AS I prepared for my training year, I was getting ready to sit back and learn. My primary purpose for doing it was to experience community life, so as I envisioned the year I saw myself sitting on a cosy sofa with a warm cup of tea, writing a book about community as children were playing on the living room floor. This would stand in contrast to the pretty hectic life I had been leading in Sweden with loads of responsibilities and a tight schedule.
However, I’ve been very active during my training year as well. One of the first things I did was to start a Spiritual Q&A apologetics class to equip the Kettering Jesus Fellowship in defending the faith, understanding and responding to other worldviews as well as dealing with our own doubts and questions. I’ve had the honour to lead various meetings, I’ve participated in street evangelism on Saturdays and I’ve volunteered at the Creativity Department at the Jesus Army’s central offices in order to contribute with inspiration and media.
If I had done my training year five years ago, which was my original plan, I would definitively have had another experience. I would have not been as equipped to teach, preach and contribute with writing. On the contrary, my 20-year-old self would be in much more need of input and training than what I need now.
Interestingly, the Jesus Army is also in another position now compared to the early 2010s. Many have come to me and thanked me for the inspiration that I give, due to them feeling a bit weary and disillusioned. It has turned out that during this training year, I don’t merely get trained, but I actually get to train.
After all, Jesus said “give, and it will be given to you.” (Luke 6:38). Paul wrote that the Bible will make us “equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:17). He also stated that at a good Christian meeting, “each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” (1 Corinthians 14:26). Discipleship isn’t just about receiving spiritual power, Biblical teaching and ethical principles, but to live it out and spread all of that to others.
If I were to read a hundred books on Christian community I still wouldn’t have been as equipped as I am now, living in community and getting to use my skills and gifts to bless others. Just as Jesus trained His disciples by letting them do the same things He did – preaching, healing and loving – I get trained in community by using my abilities in a community setting. Everything I do, from washing-up to writing songs, is part of my training year.
My pastor Huw started to call me Micael ‘Inspired’, which quickly transformed into Micael ‘Inspiring’ or Micael ‘Inspirer’. To be inspiring requires that we firstly are inspired by God, and we can more easily tune into His inspiration by inspiring others with what we have already got. It’s a joyful, irresistible, virtuous circle that everyone benefits from.