There is a lot of excitement this month in the Alongsiders International office as we launch the brand new Discipleship Training Manuals (DTM).
These 3 manuals (one per year) will accompany our 3 year comic book curriculum.
Each DTM is designed to help the Alongsiders grow in their relationship with Jesus and become better at not only discipling their own Little Brothers and Sisters (LBS), but also creating change in their communities. The Alongsiders will work through the manual during their regular meetings together.
These manuals take them deeper into the theme covered in that month’s comic book. They help the Alongsiders grow in the areas they are learning about, and help them gain a thorough understanding of the topic before they teach their Little Brother or Sister using the comic.
This tool will help them grow as followers of Jesus and as Alongsiders. Here are four ways we see the DTM as a game-changer in the Alongsiders movement...
1. The DTM is empowering
Rather than an outsider coming into a community, and telling them what needs to change, this resource helps Alongsiders and their Little Brothers and Sisters identify issues in their own lives, families and communities. It helps them come up with their own solutions and empowers them to act.
For example, in the Year 1 DTM manual, there is a lesson called “My Heart Hurts,” which explores different feelings that people experience. At the end of the chapter, it includes advice on how to walk alongside people who are grieving, and the Alongsiders are asked to come up with one way they can care for “hurting hearts” in their family or community.
The lesson on abuse asks the Alongsiders to come up with 3 ways they can help children in their family or community protect themselves from abuse and stay safe.
In the Year 3 DTM manual, one lesson walks the Alongsiders and their Little Brothers and Sisters through creating their own community project - choosing areas that they think require change, identifying resources within their community, and coming up with ways that they can work together to bring transformation.
The DTM empowers Alongsiders and their Little Brothers and Sisters to make a difference in their own communities.
2. The DTM is practical
The new DTM manuals provide the Alongsiders with accountability and help them achieve their goals. Each lesson has a “monthly check up” which helps the Alongsiders hold each other accountable about how often they met up with their Little Brother or Sister, how their Little Brother or Sister is going and how they walked alongside them.
The manual also has a section for annual goals, and an opportunity to review those goals and reflect on the year.
Every lesson also has an application section - the Alongsiders not only learn about Jesus, but also how to put what they learn into practice.
3. The DTM is accredited
The DTM is also practical in another way. If the Alongsiders complete all 3 years, they can receive a Bachelor Degree in Professonal Studies. This qualification is being offered by our UK-based partner, The Global University of Lifelong Learning.
For young Christians in poorer countries, many of whom may not have an opportunity to attend a local university - this is a helpful qualification.
It is also a recognition of all their hard work over several years in learning, and walkng alongside their Little Brother or Sister.
4. The DTM goes deep
This is no ordinary bible study tool. It doesn’t just have a bible passage and a list of comprehension questions. The study encourages the Alongsiders to think and pray deeply about what the Bible says about everyday issues, how they can make changes in their own life, how they can help their Little Brother or Sister deal with those issues, and how they can help their community towards change.
For example, one of the lessons asks the Alongsiders to read a bible passage and then think about what they learnt about themselves, what they learnt about God’s love for them, and what they learnt about the world we live in.
Another lesson on having a relationship with Jesus and spending time with Him, walks the Alongsiders through having time with Jesus and experiencing His presence in different ways.
We are excited to see how the Alongsiders use this resource to enhance their relationship with Jesus, the lives of their little brothers and sisters and their community!
Pray with us as we roll out this new curriculum in Cambodia, Indonesia, Rwanda and Kenya, this month. More countries will follow soon after.
[Written by Sarita Hales a community development graduate interning in our Phnom Penh office for six months.]