Testimonial – Ps Tony Higginson (The Dream Centre, Manchester)
In 2012 I travelled from Manchester in England with my son Scott to speak at the School of the Prophet’s conference held by Southern Lights Church in Australia, who also host Excelerate Discipleship Training (EDT). Scott and I had not travelled together for over thirteen years when I was last ministering in France and as a result I saw this trip as an ideal opportunity for a father and his son to build a deeper relationship with each other. Little did Scott or I realise what God was about to do with his life through an incredible journey called discipleship. Throughout the School of Prophets conference the Holy Spirit was revealing to Scott how his life was filled with natural fear, a lack of spirituality and he had a deep sense of his need for God and His presence in his life. This was something that Scott himself could not shake off. The year following this trip there was an opportunity and a decision to be made by Scott to apply and participate in EDT. As you can imagine this was a huge decision for him to make as it meant he would have to leave not only England, but his job, his family and his social life. Thankfully undertaking EDT was a decision that he decided to make.
As a pastor and a father to Scott I prayed and hoped that God would show him the significance of his worth as well as his need for a spiritual father in his own life. Although I will always be Scott’s father, God had to show him the significance of me being more than just his natural father. I knew that he had to leave England and be discipled in order for God to show him this, as God often has to take us out of our own familiar environment in reveal to us the wonders and purposes of His heart.
Throughout Scott’s discipleship I very quickly begun seeing dramatic changes to his confidence, his willingness to emotionally engage, his spiritual understanding and his use of spiritual dialogue. All of this was evidence that Scott was changing and being transformed right before my eyes, which was all due to EDT. In what seemed a very short space of time both father and son were having conversations that I had dreamed of having with him for many years. When I later returned back to Southern Lights to speak again at the School of Prophets conference, Scott met me at the airport. This time there were no chest hugs, no man shakes but a full on loving embrace between a father and his son, which was beautiful. Since Scott’s return back to the UK after completing two years of full time EDT, I have become a very proud father as the prodigal son who I thought was lost has not only returned but has returned transformed, focused and fulfilled. There is no greater joy than for a father to have his son labour alongside him in ministry, something that both Scott and I both realise and now do together.
I realise that Scott’s transformation is due to many things including his willingness to cooperate with the will of God. I know that without the team at EDT and their incredible unselfish dedication, their consistency and generosity, and their commitment to discipling people then all this would not have been possible. I personally believe that EDT is a God given gift that is to be shared with the nations of the world, as it is a finishing school that trains, empowers and builds polished arrows for Christ and His Kingdom. I wholeheartedly recommend that you consider giving God the time and the space needed in your life so you too can experience this life transforming training.
What Makes EDT Unique?
The combination of the distinctive features listed below is what enables students to develop excellence in their hearts and lives and accelerates them in their destiny with God. A time of focused and intense training is absolutely necessary for people to be discipled into men and women of God who are able to extend the Kingdom powerfully and righteously. After 3 1⁄2 years of Jesus' ministry and His utter defeat of death, ‘120’ of His followers were praying in the upper room, ready and waiting to receive the Holy Spirit just 50 days after Christ’s death on the cross. The Holy Spirit came upon them and with just these 120 people the world was touched powerfully and has never been the same since. By partnering with the Holy Spirit and continuing to disciple people utilising the model of intense training Jesus Himself employed, the Kingdom will continue to expand powerfully and reveal to the world the only true source of freedom and life ‐ Jesus Christ.
John 13:15 (msg)- I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do.
Formally known as the Master’s Commission,
EDT has discipled over 400 students and has over
18 years experience in making disciples.
A Brief History of EDT
In 1991, the founder of EDT, Pastor Peter Nicholes experienced a godly dissatisfaction, which caused him to fast and cry out to God for greater revelation on why the church was not advancing. Following this, Pastor Peter received a prophetic word that God had called him to “disciple people into sons and daughters”, which motivated him to visit a discipleship training program known as Master’s Commission in Spokane, U.S.A. This visit in 1997 proved to be a God ordained appointment as Pastor Peter experienced a powerful three hour encounter and impartation from God regarding the discipleship training of adults. With a clear word from God and His subsequent grace, discipleship training began the following year with a one-year part‐time program called Covenant Call. This, however, was just the beginning of what God desired to do. In 1999, a full time discipling course called the Australian Master’s Commission was planted with six students completing the inaugural year.
From this time, the discipleship training has continued to mature and develop as each year passes and is always in the process of being refined and upgraded according to the word and leading of the Holy Ghost. In 2003, the part time training program Covenant Call was renamed Called to Discipling and the Master’s Commission discipleship training launched a second year of full time training in 2012. At various times, the full time and part time discipling programs have been undertaken in different locations in Australia in partnership with local churches. At the present time all discipleship training is hosted by Southern Lights Church in Skye, Melbourne, and the transformative training that God has desired and inspired is currently known as ‘Excelerate Discipleship Training’ (EDT). EDT is the culmination of many years of expertise in discipleship training and has seen over 400 students graduate, experience remarkable transformations and many go on to undertake incredible endeavours for the Kingdom of God. More than ever this training is maturing people into accurate and powerful sons and daughters of God who are true representatives of Jesus, equipped and prepared to finish their God-given assignments and advance the church.
Southern Lights Church
EDT is hosted by Southern Lights Church in Skye, Melbourne, Australia. Southern Lights began its relationship with EDT in 1999 and has since become renowned as a “training church.” Discipleship training is one of the churches seven foundational and essential facets or pillars. In turn, every pastor, leader and department within the church is positioned to facilitate the training of EDT students. EDT uses Southern Lights church leaders as student mentors, Sunday sermons for mid-week training content and church conferences as an opportunity to develop the students in servanthood, leadership and management skills.
Dr Zoe Nicholes
Ps Peter Ingram
EDT Head Trainer
Ps Andrew Cavanagh
Higher Education Coordinator
Andrew was born again at the age of nine, when his family was impacted by the Charismatic Renewal in the Anglican Church in the late 1960s. Andrew and his family became part of a new church being established in Melbourne’s outer Eastern suburbs, where Andrew remained until after his marriage to Susan in 1982.Shortly after this time, Andrew commenced attending Southern Lights church and felt the call of God on his life to become a pastor. He left a successful retail career to study at Tabor College and soon commenced teaching and developing training courses within the church.
After a period of six years of working for Monash University, where Andrew was able to combine his passion for training others and his experience in retail, God gave Andrew a business plan and since 2009 he has been training retailers under his own business.
This business has enabled Andrew great flexibility in order to be involved in teaching and training students within EDT, which he has undertaken for nearly two decades. His passion is to see Christians and students in EDT equipped and strengthened in learning how to ‘correctly handle the Word of Truth’.
Ps Leanne Tanner
EDT Student Support & Administration Coordinator
Administration and connecting with people are Leanne’s forte. She is passionate about seeing others step into the freedom that she has experienced as a result of encountering Jesus. Leanne has been involved with EDT since 2012 and has a heart to see people reach their full potential through discipleship training. The nurturing mother’s heart of God is displayed through Leanne and she is delighted that two of her three children have journeyed the discipling process.