The Furnace Training System

What is the Furnace Training System?


matt_olsen-300x199“I have personally been involved with this ministry for many years and I have seen the impact that it has had on the college students that I lead.  Clay Staires and his ministry take students and put them through the furnace of development and what is produced is nothing short of a miracle.  The impact of the individuals coming out of The Furnace has had and will continue to have everlasting change for their generation.  Matthew Olsen, Dean of Men, Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, OK

A General Introduction

The Furnace Training System is a Leadership Training School “In A Box” for individuals within Christian organizations that have a “Shepherd’s Heart” and a passion to develop disciples into mature and effective Christian influencers in their community.

Far too many spiritual fathers in our pews feel inadequate to train because they lack the practical resources (sequential steps) to develop those around them and they lack the teaching skills required to mentor. As a result, they tend to leave this job of “making disciples” up to the professionals; the clergy. But those in ministry leadership positions are already overwhelmed by their workload and long to see those within their organization step into more ownership and leadership of the commands to the Church. This leads to an organization filled with people that faithfully participate in meetings, but lack consistent, measurable activity in the Great Commission.

Sharon Daugherty

“For years, the ministry Clay leads has provided a wonderful place for youth and adults to experience God’s presence in a special way. His training has allowed so many to learn what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Many people in our congregation have been blessed by his ministry and training.” Sharon Daugherty, Founding Pastor of Victory Christian Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma

According to the Francis A. Shaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development,

  1. 81% of pastors are “UNSATISFIED” with the leadership training in their church?  
  2. 71% of pastors say they are burned out and feel isolated?

You have been given a vision of leading a group, a congregation, a Bible study, but “the work” is intimidating and overwhelming.  I know what this is like!  I’ve been there.  I NEEDED HELP FROM OTHERS IF I WAS GOING TO FULFILL MY CALL!  The question is… “How do you prepare others to come along beside you and support you to fulfill the call that God has put on your life?”

“This training curriculum was developed over a 5 year period to create a leadership culture that could help me run the ministry I was called to do.”

Clay Staires, Creator of The Furnace Training School

IHOP Logo“From classroom to coach to camp director, Clay’s passion and accomplishment for shaping humble and confident spiritual leaders is time-tested. His hands-on, real-life, leadership training meets young people where they are at, but doesn’t leave them there. With the heart of the Father, the cheerful discipline of a coach, and the character of Christ, young people find themselves reaching for the prize for which Christ paid for them.” Matt Candler, Director of Internship, International House of Prayer (IHOP), Kansas City, MO

Scott Pace

“Clay Staires has devoted his life to training young people to become young professionals. He combines the unique ability to engage students and equip them simultaneously by speaking in a relevant style and communicating crucial information. His mentorship and course tutelage builds on their faith and constructs an established model that will help them fulfill their God intended potential.” 
 Scott Pace, Ph.D., Chair of Christian and Cross-Cultural Ministry Department, Oklahoma Baptist University

Scott Neighbors“As a 40 year veteran of youth / young adult ministry, I know all too well the difference between someone who has the skills for communicating culturally and someone who has a heart and passion for influencing a generation of believers.  And I know the impact made when someone possesses both qualities.  Clay Staires is an energetic, culturally pithy speaker who can relevantly engage young adults.  But he also has a heart for this generation, recognizing their dynamic potential while empathizing with their unique cultural challenges.  And in both cases, he challenges them to realize and maximize who they are in Christ.” Scott Neighbors, Pastor of Worship & Discipleship, FBC Skiatook, Southern Baptist Minister & OBU Trustee


The Furnace Training System provides the practical tools for an inexperienced spiritual parent (facilitator) to lead with confidence and assurance. Whether it’s leading just one person over coffee or a group of twenty in a classroom,  The Furnace System Level 1 provides 16, 30 minute DVD lessons that will challenge and stretch students as they learn to grow and embrace the path of discipleship. It also provides the unique Facilitator Videos to specifically prepare you to lead and facilitate each session effectively.

The Furnace Training System provides the spiritual parent with a progressive path of challenging education upon which they can add their own meaningful experiences in ministry to others. Also provided are very specific evaluation tools to help encourage and celebrate each measure of new growth along the path.

