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21 August 2018

Formation School graduation

Paul Allcock Paul Allcock Director of Formation School
Formation School 2018 3

I continue to count it a privilege to be trusted with one of the most exciting jobs within Above Bar Church – Director of Formation School!

A year ago I wrote these words – and they are absolutely true again this year as we look back on the completion of another year at Formation School:

"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 21 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.”

It would be fair to say that this year many of the students have faced significant challenges over and above the general demands of daily life – additional family pressures or crises, unemployment, and health issues. Sometimes attendance has been lower than we would hope to see, but so many of our students have worked very hard to keep up-to-date by listening to the sessions online. We have felt a considerable level of spiritual attack and it is only by the grace of God that we as a team and so many of our students have come through to complete the year.

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It is hard to express concisely what has characterised the key learning lessons for the year, but my co-director Thompy Wright summed it up like this:

“Humbly walking with God results in greater impact in others for Him.”

The foundation must always be our own relationship with and dependence on God: as we humbly submit to Him, He graciously works in us by His Holy Spirit. As we are changed more into the likeness of Christ and learn from one another, so God delights to use us to bless and disciple others. So Formation School places a strong emphasis on our walk with God. Alongside this it seeks to blend biblical teaching with a growing understanding of ourselves and of our culture, equipping us with a range of tools to help us to bless others in practical ways.

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For all our students we believe that Formation School is an important part of the journey they are on – but it is only one part. Formation School graduates are not the finished product, but by the grace of God we trust each of them will be continuing to grow as leaders who make disciples.

As we look ahead to next year we are very encouraged to have already received a similar number of applications to join the course and are excited at the potential of continuing to see God at work in people’s lives. We have space for moreif you are still thinking of applying, visit formationschool.org to find out more »

At the end of next academic year both Thompy and I will step down from our major roles within the school. We are currently talking with a number of people who may be willing to join the team and begin to take up responsibilities from this September. Please pray for God’s clear leading and timing in all of this and for the longer-term future and development of Formation School, so that many more generations of disciple-making leaders may be equipped and resourced to serve God’s church in the years ahead.

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