This year has massively exceeded my expectations. Not only has it greatly improved my walk with God, but it’s helped me grow as a person.
My ability to organise myself has dramatically improved this year, thanks to the support of my line manager at Holy Trinity Leicester, where I’m based for the Discipleship Year. I now use a calendar and I’ve started meal prepping, now that there isn’t a school canteen to rely on.
KNOWING MY IDENTITY
Before the year, I knew that I was a child of God in my head, but I now know it in my heart too. This has really impacted me as a person as I find my identity as a child of God and so don’t need to worry about what the world thinks of me. God’s view on me is never changing, unconditional, and completely trustworthy, in contrast to the world’s.
This year has helped me with consistent prayer and Bible reading. This is because as part of my internship I have been able to live in a New Monastic Community where they hold three daily offices. This community allows me to pray and worship with others and it is so special. Before starting the internship, I fell into the habit of just praying to respond to events rather than aiming to be in constant communion with God. Moreover, our theology teaching day has enabled me to go further into scripture and inspired me to spend more time reading God’s word.
LEARNING TO SERVE
Since starting the year, I have recognised that I am driven by the idea of succeeding or failing. This is self-focused, and the internship has greatly increased my serving heart as ministry is focused on serving others for God. The internship has also helped me improve on not only forcing myself to do things I don’t want to do but enjoying them; for example, cleaning the church building.
Before starting the Discipleship Year, I didn’t understand that we are hybrid beings called to live in the physical and spiritual reality. I had no idea what living in the spiritual reality meant and how it can impact us in our day-to-day life.
A SPIRITUAL GIFT
I went on the Weekend Away at the start of the year and I had an amazing experience. We were all worshipping and the leader encouraged everyone to worship in tongues. I was standing at the end and I thought, ‘Here we go again, everyone else will be worshipping in tongues and I will be stuck on the edge worshipping in English.’ During the session, the leader of the session came over to me and placed one hand on my head and the other hand on my chest. I was immediately filled with the Holy Spirit: I went boiling hot and a little dizzy immediately, and as the leader was praying over me, I was filled with the Holy Spirit. It felt as though I was standing in a waterfall that was flowing onto my head and through my body. All of a sudden, without realising it, I started speaking in tongues. It was like this gift had been unlocked and it felt powerful. I had no idea that this level of spirituality existed. Ever since then I’ve spoken in tongues.
LEARNING TO LEAD
As part of my internship, I have been given the opportunity to pilot leading sports ministry for young people in Leicester. I have loved leading the ministry as it has enabled me to use my two passions, Jesus and sport, together. It has definitely been a healthy challenge. It has been stressful at points but with support, the ministry has been able to flourish. The sports ministry is designed to attract people that wouldn’t usually come to church to come and play sports. It has been so special to be able to enjoy playing sport, but then we also have a 10-minute God slot and share the good news of Jesus to young people that have never heard it before.
Another key part of my internship that I have enjoyed, is leading a Christian Union at the local sixth form college. We have more not yet Christians than Christians and this, therefore, means lots of apologetics and great conversations.
LEARNING ABOUT MYSELF
The internship has helped me understand more about myself due to opportunities such as the Myers Briggs and the Five-Fold Ministry test. This has allowed me to be more efficient in the way I work and rest since I have an increased understanding of myself. On top of this, these tests have helped me recognise my strengths and weaknesses enabling me to develop in the areas I need to work on.
Another benefit of this year is that it has helped me with discernment of my future plans. Since the internship has helped me grow as a person, it has helped me decide on University options and inspired me to explore working in church ministry when I’m older. It has shown me how special and rewarding helping others through working for the Church is.
Robert MacQueen is a Discipleship Year student at Holy Trinity in the Leicester Hub.