I’ve had the privilege of being on the Academy this year – it’s been an incredible opportunity to learn so far! It is inspiring and challenging and encouraging.
The New Ground Academy is our family of churches’ leadership development program for any who is a church leader or shaper OR anyone who wants to be.
I thought it would be mainly theological training, and it is partly that, but it’s also so much more. It really does aim to equip you as a very rounded leader, with sessions (so far) on making disciples, leadership, prophecy, church history and using the Psalms to worship. Some of the sessions sound like they will be quite dry (eg church history) but they are really not! The passion and teaching gift of the speakers really brings it all to life.
There’s the opportunity to digest and discuss the teaching in small groups, which definitely helps bring the teaching back to everyday church life – with other New Ground leaders like Simon and Gwen Elliott asking pertinent questions to really get you thinking!
Another joy is being able to connect with people from different churches, to link with people in a similar role to me, and find out what they are doing. It has been both inspiring and helpful to share ideas and hear from others.
The sessions that have particularly stuck with me so far are the teaching block from Matthew’s Gospel, which focused on making disciples, and effectively how important Life Groups are in church; and the one on Prophecy with Livy Gibbs, which was really natural and encouraging and caused me to step out of my comfort zone! (and also gave me the push to help Becca set up the Prophecy Course). I’m excited for all the teaching that is still to come!
Academy happens once a month, on a Friday and Saturday, over 2 years. The next cohort starts in September, with applications needing to be in by the end of June. Yes, it’s a commitment to sacrifice that time and sacrifice Annual Leave, but it is definitely worth it! I would wholeheartedly recommend Academy to you, and I hope to see some of you there in September!