The School of Kingdom Living is an 18-month immersion in Dallas Willard’s teaching on “putting on the character of Christ” through the many facets of biblical discipleship.
At the end of The Great Omission, Dallas Willard left us with these parting words: “All that is needed from us to change things – whether in the church or in the world – is sustained apprenticeship of individuals to Jesus, the Savior of the world so loved by God. Our directions ‘as we go’ are clear: to be disciples – apprentices – of Jesus in Kingdom living and by our life and words as his apprentices to witness, to bring others to know and long for the life that is in us through confidence in him.”
The small steps that quietly and steadily lead us more deeply into the likeness of Christ are clearly laid out in the Bible and are found especially in the words and person of Jesus. The School of Kingdom Living guides its students into this Spirit-led and grace-fueled transformation of their inner life (heart, mind, soul, strength/body, and relationships) through an ongoing personal relationship to God in Christ and to one another. Our curriculum embodies the orderly process found in Scripture and activated in the light and easy yoke of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is our constant teacher in this endeavor, and we are his apprentices. His sufficiency is the basis of our confidence and efforts to learn how to trust Jesus with our whole life. The process of spiritual formation in Christlikeness is one in which all the dimensions of our life are transformed as they increasingly take on the character of our Teacher. This is the natural condition of the disciple of Jesus, with the outcome of easily and routinely doing what he says.
Through practical empowering content, experiential exercises, and community engagement, students in the program can expect to gain a deeper understanding of:
The curriculum is guided by scripture and by Dr. Willard’s writings and teachings on the most essential dimensions of Christian spiritual formation, augmented by the work of other leading authors and thinkers. Each residency week has a central focus on the person of Jesus Christ.
Anticipated outcomes for participants include a deeper relationship with God, a connection with like-minded apprentices of Jesus, and resources that serve as catalysts for improving discipleship and leadership in virtually any ministry context. Upon completion of the program, students will receive a certificate in Christian spiritual formation.
Who Should Apply?
The School of Kingdom Living is designed for Christians from various backgrounds and traditions. Pastors, church staff, para-church ministry workers and lay leaders from any denomination are encouraged to apply. The curriculum of the School of Kingdom Living is challenging, yet accessible for most people. You do not need a seminary degree (or any degree, for that matter) in order to qualify.
The most important criteria is a sense of calling to the study of Christian spiritual formation for the purposes of personal growth and teaching others – bringing them along on this great journey of life in the Kingdom. The School of Kingdom Living is both ecumenical and inclusive. We are open to men and women who are seeking God and who desire growth while in Christian community. We encourage Christians from any ethnic background or people with disabilities to apply.
The cost of the School of Kingdom Living is $8,000, which includes lodging, meals, instructors, and most supplies. Travel to the four residencies is not included. Four equal installments are spread out over the course of the program to make payments easier for the participants.
Jan Johnson is the author of twenty books (including Abundant Simplicity and Invitation to the Jesus Life) and truckloads of Bible studies. Jan speaks frequently at events and is an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University and Denver Seminary. She has been a spiritual director for 20 years and holds a D. Min. in Ignatian Spirituality and Spiritual Direction. Jan has taught in both the Renovaré Institute and Apprentice Experience.
Jan co-authored several books with Dallas: Renovation of the Heart in Daily Practice and Dallas Willard's Study Guide to the Divine Conspiracy. Additionally she edited and compiled Hearing God Through the Year, a daily devotional book based on Dallas's book, Hearing God. She did the initial compilation and editing of Dallas's book Knowing Christ Today. The goal behind these efforts was to help people live into the ideas Dallas taught. Jan also assisted in his Fuller Seminary class, Spirituality and Ministry, from 2002-2012.
Keith J. Matthews is Chair of the Graduate Ministry Department and Professor of Spiritual Formation and Leadership at Azusa Pacific Seminary. He is a 25-year ministry practitioner, serving churches from coast to coast. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Fuller Theological Seminary where he taught for 18 years with Dallas in Fuller’s Doctor of Ministry Program.
He has written articles for Sojourners Magazine, Conversations Journal and Christianity Today, as well as designed and co-authored Dallas Willard’s Study Guide to The Divine Conspiracy, and The Kingdom Life: A Practical Theology of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation. Keith was also a Co-Editor and Author of The Dictionary of Everyday Theology and Culture. He is an ordained pastor, church consultant, executive coach, retreat speaker, and former teaching fellow for the Renovare Institute, Apprentice Institute, and now, currently with the Dallas Willard School of Kingdom Living. Keith is married to Christa, has three grown children and two grand-children, and resides in Southern California.
John Carroll oversees the School of Kingdom Living. With a Bachelor's degree from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary, John brings a unique blend of experience (11 years in business, 9 years in the local church) to Dallas Willard Ministries.
Prior to joining DWM, John served for six years with James Bryan Smith at the Apprentice Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation, where he directed the finances and operations, including the Apprentice Experience.
John has a shepherd's heart and is a soon-to-be ordained pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church. His great passion is for the two "ships" in life: DiscipleSHIP and RelationSHIP, which underscores the importance and purpose of the School of Kingdom Living.
Terri Taylor was adopted from Korea when she was 6 months old and considers herself more Polish than Asian. Terri is a certified Spiritual Director and has been told that she is a curator of souls. She has found spiritual direction to be one of her greatest joys. More than her love for popcorn and penguins, Terri loves to walk alongside and nurture hurting and wandering souls with Jesus through spiritual direction. She holds a Master’s in Organizational Leadership from Biola University and completed The Renovaré Institute. Terri’s other areas of service include the Board of Directors at Dallas Willard Ministries and Quaker Meadow Christian Camp, as well as with Ministry and Counsel (Elders) at the Friends church she attends.
Christa Matthews is a seasoned spiritual formation practitioner and a certified Spiritual Director. She has an MA in Education and teaches 3rd Grade in a local public school in Los Angeles. She has served in leadership in numerous church contexts, particularly Women’s Ministries and training of leaders in healing, prayer, and compassionate ministry. She partners with her husband, Keith, and has three grown children and two grandchildren. She loves gardening and outdoor activities.
Matt Johnson considers his primary calling to the practice of spiritual direction, helping others listen for God’s guidance in their lives. This calling shapes the rest of his work which includes serving as a neighborhood animator for the Neighboring Movement, being part of the teaching team for Anam Cara, a spiritual direction training program with an emphasis in missional spiritual direction, and teaching at Friends University in the area of Christian Spiritual Formation.
He is the author of Worship, a book study in the Holy Living Series from Abingdon Press, and has written small group and leader’s guides for the Apprentice Series of books. He also hosts the weekly podcast, The Neighbor Next Door. Prior to co-founding the Neighboring Movement, Matthew served at the Andover United Methodist Church as the assistant minister for 15 years. In 2015, he and his wife, Catherine hiked the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile spiritual pilgrimage across Spain.
Dallas Willard (1935-2013)
Dallas Willard deeply affected many people through his writing and speaking. He summoned us to a more authentic faith and offered practical suggestions by which we can become more Christ-like. He has been called one of today’s most brilliant Christian thinkers, but what made his teaching so powerful was that he embodied what he taught, giving every word a compelling authenticity.
Dallas was the first to say that he wasn’t teaching anything new, but he drew from the rich lives of faithful Christians throughout the ages and those who were his contemporaries. We are pleased to extend the work of Dallas and his “fellow pilgrims in The Way” through the School of Kingdom Living.