One of the highlights of 2013-2015 for me was attending Catalyst’s Leadership Foundations Course. I loved it. If asked why, I would give two basic reasons: its content and its speakers.
The course was sold to me as a fresh approach to leadership training in Newfrontiers: an approach based around biblical rather than systematic theology. Instantly I knew this was what I wanted to attend. I had always been dissatisfied with the effect a systematic approach had had on my Bible reading and understanding. It took this great book, which God has given us, chopped it up into little pieces, and then rearranged them in topics. Obviously this can be a wonderful resource and a great aid to understanding, but it kind of destroyed the Bible for me. The biblical theology approach, by contrast, promised something far more attractive: it left the Bible intact. You could start at the beginning and work to the end. It honoured the story and allowed the themes and topics to emerge more organically.
And the course really delivered on this. I’d guess about 40% of the material was a working through the biblical story from beginning to end, and it was brilliant. A variety of speakers taught us, all of them excellent communicators and people who really knew what they were talking about. The handouts were comprehensive and the material always presented in a stimulating manner; even if I knew it already, it was never boring. I was so impressed I took it all and adapted it to teach in my church.
The second reason was, of course, the redoubtable Andrew Wilson. An excellent communicator himself, the course works because Andrew runs it. He chooses interesting subjects and interesting speakers. He imparts energy, enthusiasm and faith. It means the sessions, quite long as they are, are never dull, frequently punctuated with laughter, sometimes controversial and always accessible.
That’s why I signed up, and I’d sign up again and do it again if I could.
Of course, I discovered other unexpected blessings along the way. The course was full of interesting people from interesting places and I loved getting to know them. I loved being away from my church once a month to hear what was going on elsewhere. I loved going to New Life Church in Milton Keynes; it is a brilliant facility. I loved staying with a host family and getting to know them. I loved the other material that was taught – leadership, history, hermeneutics, the Ephesians 4 gifts, and so on. I loved it all, and I bet you would too.