Winter School 2018

At the end of July, we had 45 students from our NAVIGATE and TOPS Internship programs plus 20 leaders join us for Winter School 2018. Together we entered a space of deep community for six days. This developed through spiritual formation groups, outdoor adventures, vulnerable worship and teaching, subject facilitations, missional exposure, meals and creative spaces.

It was a week where strongholds were broken, forgiveness was poured out and freedom was sought for all. Joy was overflowing in each student by the end of the week as they released any burdens they were carrying. Each student left with an evident hunger for God to continue to powerfully transform their lives, both internally and externally.  

The week was framed with a gentle invitation for students to move towards God in their own pace and sequence. This passage from Matthew (in the Message) sums up the invitation, not only to our students, but to all of us:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” – Matthew 11: 28-30 (The Message)

Here’s some student reflections from the week:

“At Winter School I received a deeper knowing in my heart of the love of the Trinity and realised just how lost we are without him and that there really is a battle going on within. I realised I was closer to my true self when I was young and have wandered off into the world trying to search for meaning and my identity. But I find all that through Jesus as the Holy Spirit guides me. Now I am gaining confidence in being and living out my true identity.” – Erin, Discover Student

“I began Winter School with the question ringing in my ears; “What do I expect from God this week?” My answer at the time had been, “I expect to be surprised by Him.” As the week unfolded, God certainly did surprise me. He surprised me with freedom from something I hadn’t realised was binding me, which was a deep sense of shame of letting others see my childlike nature in God’s presence.

One night we were led into a creative worship space. There was an opportunity for us to be vulnerable before God through different art forms and to leave our creations on display afterwards. I sat down on the floor with a piece of paper and some oil pastels, and I drew a picture for God. I wrote on the drawing, ‘Daddy, I drew this for you. I love you. I know that you love my scribble.’ I then signed my name below it. I was so afraid to leave it up for other people to see, because it felt like a very bizarre thing as a young adult to let others see the expression of my childlike love for God and to leave my scribble on display as if it were a Van Gogh masterpiece.

It was an experience of knowing that God is my Daddy and that He delights in me, with all of my scribble and life wounds. As the week ended I felt that He had brought a place in me to life again that I hadn’t realised was dead. I went home feeling surprisingly lighter, and with an entirely new vision of God as a kind Father. I have a new freedom in expressing my love for Him.” – Impart Student

The joy in the room by the end of the week was evident and contagious. It was such an honour to take part in a week that revived faith and brought freedom to all who sought it. 

Applications for Navigate and Tops Programs in 2019 will be open soon! Enquire now with [email protected] for more information