The “FTT”. Many of us who grew up in the church life or have been around long enough need no explanation to what these letters stand for. But for those who don’t, FTT stands for Full-time Training. The FTT is a two-year Bible school that many in the church life willingly consecrate themselves to attending after attaining a college degree. Simply put, the FTT is an opportunity for believers to be trained by the Lord, in order to be used by the Lord for His move.
But the road leading to the training is anything but easy. Everyone who attended, is attending, and will attend have their own story, their own background, their own situation, and yes, their own dealings with the Lord. If you will permit me, I would like to share with you all my testimony, and why I have decided to go the Training.
I am what some would call a ‘church-kid’, someone who grew up in the church life from a young age. Thankfully I never left the church life, but that does not mean I have not had my share of lows. The years leading up to high school are the years that I remember loving the Lord to the uttermost. But from high school onwards, I have had personal struggles with the Lord in regards to what I wanted to do with my future and where I wanted to go.
High School – Pitfall and Turnings
My church life took a major hit in high school because of sports. I got on to the varsity team for my school’s (American) football at an early year, and from there I got cocky. Frankly, I thought I was the best and that I could play professionally. I thought I had it made, that I could live life all on my own. Because of that, I thought that I didn’t need God anymore. Slowly, I began to lose my love for Him. Although I did not leave the church life, I started to get turned off by the meetings and stopped going to a lot of meetings. That period of my life can only be described as the pitfall of my Christian life.
But in the summer of 2010 I had a turn. Hallelujah for turnings! That was the year I attended to the European YP Conference in Poland. At first I really went because I wanted to go sightseeing and tour Europe. But coming out I can truly say that I saw what a normal Christian life was like. It is not a life of just meeting, but a life of spending time with the Lord and with the saints, a time of enjoying and partaking of the riches from the Father. Everyone seemed so joyful to be singing, eating, and praying together. I wanted that joy. I wanted to be one who could be in the Father’s house enjoying Christ with all the saints. From then on, I began to get back on track.
Apart from my experience with sports, I also had another experience. This time it was my dream of attending a particular university. I prayed for the Lord to get me there, and said that I would go for His purpose. But the Lord knew that was not entirely true. I had a natural desire that was stronger than a spiritual desire to go. I wanted to go because that’s what I wanted to do.
Needless to say, the Lord did not let me have my way. I got rejected. That’s not to say my educational career was over, because I did have other options of attending fine universities. But my pride got in the way of attending those other schools. Furthermore, I was pretty snobby. I refused to graduate from a university that I thought was too low for my standards.
College – being Immersed in the Church Life
As a result, I opted for a community college (junior college) in order to try to transfer to a college of “my standards”. Or at least, that’s what I thought I was going to do. Admittedly, I was still pretty bitter about getting rejected. But if high school were my low point in my church life, my two years at junior college would prove to be my salvation. At junior college I was fully immersed into the church life.
Before I did not particularly enjoy the Lord’s Table meetings, home meetings, and prayer meetings. Now I could not get enough of it. Additionally, I dove into the campus work, enjoying every second of my time preaching the gospel, holding Bible studies, and being at our club table. No words can explain this shift happened other than that fact that this was by the Lord’s mercy carried out through the prayers of the saints.
However, despite having this renewed love for Him, my natural man was still quite strong. I still had my preferences for where I wanted to transfer. But to make a long story short, I ended up not going to my first choice due to various reasons, and instead settled on going to a school that I had been previously accepted to out of high school (funny how that happens!).
But this time I was not bitter for the Lord not giving me my first choice. I came to accept that the Lord put me at this particular university because that is how I could be the most useful for Him. Although my last two years in college went relatively well, there was one instance where I was the most troubled. But instead of telling you what happened, I want you to imagine for yourself what I felt. Imagine feeling alone, unable to carry on, and are at the breaking point. Have you had any experiences where you thought it was just too much? Where you thought you were alone? Where there was no one you could turn to?
Thankfully, being in the church life I knew that there was a solution to every one of these problems. The solution is simply turning to the Lord and telling Him that you cannot, but praise the Lord He can. He is just waiting for us to let Him in, to make His home in your heart. But in order for Him to move in, something has to move out. And for me, that unbearable situation caused me to turn to Him like I never had before. And from then on, I could feel the Lord gaining more of my Heart.
Going to the FTTA through Much Prayer
After graduating university, I had many options open up to me. One professor suggested I go for a PhD and offered to help me with the process, my counselor basically offered me a guaranteed spot to a Master’s program, my high school football coach offered to help set me up with a permanent coaching job at another school (during my four years of college I worked as a coach), and lastly many others suggested I go to law school directly after university. After some deliberation and prayer I decided to go for the law school route.
But at the same time, the FTTA was something the Lord was leading me to go. For me, the FTTA had a much stronger pull than law school. But what was the deal breaker that ultimately caused me to consecrate these two years to Him? Prayer. After much prayer, both personally and with the saints, I felt the peace to give myself to the Lord immediately after college. I decided to trust in Him, and not in myself. I decided to let Him increase, and let myself decrease.
I hope you can see that there is a common theme. And that theme is that our God is a sovereign God. Anything and everything that happens is the Lord’s trying to perfect and transform us in order to make us into a useful vessel. The Lord is sovereign in all His dealings. Simply put, He knows what He is doing. The Lord did not give me what I wanted, but He gave me what I needed. Like Romans 8:28 says, all things work together for good.
Many others have experienced something similar to what I have gone through. And I know for a fact that there will be a time (if not already) when this decision will also come before all of you. On the one hand I encourage all of you to go to the Full-time Training. But on the other hand, I entreat you to not go for the sake of going. Your going should not be out of religious duty, but of willing consecration.
You need to spend time with the Lord everyday and open up to Him regarding the matter. From that, He will lead you where to go. All you need to do is to follow Him. I will finish with a line from a hymn, “I love, I love my Master, I will not go out free.” Whatever the Lord may lead you to do, remember that He is the sovereign God who uses everything and anything to help transform you into the vessel He needs in order to carry out His move.
Simply be open to the leading, and follow the Lamb wherever He may go. But do not follow the Lamb out of religious duty. Rather, follow Him out of love. When you do that, He will take care of you. May the Lord be with your spirit, and may grace be with you all. Amen.
Sharing by N. L. (USA), a loving seeker of the Lord who was led by Him in His sovereignty to join the FTTA (the Full Time Training in Anaheim). Praise Him!