Christian Training School
CTS: A summer-long pursuit of God
CTS is a summer-long training course held at the Christian Fellowship Camp in Lexington, KY. The program focuses on practical training in the values of Christian discipleship and community. It is also intended to help students give a less-distracted effort in meeting personally with God through prayer, the Word and ministry. The summer 2017 program runs from May 28 to Aug 12.
Points of Focus
Weekly topics include: Knowing God, the fatherhood of God, relationship, the community of God, Bible study, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and the cross. Additional topics will be determined by the teaching team headed up by LCF pastor Billy Henderson, TCF pastor Chad Grissom and CTS director Dan Sheffler.
CTS is intensive and immersive; students gather together for breakfast at 8 a.m. and the day ends with a 7:30 evening session. Weekends are left open for service projects and trips. Students participating in CTS should put together a prayer team in preparation. Ask parents, friends and older people to pray for you for the duration of the program as God uses this time to work powerfully in your life.
During CTS, we intentionally cultivate a spirit of fasting and discipline aimed at seeking the Face of God. To this end, we all participate in a few group-wide spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting, solitude, scripture memorization, meditation, and manual labor. While we expect every student to fully participate in these group-wide practices, we want to emphasize that the spirit matters more than the letter. There are things that a student decides to give up for the summer because they personally distract him from seeking God even though they seem to be fine for everyone else.
In order to seek God for the summer, we declare a media fast for the entire eleven weeks of CTS. As a group, we set aside all forms of entertainment, including movies, music, television, games, novels, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. Just as people who fast from food do not believe that food is evil, we do not believe that these media are evil. Nevertheless, we have seen a great deal of fruit over the years from this fast as students turn their schedules and their thoughts toward God for the summer.
Along with all the CF churches, we fast from food until dinner on Wednesdays. We have communal Bible and prayer every day, but we also give assignments involving private Bible and prayer every day during the afternoons. We have assigned (short) readings in theology and devotion throughout the week and discussions on these readings at dinner. We cultivate memorization of and meditation on scripture. Finally, we practice the discipline of manual labor together as we grow vegetables and work on our camp property.
How to Apply
Email CTS coordinator Sam Gover at firstname.lastname@example.org for an application form or with additional questions. Letters of recommendation from your parents and your home fellowship leader are also required to complete your application. The cost of the summer-long program will cover room and board, and will be determined based on the number of students.
A few words from CTS graduates
Curt Eiden, CTS class of 1985
One and a half years after I became a Christian, I went to CTS for the first time. (Some of us get to go twice.) It was an awesome summer and the most important in my life. During one of the teachings of the school, God showed me that I had the biggest problem that a person could have. I had unforgiveness. It was toward my dad and God pressed me to forgive him.
God basically but powerfully showed his love for me and then gave me the love to forgive my dad. That sounds like a simple religious moment. But it was real and it was powerful. Because I gave God my summer and asked him to work within my heart, he showed up and changed me. I am very grateful for that.
Today, I have a loving wife (who I met at that second memorable CTS) and three amazing boys, and God has gifted me with my own business which I get to use to provide jobs for several people and financially bless my church and community.
Looking back, I can see how he used CTS to set me up for success. My take on CTS is that God looks forward to, works in the middle of and completes a great work at every CTS. He did the most important work in my heart and I’m convinced that whatever the need may be, God will show up during CTS, reveal problems in people’s lives and then give people the power to change.
Ryan Korosec, CTS class of 1991
When I was in my early 30s, three different couples at my workplace divorced within a few months of each other. I too was dealing with the same pressures of life, and it grieved me to watch these pressures destroy their marriages and force their young children into broken homes. I thank God for the strength he gives us to make the difficult choice to love and stay committed.
That is only one aspect of how most people’s lives are fractured and failing. The ever-widening fractures caused by the varied pressures of life are often times hidden, but they are still there, causing the construct of our lives to fall apart because they are not built on solid Rock.
So how do we prepare for the seismic waves of real life? We have to go back to the beginning of who we are and allow our Creator to, as my pastor would say, “un-self” us. I became a Christian my senior year of high school, went to UK and participated in a CTS the summer after my freshman year. The first step in my un-selfing was the laying down of my time. Giving up a college summer was not easy; I’ll never get that time at the pool back, but the rewards have shaped my life to this day. Each week dedicated to prayer, focused teaching and the company of those godly young saints doing the same became an unseen pillar in my life to come.
Hundreds of college students have been through CTS since it began in the 1980s and the results are plain to see. While the landscape is littered with decaying and crumbling buildings, there are a few that remain sound and secure being built on a solid foundation, and they become the places others gather for safety.
I’m just one of those students, but 17 years of marriage and four kids later when the tremors and aftershocks of life come, I am unmoved. And I’m blessed to have planted a growing church with many fellow students from my CTS class. While I hate to quote from popular television (we don’t watch much of it), I will confess that I was a big fan of LOST. A statement made by Christian Shepherd in the final episode resounded with me as a meaningful truth when he remarked to the entire group, “The most important thing you did in your life was the time you spent with those people.” One summer in CTS can’t do everything we need, but by God’s grace it will grade the land and put the footings in place upon which we can continue to build a life that will last.