us. It’s the first such break that I have taken in almost 17 years of full-time ministry, and to be honest, it’s much needed!

The last 18 months have been the toughest of my life and I’d be lying if I said that they haven’t taken their toll emotionally, spiritually and physically. Not surprisingly I have been encouraged to take a sabbatical by friends and leaders who have walked this challenging season out with me (and for whom I am so thankful to God for!)

Preparing to move back to Cardiff to plant a new church in the inner-city was always going to be a daunting prospect and less than 4 months ago it seemed like an impossible dream:

  • Hill City Church had been reduced to having only one serving elder – me!
  • There was no sign of a house in Cardiff that was suitable for our family.
  • Not only did we have no school places for our kids, we were told that we were bottom of the list as we didn’t have a Cardiff address and that we had twins in the most over-subscribed year group.
  • Personally I was floundering, confused, emotionally drained and (probably) depressed.

But 4 months on I am able to write this and testify that God has been unimaginably faithful to us and His grace unfathomably sufficient for us. In the space of a few mind-blowing weeks in April it all changed. I want to share something of the story as, frankly, it’s gloriously encouraging…

I had told Michelle that I didn’t think we would get any clarity on the move to Cardiff until the leadership situation at Hill City was sorted out. Therefore you can imagine our joy when, the day after announcing the 4 new elders who were going to be inducted at Hill City, a house came on the market in Cardiff. And not just any house – this one had briefly been on the market last year and was the only house we had seen that Michelle had been taken with. Naturally we booked a viewing and, long story short, that house will soon be our new home!


And you can also imagine our shock and amazement when a week later we had a phone call from Cardiff admissions to say that we had places for all 4 kids in our first choice school! It really is a miracle!

On personal level, while I’m still very much aware that I’ve had the spiritual snot kicked out of me this year, right now I am honestly in better shape than I have been for a long, long time. I’m so thankful to have handed the church on to 4 godly elders who are now in place and, I am convinced, are the right guys to lead the church forwards.

Furthermore, the outpouring of love and goodwill that the saints of Hill City have heaped on us as we prepare to move on has blessed us beyond measure. We were given many incredible gifts at our leaving lunch on Sunday, but for me the greatest gift was the gracious way that our church family have released us for the purpose of mission, despite the obvious sadness that departure brings. Gospel goodbyes are so much better than grievous goodbyes!

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, I can honestly say that for the first time I am truly excited for the move to Cardiff and the new church planting adventure that lies ahead.

Faith is rising for the next chapter (more about that in a future post).

The Sabbatical

So what will the next few months look like for me/us as I take this ministry break.

  • The kids will be finishing school here in Pontypool.
  • We will be visiting friends and churches that we haven’t been able to visit for ages.
  • We will be praying and dreaming together as a family.
  • We will be moving house.
  • I will be reading lots of books.
  • I will be writing poetry.
  • I will be riding my bike (to prepare for this crazy ride in August).
  • I will be heading to the USA for the Acts 29 pastor’s retreat in Longbeach, CA.
  • We are not having a family holiday this summer so will arrange lots of fun day-trips.

Friends, please do be in prayer for our family and for the community and mission we are about to step into, and for Hill City Church and the new leadership team. Thanks so much for your ongoing love, prayer, support and encouragement.


Redemption Conference

Next Saturday we (Red Community) are hosting our first ever Redemption Conference in Cardiff. We have a great line up of speakers and practitioners who together will be exploring what a gospel-centred response to human trafficking and slavery looks like. If you are free it would be wonderful if you could join us. You can book tickets here.

Redemption Conference v3.png