The Discipleship Group Project

During the three-year apprenticeship, each THS student builds a group independently and evangelistically. This is their main apprenticeship task. It includes recruiting staff and leaders, training them with a focus on the development of character, ministry skill, and multiplication, and finally placing them in ministry tasks and multiplying the group.

As each THS student grows in the disciplines of the 3×3 Program, he/she is enabled to bear increasing responsibility in the individual Discipleship Group Project. A Discipleship Group Project typically develops as follows:

1st Trimester: Jesus first gave his disciples the opportunity to watch him as he ministered. Each THS student will also observe his/her Master Pastor during the first trimester. Following this period, students begin to work with close supervision. Each THS student is entrusted with 3-6 people for whom he or she provides pastoral care. The student learns to listen to people, to get to know them and above all: to direct their attention to God and His Word to find solutions for their problems. This changes a life fundamentally and sustainably. THS students should expect that God will stretch them beyond their accustomed limits, especially in the first year. Coping with conflicts and crises, and growing personally amid of such difficult times, is part of our training program.

2nd – 4th Trimesters: Each THS student is sent out (with 2-3 participants) to start a small group. They instruct the group members about living as disciples of Jesus. The student also learns to handle hot topics through appropriate selection of teaching topics, such as “God and sexuality” or “handling money.” THS instructors and Master Pastors closely supervise and advise.

In this phase, the student’s expertise in preaching and teaching is strongly targeted. In addition to these skills, leadership skills are taught and practiced. As a result, THS students not only overcome their crises and limits, but they are also increasingly able to help other people do the same, always with a Christ-centered focus, through which we grow in faith and love of God and other people.

5th – 7th Trimester: The THS student finds one to two co-leaders to multiply his/her small group. He/she looks after co-leader and staff and develops a clear leadership and staff structure. In this phase, the THS student trains group members to make disciples of Jesus of other people. The THS student also helps his/her group members to overcome their fears, to spread the good news, and to help other people apply the Bible to their lives. The THS student organizes group retreats and evangelistic events. All the while, the Master Pastor employs the 3×3 Program to repeatedly check whether the love for Jesus and the faith of the THS student is growing along with ministry skill and responsibility.

8th -9th Trimester: The THS students now learn to organize larger services in which they gather all their groups, staff and leaders. The tenor of the services is evangelistic. Or, the Master Pastors involve them in church services for them to master the challenge of an event organization.  The THS student also learns how to train their young leaders in such a way that they too become leaders. The student learns to find the “right” leaders, train them, and then call them lead groups. This is the “high level” of pastoral leadership: handing over responsibility for a group to a trainee, who is well prepared to lead the group in continuing growth in love and faith in Jesus. All the while, the group “increases in number” as described so beautifully in Acts of the Apostles. This is the “master plan” of the Lord Jesus. During their entire apprenticeship period, THS students are integrated into the staff structures (such as leader-meeting) of their Placement Churches.