New program designed to help committed believers cultivate a deeper faith
THE C. S. LEWIS Institute Fellows Program is "the most effective discipleship program I’ve seen anywhere in the world," according to Michael Ramsden, president of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. And it’s hoping to attract more Christians across Canada.
This yearlong, intensive program guides Christians – who must be over 24 and already established in their faith – through a journey of spiritual maturity while equipping them to become more effective witnesses.
Fellows participate in a retreat, monthly reading, a discipleship group, one-on-one mentoring and an urban service project. Monthly course themes include understanding true conversion, being transformed by Scripture, pursuing God’s call, ordering your private world, walking in the Spirit, and how to develop a discipleship program, among others.
"This is a very intentional program structured to build throughout the year," says Richard Schmelzle, founder of CSLI-Toronto, who approached the CSLI headquarters in 2016 with the vision of opening an institute in Canada. "We started with 30 people in the first year, and it’s been a blessing to see the daily transformation in the lives of the participants and fellows."
Currently the program is offered in 16 cities around the world, mainly in the U.S. The only Canadian location is now in its 3rd year in Toronto (www.CSLewisInstitute.org).
The institute is supported by donations and covers the cost of tuition for program participants to ensure it is accessible for anyone committed to do it. The only expenses for the participant are for the weekend retreat, books and materials.
"I’ve been a Christian for 57 years, and the last three years have been the most transformative since I’ve been with this program," says Schmelzle. "I’ve seen an improvement in my relationships at home with my wife and with other people. It’s changed my life incredibly. My dream is to see more institutes open across Canada." The online application site for the 2020/21 CSLI Fellows Program opens in February. –MELISSA YUE WALLACE