So...What even is training school? Q&A's to answer the questions you've been dying to ask (+ a life update!)
Can I get a slow clap for October? Seriously. I don’t care how much of a fad it is to say that I love this month,
I really, really love this month. Not just because it’s my birthday month *insert praise hands* (and also my mom, dad, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, one of my best friends, and a half a dozen other dear ones’ birthday month as well…), not just because I could eat chili every day for the rest of my life, or the vibrant color of the leaves, or the apple cider, or the hoodies, or the whipping cool of the day (OK- please excuse the extreme run on sentence- I could go on, and on, and on…), but because, for me, fall feels full of new beginnings. The heat and busyness of the summer is finally on hold, and fall seems like a time of preparation to ready ourselves to bunker down for the winter. It feels like a time to just breathe, be still, and marvel at the thousands of graces around me. For me, fall is a time of reflecting and re-centering on who I want to be pushing forward.
Speaking of new beginnings- those of you who follow along via instagram, know that I am just getting home from Boston.Which was a total dream- I can't wait to go back and actaully have the chance to explore!
What I haven’t shared, is that I was there to become certified in leading groups for girls at risk for sexual exploitation- I am thrilled to announce that I have accepted my dream job! I honestly never thought I would be one of those people with a dream job (or I thought it might take 30 years to develop my PERFECT dream job). Not because I am not goal-oriented, but simply because I have SO many dreams, goals, and skills that I do not want to settle into just giving parts of me (also the perfectionist in me is always so hesitant to elevate anything to the highest regard).
Anyway, Purchased is this incredible organization started by an amazing visionary (and bonus- she goes to a different branch of our church!). We work with girls who are at risk (and/or currently involved) for sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
My role will be to co-facilitate psycho-educational (+ processing) groups for adolescent girls who are at risk. Dream population- check. Dream agency- check. Dream boss/co-workers- check. I am over the moon to put my skills, dreams, talents, and passions to work behind an agency that I deeply believe in. I am currently only doing contract work (a few hours a week) for several reasons (some of which will be revealed at a later date- and no, we are not pregnant ;) ), but I am so excited to be serving in any way that I can.
Most have you have figured out that our life is super crazy right now, andI kind of love it. Cal and I are in a time of transition in almost every aspect of our life, and although I hope the rest of our lives aren’t always this full speed, it feels saturated with adventure. I’m learning to not peer ahead to where others are at in their current place, and just soak in the beauty of the now. I’ve talked quite a bit about the training school that we have shifted our entire lives around to do (HA! but really...)- but I feel like most of you are still trying to piece together what the heck I am talking about when I refer to it. It’s one of those sacred experiences that I can never fully put into words, nor can I ever fully provide an explanation that completely satisfies me. But, I’m going to try. A wise friend of mine continually keeps me in check by asking me if I feel like I need to provide an explanation of why we are doing training school or what it is in order to prove myself. I love that she has the courage to ask me these hard questions, because I can find myself falling into the belief that I owe someone a justification for why we are doing this. On the other side, I also want to let everyone in to the sanctification and holiness we are experiencing. While I have all the best intentions for wanting this, I recognize that words are going to show only the tiniest fraction of our walk. So, my aim with this post is to neither justify nor convince, but to simply, with the best of my ability, show you a picture of what/why/who/where/etc. training school is.
So, what exactly is training school?
Training school is something that our church (Common Ground in Indianapolis) offers to those seeking for more- something deeper, more intimate, more real. It’s so easy to walk through life getting caught up in distractions, being swept away in Christian culture (that is not necessarily biblical), and just chasing the “American dream”- only to miss the fullness of freedom that Christ offers. During training school, we vulnerably learn the nature of community, how to join in building a Kingdom on earth, how to serve our city, and ultimately what it means to walk in full and abundant discipleship with Christ. It is truly a time to set all else aside and wholly focus on Christ. When I think of what our experience is, I think of Christ’s disciples, who were asked to leave everything they held dear, and walk alongside Christ for his several years of ministry on earth.
The topics that are covered are:
-Jesus and the Gospel (God's heart and narrative for us)
Who is Jesus? What are my beliefs about Jesus that need to be torn away?
-The Gospel and personal formation
(What the gospel has to do with us)
How am I formed in the image of Jesus?
-Jesus and God's mission
(What is the mission?)
What is our message in terms of action?
What does it mean to be sent?
-Mission and personal calling
(Understanding passions/gifts/discernment/spiritual gifts, etc).
Now how shall I live? How do I lead in the way of Jesus?
When you talk about KLTS, is that the same thing as training school?
What does training school entail?
