'I’m glad I said yes'
DNA is a unique Christian discipleship and leadership course. Participant Joanna Buttle shares the ways in which she has been challenged by the course - and has grown through it
This is the first in a series blogs by participants and leaders of the course
Joanna Buttle – Merstham Baptist Church, Redhill
Having had an unusual amount of experience with ‘Year Outs’, I was not looking to do another one. In-fact, I was looking to move away and study theology, but God had other plans and stepped in.
My church is a small Baptist church, nestled in between the M25 and the start of the M23 heading towards Brighton. The church has been here since 1874 and when WW11 ended, like in many other areas, a large housing estate was built to cater for families coming out of war torn London. The church saw a need and responded and moved to locate themselves right in the midst of broken families.
However, time has gone by, and although there have been many faithful people holding the doors open to the church, it is fair to say that the dreams, visions and energy have been lost along the way.
And this is where I found myself, questioning what has God got for this place. Is this really it – a small church to remain a small church? Is there anything here for me?
Growing up, I was filled with imagination and dreamt a lot about my church to be a wonderful place of praise, prayer and to glorify to God. Not seeing these things happen, I slowly gave up inside, hopeless that what I saw now would remain and never progress. I was faced with a choice.
I made my decision, but then God spoke and directed me in a different unexpected way. My pastor, who recently joined us, has had experience of DNA by sending others onto the DNA course from his previous church, and so asked me to consider it.
Perhaps he saw that longing desperation of hope in me and grabbed the last cord I was clinging on to. I said, “Ok God, but this is it! If You don’t move, I am moving!”
So, this is the journey you find me on. God has moved and done mighty things beyond my ability to imagine! But not in the way I thought; He took me seriously. Through the teaching on the DNA course and the incredible love, support and prayer of the DNA team, God took burdens and sins that I was carrying and took me to the place of repentance, confession and living in the light, not hiding in the shadows. He reignited old dreams, renewed passion, and gave me hope, love and a future to look forward to. God saw things in me that had to change and I chose to go with Him.
My church (my placement) has been supportive and encouraged me along the way. Opportunities have arisen to serve and lead, including preaching, which is something I thought I would never want to do! We have set up an after school’s club for primary school children, which is much needed in the area. I have also had opportunities with DNA, such as taking part on the Kairos Course that fuelled me with an excitement for God’s Church and mission, and an international trip to Denmark where we served as a team alongside the Danish church and enjoyed their beautiful gift of hospitality.
I chose to do a second year with DNA and with my church. More exciting doors have opened to see God transform the area and build His church. I am currently overseeing prayer walking and an initiative to engage with people in our community through the support of DNA.
God has done wonderful things in me through the DNA Discipleship Course. It is a safe place to be vulnerable, to understand what acceptance is and looks like, to grow, be transformed and stretched. Christ-like discipleship is at the heart of DNA and seeing the potential in every person and love and pray with them through their journey. It works as a partnership with the Church, that they recognise the need for discipleship and support in releasing people into all that God has for them.
God has raised my faith that He will bring about transformation in my area through His church. He has taught me to speak out, step out and that there are wide-open spaces in front of me ready to explore.
I’m glad I said yes.
Find out more about DNA by visiting https://dna-uk.org/
Open days are being held A number of taster days are being held in 2018:
13 February 10.15-5pm
19 March 12-9.15pm
24 April 10.15-5pm
15 May 10.15-5pm
5 June 10.15-5pm
16 July 12-9.15pm
All taster days are in Bromley, Kent