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SOMA: Growing in Love

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By Paige K Slighter

Woodland’s School of Missional Apprenticeship (SOMA) kicked off its second year of intensive discipleship training in September with a three-day weekend retreat. The students journeyed an hour north to a cozy retreat center in the woods. They were able to get away from the busy city and bond in a peaceful, reflective atmosphere. Their time together consisted of team building activities, worship, prayer, meals and outdoor games.

For those who have never heard of SOMA, it’s a nine month “seminary for everybody.” Each week students in the program are immersed in a rigorous 50-60-hour schedule of learning and serving. Teachings consist of live and online video lectures taught by Woodland’s teaching team and guest speakers. The students are also fully engaged in communal lifestyle– building in their relationships with one another.

There are currently six SOMA students enrolled in the program. None of them are from Minnesota, but they’re not worried about the foreboding winter forecast. They’re fully prepared coming from places further north—including Canada. They are split down the middle: three guys, three girls; half under the age of thirty, half over the age of thirty.

Regardless of their demographic, they’re having no trouble feeling like a close-knit family. The two oldest students (a couple from Alberta, Canada) often go by Mom and Pop, instead of Doug and Nora. They have children the same age as most of the students. Nora says, “We feel young at heart and privileged to be part of such a Kingdom luxury.” Kingdom, because they’re learning to operate as a body. Luxury, because they’re able to take time out of their schedule to learn. Twenty-four-year-old Mack, the youngest student, says it’s a pleasure to grow in love together. He’s really enjoying family bonding.

After finishing the first month of SOMA, the students have high hopes and great expectations for the rest of the year. Angie from Montana writes, “It’s honestly been very surreal to be here, learning how to truly live in community and see it in practice and principle. God has so much in store for me. It’s going to be a lifelong journey, step by step.”

Learn more about SOMA here or contact Kevin at kcallaghan@whchurch.org.

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