The Onelife Sessions Story

Get good at giving up.

This is one of our seven values that we base our vision, strategy and decisions around. The reason for this, is that we would never want to be a bottle neck in what God is wanting to do. If we need to let other people run with something we have or take what we’re doing and do it better, we are happy to see it go. This is really where the story of the Onelife Sessions begins…

For four years we have been running the School of Leadership, a week long residential which explores character, discipleship and leadership and before that we ran Onelife Learning Communities which were a similar thing but with meeting up four weekends over a year (I did one myself back in 2011).

Around two years ago, we began to dream about what it would look like if every young person in the UK was exposed to high quality material that would release them to be godly characterful leaders wherever they found themselves. That we might see families, schools, universities, businesses, hospitals, churches and society populated and transformed by people leading with integrity, kindness and holiness.

We knew that if he held on to the material ourselves this vision couldn’t be reached anytime soon, so we needed to find a way to get the material out there without diluting it’s integrity or effect.

We started this process by trying to give away the School of Leadership to different churches, handing out the material and passing on what we did to make sure it ran well. What we found was that trying to run a week long residential for their young leaders on top of the incredible youth programs they were already doing was just too much.

So, the idea changed, what if we made it more accessible in a youth or student group context? Just changing the sessions slightly so that they worked as one off’s or as part of a series over a number of weeks. We started to play with them and worked out that it was, in fact, possible to make this work.

After a long editing and formatting process, infused with blood, sweat and tears from the team, we ended up with 6 sessions for youth and 12 sessions for students that we were happy with.

We held our very first training day for the material with 6 interested people back in June 2017. This June, we held our fourth training day with over 20 people coming along to learn how to run the material in their context.

The training days are spent with each person getting an opportunity to share about their lives and experiences, trying to welcome them into a family rather than trying to sell or push an agenda and going through some of the material for them, so that they can soak it in and process it before trying to teach it to anyone.

There are now over 45 facilitators who have been trained to run this material in over 25 different churches and organisations over 5 countries.

There is still a way to go before every young person has a chance to engage with this material in their teenage years but we are well on the way. My dream is that we would start to see is local hubs springing up where Onelife Facilitators join together in their locations and work out how to encourage each other in what they’re doing. Be that via prayer meetings, learning communities or just through friendships. The more we can see churches walking together and spurring each other on in the pursuit of raising up leaders, the better!

Helen Dunn