Wondering Wednesday – what I hope we have taught you

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We said goodbye yesterday to the twelfth cohort of students I have taught. I came across something I was asked to write a couple of years ago and thought that today was a good day to post it, it is a list of things I hope we have taught our students. Formation is really important to us at Midlands CYM and many of these are formational things that don’t fit neatly into module headings but are the sort of thing we hope we impart through modelling, encouragement, one to one times and worship as well as the odd bit of teaching! Some of them I might expand upon in future blog posts…

What I hope we have taught you…
1) Sort baggage and dump it!
2) Dream but don’t hold on too tight as crushed dreams can devastate
3) Expect God to speak unexpectedly
4) Make space for God to speak
5) Find healthy ways to process your feelings
6) Find safe places and safe people and make good use of them
7) Take risks
8) Sort out support and sustaining practices first not after you have burnt out
9) Integrity is vital
10) Shadow sides exist in most things
11) Expect there to be seasons
12) Who you are is more important than what you do
13) Work out what works for you
14) Forgiveness and confession are liberating
15) Do what brings you life but remember some things we just have to do
16) Quality of relationships is what often speaks most to people
17) Don’t have a hidden life – be accountable to at least one person
18) Look to see what God is doing and join in
19) Work out how to have fun and laugh – don’t take yourself too seriously
20) Know you are the beloved
21) Work out how you most readily connect to God and make sure you have space to do that
22) Have some bigger spaces where God can speak – quiet days or retreats…
23) Dump bad theology, eg for me there’s not a plan a – we have autonomy and choice
24) Avoid the if onlys and regrets particularly those you can do nothing about
25) God is creative, we are creative – find out what fires your creativity
26) Work collaboratively
27) Take the time and energy to build vision together
28) Who are the orphan, widow and stranger for you?
29) Love is an act of will not an emotion
30) Pass on some of your most important learning to those you work with

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16 thoughts on “Wondering Wednesday – what I hope we have taught you

  1. Thanks for this! I think these were successfully conveyed during my time as a student! Probably would be a useful exercise for me to reflect on how I am doing with each one now!

    • Thanks Zoe, could be an interesting list for us to discuss as a staff at some point too and for others to add their personal favourites! I need to revisit some of them and may well develop some of the points into a full post!

  2. Love it! My ending with students is next week…..please can I crib some of them? Not a Christian group but some great principles for them, and for me formation remains a life long task…. ‘ not that I have already attained it… but I press on……’ Your reminders challenge me once again – thank you.

  3. Inspiring to reflect on how these have shaped not only my work but my life. So many comments and thoughts as I read down the list and I will forever be so grateful to all that I putted into my time at CYM that has enabled me to do whati do, love those I have to chose to love and live more incarnationally than I ever thought possible. But of course class of 2004 was the best!

  4. I am so privelaged to have been part of CYM and you definitly taught me alot of the things listed. For me, CYM was about so much more than getting my JNC and a degree. It was a rollercoaster journey of discovery; drawing closer to God; realising that I could not change the world but I could make a difference; taking risks; being acountable; dreaming big dreams; finding God in unexpected places and sharing much of what I had learnt with others. Words can not say how much I learnt and what it still means to me. Like Zoe and Lucie, I think it would be good for me to take time to reflect on how each of these has shaped both my ministry, but more importantly me as a person…the person God created me to be.

    Looking down at the list one jumps out which I am sure I should have learnt from the dreaded journals and “management of self”! It is: “Sort out support and sustaining practices first not after you have burnt out”. Whilst M.E is a neurological illness, I have no doubt that it was through working too hard, especially at I time I was becoming ill that I made myself alot worse. Maybe I need to take note of: “Avoid the if onlys and regrets particularly those you can do nothing about”! Most of all my passion to serve God and my lack of Spiritual support speaks to me. As months and now years go by, all that you taught me seems so wasted. I long to be the person you helped shape me to be and to share those gifts with others. Let me know if you have any ideas how I can put those gifts into action…nights are the best time!

    I can’t believe the 12th year group has just left…that makes me feel very old, and even more depressed that I am not currently in active Christian ministry. Maybe I need to sort my baggage and dump it!

    Sorry this has turned into an essay! Thank you so much for all you both taught me and for all you continue to do. Your ministry has touched so many lifes.

    May God Bless you as you bless others.
    Lucy xx

      • Thank you. It doesn’t have to be at night, it is just that evenings (and night) tend to be my best time physically. Mornings don’t really exist in my vocabulary but don’t think they ever have! My passion is for working with those on the margins of society and my heart is probably more for community work as a whole rather than youth work. Pastoral support played a very important role in my work before when submerging myself in the life of a counsil estate. It is just that as mths and now years go by I feel so frustraited and as if my gifts are being wasted. I know God has taught me alot through being disabled but I long to serve Him, and to reach out to others. I am sure that it would help with my health too.

        If it wasn’t for the physical barriers of me not being able to walk, needing rests and sometimes having problems with my speech then I could do so much more. Chaplaincy is something I would love to get involved in. At times I think my frustration gets in the way of me listening properly and drawing close to God. It is as if I have let illness take over my life. In the past my whole family had the ability to just get on with life no matter what (whith ALOT of help from God and guys like you) but being physically disabled, there are so many hurdles in the way. Living in a village doesn’t help either and with M.E there is so much uncertainty as to how long it will last. I just want to live my life.

        I had wondered about Street Pastors as it is very similar to the ministry with ‘Church for the Night’ that I was involved in, and that led on to my dissertation. They have no problem with physical disability but at the moment I do not think I would have enough energy for the whole day training sessions. Something like that where there is just an occasional commitment would be good though as I would be able to pace to make sure I was well enough for it, and although not doing much it would give some purpose to my life.

        If you know of anywhere good for a retreat, or any training that would also do me good. I so desperatly need to make sure God is central to my life and it would do me good to be around other people (I normaly only see 2 people a week). I am cetain that healing will come through God. It isn’t right to make up excuses as only I can ‘make space for God’ but it is hard when I basically have no Chistian input from others. That is why something like this blog is such a blessing to me.

        Sorry to have gone on for so long again…you will be throwing me out soon! It is just that I have so much in my head to say, but 4yrs of hardly having had anyone to speak to. That is why it is hard to just write a short answer…although I do seem to remember my journals being long! It is such a different life to 4yrs ago when it was normal to have contact with about 600 people a week. Those are the days I long for.

  5. I definitely learnt many of these things whilst studying with you guys. Much of which haves rustiness me and equipped me in my ministry. Plus they’ve given me the permission to be be, to do things differently at times and to take care of myself as a person as well as a worker.

    Thank you 🙂

  6. Many of these things I did learn through my time at OCYM, I am grateful for my time there even though today I may be a little further away from some of the things on the list than I could have imagined when I graduated 3 years ago. But I am very glad that I chose to spend the final year of my degree there and there are a lot of things I learnt that I will hold onto in a place that is now very different to how things were then….
    Thanks for sharing the list!
    I’d also add, never pass up a good cup of coffee or a chance for a nap! 🙂

      • That would be a lot more academic stuff, very little in the way of personal development/sustainability/pastoral care etc on a mainstream university Psychology MSc. though having said that, student support where I am at the moment is absolutely phenomenal and I have learnt an awful lot about asking for help and being challenged in my ways of thinking/being etc. Just not from the traditional lecture based stuff!

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