DLT (Discipleship and Leadership Training) began in September 2016 as the Global Council’s response to the four top findings of the Global Council’s 2016 National Strategic Assessment—the need to globally improve our efforts at 1) “making disciples” (creating a global culture of discipleship); 2) training leaders (including both character transformation and skill improvement); 3) recovering an emphasis on Holy Spirit fullness and moving in Kingdom authority; and 4) addressing “doctrinal drift” (endeavoring to produce materials that reflect what Foursquare believes globally on key issues and directing Foursquare leaders and disciples to resources where they can ascertain “what we believe” [i.e., what do the Declaration of Faith and Global Distinctives actually mean when exegeted]).
There are two distinct aspects to DLT that must be separated in our understanding.
- THE THEOLOGY/PHILOSOPHY OF DLT—DLT is first and foremost a theology and philosophy of making disciples. It is built on the theology of our Four-Stage methodology for fulfilling our missiology. We term this “the DLT Engine.” Whenever we think of DLT, we must think of the “engine”—“making disciples…creating a culture of discipleship and holistically training leaders.” This “engine” emphasizes that as we disciple all Christ-followers, we equip them in “head, heart and hands” to be ever maturing in Christ and giving themselves to kingdom works of service (Ephesians 4:12).
The DLT “Engine”—
- Emphasizes “character-based discipleship” which affirms the need for ongoing transformation into the image of Christ.
- Emphasizes that every Christ-follower has a story and is a leader in their own sphere of influence. Every Christ-follower can be a disciple-maker.
- Emphasizes “incarnational learning,” meaning that biblical knowledge and understanding are to show up in one’s life.
- Emphasizes that as people are discipled, we will identify those called to “vocational ministry” who will then be appropriately trained.
- Recognizes that discipling believers and training leaders are most effective when presented through a combination of three ongoing venues—formal discipleship and training (classroom-type training), non-formal discipleship and training (conferences, seminars, conventions, church services, reading), and informal discipleship and training (mentoring, apprenticeship-type training, day-to-day life-based discipleship) Discipleship and leadership training are only as effective as the practice of all three venues.
- THE DLT MODULES (Courses)—to address the NSA finding regarding “doctrinal drift,” and to provide content for making disciples and training leaders for nations where content is lacking, DLT has written eleven modules. There is a DLT global writing team which continues to write modules. The modules are designed to be presented as “round table guided discussions” so that participants “self-discover” and contextualize the material. DLT discourages lecture-based training.
The eleven modules to date (July 22) are—
- Foundational Understanding of Discipleship/The Four-Stage Missiology
- Developing Transformational Leaders/Disciple-Making Made Simple
- Grace and Spiritual Formation
- Church Leadership
- Holy Spirit Fullness (Baptism with the Holy Spirit)
- Kingdom of God
- Grace and Legalism
- Evangelism and Global Missions
In addition, churches/nations could add their own modules/courses, or use recognized Foursquare discipleship and leadership training materials, such as Operation Solid Life, Doing What Jesus Did, The Journey…with the hope that “the DLT Engine” would “drive” whatever discipleship or leadership content is used.
CULTURE OF DISCIPLESHIP—in addition to the above, DLT began in 2020 to focus on strategically helping pastors to become better personal disciple-makers and better at leading their churches into creating a culture of discipleship. It has developed both personal and church “culture of discipleship” assessment tools and tools to help leaders move forward after assessing. DLT uses the following definitions of a disciple and culture of discipleship for this process.
- A disciple is a believer in Christ who, together with others and by the power of the Holy Spirit, intentionally pursues Jesus, is being changed by Jesus and is actively engaged in the mission of Jesus to love God, make disciples, and love people.
- A culture of discipleship is a group of disciples who collectively, by the power of the Holy Spirit, intentionally commits to being devoted disciples who love God and love people, and to making mature and whole disciples who pursue Jesus, are being changed by Jesus and actively engage themselves in the mission of Jesus to love God, make disciples, and love people.