Asbury Church has begun a new program this summer called the Asbury Academy. Asbury Academy is designed to equip and educate the next generation of Christian leaders who feel God’s calling to have a Kingdom impact in the world by living out and declaring the Gospel of Christ.
The Academy is built to provide an experiential educational opportunity for those seeking to give their lives in service to God through either full-time vocational ministry or bi-vocational ministry. There are four aspects of this program: immersion into the life of Asbury Church, an internship in one of the various ministries of the church, participation in five week-long academic classes and making a mission trip to Costa Rica.
We have completed a Spiritual Disciplines class and are currently studying worship this week. We have nine young people involved in the program. I am greatly impressed with the level of spiritual maturity of these participants. It gives me great hope that the future of the church will be in the hands of people truly gifted and called by God.
After the first week of the Academy experience, one of the interns shared the following with us:
I cannot explain the impact that Week 1 alone had on my life. It was like I was reawakened to the awe and complexity of God and the hope He brings to each of our lives. Spiritual Disciplines was a great first week topic as it got all of us thinking of the practices we put in place daily to further our walk with Christ. I thought the explanations of the 4 different ways to study scripture was helpful for me in understanding different angles I can learn more about God and what He is trying to speak to me through His Word. I also loved the emphasis throughout the week of silence and meditation. Even the times of silence we had in class were some of the most impactful moments I experienced throughout the week. Perhaps my favorite lesson of the week was the Breath Prayer. It is incredible to hear how God will faithfully answer a simple consistent prayer and that we can become more conscious of the times we need to say the prayer throughout our day. My prayer was, “God, give me freedom.” I have continued to say it every single day in times where I feel myself feeling angry, or comparing myself to someone, or feeling weighted down, or any other emotion or situation to which I feel trapped. Just by saying those 4 words, I am immediately reminded of the freedom which Christ has freely given me and am strengthened for the next time I experience those emotions again. I really admired that each intern shared his/her testimony. I learned things about my peers that I had never known before and because of that, feel much more comfortable to talk to them about certain issues and to be in prayer over their struggles. I was really impacted because someone reached out to me and we got breakfast one morning and talked about some things I said in my testimony. It was such a powerful, God ordained conversation and one I will probably never forget! Overall, the first week was an answered prayer in itself as I was reminded of who God is, who I am, and our main mission here on earth. It is so amazing to walk this journey with 8 other people my age who are all seeking the same truth and knowledge. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Soul Keeping and hearing John Ortberg’s explanation of our souls and how crucially important a well-tended soul is for our relationship with Christ and others. I learned so much about myself and things I had never even thought about before. I will definitely be rereading that book once I finish the others this summer. I am now fully aware of the presence of God in our class meetings and am excited to see all the things He will unveil to us over the course of the summer.