News and Articles

12 April 2016

What has happened to SMD?

Paul Allcock Paul Allcock Church member
SMD 2016 - Kate

So, the School of Missional Disciple-making (SMD) is becoming Formation School. After a pilot year and three full years, has the original vision gone dry? Should we see this as an admission of failure? No! Just the opposite! Instead of resigning, we see this as a renewed commitment – to deepen and broaden what we have started.

Deeper and broader

We want to deepen our vision to have Above Bar Church full of disciples who make disciples who make disciples. So we are re-structuring the course and reducing the cost to be even more accessible to many of you in the church.

We want to broaden our vision of partnering with Living Leadership in helping many other local churches do the same. The Formation brand will help us focus our effort on what is really important: equipping leaders to make disciples.

Our growing conviction has taken us to this decision, and it remains our passion: growing leaders who are forming their knowledge of the Lord Jesus to be effective and productive in the world. The Bible marks out those who are coming to terms with their faith in this way.

SMD 2016 - Sally

Growing leaders who make disciples

A number of key points mark them out:

  • They learn to worship in spirit and in truth: worship is their most strategic commitment.
  • They understand and teach the mission of God: worship leads to mission.
  • They experience the blessing of God, overflowing to be a blessing to others.
  • They engage together with the world as communities of mission.
  • They grow as disciples who make disciples who make disciples.
  • They bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the culture where God has placed them.

We are just as passionate as ever about these things – even more so as we embark on these changes. And we invite you to join us on our journey.

Would you like grow with us as a follower of Jesus, becoming better equipped to serve Him and His church in His world?

Are you ready to be part of a vibrant, committed and hard- working group of learners?

If so, Formation School is for you.

SMD 2016 - Alastair Thompy Anna

New name, new format

The new name also heralds a new format, which is much more accessible for those with daytime work or family commitments. From September 2016, Formation School will run on Tuesday evenings and six Saturdays through the year.

So the name and the format have changed, but the aims, the ethos, and the quality of the teaching remain firmly in place. We work with the local church to develop leaders for the local church. We strive to prepare people for effective, mission-focused leadership. Our excellent tutors enable high-quality learning that is both deeply biblical and intensely practical. A significant group of visiting speakers, from various churches and organisations, adds breadth and diversity.

This exciting, innovative course offers the opportunity to learn within a supportive learning community of course tutors and participants from a range of churches and backgrounds. The School is passionately evangelical, solidly biblical, and strongly missional. This reflects the vision and values of Above Bar Church and of our partner organisation, Living Leadership.

We believe that the Church has disciple-making and mission right at its core. The Church’s purpose is to make disciples, and the role of leaders is to equip believers to be fully involved in this process. Every aspect of the Formation School course focuses on experiencing God’s grace and playing a full part in His mission.

Watch our new introductory video:

Interested? Sign up at: or email with any specific questions.



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