Wade Paschal“Children and youth from our church have benefited from the ministry Clay Staires leads for many years—and they have been better for it.  Not only have they experienced Christ, but they have developed leadership skills that have served them very well long after their days in training.”  Wade Paschal, Senior Pastor, First United Methodist Church, Tulsa

“I have listened to and gone through the first lesson and, let me tell you, this guy is great! In fact, I’m planning on doing an internship program with it this summer!” Pastor Jeff Scott, Youth and College Minister, Living Word, Minden, LA

“The Furnace creates a community of discipleship. There’s a progression of Leadership Training that produces “fruit that remains”. We see that in our kids. It’s not just an experience, but it’s a transition. We have seen that the desire to seek the Lord and serve him lasts past the classroom. There’s an anointing for discipleship training in Clay that is very unique. He instills a desire, not only to be discipled, but to also turn around and to disciple others. This discipleship training not only has a dramatic impact on our kids lives, but on their friends, their communities… it’s contagious and The Furnace is a big catalyst for all this.” Roger Gerstenberger, Headmaster, Metro Christian Academy, Tulsa, OK

“Clay Staires inspires me because he simply and powerfully walks his talk. He and his material can be trusted. Part of what makes his leadership development programs so “off the charts” effective is he openly shares from the crucible of his own painful experiences and lessons learned. He expertly brings you step by step into a life of purpose and strength because he’s taken the same proven steps.” Tim Redmond, Redmond Growth Initiatives and Author of Power To Create

“Clay Staires is dynamic teacher and trainer. His ability to communicate discipleship principals in a step by step easy to understand way is unparalleled. The church is in great need of the gift within Clay and His talents to build up, train and equip leaders.”  Mark Visser, Director, Prophetic Equipping Ministries, Durban, South Africa

As a missionary to the Amazon Jungle in Peru, I would love to see The Furnace printed and recorded in Spanish. It is an invaluable teaching to our Bible School for Indigenous Pastors, Ministers and Leaders! What a blessing to have the proper resources to train men and women to become leaders in their villages. I wish I had The Furnace years ago so I would have realized that all of my “failures” were just my “metrons.” I am recommending this program to my parents who pastor a church in the States. It is an invaluable tool in the hands of pastors, teachers and parishioners alikeRev. JoeLynn Daugherty, Medical Missionary to the Amazon Jungle in Peru


The Furnace Training System Levels:


F1 – Personal Development

The 16 sessions of F1 lay a critical foundation of Discipline and Character in the mind and heart of each disciple. These sessions introduce the concept of Personal Development and it’s significant role in the life of a disciple. Using the backdrop of Romans 11, 12 & 13, F1 invites the students into a new way of thinking and interpreting the events that take place in their lives. The content of each DVD session will stimulate the students desire to learn and grow while at the same time challenge and even offend their old mindsets that have such a tendency to bend the truth to fit their lifestyles.

F1 will invite young disciples into a willingness to embrace discipline and boundaries in their lives. Far too often, our lives in Jesus are limited by compromise and the rationalizations involved in changing our boundaries to accommodate a lifestyle we want to live. Embracing discipline allows us to successfully change our lifestyle to fit our boundaries.

F2 – Mentorship

The 16 Sessions of F2 complete the foundation of learning how to THINK by introducing the essential role of Mentorship in the life of all growing disciples. “You can only think what you think!” To adopt new ways of interpreting life, you must be willing to submit to a “teacher” in your life. In a world overwhelmed with individualism, this concept can be very difficult to embrace. F2 uses Hebrews 5 and 6 to invite the students into a willingness to embrace the struggles that accompany growth by learning how to interpret them correctly.

F3 – Management

The 16 Sessions of F3 builds upon the principal foundation of THINKING rightly that were laid in F1 and F2 and invite the students into a new responsibility of ACTING rightly. Before you can be trusted to steward your own resources, you must first steward the resources of someone else. This is where Management becomes a necessary requirement. Can you manage someone else’s things without stealing them or using them for your own gain? In F3, the student steps into a greater measure of authority over things. This new measure of authority will reveal the attitudes of the heart. You can only walk in the measure of authority you’re willing to walk under. Philippians 1 & 2 will be the anvil upon which their Integrity and Dependability will be tested.

F4 – Leadership

Finally, the 16 Sessions of F4 will complete the education as you invite them into the Greater Way of 1 Corinthians 13 and 2 Corinthians 1. F4 will greatly expand their capacity to love and lead. “If you cannot love them, you will not lead them. You will always lead them according to how you see them.” Your students will expand their experiences in inspiring others to follow as they learn how to communicate Vision and Strategy both verbally and non-verbally. “And the greatest of these is love” – at the end of the day, discipleship training is all about learning how to love.

