July 2015

Young men and women took their turns at the podium. This was their last day of class. Their year in GFA (SA)’s School of Discipleship (SD) was almost over.

Each shared what the Lord had done in their lives, how they had grown, how they had changed. Tears filled many eyes as they said their goodbyes to classmates, teachers and department coordinators. Eleven months in Texas and two weeks in South Asia had left an indelible mark on their lives.

July 2015

Come Die So You and Others May Live

They came to pour themselves out for the Lord as an alabaster flask, broken and given utterly to Christ.* And in so doing, they discovered, as so many have discovered through the ages, that “unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”*

Laying Foundations

For 10 years, young men and women from different backgrounds, denominations, parts of the country and sometimes parts of the world have come to SD seeking intimate walks with Jesus. Some have been following the Lord for a few months while others don’t remember the exact date of their salvation. Men and women ages 18-27 share life with each other and GFA staff. For a year, sometimes two, students learn life by watching life.

Rachael was one of the first students to be part of SD and now serves on staff with GFA.

Come Die So You and Others May Live

“When I look back at that year,” she says, “I see it as a foundation that the Lord used to prepare me for, at least so far, all the years of ministry I’ve done since, and also all the years of walking with Him. I think the investments the Lord made in me that year . . . have carried over into so many other areas of my life.”

Finding the Heartbeat

As the discipleship team prayed about the direction for the program in 2005, the Lord led them to Philippians 3:7-11. Just as Paul counted “all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ,” so students would have the same opportunity to let go of their own expectations, ambitions, talents and weaknesses, and by this, come to know Christ more fully and intimately. SD would provide a framework for students to radically encounter Jesus.

Jen has witnessed this played out since the first days of SD. She helped coordinate many of the administrative aspects of the program in its formative years.

“The structure of a lot of things we were doing was just wanting people to live fully for the Lord, now and always,” she shares.

Over the years, SD has evolved and expanded. Student’s schedules are richer now than in the earlier days when Rachael was a student, incorporating regular times of prayer, solitude, evangelism and Bible study.

“It’s really more about nuts and bolts,” Jen says. “The central focus of it has stayed the same.”

Life Through Death

For many years, the call of School of Discipleship was, “Can you die to yourself for one year?” Students learned what it meant to die to their own wants and desires. They learned how to embrace the cross, humility and brokenness. Through hundreds of hours of prayer, through months of laboring alongside faithful men and women, they learned something of Christ’s heart for those living without Him, and what it means to be transformed into His image.

More than 100 young men and women can tell you how embracing a season of surrender and brokenness brought eternal fruit—not only in their own lives, but also among the unreached in Asia.

Come Die So You and Others May Live
Come Die So You and Others May Live

Eternity on Their Hearts

On the day of the students’ graduation, a guest speaker stands behind the podium, exhorting them to continue walking with the Lord. Their time in SD is over. One by one the students walk across the stage. Each is given a certificate of completion, a coin engraved with the School of Discipleship logo and a framed photo wrapped in shiny golden paper.

The students unwrap their photos. They laugh; some almost cry. They see women drawing water from Jesus Wells—wells they helped drill by serving in the office. They see Bridge of Hope children laughing—children they helped sponsor by praying and fasting. They see national missionaries sharing the love of Jesus. They see widows experiencing peace for the first time. They see whole congregations, communities transformed. Each photo represents what the Lord did through the sacrifice of these faithful School of Discipleship students.

Life will never be the same.

Learn more about the School of Discipleship.

*See Matthew 26:6–13.
*John 12:24

Read More Articles from GFA World Magazine:

More Than a Mother’s Love

More Than a Mother’s Love

A young boy and girl find refuge at GFA (SA)’s children’s homes. Read Story.

A Heart Burdened for His People

A Heart Burdened for His People

A pastor sees the struggles of the people in his village and helps make their lives better. Read Story.

Bridge of Hope Staff and Their Simple, Extraordinary Love

Bridge of Hope Staff and Their Simple, Extraordinary Love

Meet three GFA (SA) Bridge of Hope staff members, and learn about their love for the children they serve. Read Story.

Come Die So You and Others May Live

Come Die So You and Others May Live

GFA (SA)’s School of Discipleship celebrates 10 years of young men and women giving a year of their lives to pursue the Lord. Read Story.

*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are GFA stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.

Are you from the United States?

If you would like to sponsor, donate or make a store purchase, please visit our US office page.

Hide this / Don't show me again