The Blessing of Intentional Discipleship.

One of the biggest lessons I've learned is the power of intentional discipleship.

When I signed up for my Discipleship Training School (DTS), I assumed because of the name that there would be discipleship involved, but I had no idea how intentional YWAM Tyler is in the discipleship process.

I remember watching a video about DTS, and they explained that every student gets a “one-on-one." A one-on-one is their mentor, and walks alongside them throughout the five month DTS program, meeting with them at least once a week, and helping them process what God is teaching. I knew right away that I would love that, as I am a verbal processor, and love deep conversation.

I showed up for my DTS, and I was a MESS. I was eager and ready to grow in my relationship with God, but at the same time, I had just left my family for the longest time ever, gave up a job I loved, and left everything I knew to pursue Jesus and missions.

But I let anxiety run the show, and I definitely spent the first few days of my DTS in tears. I knew I was where I was supposed to be, but it was just so many new things all at once.

On my second night, I was laying in bed, and a sweet staff girl who was working with my school, Taylor, came to check on us. She talked with my roommates and I, and then turned to leave. I watched her pause, turn back around, and come right up to my bed. She asked if she could pray for me, and it blessed my heart.

Fast forward about a week, and I found out that Taylor was my one-on-one! Shortly after that, I had a very challenging day. God had shown me some things that I needed to work on. I was overwhelmed, tired, and emotional.

I reached out to Taylor and asked if we could talk. We tried to go in her office, but it was locked. And of course, we were having a terrible summer rainstorm and it was pouring. We sat on the boardwalk, a long covered walkway of offices on the base, and talked while my tears fell as intensely as the rain.

She calmly told me that she thought God would help me work through everything during my DTS, and that I just needed to trust Him and wait.

For the coming weeks, we met at least once a week, although most times Taylor was sweet enough to meet twice a week with me. She helped me process what God was speaking, how I was feeling, and encouraged me. She would hold my hands and pray for me, making me feel seen and valued. She would listen to parts of my story I hadn’t told many people, and just let me cry.

Around week 7, we had a week of class focused on inner healing. That’s when things started coming together for me. We had a time of ministry and prayer, and Taylor sat with me through it all. It was challenging, but I felt safe opening up as she was right by me.

That was the day the Lord completely set me free from the anxiety that had been holding me captive for so long!

Taylor was one of the first to notice the huge change in me, and was by my side as I navigated life without anxiety. She was my biggest encourager but also wasn’t afraid to tell me hard things. She would tell me to go spend time with the Lord, and pointed out areas I needed to grow in.

We even went on outreach together, and served alongside each other. It was during outreach that I decided that I would be coming back for a School of Evangelism.

Although this isn’t always the case, I was blessed to have Taylor continue to be my one-on-one during my School of Evangelism. She continued faithfully walking by my side through my struggles and my victories.

On my School of Evangelism outreach, I had a moment where I finally learned something from the Lord  about a problem I had been struggling with for a very long time. When I shared it with Taylor, she told me that she had been praying for breakthrough in that area since the beginning of my DTS.

If I had to use three words to describe what I learned about discipleship from Taylor, I would say: faithfulness, patience, and steadfastness. She never left my side. She was patient as I worked through my struggles, and she was steadfast in holding onto the truth.

It was an example to me of how God shows the same qualities towards us. I realized I can be those things to the ones that I have the honor to disciple as well.

Taylor and I are still friends, and we love catching up when we can. So Taylor, thank you for all you’ve done for me, for your obedience to the Lord, and for loving me like Jesus does.

Are you desiring intentional discipleship? Want to learn how to disciple others well? Reach out for more information about our discipleship training schools!

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Abby Gilliland

Written by Abby Gilliland

Abby is on staff at YWAM Tyler and works in the Student Communications department. She has a deep passion for the Lord, and you will often find her sporting her yellow crocs while frequenting her favorite place, the laundromat.

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