Globally there are 25,000 full-time YWAM missionaries right now, and every one of them has completed a Discipleship Training School. DTS is remarkable training that is intended to bring you into a more intimate relationship with God. While igniting your passions, you discover your part in God's purposes for the world and learn to follow Jesus in new ways with a different perspective.
It is intended to challenge us through teachings, community living, practical training, AND that's just the lecture phase. These are just a few of the truths I learned during my DTS Lecture Phase:
1. God is not a fast-food restaurant.
HE works thoroughly, precisely, and PATIENTLY in my life. HE doesn't expect "faith that moves mountains", when you have only been following HIM for two weeks. God understands that we must grow, step-by-step, in all areas of life.
It was a struggle of mine asking other's for money. Because of my upbringing, I felt like a burden hounding folks to help support me on a trip to Asia that they WERE NOT EVEN GOING ON. But, through small nuggets of truth here, revelation moments there, and encouraging conversations through lecture phase fear subsided. Finally, my perspective was flipped. Revelation sank in that I was actually withholding a blessing from people by NOT ASKING if they wanted to be apart of what God is doing! Hebrews 6:1 says, "Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity."
2. Teamwork DOES make the Dreamwork.
The Kingdom of God needs EVERYONE: extroverts, introverts, artists and mathematicians, the meek and the bold, the talkers, as well as, the thinkers, both, sensitive and strong. All play an equally important role in impacting God's most intricate creation of all, people. From the boldness and passion of Paul, down to Moses' insecurities about public speaking, to the bravery of Esther, and the meek and submissive spirit of Mary Magdalene, all play a vital role in making God known.
This truth was in full illustration in my DTS. There were 28 students, ranging from 17-72 years old, 10 teenagers, 3 married couples, a successful 45 year old, a college graduate, a drug rehab graduate, a few college drop-outs, and 2 nationalities made up my class, and ALL of us were right where we were supposed to be, doing exactly what we were supposed to be doing.
3. It is impossible to grow in my comfort zone.
Bring on the difficult times; I KNOW it will benefit me. New roommates, needing $3000 in 3 weeks, doing terrifying things, no hot-water, getting more roommates, questioning what I have been taught my entire life, no privacy, then getting more roommates, all are things I experienced before going on outreach! Situations grow us, and the degree of difficulty correlates to the degree of maturation. "The testing of (my faith) produces perseverance," James 1:3.
4. God can always purify my "pure" goals.
Entering a 5-month school, which was focused on deepening my relationship with God, I thought my ambitions were pretty unselfish, compared to the "world." However, looking back, I see how many selfish desires went into my decision of doing a DTS. Prior to coming my main interest for YWAM was the classroom, which in itself isn't bad; the problem was I had no desire to share any of the things I was learning.
It did not take long for me to realize it is not God's plan for anyone to bottle knowledge, and we are all called to be missionaries in one way or another. I am here to tell you it is the best possible life! God is infinite LOVE and infinite INTELLIGENCE; HE is who I want designing my future! God tells us, "I have it all planned out-plans to give you the future you hope for." Jeremiah 29:11.
5. There is nothing I can do to change my value.
My value is not determined by deeds, works, or merit. I am a sinner saved by grace, and there is nothing from my past that my Father can even see! It was the most liberating moment when I received the revelation of Jesus dying for me while I was still a sinner. If HE chose love and sacrifice, instead of judgment and condemnation when I was wicked, then I must STOP trying to mean more to HIM. God's opinion is immovable at the highest possible level. He loved me before salvation as much as HE loves me after. "I-yes, I alone-will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again." Isaiah 43:25
6. Intercession is not a dull exercise left for grandparents!
Gathering a small group of people to pray for an hour, about an unknown topic is not a glamorous, marketable exercise for youth groups. However, it only took one intercession time for that pre-supposition to be shattered. I was in a group of 8 skeptical and confused students as we sat silently waiting for God to share what "HE wants us to pray for."
The silence was disrupted by a girl that heard the name "Nicolas."
Another chimed, "I saw some Colombian coffee beans, whatever that means."
A surprised student then said, "I saw a dam that turned into a flood gate, with people climbing over."
"We should Google this," suggested our intercession leader.
It turns out that at that moment the nation of Colombia and Venezuela's president, Nicolas Maduro, were reaching an agreement that would open the border between the two. I still don't fully understand the significance of this agreement (only God knows), but we later learned that for a year the borders had been closed, preventing many Venezuelan's from receiving medicine, medical aid, and treatments they had previously relied on. Now it is easy to dismiss this as coincidental, but I know it was God's way of meeting a few wide-eyed, narrow-minded DTS students at a moment we needed a sign, and HE wanted to include us in HIS divine plan!
7. Time in the classroom does not substitute my alone time with HIM.
I was exposed to incredible truths for the first time during lecture phase; however, my life was not changed in the classroom. A benefit of having the most life-changing season of your life on a secluded 500 acre ranch in East Texas, is that you are never far away from tranquility. The lush rolling hills of Twin Oaks Ranch is a perfect spot to really learn how to distinguish the voice of God.
I was never at a loss for seeing HIS majesty displayed through the pink sunsets, lost in thought overlooking one of the ponds, or hidden under a 40 foot Oak somewhere. I fell in love with God all over again during those private, intimate moments alone with Him in His creation. My quiet times with God are the most valuable moments of each day, and I am blessed I get to spend them amidst such a beautiful place. 2 Timothy 2:25 says, "God grants repentance." It was during those intimate moments when God magnified my life and the plans for my life, which in the end is why I came to this DISCIPLESHIP program.
Have your own earth shattering moments in a discipleship school at YWAM Tyler.