“Clay’s curriculum of Servant Leadership is a gateway to a stimulating work environment, a jubilant marriage, and an energized perspective on all of life’s twists and turns. In a world that craves independence, he teaches freedom.”
Chris Goodchild, Environmental Services Supervisor

The Tools of The Furnace – HEAT – HAMMER –WATER

  1. The Hammer – This is the EDUCATION that is provided in each package of The Furnace System. Like a hammer, these 16, 30 minutes DVD’s lessons will consistently go over and over new ways of thinking and interpreting your life in the kingdom of God. Repetition will be used to reshape old mindsets into new. Scripture memory and Student Workbooks are used to expand the conversation beyond the DVD so you, as the spiritual parent, can discover what is in their hearts.
  1. The Fire – This will be the EXPERIENCE that you choose to accompany the 16 Sessions at each level. The experience must provide enough pressure and struggle for them to bring up the “dross” (impurities) in their character and thinking. Some Furnace leaders, with groups, have chosen to use several weeks of a summer camp to create the pressure and struggle. Others have chosen a long-term missions trip or a community outreach program that required hard work and “long suffering”. Still others business leaders have used The Furnace System as an employee training tool to develop a culture of servanthood and personal development within their company. It may also be used as a mentoring tool with individuals over coffee as you cover progress on a weekly assignment that is guaranteed to create the pressure needed to “prepare the iron for the hammer”. Without the heat of experience, the education will simply be like banging on a cold, hard piece of iron – a lot of work, with very little change.
  1. The Water – This is the EVALUATION piece of The Furnace System. This includes one-on-one meetings and surveys as well as an actual evaluation form you’ll fill out a the end of each level. This consistent and ongoing “feedback” into the hearts and minds of the students is what will “seal out the old man” and affirm the “transformed thinking”. Taking the time to say, “Yes, you got it! That’s the right way to interpret the situation” is central to the replacement thinking that is crucial in all discipleship training. It’s not just about what we need to learn. More often it’s what we need to UNLEARN.

“Clay has the perfect balance of encouragement to continue the journey and guidance to do so. He does it in such a way where he does not give us the answers but provides us the tools to guide us to the discovery.”
– Brian Cunningham, Science Secondary Teacher

Other Vital Resources Provided For Your Facilitator

  1. For each level of The Furnace System, there is an Introductory Video for the Facilitator that lays out the content that will covered and how this content fits in the sequence of the overall System. It also gives a number of helpful tips on how to help the student’s transition from one level to the next.
  1. Each of the 64 individual sessions have accompanying Facilitator Training Videos. This video will introduce the content as well as prepare the Facilitator for what to expect during the session. Many of the concepts covered in the sessions will be “stretching” for the students and they will have a variety of responses to the new ways of interpreting scripture, their experience and their pressures. The Facilitator Videos will discuss some of the common responses and give you tips to help your students navigate their emotions.
  1. Also, in each Facilitator Video, there are numerous Training Tips to help you facilitate and mentor your students through the training process. As with many leadership roles, the facilitator will learn as much (and be just as challenged) as the students. The questions that are asked in these videos along with the challenges you’ll be invited into will prove to be a tremendous growing tool for every facilitator.
  1. We also provide Clay’s Personal Contact Information to the Facilitator and invite them to contact him with questions and hurdles they encounter while facilitating and mentoring their student(s).

Other Furnace Materials Available

Marketing Materials

Want to create a buzz in your organization around the new program you’re offering? Be sure to order the Marketing Package that includes:

  • Banners
  • Flyers
  • Table Top Ads

Recruiting and Interviewing Training

So how do you go about getting people to sign up for such an intense training program? Clay has a unique ability to inspire and draw people toward personal development. In this multi-purpose DVD, he will share his wisdom with you and give you many tips and resources to become an effective “fisher of men”.

Evaluation Training

This is probably the most important component of The Furnace Process and if done poorly, can have a real negative impact on your entire program. Clay has been Life Coaching and Counseling for over 20 years and in this DVD he will share his secrets of discerning your students words and actions to discover what is truly in their hearts and minds so you will know how to best lead them. Asking the right questions is the true art of a mentor. This DVD will be an invaluable resource for you to know what questions to ask and how to interpret the answers you get. This multi-purpose DVD also includes evaluation forms for each of your students and for your program.


Clay Staires