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Developing leaders in the Way of Jesus

Jesus came alongside different people with a profound invitation, ‘Come, follow me.’ That invitation still applies to us all and Character School exists to enable us to respond to that call.

You’ll learn about who you are, who God is and what He is calling you to do. You will be stretched, challenged and encouraged as you walk in the way of Jesus by being with Jesus, becoming like Jesus and doing what Jesus did.

Sometimes our calling can get lost, confused and distorted but in Crawley we know that God writes a new story for our lives which is not determined by the past.

Our vision is to: Love Jesus, Love Church, Love people and Love Crawley. We know that to do that effectively means being followers of Jesus who have authentic Christlike character and who are full of the Holy Spirit.

Character School is an opportunity for anyone, no matter your age or background to spend an exciting one or two years, serving God, being changed and developing as a leader in a growing church.

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When there are so many church intern programmes, why would you come to Crawley? Something very new is happening in this growing diverse town of over 120,000. Steve and Liz Burston, the leaders of Church Crawley, have a grace-rich story of God’s transformation in their own lives and marriage and are inspiring and helping other emerging leaders from every background to step into their calling, help lead new church plants and impact a town that faces many challenges.
Church Crawley, consisting of St John’s, St Peter’s and St Richard’s, continues to witness God powerfully changing many lives and with two new church plants and others being considered, you will play your part leading, shaping and bringing transformation to these new communities.


In a world where tragically many leaders morally fail, character matters. Our character is defined by, “What you do when no-one is watching.” The church needs leaders who authentically pursue holiness and have a godly character that can stay the course and we will help you on that journey.



You will be part of a close-knit team where you will be supported, inspired and challenged to play your part and cheer others on. In relationship with others, your spiritual gifts will be discovered and character refined and together you will serve the whole church community.



You will be personally mentored and have opportunity within the church to develop resilient and adaptable skills in different areas of ministry.



Through our own ‘Church Crawley’ team and input from others we will help you discern your calling into whatever sphere of influence God has created you for, in order to bring His kingdom.



Two days plus one evening a week, we will spend time discovering the nature of God, an awareness of who we are and how we bring His kingdom. There are interactive classroom sessions on a wide range of relevant topics and time for personal study and prayer.


We believe that formation is always happening, either intentionally or unintentionally, for good or bad. We want to help you intentionally partner with the Holy Spirit to experience growing maturity through applying Jesus’ teaching, being in community and establishing biblical rhythms of life that will sustain and change you.


You will have opportunities to put teaching into practice by serving on teams or leading in a wide range of contexts and ministries during the week. This will stretch you by giving real life experiences under the support and encouragement of the leadership team. This will include you being committed to being part of Church Crawley on Sundays.


An important aspect of character development is having a team with you to support, encourage and challenge areas of your life that need healing or transforming. We have experienced mentors who are excited to help you on your journey and will meet with you regularly.


Can I work while doing Character School?

Yes. Character School is designed to allow you to have paid employment if you need or want to outside of Character School commitments.


How much does it cost?

The cost per year is £800 GBP. The cost covers all teaching, materials, retreats and attending events that are part of Character School.


What is the deadline for applying?

The last date for applying is in August 2023. If you’re an international applicant, please ensure you leave plenty of time for Visa’s to process.


Where is Character School based?

Character School is based at St Johns Crawley and it's partner churches in Crawley, St Peter's and St Richard's.


Do you offer bursaries?

We never want money to be the reason that someone doesn’t apply. We have bursaries available for anyone in need of extra financial support. To apply, just tick the box in the application form and one of the team will be in touch to discuss your needs.


Is there an age limit?

No. We recognise that character is something that God is always working on and welcome people from all age groups to apply. We have had apprentices from their 20’s to their 70’s.


Do you provide accommodation?

We do not provide accommodation but please let us know if that is your need and we will provide help or advice with finding somewhere to live.


What days will Character School year 1 run?

Two weekdays per week with one weekday evening and being a committed member of Church Crawley on Sundays.


What happens after the first year?

You may be asked to stay on for Character School Year 2. Those of you on the second year are likely to be those who show a clear gifting in leadership and an ability to carry significant responsibility in serving existing churches and new church plants.


What our past apprentices say about Character School

The true growth has been and is still being done in my heart and character. It's been so painful yet  joyful. At one point I even wanted to quit because it felt like too much happening, but i thank God i stayed because it felt like I stepped over the threshold that started the real training, I’ve also enjoyed our theology sessions. My highlight was the opportunity to preach for the first time at St Johns and attending CRT Assemble together.

Being an apprentice at St. John’s made such a positive change in my life, it challenged me, put me out of my comfort zone and I grew in both confidence and faith over the year. A highlight would definitely be meeting new people and making some great friends.

Meet the Character School Leadership Team