The course that John Sparks leads/invented/facilitates is an extraordinary journey of self discovery that is both releasing (past burdens start to melt away) and also quite painful (as a mirror is placed in front of your face revealing all).
However, that doesn’t really do it justice. I have complained, often, for much of my life that either my mistakes were someone else’s fault or that there was nothing I could to really change at the core of who I am. Sometimes these claims were true; sometimes. Mostly they were down to that fact I didn’t really understand myself or the environmental factors that have suppressed key parts of my character. For example I have always played to my extrovert and mainly enjoyed it. Except I have experienced a great deal of other people’s pain – often significant and serious – and yet rarely expressed emotions or distress at carrying sometimes terrible stories of abuse and brokenness. The truth was I had been taught and had also learnt to ‘lock up’ my introvert and pushed on through anything that might need my introvert to come out and take charge for a while. This led to an astonishing ability to switch off from my wife, my kids, my emotions, my own parents, sister, events, experiences…should I go on…?
Please consider doing John’s course. Don’t be afraid. It won’t be easy…but then what in life, which is worth anything, is easy and handed over on a plate?
Mike Firbank, The Parish of St George and St Mary, Gresley, Derbyshire
I can highly recommend the Understanding Yourself courses. John's insight is God-given and spiritually grounded. He explains personality types and how they typically interact together clearly and patiently, and always with an emphasis on God and the person that He has made each of us to be. He clearly shows how our personalities can become distorted by the world, and how we must become more Christ-centred in order to flourish and to be who we were created to be.
John has had many years in this ministry and he is clearly experienced in helping people and challenging them to be more than they believe possible. I have watched members of our church begin to grapple with and overcome problems in their lives that have previously seemed to them insurmountable and for them to grow spiritually as a result.
No one that I know who has completed a course has found it less than life-changing and at our church the interest in doing further courses after Step 1 has been 100%. I have also completed 3 of the 'Steps' and have found the insights that I have been given into my own personality and the effect that it has on how I interact with others challenging and profoundly useful in my ministry. I only wish that John lived nearer so we could run more of his courses more often!