Stories of Christian discipleship
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every time I’ve heard from him since he has new stories of how God is leading him and working in his life
It’s a story you probably know all too well… After years of ups and downs, of encouragements and discouragements, something shifts – the penny drops. The Spirit is at work and there is breakthrough.
Something amazing is happening in the life of one of your young people and you want to do everything possible to nurture and encourage them. It feels like you’ve just hit your stride - and then they disappear to go off to university or college!
I’ve known this happen quite a few times over the years and learning to entrust them to God is important. But there is also sometimes a frustrated feeling of unfinished business – of wishing we could do more to invest in them before they go.
This was the case with Josh who had pretty much grown up in the church. He was one of the original members of a group I started when I arrived in Biggleswade in 2005.
Over the years he had faithfully attended events and I had the privilege of being there with him through some really tough times. He grew in his passion and thirst for God, showed integrity and honesty that put me to shame, and became a leader of our youth cell group. As he approached 18 he planned to go to university to study. I wondered whether he would consider spending a “year out” with us.
We’d tried it a few years earlier with another of the young people, but we lacked the resources and time to do the training ourselves. We found something that gave some regular input but it wasn’t ideal. As I wondered how we might put something together for Josh, I spotted an item in a Baptist Union publication announcing the partnership with DNA. It said they specialised in helping churches run a year out scheme with their own young people through providing training, support and mission opportunities (including a trip abroad).
It turned out that DNA was as spot-on for us as it sounded! Josh was enthusiastic about it and stayed on for a year. And what a year it was!
In partnership with DNA we invested in him. He served the church faithfully. He grew in all sorts of ways. He was blessed and we were too! After his DNA year, Josh went off to university and every time I’ve heard from him since he has new stories of how God is leading him and working in his life.
Our adventure with DNA continues with trainees from elsewhere. We hope to see more of our young people get involved in the future. And we are grateful to God for our friends at DNA and how they have served Josh and our church.
Stuart Earl is the Minister for Youth at Biggleswade Baptist Church
'I would not be where I am not whether it be position in church or in my walk with Jesus, if it wasn’t for DNA and the amazing team'
On arriving for the first week I was soon welcomed and felt accepted into a loving environment with an outstanding team, who would soon change not just my life but everyone else’s on the course too. The year was simply amazing: throughout I was taught and challenged and stretched in almost all areas of my theology and my life.
There were times where it brought me to my knees and I sobbed as God was dealing with stuff from my past and present so that he could lead my into my future, which I still didn’t have a clue about.
The main things that have changed in me is my love for discipleship teaching others from your failings and triumphs, so that they can run the race better and go further than you could ever dream.
Learning about God's heart for mission and our role, firstly in loving the king and then how to expand his kingdom.
Also my faith has been greatly challenged and increased as I have seen the miraculous take place in front of my very eyes.
I am now pastoral assistant for Lighthouse Church. I am involved in not just teaching young people but also the main congregation as well.
Teaching them what God had taught me whilst on DNA. I would not be where I am now, whether it be position in church or in
my walk with Jesus, if it wasn’t for DNA and the amazing team.
Daniel Ward, 21, is pastoral assistant for Lighthouse Church, Sheringham