Intensive discipleship training on offer in WA
Intensive discipleship training on offer in WA
7 October 2020
When Auxiliary-Lieutenants Marenda and Steve Freind took up the call to arms in June last year, they were given a dilapidated Salvation Army building in Rivervale, Perth, and tasked to establish “an organic mission designed to train missional practitioners in what it means to be a 21st-century Salvation Army soldier”.
Fast forward a little more than a year and the first intake participants of their Salvation Army Urban Missions Movement (affectionately called ‘UMM’) have moved through the experience, with plenty of excitement from people keen to join the 2021 cohort.
The things that set the Urban Missions Movement apart from other leadership training courses is that it’s open to people of all ages – “It’s not just a ‘youth thing’,” say Marenda and Steve – and it’s not a live-in commitment. For The Salvation Army in Western Australia, it’s an alternative leadership pathway for people to explore their calling.
Each participant stays living within their own communities and serving at their own corps, but receives regular mentoring, hands-on training and mission opportunities. This means that participants can maintain their normal jobs and lives while investing intensely in their relationship with God, learning how to be a disciple and disciple others, and set aside time to listen to Jesus about how he wants them to follow him, within their own spheres of influence.
“The Salvation Army [in Western Australia] identified that we need to raise up leaders for the future,” Marenda said. “To equip and disciple leaders for the coming generations in terms of different [faith] pathways. We have tried to break down the paradigm of Sunday-centric and program-centric church [and ask], ‘How can we be Kingdom builders in our communities every day?’”
She and Steve said participants who had taken part in the first session of the Urban Missions Movement had to ‘unlearn’ a lot of church and program-based thinking, and re-learn to hear the voice of God. The results have been exciting for all involved.
Chris Beermier says since being part of the Urban Missions Movement he and his wife, Melissa, have been led to reach out more to people within their workplaces. “I’ve had the opportunity to be able to pray for someone I’ve known for a very long time. It’s quite amazing that doing Urban Missions has really given me the courage ... it’s just really encouraged me to go out there and put my faith into action and ask this person ‘would you like prayer?’ and with him responding ‘yes’ and going ahead and doing that. That was probably the highlight of my year!”
Another participant, Jonathon Kop, said he loved being able to learn alongside others and have discussions together about the different ways they were experimenting with putting their faith into tangible action. “You get to do life alongside other people. You get to explore more about God and how you can practically live out your faith in your community.”
Marenda and Steve said the yearly commitment is made in partnership with the participants’ local corps, and was focused around fortnightly gatherings, monthly one-on-one coaching sessions and monthly mission experiences.
“We begin all our nights [the fortnightly gathering] with a meal and we sit around a table. The concept of the table in ancient times was the centre or nucleus of a family and the table had the meaning of the temple,” said Steve. “So, that first hour is really important to everything that we do. We chat with each other and check-in and we share a meal together, which is like bringing us into the centre of the house God created us to live in – community, around a table, journeying with each other and discipling each other.”
After the meal, there is a time of teaching, and during COVID-19 when restrictions meant that meetings had to be online, Marenda and Steve took the opportunity to ask speakers to present from all around the country, and the world. “We engaged with Steve Stewart from Impact Nations*, we engaged with Greig Whittaker and Craig Stephens [Salvation Army pastors in NSW] in an online format. We were able to have some really key speakers in that space around Kingdom and what it means to live that out,” said Steve.
The Urban Missions Movement is now taking applications for the 2021 cohort, but there’s a catch, only Salvos in Western Australia can apply! If you’re interested, contact Marenda and Steve at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
* Impact Nations partners with leaders in the developing world to rescue lives and transform communities by engaging people in practical and supernatural expressions of the Kingdom of God.