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What Is Discipleship Training School?

by | Dec 4, 2014 | Missions Articles

By: Raymond Billy

This winter, I will be staffing a Discipleship Training School (DTS) for the third time. The school I’ll be a part of is on the campus of Youth With A Mission Ships in Kona, Hawaii. Discipleship schools are a wonderful thing because they are based around the idea of staff encouraging staff, staff encouraging students, students encouraging students and, yes, students encouraging staff to follow Jesus with ever-increasing faithfulness. This all happens in formal and informal ways. From a formal standpoint, my duties as a discipleship-school staffer are fairly simple, but to explain them I have to give the broad scope of what DTSs entail. The program is split into two sections.

First, lecture phase, which takes place in a classroom setting. During this phase, guest lecturers (who are part teacher, part motivational speaker) come in and pass along wisdom that the Lord has granted them regarding theology or Christian living. Every week there’s a new lecturer speaking on a different topic. Topics include subjects such as how to discern God’s will, learning to see God as your Father and yourself as His child, spiritual warfare, the nature of the Holy Spirit, and more. As a staffer, my job is to oversee the spiritual development of students. That means meeting weekly, one-on-one with male students who are assigned to me (usually no more than five of them) and facilitating small-group discussions which are sometimes co-ed. During these meetings, my responsibilities are to serve as a sounding board as discipleship students verbally process what they’re learning in the classroom, reinforce what the Lord is teaching them about themselves and Himself, correct any obvious counter-biblical ideas they have about themselves or God and make sure they clearly understood what the class lecturer was trying to get across.

Second, there is an outreach phase. This usually takes place in a nation outside the lecture-phase location, but on rare occasions takes place in the same nation. The idea behind outreach phase is that after the students have had an opportunity to cultivate their relationship with the Lord, they can try their hand at evangelical missions with a more personal approach than would have been possible prior to DTS. That is, instead of merely introducing people to “the one true God,” students can introduce people to “The one true God who is my Lord, Father, brother and friend.” This phase of the school is important because it helps students determine whether they want to become full-time missionaries. It also gives them a bigger glimpse of what God is doing around the world, which will lead them to offer greater prayer and material support to Christians serving on mission fields throughout the world. As a discipleship school staffer, my job is to plan and lead these outreaches. This includes budgeting, contacting ministries in the host location to partner with and making living arrangements.

Lecture phase of a DTS typically lasts no fewer than 11 weeks, but up to 12. Outreach phase lasts no fewer than eight weeks, but up to 12. In order to finance my part in this upcoming discipleship school, I will need to raise about $5,000 over the next four months. This will pay for housing, food, airfare and health insurance for both the lecture and the outreach phases. There’s a chance I’ll need less than that and I’ll be sure to publicly revise this number if that happens.

Working with Youth With A Mission discipleship schools has been the most rewarding thing I’ve done. It’s a great honor to use my life to help others grow closer to the Lord and to realize who they are in him. Through it all, I’ve learned a great deal more about God and myself than I knew prior to joining this ministry. I truly wish everyone could experience DTS life.

If you would like to make a financial contribution to Raymond Billy, CLICK HERE.

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