Formation School is here to help you by equipping you for making disciples, leadership, and mission.
Apply for Formation School and invest a year in going deeper into the Bible, growing as a Christian, and developing new skills, all within a supportive learning community of tutors and participants.
This exciting, innovative, and life-changing course will inspire, challenge, and train you. Don’t settle for staying as you are now.
The Six Dimensions
Formation School grows character and confidence in the ways in which God gifts us and sends us. Five theme tracks unpack how the Bible equips us to live for God in today’s world, while a sixth dimension – huddles – grounds the teaching and provides mutual support and accountability.
Track 1. God's story – Understanding and explaining the mission of God
Human beings are creatures in search of a story. We long to know who we are, why we exist, and how life is best lived. We can only answer these questions by seeing how our lives fit into a greater story.
The Bible answers this deep human longing. It teaches us that the true context in which our lives belong is God's own story – his purpose in creation and salvation. This implies that we only live as we are intended to when our lives are conformed to the Great Story: the mission of God himself.
Track 2. Our story Experiencing the blessing of God
The good news is not just a distant memory of something God did 2000 years. Churches are not antiquarian societies which merely discuss ancient texts and historical events. No, we claim that God is the Living God who raised Jesus from the dead and who is active in his world and his church by his Holy Spirit.
The Bible expects that we should know God personally and experience him. Our lives and our leadership in Jesus’s church are meant to be full of testimony about what God is doing now, as well as back then.
Track 3. The church's story Leading in communities of mission
The UK church in the 21st century needs to see itself as a missionary church. Christians have become a minority group which is marginalised in British society. This compels us to change our perspective from maintaining an institution to becoming a movement on a mission. Many traditional methods and strategies are no longer effective in a post-Christian and post-Christendom context. The early church developed in a context which was similar to ours in many ways. So we can learn from Scripture how the early Christians ‘turned the world upside down’ (Acts 17:6) and how we can apply these principles into our own situations today.
Track 4: The disciple's story Growing disciple-making disciples
Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not easy. But it is the life designed by our Creator for our benefit. We are invited to live the kind of life that Jesus lived himself: a life of holiness and love, a full and abundant life, a life we always wanted. This is a life worth living; the only life worth resurrecting. It is a life of following and learning, focused on wholehearted, single-minded devotion to Christ. It is not a life without difficulty and pain but, ultimately, it is deeply satisfying and liberating – a life that makes a real difference. Disciples make disciples. Jesus expects it and churches aspire to it, yet it remains rare to find many people who are fully committed to disciple-making, despite all the current talk about it.
Track 5: The better story The gospel in today's world
As well as understanding our identity in Jesus, and our task of making disciples, we also need to understand the context in which we find ourselves. British society has experienced enormous changes over the last few decades, and Christian faith is being squeezed out from the public square. We live at a time of rapid technological innovation, which we adopt before we have chance to reflect on its implications. We live in a media world, in which beliefs, values, and lifestyles are shaped by stories told in film and television. We live in a post-truth world in which how we feel has become more important than anything. If we are to make disciples in this context, we must understand how those we long to reach view the world.
Many churches are finding that huddles are great places for growing leaders who make disciples. They are small groups for reflection and discussion, designed to help leaders to be disciples who make disciples who make more disciples. By emphasising the corporate nature of discipling, a huddle is a place where leaders find support and accountability.
Huddles have become a vital part of Formation School as they have enabled deep and significant friendships to flourish within the group, producing a great sense of being a vibrant learning community.
Above Bar Church is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered in England and Wales, registration no 6959469. Charity registration no:1131075. Registered office: 69 Above Bar Street, Southampton, SO14 7FE.