Feeling a little dry and spent? Needing to spend some intentional time digging deeper with God? Needing stretching or a new challenge?
DNA could be just what you are looking for! There is something for everyone in this tailor made year, whatever age, stage or type of work you are in. Every year we have trainees spend a year or 6 months in with God, going deeper and peeling back new layers of who they are and what they are being called into!
Meet Sue Jolly, she did DNA 2017/18 after feeling God calling her to take some time out and just be for a season. Here she tells us about her year and how DNA served her in her sabbatical.
‘I’m not what you might call an average DNA trainee. The assumption is that you need to be 18-25, with a desire to be developed in leadership, and the time and availability to do a full time gap year – that was not my experience of DNA at all.
I am 46, have been on the Core Leadership Team of my Church for many years, have 2 part time jobs and a very busy family life. The last summer had been quite difficult for me for various reasons and I was aware that I had lost confidence in myself as well as having many questions about my future, and as a result it was just leaving me feeling very weary. In early September, three weeks before the new DNA term began, I believe God showed me that I needed time to focus inwards again, that I needed to take some time out, a kind of sabbatical, where I could allow God to reveal again to me who He has created me to be, and not this worn out, highly responsible superhero that I had somehow become. I have known about DNA for many years and have had the privilege of teaching on DNA2 for a few years, of sending trainees to DNA and of coordinating trainees who were placed with us, so I knew the format and I also knew how hard it would be, yet I knew immediately that DNA was the tool God wanted to use to help undo and remould my understanding of myself.
I signed up for the part time 6 month DNA programme and continued serving in my own Church (with scaled down responsibilities in Church life), and continued with work and family in much the same way, but made a commitment of at least 2 days a week to give to whatever God was revealing through DNA.
And there the incredible journey began! The other trainees that I met will be friends for life … I recall a conversation on my final day with a fellow DNAer who I travelled with for 8 hours each 2 day block… I knew every dark secret and deep struggle she had, yet I had no idea of her favourite takeaway or most enjoyable film! DNA is about family – it’s a journey that you embark on alone with God, yet one that you walk so closely with others who also are on their own, often painful, journey, and surrounded by the most wonderful DNA team who you know are faithfully praying, supporting and encouraging you as you do.
I feel I should speak about the incredible quality of speakers that shared their wisdom within an excellently crafted teaching programme, the phenomenal times of worship just standing in God’s presence, the opportunities to step out of my comfort zone on far too many occasions, the assignments and worksheets, the amazing laughs we all had, the sometimes 3 hour sessions with my discipler … I could go on, but for me the highlight was to find myself in a safe place where I didn’t have to cope, where it was ok to cry, ok to disagree, ok to be real, ok to explore who I really was, and ok to be me. Through that, God was able to go deep, to bring revelation, to bring healing and ultimately to bring freedom.
One year on I am a different person. I have stepped down from being on the Core Leadership Team and now serve my Church in other ways (so much for DNA being a Leadership development programme!!!). I feel that I understand more than ever what my passions are, what fires me up and makes me come alive, and I have the confidence to step into all that God brings my way. I am kinder to myself, value myself more, and hopefully that results in me being a much nicer person to be around!
I can’t recommend DNA enough – at any stage of your life or Christian development – God is always wanting to speak, to heal, to reveal more of his love; and doing DNA is honestly the best and most intense way I could possibly think of to take time out of the busyness and have your life totally turned on its head!
Why not join us this coming October to start your new adventure! If you have any questions of what this could look like for you then please do not hesitate to get in touch.