Impacting Hearts and Lives

Q&A: Matt Deitner, Discipleship Program Director

What is your role at Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities?

A: I became director of the Discipleship Program in April. Before this, I served as chaplain of the Discipleship Program for seven years.

What is the Discipleship Program?

A: The Discipleship Program is a full-time residential program that offers hope and healing to men by teaching God’s Word and skills needed for a successful life. Discipleship Program participants engage in the program 40 hours a week—focusing fully on stabilizing their mental health and building a solid foundation of spiritual disciplines and character that set them up for future success.

What are the main features of the program?

A: Many of the men have experienced trauma and suffer from PTSD, so healing past hurts, making amends, and developing tools needed to thrive is critical. Weekly mental health therapy with on-site licensed therapists is beneficial. The men have daily on-campus responsibilities to build valuable work skills. The assignments are structured to instill discipline and teach soft skills, such as working successfully with others.

All of the men take classes at the Mission’s Adult Education and Training center. Some earn their GED; others brush up on math, computer, and financial literacy skills. They also learn life and job skills and get support as they seek future employment or further education.

Immersing men in the Bible is central. We teach men the Gospel and then provide a framework for how they can read, understand, interpret, and apply Scripture to their life.

What sets the Mission’s Discipleship Program apart from similar programs?

A: Two important aspects of our program are building community and providing one-on-one care. We provide on- and off-campus opportunities for the men to develop friendships and a strong support network. Our chaplains meet with each man to provide individual spiritual care. And we have staff who are excellent at advocating for the men and helping them navigate the legal system; some have even avoided jail time. It’s a joy to see the men use this time to deepen their faith, build character and community, and then launch into steady employment and stable housing with a solid support system in place.

Recently, a probation officer emailed me after visiting one of her clients here on campus. She asked how she could get 35 chronically homeless men from her caseload into our program “and doing something good for themselves.” It’s great she can bear witness to our good work. It’s a testament to what God is doing here.

*Discipleship Program residents hiking and vising the Como Zoo.

Support Our Life-Changing Programs


Add a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *