The revelation concerning discipling first grabbed my heart as a 15year old in 1997. A team of young adults from a discipleship training program called ‘The Masters Commission’ had come to Australia and I was captured by their extreme passion for Jesus, their ultra clean character and their complete certainty concerning their personal future. As I graduated High School there was only one thing the Holy Spirit drew me to and that was discipleship training. I was convinced, even at 17 years of age that the only way I was going to be a success in this life was to be like Jesus and the only way to become like Jesus was to be a dedicated and daily disciple of His. Therefore, I signed up, I paid up, I buckled in, I laid down my life and I took up my cross. It was the EDT class of 2001, the third ever cohort of discipleship students.

 

 

Why discipling? Why did it grab my heart? Why is it such a powerful tool for life transformation?

When Jesus entered history some 2000 years ago discipleship was already a common practice. Many men have emerged at various times with a message and enlisted followers and disciples. The great Greek philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle had been training and producing the world’s best minds for a long time. Jewish Rabbi’s were training the most devout and disciplined followers of Judaism. Jesus however enters with a new message, one from heaven and a new pattern for discipleship, a heavenly one.

Why is discipling so powerful? Because discipling is the divine tool chosen by God to mature his people. Jesus took 12 disciples, as the first cohort, through his very own discipleship training. But his training was not of the mind only, like the Greeks and not concerned with discipled behaviour only, like the Jewish Rabbis but discipleship that cuts through to the heart (Luke 2:34-35) and reveals the inside of the disciple empowering them to be transformed and no longer live according to the limitations of the flesh. Scholars tell us that Jesus spent 80% of his 3.5 year ministry with his 12 disciples; teaching, training, dialoguing with them, living and eating alongside them and continually demonstrating the realities of the Kingdom of Heaven. Then in the end Jesus commanded his disciples to be like him and “go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matt 28:19).

Discipling is God’s chosen tool for training believers in the art of following Jesus and becoming like Jesus.

Excelerate Discipleship Training is modelled on the divine pattern of discipleship, the Jesus style. It is not merely a program to train the mind theologically or a school that modifies behaviour, it is not only a ministry training course, it is two years of lifestyle training and heart transformation mirroring the biblical pattern so that EDT graduates are completely empowered with the revelation of being Jesus’ disciple. I experienced its power and since graduating in 2001 have continued to take up my cross and follow Jesus daily in the pattern I was trained. The fruit is obvious, the power transforming and the multiplication unstoppable.


Caleb Nicholes is the Senior Minister of Southern Lights Church in Melbourne, Australia. Southern Lights hosts EDT and is the local church providing the spiritual input as well as the       community of believers around the students that makes EDT so unique.