All around the world, lives are being transformed as they experience the kingdom through school communities that uniquely reveal the goodness of God. One of these schools is the Edinburgh School of Supernatural Transformation (ESST) in Edinburgh, Scotland. Under the leadership of Neil and Jo Thompson, this school has seen a growing number of men and women empowered to bring kingdom culture into their community.
We want to share some powerful miracles and keys of wisdom from the leaders of ESST. To impart the breakthroughs they have received, we are honored to have Jo Thompson tell her school’s story. As you read about the extraordinary things God is doing in Edinburgh, we pray your school community would receive grace and vision to embrace your unique identity in advancing the kingdom upon the earth!
The Kingdom Is Infectious
My husband and I believe that revival must impact every area of society. We want to see believers equipped to walk in power, authority, and purity as they represent a very good God in their sphere of influence. With a passion to see heaven brought to earth and to see Edinburgh and Scotland transformed, ESST was born. Since the launch of our school, we have intentionally created a safe place for people to encounter God in deeper intimacy and grow in boldness to reach out to the community around them with God’s supernatural power and love.
At ESST, we believe that God loves to heal people, and we’ve heard testimony after testimony throughout the years of people experiencing both physical and emotional healing. Many students and those they prayed for can testify to how God’s goodness impacted their lives in a supernatural way.
In our second year of running the school, one of our students was healed of a dairy allergy. After she was set free from the allergy, she went back to her home church and released healing and saw those with arthritis healed. It has been amazing to see this student and others take what they are learning in ESST back into their environments. The kingdom is truly infectious!
Another one of our students began to use the tools we had given him to pursue the renewal of his mind; aligning his beliefs with the truth that he is an overcomer and called to live a victorious life. As the student applied these truths, he began to see the depression in his life completely whittle away. He went back to his doctor who confirmed that he was completely recovering. His score on the depression scale that was once very high was now very low. He was even taken off anti-depressants and no longer experienced the triggers that would send him into a spiral.
When this student shared his testimony in our school, other students began to experience freedom from depression. We shared the testimony with the church leaders who act as a covering to our school. They then saw breakthrough in several mental health issues amongst the church congregation. We even shared the testimony the following school year and saw a student healed from their mental health issues by just hearing it.
It was extraordinary to see the ripple effect of this student’s testimony. That is the power of God!
The Kingdom Advances When You Are Fully You
While leading ESST with my husband, one of the things I have learned is how important it is to lead how God has made me to lead. As soon as I try to lead like someone else, I rob others of an element of the Father’s nature that I carry. He has deposited something specific in me that is designed to bring life to the people under my leadership. Learning this is a process, but the more I take hold of it and believe what God says about me, the stronger a leader I become. It’s about becoming the very best version of you, which God created.
As you lead in any capacity in your life, I would encourage you to lead in a way that is true to who you are. Don’t compare yourself to others, discover what your leadership looks like, and value it. You can still value and honor others’ strengths while still operating in your own strength. I know that it can be challenging to lead in your own unique way, especially if you are not a dominating personality, but when you lead as yourself, you are going to see great fruit in your life and the lives of those under your care and leadership.
Part of the process of loving your own leadership style is creating space for other people’s styles. As you lead other leaders, let them be fully who they are without micromanaging them. When you are starting a school, you have an idea of what you want it to look like, and it can be tempting to micromanage your team’s members. If you have brought people into your team, it’s really important that you trust them to bring who they are.
We have a culture and DNA within our school and the leadership team that empowers our leaders. As long as they are operating within our DNA and culture, we don’t feel the need to micromanage them. This doesn’t mean that messes aren’t made, it just means we don’t micromanage and we allow people to clean up their messes and learn–all the while feeling fully believed in.
Share your vision with your team and make sure they are on board to pursue it, but let them bring who they are to your school. When you invite them to share their skills, experiences, and strengths, you are going to achieve so much more than you could even dream to accomplish. It’s part of the culture of honor; honoring who people are and not stumbling over who they’re not.
The Kingdom is Full of Grace and Honor
I think it’s so vital to have grace for yourself and others. I have learned to tell myself that it’s ok to not get something right the first time and that I am still growing as a leader. Growth doesn’t happen when we get things right the first time. We grow by learning from our mistakes. God gave us seeds and babies. He didn’t give us fully grown trees and adults. He loves the process and I am learning to love the growing and learning process too!
The Lord has shown me that it is our attitude and heart posture that allows us to grow from our mistakes. He is not so concerned about us getting it wrong as He is concerned with how we respond and what we learn. I encourage you to have grace for yourself and embrace the learning process He has you on. It will release abundant fruit to your school’s environment.
One leadership key my husband and I have learned is to be really intentional about creating a culture that reflects the kingdom in your school. To be able to start creating such a culture, it’s important to be able to recognize what it looks like. While we spent a season receiving from Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) for two years, we took time to identify the kingdom principles that drove the culture we were experiencing. We would ask ourselves, “What are the key breakthroughs this community has received and how can we transfer those to our nation?”
This looks like breaking down the different cultures: American culture, Bethel culture, and kingdom culture. We wanted to recognize and bring back kingdom culture. We know that simply transferring American culture into Scottish culture wouldn’t work. We did recognize that parts of American culture are infused with kingdom culture, like a culture of celebration. Americans know how to celebrate well, an element of kingdom culture we recognized and have translated back into our culture.
We didn’t want to cookie-cutter what Bethel was doing. We wanted to take the kingdom teaching, breakthrough, and momentum they were experiencing and transfer that back into our Scottish culture. Kingdom culture will work anywhere. We realized that we needed a Scottish expression of the kingdom.
When we were at BSSM, we discovered how the prophetic was such a natural part of the environment, it creates life and momentum in lives. By intentionally teaching and activating our students in the prophetic, it is now a huge part of our school’s culture. We have seen many lives touched through this incredible way of sharing God’s heart with people. Many times throughout the year, students were able to encourage people in their workplace, family, or on the street by praying with them for healing, or simply sharing God’s love and kindness with them.
We also took the time to think about the beautiful foundation of our nation’s culture. It truly carries unique aspects of the kingdom. For example, the Scottish people really know how to honor our nation’s history and heritage. By valuing and celebrating the unique aspects of Scotland in our school’s environment, we see these qualities increasingly demonstrated. It has been a beautiful journey to see believers in Scotland recognize what unique qualities they carry as well as embrace new facets of the kingdom.
The Kingdom Can Expand through Your Dreams
Lastly, I encourage you to go after what’s in your heart because the Lord gives you the dreams you desire and the ability to go after them. We had a dream to start a school in Scotland. We thought it would be years before we saw that, but the Lord opened a door to start a school just six months after our season in Redding, CA.
Nothing is impossible with God. He gives you everything that you need to be equipped for the destiny and task He has given you. He is faithful and is more excited for revival than even we are! 1 Thessalonians 5:24 says, “The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it” (NIV).