We had Rev Costa Stathakis speak to us at our phase 1 college this week. Apart from enjoying his lecture, he also said something over lunch that made me think and answered a question that I had. He said that the first year of ministry training should be done in a context and with a mentor that is able to develop good ministry habits.
He didn't expand, but for me they would include the discipline of setting aside time for sermon preparation. Doing admin promptly (because most ministers aren't 'called' to admin!) and so on. I've noticed that I, in adapting to the ministry context that I am in, am in danger of letting go things that I've always felt to be important. It is hard to be serious about preparation for a funeral when one receives very late notice - and also when one is not guaranteed the opportunity to speak or any length of time. So one gives up. But that is not me. I want to do well.
In the broader African context and, I am afraid, in the broader Methodist context, we aim for conformity and we do not aim for excellence. I am, somehow, going to retain and build habits that lead to excellence, regardless of what I see around me.