By Jordan Davidson | Reporter
The Antioch Discipleship School (ADS) was founded by Jimmy and Laura Seibert in Waco as a supplemental education tool for missionaries. ADS found its beginnings in a program called Masters Commission at Highland Baptist Church, and became part of the creation of Antioch Community Church in 1999.
According to the school’s website, the Antioch Discipleship School’s purpose is to “provide you the opportunity to be transformed through encountering God, being discipled and making disciples, and learning to fully live on mission in our city, nation and the nations of the earth.”
Although the structure of the school has changed since its beginnings Mick Murray, director of ADS, said that its main mission remains the same.
“It’s a spiritual development program for anybody in the church and people from all over the world,” Murray said. “It’s a nine month intensive and immersive experience meant to help people deepen and grow in their faith.”
Delaney White, Baylor University alumna and graduate of ADS, said she chose to enroll in the school fall of 2018 after she felt a lack of clarity about what her future held after graduation.
“I wanted to set my life up for success and I knew that part of that is being a disciple of God,” White said. “I felt like God wanted to teach me or reveal to me to trust him with my life and what’s next.”
According to Murray, although a large portion of ADS students are in their 20’s and 30’s and work full-time, students’ ages currently range from 17 to 73 years old.
“The structure of our small groups in a church are mostly specific to a stage of life so this is one of the only consistent multi generational gatherings,” Murray said. “It’s a great place for people to get to know people from other stages of life.”
Students in the program participate in a variety of activities such as attending classes on Monday and Thursday nights, joining and serving at Antioch Community Church and outside class assignments.
“Half the curriculum is content-based so going through the Scriptures and the other half is process-based so training people how and not just what,” Murray said. “It’s more like a workshop where we’re going through how to read the Bible or decision making or how to make disciples. We want people to leave the school with a really clear sense of their calling.”
White said she agrees that ADS helped her learn and exercise trust in deciding on what she should do with her life.
“I would say my decision making process has shifted a lot from like before,”White said. “I became really willing to ask God to direct my life and all the steps I take.”
Students are also required to go on an international outreach trip at the end of the semester. Murray said that these trips allow participants in the program partner with long-term team members in foreign countries to apply what they learned about sharing the gospel in real life.
“There’s an international component just to expose people to other cultures,”Murray said. “We work primarily in developing contexts and have a strong service component to what we do.”
Although students learn many skills through their training at ADS, the most beneficial thing about the program, according to White, are the friendships that are created.
“My favorite part was probably the people that I was enrolled with,” White said. “I got to experience community in a way that I had only heard of before because we were in the thick of things together. We’re really good friends and we’re gonna be friends for life.”