Neil MacMillan opened up Bootcamp with the words “Prepare to suffer”, which looking back wasn’t as dramatic a warning as we thought! With the 6 am morning runs (not forgetting the added Crossfit), intense morning teaching and a three-hour activity session in the afternoon, we were tired. Encouraged by the teaching, but tired. Added in were cleaning and serving upper rotas and an 8 pm guest speaker session, which meant that by 9.30pm (after worship) we had really learnt what a productive day looks like.
First years had two days each dedicated to Biblical Theology and Gospel Change: firstly learning the story of the gospel as a whole from Genesis to Revelation and then learning how to apply that in the everyday. Year 2 looked at the Gospel and Leadership – how to lead well in church ministry and within their chosen vocation, while year 3 looked at the Gospel and Calling – what calling has God placed on their lives and how can they use their gifting’s in the work of church planting.
We all experienced the delights of mountain biking, raft building, hill walking (in torrential weather, bonus), and team games. Some team games ended with leaders going head to head and felt more like the Highland Olympics than a casual Free Church game of football.
What the Bootcamp really taught was discipline – the weather was not favourable all week, it rained every morning for our running session and that hill walk will forever be ingrained in our memories. I was told (afterwards) by our hill walk leader, Ally Sewell, that he did not fear for our lives at any point. In one of the discussion we were encouraged by the idea that the discipline of pushing through the physical activities, especially when we struggled, was helping to prepare us for aspects of church planting that maybe we won’t personally enjoy but that need to be done regardless.
Guest speakers included David Meredith, Rev Iain MacAskill and Clive Bailey from Stirling Free Church (with their Dragons Den church planting activity), and several of women who are working within the ministry in different roles.
Was it a success? Well, if the goal was to “prepare to suffer”, then yes! However we got so much more out of the Bootcamp as a whole – sharing bedrooms, mealtimes and worship really created a community atmosphere. The kitchen team headed by Isobel were so friendly and accommodating and their sticky toffee pudding was a highlight. We were challenged, encouraged, fed well, and really built up in the Word and through prayer – what more could you ask from a Bootcamp?
- Natasha Jasmine