Impact is our year-out to focus on God – involving a placement in a chuch, training covering theology, skills, leadership and character development, and the chance to go overseas. In this post, Ben from Emmanuel Church Oxford – one of our current students – explains how he found the recent training at Center Parcs with Impact students from across Newfrontiers.
Two weeks on from Impact’s Center Parcs training block, I am still living in the excitement and encouragement of all that took place. The event sounded attractive from the outset: five days in the beautiful Elvedon Forest, with ample time for worship, an impressive line-up of Newfrontiers speakers (Jez Field, Simon Holley, Wendy Mann, David Devenish, Andrew Wilson and Joel Virgo) and an even more impressive array of water-slides. Center Parcs met my expectations. In fact, it went over and above them.
Personal highlights were the successive, exhilarating experiences of God at work. He would make His presence known, it seemed, in each and every meeting. Within twenty-four hours, we were hearing stories of God’s grace that had arisen during the week: people had been set free from issues in their past, they had been healed of illnesses, and they had received the joy of knowing God as Father. Being surrounded by such faith-building stories and events, I couldn’t help but feel a fresh sense of confidence and of peace. Nobody could have denied that God was achieving great things in those meetings.
It was also, for me, a week of challenges. The Impact year is full-on – there is seldom time to reflect, to think about the bigger picture, and to evaluate the work to which you have given a year of your life. For myself and many others, the week at Center Parcs provided an opportunity to do all of these things, to learn and to grow – and I cannot imagine a better environment in which this could take place. Did I need prayer for something? There would be someone nearby who would happily provide. Did I need to talk to someone, to discuss what I felt God had put on my heart? I would immediately be supported by a group of friends, keen to listen.
As important as the above, our time at Center Parcs was fun – a crucial part of the Impact year. If you are the sort of person who enjoys spending good quality time with friends, a heated outdoor pool, and the occasional night in watching Disney’s Frozen (don’t pretend you don’t like it) – it’s definitely for you.