FORM is an intensive year-long discipleship internship for young adults, currently running in 4 locations in the UK and also in the USA. Here are a few stories from this years trainees at Form Fort Wayne, Indiana about what God has done with them over the past year.
Here is a short testimony from HBC Chester:
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.
At the last Launch Learning Community we asked Kx family members Rupert and Sally Martin to tell us what they had gained from joining Kx. You can find out more about becoming a member church here.
Our Missional Community’s vision is to reach our neighbours around the area we live in Liverpool.
We started with 2 other families, so 6 adults and 6 kids in total. We wanted our MC to be an extended family on mission, so it was important from the start to build it around stuff that works for the kids and with people that were willing to share their lives with us.
So every Friday, 5pm we gather together for food. We rotate between our houses (all spitting distance from each other), and we do it ‘bring and share’ style. Easy – no fuss. So 5pm till 6pm we eat, chat, catch up. We draw the kids into a bit of prayer. Occasionally we’ve had a kids bible story. We regularly have neighbours join us. Then 6pm till 7pm we alternate between dads and mums accountability. So one week the dads take the kids back home and the mums meet together, then the following week the dads meet.
We try and focus this around the learning circle and 2 discipleship questions (What is God saying & what are you going to do about it?) We pray together. We find that because we’re sharing what’s going on in our lives through our Facebook, when we do meet, we can pray for one another with greater understanding. More recently another family have joined us that we led to faith a while back, but have been on the fringes for some time. It’s been a real joy to see them get committed and grow in their faith.
Once a month we do something more outwardly focused, so we tend to invite neighbours over for a drink, or extended one of our birthday parties out to the MC and neighbours so we can connect with them. We have a cycle of bigger outreach events for our housing estate, summer BBQ, bonfire night, Christmas carols and christingles, Easter egg hunt etc. Loads of people turn up to these and we’re building relationships with our neighbours.
Here is a great bit of story from a church which has been involved in Learning Communities and how they’ve seen growth in their church and development of new missional communities.
“I had in mind to thank you properly for all the support you give to the wider church and particularly the help to us as a church. It has been invaluable and we see the kingdom advancing through your endeavours – Thank you so much; we see you as a real gift from God to the church.
This term our sermon series has been based in the book of Romans. As we have done this we looked at the ‘one another’ verses that can be found in the Bible (did you know there are over 50 of them?), so we called the series ‘Love One Another-Living as Family’. This is how we introduced the series to the church:
“We are looking forward to exploring what these different ‘One Another’ passages mean. One of the ways we are going to do this, that we’d love you to start thinking about will be to encourage everyone to get to know one another better by eating together in each other’s houses; a sort of ‘Come dine with me’ but without the rating system! The value behind this is to enable us to get to know each other better and give attention to who we are called to be as the people of God.
The series is going to start on 29th January and will last for 9 weeks, so get the dates in your diary and perhaps put up 1 Peter 4:8-9 on your fridge. ‘Above everything, love one another earnestly, because love covers over many sins. Open your homes to each other without complaining.’
And if you really want to go deep, the greek word for ‘One another’ is ἀλλήλων, pronounced ‘ah-LAY-loan’. Try and drop it into conversation during coffee time….people are certain to be impressed.”
We’ve had a number in the church talking about how they have loved getting to know different people through this series. They’ve been invited to houses and then on the back of that have been inspired to invite people to their houses in return. These people then themselves go on to invite people and so on.
One of the great things about it is that it’s encouraged people from across the ages and different groups in the church to meet together and find out about each other which is helping to give a greater sense of family. We used the twitter hashtag #tweetyoureat to share the fun!
Mike Rutter – Network Church Sheffield
Today we want to share an opportunity for mission in one of our Kx family churches which is very exciting!
I hope this finds you well. Our dream of opening a cafe is finally becoming reality.
My team and I are currently running a crowdfunding project to help see our coffee-shop project, www.fltrcoffee.co.uk completed. We’re hoping to impact our neighbourhood by becoming a community hub as well as re-investing our profits back into local people and projects. We’re hoping to reverse the recent statistic that called Britain, “The loneliness capital of the world” as well as continue to impact young people and their dreams.
The crowdfunder is open! Will you consider becoming one of our financial founders? We’re offering some great gifts like stickers, t-shirts, mug, coffee events, opening parties, and more as perks for giving.
Click below to watch our video and consider giving!
“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