We take two visions trips, and several spiritual retreats. We went to Toronto at the end of August on a vision trip, and have another vision trip in January to San Diego and Tijuana (Mexico). In addition, we had a retreat close to Bloomington to tell our stories (read this post for more), a camping retreat in Arkansas in a few weeks, another weekend trip to Toronto in December, and a 10 day backpacking trip through a canyon in Utah in April. We also have classes three days a week for three hours in the mornings. We occasionally have some weekend meetings sprinkled here and there.
Does it cost money?
Yes, the cost of training school primarily covers the trips that we take. It is a substantial amount of money at first glance, but very cost efficient when breaking it down.
How many people are in your group?
There are ten of us walking together, plus two pastors who are helping to navigate, ask questions, process, and provide new insights.
How long is it, how many days a week, and how many hours?
KLTS is 6ish months long- starting at the end of August/beginning of September and ending in March. We take our last trip in April. Our group meets at the church, Tuesday-Thursday, from 9 AM – 12 (ish) PM. Classes started in September and end in March. Trips happen periodically (see above).
Can anyone do it?
Yes! There is an interview and application process, but Larry (the pastor leading us) generally helps you recognize reasons why you want to pursue KLTS, and it is more of a “red tape” type thing, if anything.
Do you have a job outside of it?
Ha! I have three jobs and Cal has two. The main concern we had when we first decided to commit was how we would have income. It’s pretty impractical to attend, given it is in three days a week, in the middle of the week, in the middle of the day. Most jobs say no way! to the thought of that. But God knew what He was doing. I accepted a job with Big Brothers Big Sisters (for those of you who haven’t heard of this national organization, we specialize in facilitating mentoring relationships for kids in the community) while I was still in school. This job was a crazy gift from God. I essentially create my own schedule, work evenings (4 nights a week!), and then work remotely the rest of the time. This is only part time, so to supplement, I nanny for a few hours a day 4 days a week. Lastly, I just committed to doing contract work with a local non-profit (see above!). Cal works in property management (and can also create his own schedule!), and works a few evenings a week valeting.
Why exactly do people do training school?
Lots of reasons. Some people are going through a major life transition that they feel they need an intentional time to set aside to focus on just their faith. Some people hope to go into ministry or become pastors. Some people are questioning their faith and want to journey to figure it out. It really just depends on the person, their life story, and that circumstance. The bottom line is this- The disciples of Christ spent two very intentional years walking alongside Him before going out into the world. For us, the intentionality of these 6 months (let me be clear- this will continue to be a lifelong journey) is a way to take a step back from all that we have grown up around, learned, and pieced together over the years to say are we getting it? Are we truly getting it? What can we do differently? Who is Jesus? Who am I in Him?
I do not in any way mean to imply that a disciple of Christ has to set aside this specific intentional of a space. Granted, when we are in Christ, we don't have to do anything- it is by grace we are saved, and we are able to exercise our free will to get there if we want to. Cal and I are not super Christians because we have decided to do this, and we certainly are not any better than our other brothers and sister faithfully walking alongside our Savior. But if we personally find anything in this life that will bring us closer into the heart of Christ, that will give us clearer eyes and purer hearts- that is worth pursuing, no matter the cost. And in this season, that is training school for us.
Why exactly are you doing it?
The short answer: the Holy Spirit very clearly called us into it. (See this post for more). The long(er) answer: we are newly married, and want a radical foundation to build on. We have both grown up in the church, have both been pursuing Jesus for quite some time, and have both grown tremendously in our faith(s) over the years. But, we are growing weary of the underlying message to pursue the “American dream with a Christian twist”- AKA work hard for our money, have kids, buy a house, raise our kids, then retire. Not that this is bad by any means, but if this is the priority for which we are working towards (with a little Jesus sprinkled here and there)- then we realized that we will end up leaving this earth unsatisfied and longing for more. We want to wrestle, ask ourselves the hard questions, come to terms with our doubts, know Jesus’ love for us in our bones, dive into the scripture in a very unique + intentional way, and know (truly know) the immense freedom that Jesus holds. The beauty of being with 11 other people who deeply ache for the Lord is that the Holy Spirit always shows up. And it. is. powerful.
Whew. I did NOT expect this post to be THAT long- ha! If you are still with me, bless you ;)
As always, I feel like I have shed the most minimal amount of light on how powerful, intense, intimate, exhausting, beautiful, penetrating, passionate, daring, and fearless training school has been for us.
But, when the Holy Spirit is working, we can hardly fully put it into tangibles. Because an unlimited God can never be limited by words.
As always, if you have any questions or thoughts- I would absolutely love to hear from you! Shoot me an email by filling out the contact information here, or leave a comment below.