News and Articles
7 August 2017
We recently marked the end of the year at Formation School with a graduation evening in which we acknowledged, with thankfulness, all that God has accomplished over this last year.
We recognised the considerable commitment and perseverance shown by the 26 students who have completed the course this year. Family members and mentors, who played a key part in encouraging and supporting students, joined us for the evening. This was a real joy.
Five key words
In the final weeks of the year, we asked students to reflect on the key lessons they have learned. We challenged them to summarise the heart of their conclusions into five succinct words. Two core themes emerged. First, that the students have a deep sense that God is at work in their hearts and lives through Formation School. Second, that this is the only sure foundation for God to use us in the lives of others.
Experiencing and knowing God more deeply is essential if we are to become leaders at any level in God’s kingdom. We saw this in this sample of the five key words chosen by students:
- ‘my place in God’s story’
- ‘blessed to be a blessing’
- ‘God is on the move’
- ‘gospel-shaped lives blessed by God’
- ‘trust; seek; learn; share; purposeful’
One of the students described this year as having been like rebirth of his faith.
A worthwhile investment
This first year of the new format and the name Formation School has, as we hoped, made the course possible for many more people. It certainly is a challenge for those who already have busy lives, but choosing to make a priority of this type of training (in discipleship, disciple-making and leadership) can be such a significant investment in terms of seeing God at work in our own lives and the lives of others.
Many of this year’s students had to make adjustments to their other commitments and activities to make space for Formation School, but I am sure that they would all say that it has been well worth the effort.
Each week we have seen students arriving straight from a busy day at work, carrying food with them to eat as the evening gets going. The sense of community that has developed has been very special as people from different churches, age groups, nationalities and stages in the Christian life have formed deep and supportive friendships.
A committed team
I am deeply thankful for the gifted and committed team who deliver the material and lead the huddle groups, which are a vital part of the experience for students. The course has a strong theological foundation which blends with an emphasis on experiencing the grace of God and developing the wisdom and skills to be effective in discipling others. I believe that there few churches offering such a high-quality programme to their members.
An opportunity to flourish
There are still places available for this coming year’s course, starting in September. Please make it a matter of prayer to ask whether this is something you, or someone you know, would see as part of God’s plan for your ongoing spiritual development.
The overriding criterion in considering this is to answer ‘Yes’ to the question, ‘Do I want to grow in my relationship with God and do I want to be used to bless and serve others in their discipleship?’
So if the answer for you is, ‘Yes’, what’s stopping you from applying?