Fill in an application form and send it to us. You’ll need to give us the details of two people to be referees: a senior leader in your church and someone else as personal referee. This is because we want to be sure that Formation School is right for you as well as that you are right for Formation School.
I don’t feel like a ‘leader’, so is Formation School really for me?
Jesus calls lots of people who don’t ‘feel’ like leaders to make disciples of others. So whether you’re leading (or would like to lead at some point in the future) a 1-to-1, a small group (house group, cell group etc), a missional community, a youth group etc – it would benefit you in your ministry. Or maybe you are (or would like to be) a toddler group leader, a CAP befriender or debt coach, or simply be a more effective witness in your workplace – this course will help you too.
How would I fit Formation School into my life when it‘s so full?
Could you ask your church leaders to release you from some responsibilities for this year so you can be further equipped for your roles? If you’re a home group leader, why not send someone else in the group this year so that they are very well equipped to lead the group for you next year while you do Formation School? Why not suggest that the group supports you both to do the course – financially and by providing babysitting, etc.
Do I need to be there for every session?
Yes! To get the most out of Formation School, you really need to commit fully to the course. The five tracks compliment each other, and to get the most out of Formation School you need to attend all the sessions and be willing to contribute to discussions.
But Saturdays are important family days for us.
We do appreciate how important Saturdays can be for family time. We hope that by advertising the dates on the website now, you will be able to work out childcare for the six Saturdays involved. Remember it is just six Saturdays in total over the year – just one per half term.
Does it matter if I'm unable to get there for 6.00pm each week?
By law workplaces have to consider requests for flexible working, so ask if you could arrange your hours so you can leave early enough to arrive in time for the first session. If you have children, could you find someone to babysit for an hour before your spouse returns from work so that you can make it for the start? Of course, we know that life throws up all kinds of things that interfere with our plans. So we understand that you may need to miss a session or arrive late occasionally. We would just ask that you commit to being there as much as you possibly can.
Arriving by 6:00 pm doesn't give me time to eat, so can I bring something with me?
Yes, feel free. Just be considerate of other students on the course – so probably best not to bring something too smelly or messy! How much time would I need to commit outside of the sessions? We have a suggested reading list and encourage students to read the core texts for each track, but how much you read is up to you. Throughout the year we encourage you to meet up with your mentor once a month, and there will be a talk to prepare, but apart from that there is no time commitment outside of the course hours.
Do I need to buy lots of books?
There is a suggested reading list, including a key book for each track. You only need to buy what you want to, some students buy and read lots of the recommended books; some don’t read any! Quite a few students have bought Kindle editions which are usually cheaper, or have borrowed books from former students. We also try to bulk buy the core texts so that they are a bit cheaper!
How much does it cost?
Formation School will cost £600 per student. We are aware that some individuals and small churches may find this difficult financially – so we would encourage prayerful and creative thinking! Are there others in your church family who could support someone to do Formation School? For example, Above Bar Church has a bursary scheme that a few members have put money into and that enables them to support those who would struggle to fund the whole amount themselves. We have also had several examples of students who have paid half the fees themselves and their church has paid the rest. Are there members of your church who could be approached to give a ‘bursary’ to train someone in your church?
What should I do if I can't afford the fees, or I can't pay upfront?
We are happy for students to break down the fees to pay termly, or even monthly. It would also be worth asking if your church would be able to help pay for some of the course. If you’re a home group leader, how about your group contributing to the costs? If you are excited about the possibility of doing Formation School why not pray that God would provide the financial means for you to do the course?
How will Formation School fit in with looking after my young children at home?
Are there people in your small group who could help support you during Formation School by babysitting to free you up to do it? Could someone else in your family arrange flexible working hours for the year to enable you to come?
How accessible is the location of Formation School for those with disabilities?
The Formation School evenings, and two of the Saturdays, take place at Above Bar Church, in the centre of Southampton. It is easily accessed from local bus and train routes. The building has two lifts, and has excellent wheelchair access. Four of the Saturdays will take place at other churches, but we ensure that all the venues we use will have good accessibility.
I’m still not sure . . . can I come and visit?
Come along and find out more! We’d love to welcome you one Tuesday and you can talk to the team and current students about the course and whether it would be suitable for you. Drop us a line if you’d like to visit.
How can I find out more?
Please contact us if there is anything else you would like to know about Formation School.
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.