ID Training: Some Reflections


Two weeks ago, we as an ID team found ourselves in the wooded surrounds of Centre Parcs in Elveden Forest, deep in the heart of Suffolk. We had braved the journey through that most perilous of places, Essex, for the purpose of attending a five-day training week, consisting of teaching, worship, discussion and general dossing about. Here we came together not only with our fellow ID interns from other bases around the country but also with interns from across the various other New Frontiers gap-year programmes; all told about 150 young people who have volunteered their year in service of the Church. This would be our third training block of the ID year so far, the previous two having been exclusive to us 14 ID'ers and hosted in Maidstone. These weeks tend to be highly rewarding, but needless to say also pretty full on. Teaching throughout the day coupled with worship and ministry times often provide much food for thought, while the situation also finds you living, eating, working and socialising with other people almost every waking hour. As I said, pretty full on. It was consequently with equal measures of optimism and caution that I arrived on the Monday and entered the conference centre. 

The week's teaching didn't have a particular theme or focus, but was seemingly aimed at the more practical than theological side of things. Church planting featured heavily while other sessions covered everything from mental health, to leadership, to personal breakthrough. One particular highlight for me was a Tuesday evening session delivered by Andrew Bunt looking at the topics of singleness and transgender issues. Andrew's look at the Biblical principles behind singleness really gave some excellent insight onto a too often overlooked topic within our church life, addressing many of the societal lies around the necessity of romantic relationships and physical intimacy. The inclusion of single adults among the speakers in the form of Andrew Bunt and Wendy Mann was in fact a refreshing departure from the usual line-up of married church leaders and couples who frequently fill out the preaching roster at these events. Overall the speaking lineup was in fact varied and diverse enough to provide an engaging teaching programme across several days.  

And as for the rest of the time, when we weren't engaged in arduous study and introspection? Well my own inability to swim once again returned to haunt me, as my associates' fixation with 'The Rapids' frequently forced me into temporary social exile as they hit the pool. You probably think that this time alone allowed me much opportunity for reflection and pondering no doubt? Well I'm not an especially reflective person to be honest (now that I think about it, I don't know why I opted to write a piece entitled 'Some Reflections'), but I'll do my best. I think my overall take-away from the week was the way in which immersion in a climate of worship and gospel teaching, and even more so in a climate of expectant prayer and spiritual ministry, can really exert a subtle influence on your general mindset. As the week progressed I couldn't help but find my usual attitude of bemused scepticism softening as I heard the passion of those speaking and saw the response of those 150 late-teens and twenties gathered around me. That's not to say that I consider a pinch of scepticism a bad thing, and by no means had I abandoned all restraint by the end of the week, but I couldn't ignore the way in which I felt my outlook changing and my heart and mind becoming more engaged. In hindsight then, my sense of caution upon arrival was by no means misplaced, but fortunately I allowed the optimism to over come in the end.   

I've asked my fellow ID'er Lydia to contribute some of her own thoughts on our time at Centre Parcs in an effort to give you a slightly different angle on what we got up to, as well as providing you some reprieve from my narcissistic ramblings. Here's what she thought: 
"Between sharing meals together and brutally racing one another down the infamous rapids, we all met together to worship and to have great teaching from the likes of Wendy Mann and Stef Liston. It was a week for really learning about God and who we are in Christ, but also a chance to practice our spiritual gifts in a more low key environment, which was really helpful. The teaching we received was really practical, we were equipped to deal with different situations we might face. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to spend time with the other IDers as we don’t get together very frequently but we are a close knit group of brothers and sisters regardless. It was cool to be able to spend a whole 5 days just worshipping and learning more and more about God and getting equipped and growing in our giftings. I loved being able to meet new people too and hearing what led them to do a gap year for a church and what their experiences are like. My highlight of the week has to have been seeing so many people stepping out with words of knowledge and seeing so many people healed!" - Lydia Colbear 


About the Author

Jon is a member of the City Students team and currently an intern on the Intentional Discipleship (ID) course at City. Originally from Sheffield, Jon studied Military History at the University of Kent in Canterbury for the past 4 years.

Lydia Colbear is another intern on the Intentional Discipleship (ID) course at City this year specialising in youth work. Lydia has a deep and abiding love for anything featuring peanut-butter and owns over 25 pairs of trainers.