The Training of Disciples
The History and Purpose of the DITP
Though the Lord Jesus taught the multitudes, He focused His training on a few individuals. The Lord “appointed twelve, that they might be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach” (Mark 3:14). At times He further narrowed His ministry to Peter, James, and John (Matthew 17:1; Mark 5:37; 13:3; 14:33). Paul likewise selected Silas, Timothy, and Titus for special training, and instructed them to do the same: “And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). Ephesians 4:11-16 instructs that such training should be an ongoing ministry of the church. The risen Lord “gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12).
The Discipleship Intern Training Program is designed to provide specialized training for men sensing God’s call to service in the local church as elders, teachers, preachers, evangelists, or missionaries. Training takes place within an active assembly and is conducted under the oversight of the elders. The program began at Fairhaven Bible Chapel, San Leandro, California, in 1973. It operated there until 1999. In 2000, the DITP moved to San Jose, California, and was hosted by Grace Bible Chapel and Hillview Bible Chapel. In 2016, the training will be hosted by South Plains Bible Chapel in Lubbock, Texas. Experienced instructors, most of whom are elders, commended home workers, or missionaries, will guide the interns through an intensive course of study that covers most of the books of the Bible. Additional classes address topics such as Bible study methods, church principles, missions, counseling, discipleship, and the family. In addition to classroom work, instructors train the interns in various ministries as they serve together in the local church. These ministries include teaching, preaching, visitation, and evangelism. The interns become an important and integral part of the church during their time of training.