At Gospel for Asia (an hour outside of Dallas, Texas), we’re constantly yearning to be more like Christ and to be more and more conformed to His image.
But how does one become a disciple of Christ? Gospel for Asia’s School of Discipleship (SD) program seeks to answer that question. Over the years, this program has challenged more than 100 young adults to die to themselves so they may live for Christ and be His disciples.
The word “disciple” can take on various meanings, but at its core it means to know, follow closely after and be like your teacher.
Daniel Punnose, vice president of Gospel for Asia, recently said that it’s “the habits that we allow, entertain and commit to that will make or break us as disciples of Christ.”
The staff involved in the day-to-day aspects of School of Discipleship understand this. They invest in each student that comes through the program so they may know what it means to be fully the Lord’s. They help students understand that it’s not head knowledge that makes us better people or that shapes us more into the image of Christ. It’s not in reading all the books in the world about what it means to follow Jesus and having all the right theological answers for every question that comes our way.
It’s about putting into practice the things we’re learning. It’s about developing holy habits that draw us closer to the heart of God. It’s about paying close attention to the way Christ lived His life while on earth. It’s about following the examples set before us.
Let’s take prayer, for instance. If we want to grow in our prayer life, we probably don’t want to be watching someone who hardly prays, right? We’ll want to learn from someone who regularly intercedes for the needs of others and is constantly praying.
School of Discipleship students get that opportunity. They spend hours learning about prayer by actually praying. They get to join the Gospel for Asia staff throughout the week for many times of prayer. They learn what it means to intercede for various needs across the world and to be fervent in prayer. Students are surrounded by people who are passionate about Jesus and are further in their walks with the Lord than they are.
One SD graduate said, “I have never been surrounded by so many godly men and women who just love on you and encourage you to keep your eyes on Jesus and keep growing closer to God.”
Discipleship is a purposeful choice. We have to put ourselves under the influence of others in order to be taught. GFA’s School of Discipleship provides young adults with this very thing. They get the opportunity to grow in a community of believers that loves Jesus and is pursuing Him with all their hearts. The students get to do life alongside GFA staff who love them even when they fail. They learn to love Jesus with every part of their life.
The heart and goal of the program is to make disciples of Christ to impact our generation for His kingdom. More than 10 years ago, the Lord gave Dr. KP Yohannan Metropolitan a burden to see young people raised up to know, love and serve God.
“My dream for all upcoming generations is that they will recognize that the call of God upon their lives has been and always will be to deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow Him,” Dr. KP Yohannan said.
By God’s grace, we’re seeing that accomplished through School of Discipleship. No matter where the students go after their year in SD, they are equipped to be and make disciples.
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