“It is going to be the most exciting but challenging year of your life”, this is what the Form leader told us with the biggest smile on his face to most of us on Form. We were encouraged to undertake a year of discipleship to help us transform and look more like Jesus. From his face, he knew exactly what he was getting us into and he was very excited about the outcome. There are 14 of us undertaking this year of transformation, and over the past 6 weeks we have been very busy getting to know each other.
We have enjoyed so much together already, walking through the beautiful peak district, cheese and wine nights, and watching shooting stars! It has been great getting to know each other and the leaders. But as you can imagine it hasn’t all been that easy! We have also been pushed out of our comfort zone doing missional work for the student’s Freshers week. It wasn’t easy to step out and speak to the students about faith, but we found it encouraging seeing so many freshers wanting to know more about Jesus, and having the leaders at every step was very helpful. This was something that most of us have never done before and we would not have blamed you if you mistook us for street sellers. It sometimes felt like trying to sell a product that we did not ourselves believe in, I guess this is all part of growth. It was mostly about getting to know the students and building a relationship with them, welcoming them to the city, which would have been a new surrounding to most of them, and also to some of us. We also helped at a community festival at Kings Church which is a sister church of where we are based. This involved helping setting up for the event, serving and talking to the community.
A highlight, and probably also the most challenging time we have had so far, has been the weekend away in Castleton where we got to meet the other Formees from around the country, and got to know each more intimately. It was a weekend full of worship, prayer and teaching. We played games and grew in relationship with one another, growing deeper in our first huddles. In the huddles, we shared our journey with Jesus and what we have found difficult in our faith so far. It was a great time of being vulnerable and trusting one another and bringing it to God. We then all read our Form prayer to the rest of the Formees which was very nerve-racking! This prayer included what we wanted Jesus to do over this year and what we wanted breakthrough in. This was also a glorious time as we saw God mending hearts and speaking to us throughout the weekend and felt excited to return and get started with our internships!
The teaching we have received so far has been amazing, many of us have been moved by the Covenant and the Kingdom teaching amongst many other teaching we have received. It has brought the reality of the gospel to our hearts and has begun a change in our lives. We have learned so much over this term, some of the teaching that has challenged us is Andy Stone’s talk on the Covenant where in short we have learned that we get to “be to do to and not do to be”, this has really challenged our identity and knowledge of the gospel as it is not about what we have done, but it is about what Jesus has done and accomplished. The teaching has been practical, on how to do mission well and how to be intentional in finding people of peace and investing in them. Through our experiences many of us have learned to trust God even when it is hard, and to fix our gaze on Him when we feel overwhelmed.
Every day at Form we begin with prayer and worship to start the day, which has been a place where God has spoken to us and revealed himself. During the Form day we are able to spend time with God through praise and worship and spending time in His presence through prayer or simply being quiet. We are still getting hold of the truth that every time we breathe is spending time with Him and that we do not have to be in a specific place to do so for “He shall never leave us nor forsake us”.
Finding a rhythm in the week and settling in with a routine has been difficult for some of us, and fitting all of life into one week! Another challenge is being vulnerable with others and meeting new people. However, over time we have all grown closer and learned to support and encourage each other through the experience. It is also amazing to note that all of those on Form who can get a part- time job have been able to get one, all in the first few months! God has truly been amazing. We have seen healing take place through prayer and we also have been encouraged by the prophecies and words of knowledge given. So far it has been a very exciting few months and yet also very challenging.
Josh knew what he was getting us into, and he knows of the amazing changes that this year will bring. We have already started to see the transformation, and it is so exciting to think of the end of the year and what we will all have learned. We are living in Christ and still dying to ourselves each day, gaining more of Him and growing just to be like Him. To live is truly Christ, and to die is gain.
This blog post was written by Jill Straughan, Anna Gyllensten & Thomas Msadala