BLS Course Content

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Basic Leadership School

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Basic Leadership School

Pre-DTS Training Week

When preparing YWAMers to lead a school it is possible to come up with enough activities to fill any amount of time available. Our goal was to use the least amount of time and have got it down to working very well in one week. We understand that as the demands of the DTS increase we may need more time but we try to keep it to a minimum.

Hence, the aim of this week is to provide the BLS students with the following:

  • An introduction to the YWAM base and staff
  • Bonding:
    • As a team
    • To YWAM International, national, local, and base
    • To the purpose of a DTS
    • To the purpose of a BLS
  • An understanding of the following
    • Their role as a leader
    • The nature and function of leadership
    • The qualifications for leadership
    • Small group and one-to-one discipleship
    • Anointing and appointing for the job
  • Prayer and appointing to the task

And also the BLS will prepare for the arrival of the DTS by praying for them and doing a lot of the practical things like painting rooms, moving beds, baking, and the rest. And again, the small group processing is also essential for the BLSers this week.

This week might look like this

Morning Afternoon Evening
Sunday BLS arrive
Monday Pray for DTS and BLS

Purpose of YWAM

Strategy of base

Explore the local area Fun night to meet base staff
Tuesday Purpose of DTS

Purpose of BLS

Small teams

Small group


Wednesday Group leader's role

Qualities of a leader: character and function


Preparation for DTS

Bonding games
Thursday Small groups

One-to-one discipleship

Anointing & appointing

Small group

Preparation for DTS

Pray for everyone
Friday Finish praying for BLS Staff Clean house Preparation for DTS

During the DTS

Because there is so much to learn to become competent in leading a DTS and because there is so much to process and communicate, we meet for an hour to an hour and a half each afternoon during the week. A typical meeting of the BLS during the DTS may look like this

Day Activity
Monday Teaching
Tuesday Prayer for DTS and BLS
Wednesday Discussion of small group issues, training, problems that have arisen, dealing with the problems, learning by interaction, ministry to one another
Thursday General staff meeting
Friday Discussion of small group issues, training, problems that have arisen, dealing with the problems, learning by interaction, ministry to one another

Curriculum During DTS

Goal of the BLS

The BLS is not a normal course or school in as much as the goal is to train school staff to become very competent at the job of running a great dts. Hence the focus is on giving them the competencies to do the job well before any consideration is given to preparing them for an imaginary job in the future. Secondly, when school staff have already the skills they need for an aspect of school leading, no teaching is necessary. Thirdly, it is then important to determine what the staff know and what they don't know. The curriculum is then not a list of subjects to be taught but a menu of subjects that may be necessary and relevant and selected at will to meet the need. The course is also an apprenticeship course which seeks to develop skills in the context of the work as and when the individual or group needs them. We have coined the phrase 'just in time training' for the concept of imparting the skills (or not if they already have them) just as the leader needs them. eg, if next week the speaker is going to talk on prayer and intercession, then this week is the time to check if they are competent and either do nothing if they are, or teach if not.

Transferrable Skills

Over years of practice and observation, a person who has gained competence at playing their part in leading a DTS has a set of skills and competencies that are very useful and transferable to many other settings. We thus strongly sense we should continue majoring on imparting the skills associated with leading a DTS. Some schools try to train and equip staff for many other jobs out there somewhere and yet neglect to equip the staff for the job at hand. Generally they are a combination of getting a task done with a group of people. The balance between task and people is one of the most positive and long lasting impacts of the BLS. Some consider that the long term stability of the work in the UK is due to the development of leaders who are able to take people with them over many years in the completion of the task.

Subject/Teaching Menu

' MENU '

It is impossible, and undesirable, to plan a BLS months in advance. The content, the subjects we look at week by week can only be planned during the course when we know what the DTS staff have already learned to do. We only teach what they need to know, when they need to know. If everyone knows how to lead a small group we don't teach it. If we are taking the DTS on outreach next week and the staff don't know how then we teach it this week, just before they need it.

How do I know what the BLS needs to learn this week?

Remember the guiding principles

  • Just in time training. What will they need to be able to do next -- later this week, next week....
  • What preparation do they need now to lead the outreach?
  • What is the best way to teach that?
  • Before we invite someone in to teach, does one of us know and can we learn it together?
  • Then look through the menu below (or elsewhere since they aren't yet an exhaustive list) and select one of them. It is a menu!

There are four somewhat overlapping areas in the curriculum:

  • Small Group Leading
  • Management
  • General Leadership and
  • Small Team Outreach Leading

The list of subjects below corresponds to these four areas and an indication of how they might be taught is included. Remember that it is a menu to be selected from at will and not a list of subjects that must be included. Only select a subject if the leaders need to learn or relearn it and if it is something they will need to be competent in soon.

Leading a Small Group of People

Subject Teaching Style
Team leadership Lecture followed up by discussion, visiting small groups and one-to-one times.
Ministering to one another Do this during BLS times.
Moving in faith and trusting God Testimonies, discussion and prayer.
Spiritual gifts Workshop with DTS and visiting speaker.
Discovering our gifts and helping others to find theirs Teach, discuss, pray and one-to-one times.
Question asking Workshop and role play.
How to give a talk Teach and visit small groups to comment.
How to lead a Bible study Teach and visit small groups.
How to lead a guided discussion Discuss a paper. Then visit small groups.
How to lead an intercession group Do, explain and discuss.
How to lead worship Do, explain and discuss.
How to counsel Teach, discuss case studies, and role play.
Small group and one-to-one discipling Teach, model in BLS meetings, discuss, visit and one-to-one times.
How to minister deliverance Teach, discuss and do.
Healing, how to minister to body, soul and spirit Teach, discuss and do.
Pastoring People Teach, discuss and do in BLS meetings and in one-to-one times.

Pitfalls of Discipling, Emotional Dependencies.

Teach and discuss.

Leading evangelism

Discuss and do.

Understanding people


Resolving conflict

Teach, role play.

Confronting people

Teach, role play.

Management and Organisation

Subject Teaching Style
Goal setting and how to help others set goals Teach

Leadership styles

Teach, discuss and follow up in one-to-one times.


Discuss a paper

Planning a project

With the BLS students participation, plan a small team outreach, drawing out the important points.

Time management

Teach and agree on some mutual accountability.


Discuss principles.

General Leadership

Subject Teaching Style
Handling stress Discussion one-to-one
Communication, written and verbal Discuss paper.
What is a leader? Their spirituality, calling, character, personal qualities and qualities, eg servant hood. Teach, discuss and pray
Future goals and vision Teach, discuss and one-to-one.
World missions Live it, breathe it, and pray it.
Common weaknesses of leaders This will include: sex, power, money, pride, and insecurity. Teach, discuss openly and pray for one another.
Not being a controlling leader Talk, observe, confront


Subject Teaching Style
Budgeting and planning travel Using one of the BLS small teams as an example, discuss together, drawing out the principles.
Cross cultural preparation Teach and discuss.
Leading a small team outreach Testimony and discussion.
Planning an appropriate outreach to fit in with the base targets and goals. Meet with base targeting people.