Natalie Smith loves Tuesdays. The mother of two is a participant in FORM, a discipleship training initiative of Geraldton Baptist Church (GBC).
“We do training on Tuesdays, it’s my favourite day of the week,” Natalie said.
Senior Pastor, Craig Palmer said that discipleship, leadership and mission are core parts of intentional training now with its second cohort at GBC.
“At the end of 2019, we took a risk to invest time and finance to deeply grow people as fullhearted followers of Jesus through a year-long (Feb-Nov) internship initiative called FORM,” he said.
Borrowing from a internship model first used in Sheffield in the United Kingdom, FORM’s approach is centered on the life of Jesus.
. It includes a training day and life to life imitation (ministry placement) to help people like Natalie apply their faith in unique ways in their work, family and church life.
“FORM is aimed at young adults aged 18 to 35, but this year we took in a cohort of eight people ranging in age from 19 to 78,” Craig said.
“As Senior Pastor, I have seen the impact within the church – each of the ‘FORMees’ bring vitality and the discipleship culture they are learning into the relationships and ministries they are part of, including youth, young adults, children, music and life groups, and beyond that into family and friend relationships.”
“They are learning that being authentic and maturing disciples of Jesus is more about what they do every day than special church programs.”
The alumni from the inaugural year of FORM are supporting the second year cohort in practical and spiritual ways. First year FORMee, Sarah Bishop has matured spiritually through her participation in 2020.
“My FORM experience pushed me outside my comfort zone … to trust in God to see where He is leading me,” she said.
Discipleship trainer and coordinator of FORM, Jack Weaver has seen amazing transformations in people’s lives
“They have experienced inner healing as they find their true identity of who they were created to be in Christ,” he said.
“We have seen God’s love poured out upon the FORMees in tangible ways.”
Jack said that teaching and reflective prayer on who God really is has created a greater vision in people’s hearts about how the Father’s love is passed onto others as they engage with the truths of Scripture.
“They learn to listen to what God is saying by the Spirit and respond to the question, ‘what will we do about it?’” he said.
Applications for FORM 2022 for those aged 18 to 35 open in September, with people beyond Geraldton welcome to apply. ‘Taster days’ will be held on 7 September and 2 November for those who are curious to know more.
For more information, visit geraldtonbaptist.org.au/form