After a canvas has been stretched and attached to a framework, the process of priming begins. Priming is required in order to fill canvas crevices, to smooth the canvas' surface, and - once the artist begins painting - it causes the colours to appear brighter, or cleaner. But how does priming help explain the story of SOD?

Some years ago, a group of people gathered together, hungry for God and believing for more. Through God’s divine orchestration, this group of people formed a church with core values of His Presence, Worship, and Hearing His voice. During that initial season, God spoke to us very clearly about loving on our community without any agenda. He wanted us to be a very real help to our small rural town, and led us to purchase businesses with the intent of creating employment and shifting atmospheres.

We were a people who valued His presence above all else, and the testing of this value became a significant part of the priming process. Valuing Him above personal gain, public reputation and ‘normal church life’ became the outworking of one of our key scriptures: 

‘Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper’ (Jeremiah 29:7).  

In our initial growing years, we discovered the importance of giving Holy Spirit the honour that was due Him by partnering with Him on a daily basis. Whether at home, in town or in a worship service, we were open to Him. Furthermore, it became apparent to us that loving on our community the way God desired, involved something far deeper than we had ever experienced. 

We were aware of the discrepancy between ‘normal’ church planting and what He had called us to, and the frustrating part was that there didn't appear to be any ‘blue prints’ available to us outside of His presence - I say frustrating, because it felt like He would never let up on allowing us to turn to the right or to the left. 

The weightiness of His insistence and His attention to detail would have grown wearisome if not for His grace. This grace, I believe, is the tangible substance used for the priming of His canvas. We knew we had to go outside of the ‘system’ in order to find relevant teaching and assistance for us to forge our way forward. 

It was because of our determination to see genuine Kingdom come forth, that we  availed ourselves of Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM), and the majority of our church participated. BSSM succeeded in filling in gaps we didn’t realize existed. We gained a greater understanding of our true identity in Christ, and allowed ourselves the indulgence of having direct access to the Father. 

We were hungrier than ever to see Jesus shown in all of His power and love through signs, wonders and miracles, to the vast numbers of sons and daughters who had yet to meet their real Father. And we were hungry to see those same sons and daughters awaken and extend His presence to creation itself.

Upon soaking in the fresh revelations God was giving us both individually and corporately, we decided to launch our first Ministry School in February of 2014. We ran BSSM alongside a Certificate IV in Christian Ministry and Theology, through Stairway Church, Whitehorse. 

Our first SOD year was amazing! The growth of the students astounded us, and it was such a privilege to play a part in seeing His Kingdom extend throughout our nation and beyond! But something still wasn’t quite right.

Although Stairway's program was brilliant, we became aware that it wasn’t our original design. It was Stairway's. This realisation served as a launching pad for us to identify and outwork just who we were, and what it was that we carried.  

At the end of 2014, a group of us started working on mapping BSSM to a nationally recognized Diploma in Christian Ministry and Theology. The growth of the students that year could not be denied. And the majority of their growth came from soaking in His presence, worship, and drawing the gold out of one another.