We love Form! An intense year of discipleship, rooted in a culture of leadership and mission running in several Kx family churches. Last week we shared some stories from Form USA, here is a video of similar stories from Form UK trainees.
There are three ways you can get involved in form.
Give a year to form as a trainee yourself and see see what God can do!
Recommend form to one or two young adults from your church and send them off on a life changing adventure!
Recently at HBC Chester we held an evening with a couple of baptisms – one of the people being baptised was Penny. Penny is a member of the Core Team for one of our Missional Communities – Welcome MC. Penny’s decision to be baptised is a result of the growth in her own personal discipleship journey and a significant part of this have been the commitment Penny has made to be involved in our regular IPODs (Intentional Places of Discipleship – our version of a huddle).
The Welcome MC has developed a strong focus on the People of Peace that a number of the Core team have and they have held regular gatherings where these people have been involved along and they have also started up an “International Forum” This takes place once a month and includes the people of peace telling their stories of living in the UK and what life was like in the country of birth. As a result of the developing and strengthening relationships within the MC Penny was able to invite these People of Peace to come and witness her baptism and to be involved in the evening gathering that it was a part of. At the baptism, 12 people of peace came along, heard Penny’s testimony and began to see the wider context of church and community that the Welcome MC belongs too.
Mark and Anna Burgess lead Oikos Peru, a movement planting extended families on mission in cities and villages. They’ve recently been in the UK and have visited some Kx Churches. Here is a short update about what God is doing with them.
We love Form – the discipleship year run by a number of churches in the Kx family. Here are some stories from the Form year at Network Church Sheffield.
“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.”
This blog post was written by Jill Straughan, Anna Gyllensten & Thomas Msadala
On the 16th Novemeber Kx hosted a Northwest Leaders day at Frontline. Here are some reflections on the day from Andy Glover: Team Leader at HBC Chester.
We’ve been on the journey of missional discipleship and missional communities here at HBC Chester for the past 4 years and during this time we have been developing our vision of missional living: of being both a gathered and scattered community as we launched a number of missional communities in October 2015. During this time we have appreciated the opportunity to connect and learn from other churches who are on the same journey especially those within the Kairos Connexion Network. Here is the North West of England there are 6 churches that are developing a closer working relationship with a shared vision for our region. As the Team leader of HBC Chester I am in a huddle with the other 5 church leaders led by Nic Harding this has been very helpful and beneficial to me personally so when the opportunity to gather together across the 6 churches with our leadership teams presented itself in Liverpool I was keen to get 3 other leader to go with me.
The morning was divided into 3 main sections – time to share some stories and reflections from each church, to hear from Nic on the vision for the NW of England focused on Reforming the Church and Transforming the Region and time to pray together. It was encouraging and inspiring to hear from each church and to capture some key learning from experiences of success and failure in each church as the vision for missional living has been pursued. In particular the importance of keeping discipleship at the heart of what we were doing missional was highlighted a number of times and to not to get discouraged when “we have a go but made a mess”. Learning from our mistakes is so important and enables everyone not be paralysed by the fear of failure!
Hearing from Nic is always encouraging and challenging and his 20 minutes of input on this day was no different, Nic highlighted the challenge of the ‘internal work in the church’ needs to lead to another reformation – this time its about putting discipleship back into the hands of ordinary believers! From this will flow an external work in society – transformation across the spheres of society by Christians living as disciples of Jesus 24/7. A Demonstration + A Declaration of the Gospel + A Saturation of Christian presence will = Transformation!!
Finally we prayed together using the 6 phrases of the Lord’s Prayer to provide a focus and enabling us to take time to seek God together and to pray for one another and the region. It was good to worship and pray together!
Here is a Story from Graeme Mallet. Graeme and Eli, with their 4 children, are members of Frontline and working with Africa Inland Mission in Madagascar. They are partnering with the Malagasy church to establish disciple making movements among some of the unreached peoples of North West Madagascar. Follow this link for more information about their ministry: http://eu.aimint.org/pray/peopleandplaces/themalletts/
As a missionary from Frontline Church in Liverpool, who is involved in T4T work in Madagascar, it has been really interesting and exciting to come back on Home Assignment to the UK and get involved in missional communities here.
For many UK Christians the prospect of being part of a real community is often the primary motivation for getting involved in missional communities. In our society today many people’s busy lives, although filled with technology with its virtual communities, lack deep, interdependent and real community with others. Often we have worked very hard not to be dependent on others or else if we have become dependent we become dependent on the state rather than other people. This increasing lack of real community that is observed in many parts of western society has not been normal historically, and is not normal for the majority of people on earth currently. It is certainly different from most people in Madagascar who usually live in very close and interdependent communities, whether they are Christian or not. The people of God described in the Bible, frequently lead interdependent communal lives, for example, in Luke’s description of the Jerusalem church in Acts 2. People have an innate God given desire (perhaps suppressed) to be a part of a community. Being community is fun and challenging but also very rewarding.
However, while I love and long for deep community (it can be lonely living in another country), I believe that if we want to see God move in a really big way in our nation through ‘missional communities’, we need to be more motivated by the ‘missional’ part of that phrase rather than the ‘community’.
