Mitchel DeYoung has a dream of making disciples of Jesus, One Life At A Time.
Making Disciples of Jesus, One Life At A Time
My name is Mitchel DeYoung and I am called to making disciples for Jesus. I was born in Central Illinois in 1974. I wasn’t born into a Christian family. At the time of my birth, my mom wasn’t going to church anywhere and wasn’t saved. When my brother was born 10 months after me, my biological dad had already left the scene. She was all alone and she figured that we’d be better off if she killed us and committed suicide herself, but God had a different plan for her and for us. She started attending a little Baptist church in the little town we lived in and she got saved.
Meanwhile, out on a farm, a young man was also struggling to find his way in the world and was chasing after worldly pleasure in the form of fast cars. After a series of unfortunate events at the drag strip, he decided that it would be better to end his life, but couldn’t bring himself to go through with it. He found himself at that same Baptist church and was also saved. Fast forward a bit, after some gentle prodding by a few older couples in the church, my mom and this man were married. So that’s how I ended up growing up in that little Baptist Church.
From the time I was three I grew up in that little church, I learned a lot about the Bible. Sadly, it was only head knowledge. I prayed for salvation, but I did not see myself as a sinner; I just didn’t want to go to hell when I died. Living in a Christian home sheltered me from a lot of the trouble that I could have gotten into. When I graduated High School, I went to Bible College at The Masters College in Newhall, California. While I learned a lot of things, I was undisciplined and struggled to finish homework on time. So after two years, I gave up on college and came home to work in a local warehouse.
I met my first wife at that time and we got married. I found out soon that just because you marry a girl from church doesn’t guarantee that she will be saved or have a heart for the things of God. As I grew closer to God, she became more distant from me. I was vulnerable and when I should have gotten counsel from wise men, I turned to get comfort from a younger woman in our church. This ruined my reputation and was the beginning to the end of my first marriage.
I was so broken over my sin, that for the first time I looked at my life and I hated who I was and where I was heading. I repented of my sins. The Bible says to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, so I turned from my life of sin and followed Jesus Christ. My desire to study the Bible grew and as I studied, I wanted to share what I was learning with others. This is where the problems began.
I wanted to study the Bible and have others over to the house to study together, my wife started ridiculing me, calling me a hypocrite and a Pharisee. She started staying away from the house more, she started drinking and smoking more. She started hanging out with the wrong crowd in the wrong places. Finally, in August of 2007, she told the police that I was abusive and had threatened her with a gun that I didn’t even own. I walked into my house after a long day of work, all my furniture was gone, all my clothes were gone, all my tools were gone, and my fishing pole was broken in half. The police gave me a paper saying that I couldn’t see my kids anymore. I called the bank and all the money was withdrawn. I found a folding chair in the closet and sat down on it in what used to be my living room. I sat there and asked God why. I was dragged through two devastating years in divorce court, and I thought my life was over. But there was a promise that God gave to me, even if I didn’t understand it at the time, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Three years after that divorce began, I met my current wife. I told her all about my past, my unfaithfulness to my wife, and how I had repented of my sin and was a follower of Christ. She saw past all the painful scars in my life and we got married the next year. She is now my ministry partner and the type of wife that God always intended for me. I have been a teacher in our local church for many years and then Assistant Pastor at our local homeless shelter for the past three years. This is when our spiritual dream matured in our minds of making disciples of Jesus Christ, one life at a time.
I was watching a video one night about aquaponics, the merging of aquaculture (fish) with hydroponics (growing plants in water) and I thought that this was so easy, even I could do it. Over the next few months, this dream came into my mind of taking those who wanted to be disciples of Jesus and take them away from the dysfunctional friends and family, from the drugs and alcohol, from everything that was familiar and bring them to a farm where they could learn about God. We want to build a farm where people could learn to take care of themselves, to work with others, to take direction and correction from a boss, to learn how to deal with the public, to learn basic life skills. At the same time learning about the real God of the Bible and how He is over everything. In making disciples, we want to train people how to go back to their communities, get a job, get a place to live, find their own church to serve in, and be an ambassador for Jesus Christ and His Kingdom in their community.
We decided to forgo our own retirement and dedicate the rest of our lives to making disciples of Jesus so that we could see addictions broken and broken lives renewed and those with no direction be set on the right path of following Jesus. How I had longed for such a place to exist to help me reboot my own life.
We are in the middle of this project of building The Discipleship Center, and a pastor friend of mine from another nearby church suggested that I get a more credible ordination than the one I already had. In my search, I found Christian Leaders Institute ministry training and ordination. I don’t have the money to build The Discipleship Center and go to college at the same time. I also don’t have a free schedule to go to classes during the day and go to work at the same time. When I looked at CLI and listened to the heart of Henry Reyenga, I thought that here may be the vehicle that I desperately wanted and needed to round out my studies as well as lend credibility to our mission.
I’m praying, and I hope that you will join with me, that this ministry will come to fruition and that many who are lost or in need of direction will follow Jesus, impacting their community, and that God will get all the glory.
Also, learn about Ordination at Christian Leaders Alliance