One of the common hallmarks of the ‘disciple making movements’ (sometimes called ‘church planting movements’) that have seen exponential growth in parts of the Islamic World has been a missional vision which is built into the DNA of the communities so that people catch it as much as learn it. Steve Smith, the author of the book ‘T4T: discipleship re-revolution’ has observed over the years that the quality which best determines whether a leader will see God use them to start a disciple making movement is if the leader has the ability to do what he calls ‘cast vision’ I.e. envision others.
What challenged me about the vision T4T looks to instil was its intergenerational nature. It is a vision which is greater than just seeing the members of your missional community seeing people come to faith but is about seeing the people your missional community have seen come to faith, being fruitful, going out and seeing more people come to faith. That requires us to be quite intentional about what we are doing to enable new born Christians to be fruitful.
Disciple making movements are not totally analogous to ‘missional communities’ in the UK because in such movements there is no mother church providing oversight and accountability. Often the initial leaders of such a movement are trusting the Holy Spirit is guiding the leaders of those house churches which are out of contact with themselves. It is a bit scary, a bit messy and a bit like the growth of the church we see in the New Testament. They are also often working in a society where there is no existing church and so the people in their groups are effectively a blank canvas as far as church is concerned. This means the missional vision of the movement is not competing with the pre-existing ideas people have of church in the same way that they are in the UK. However I still believe that missional communities in the UK that are best at imparting the missional vision will be those that see the most growth. I look forward to seeing God working through them.
Here’s an update by Ed Green from HBC Chester on their new Missional Community.
“Last year in April 2015 my wife and I moved into a house next door to our friends because we wanted to do Missional Community/family on mission together. We had already experimented with an MC called Blacon Central (we live in Blacon and the houses back onto an old train line) and wanted to really go for it. At the same time our Church, HBC Chester, was launching MC’s. In September 2015 we really went for it by starting a new church rhythm of 2 in 2 out. So for 2 Sundays a month we met as Blacon Central. Over this last year our MC has grown from 3 core families who lead it and a few on the edge to a group of about 7/8 families regularly engaged and belonging to our community with more on the edge. We have baptised 3 people in the back garden and grown too big for our houses so we have just started meeting in a building with a hall. A number of our MC have started coming to church on Sundays and we are loving it!
In amongst all of the good there have been moments where we have got it wrong and tried to do too much and not taken on the ‘light weight’ aspect which at times has caused stress (surprise surprise). We have also, and this is more my fault, not always been as planned and organised as we could be. This year has helped us a s core team to really be a family and not a team. We haven’t spent enough time on us as a core (3 couples) but we are correcting that.
What we did do well was go slow and try to keep it secret! This goes against my nature! As a church we have tried to go slowly and as such in our MC we did the same. We didn’t advertise or invite many people for ages! We just invested in a few people/families. Now we feel that we can grow it and invite a few more and what’s great is that the people we have invested in and discipled are doing the same with people close to them, their own people of peace. We are looking forward to the year ahead.
Also it’s worth noting that some of the people in our MC, we have known and been building relationships for a number of years, so this isn’t just an overnight thing. What’s great is that we now have space, time and a vehicle in which to disciple them. However, others we haven’t known for long but they were definite people of peace so they came and loved it!”
Woolston Missional Community: Someone who has been connecting with our Missional Community on and off for several years became a Christian at the start of this year. Since this time he has shared many stories about the people he has been talking to. He has prayed for physical healing for many people and has been receiving testimonies of people receiving full healing after prayer. It has been encouraging for us to see his journey and the way that Jesus has been using him to impact other people. Ya@k : YA@K stands for ‘Young Adults At King’s’ and, unsurprisingly, it is a missional community that works with sixth form to thirty year olds at King’s Church Warrington. I would like to highlight the way that mid-sized groups and small groups are working to encourage discipleship in our context. We work within a six weekly rhythm, where we emphasise ‘up’, ‘in’ and ‘out’ at different points of the half-term. As leaders, we had been grappling with ways to see ‘up’ and ‘out’ grow. The sense of being an extended family is already strong. We expected it would be, because we work hard to ensure that the group feels very organic and relationship based.
We have been encouraging the young adults to be, ‘naturally supernatural’ by being open about their faith with their friends who don’t know Jesus yet, but also by thinking about how they bring worship and prayer into the natural rhythms of conversation at work, at the pub or wherever. Having talked about this and prayed into this for the last number of months, we are now starting to see things develop. Since the start of September, we have seen eight new people joining the Missional Community and three more who have contacted us to ask if they can join in. The interesting thing is that five of these people are Christians already. The rest have made contact because members of YA@K have started to talk about their faith more openly and they have, consequently, sought us out on Facebook or via the church website. What is exciting, alongside this, is that we use huddles as a leadership tool, but also a discipleship tool within YA@K. Since the start of the new term, those huddles have gone to a new level of openness and support. We’ve had a significant upturn in the number of messages that are flying around the group, asking for prayer or giving prophetic words and Bible verses. It seems that, from a foundation of a strong element of ‘in’, the group have become more passionate about their ‘up’ and ‘out’ too. Exciting times!
The photo of Warrington town centre is by John Shipley – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49491138