When I look back at my life, I have no regrets because each of the decisions and experiences I've had led me to where I am today. However, I have gained some insight along the way that will maybe help others who are trying to decide what to do after high school.Before God guided me to YWAM Tyler, I went and earned my bachelor's degree at Carthage College. I remember toward the end of high school, there was a group from a missions organization who came and talked to us about short term missions. At the time, I thought one day. I had my mind made up and path set. I was going to go to college, get my degree, and then find a job. I didn’t give missions another thought for almost another four years.
Going to school at Carthage College, I was involved with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. During my four years there, I did several things for the ministry from greeting people every week at our gathering to organizing small groups and mentoring the leaders. It was great, I built several relationships and had the opportunity to mentor underclassmen in their relationship with Christ. What I didn’t realize is I was missing a major part of God’s calling in my life.
For someone growing up in missions, sharing the gospel was an idea that always seemed to be in the very back of my mind. Although I had the desire to see my friends come to a relationship with God, I didn’t always know how to make that bridge. Many times I felt like the only way I could get through to them was just to share my own journey with God. In reality, our stories are the icing on the cake, but we need to be able to come beside people and put their hand in the hand of Jesus.
Looking back, college was an awesome experience. The friends I met and the memories I made will last a lifetime. But, there were four key elements that I believe would have made my years at college more fruitful had I done a Discipleship Training School (DTS) before attending college.
Identity ~ Before I came to DTS, I didn't have a full understanding of who I was in Christ. I had grown up in the church and had what I thought was an okay relationship God. I knew He was real, but I didn't allow Him to have control of my life. I cared a lot about what other people thought of me, from what I wore to how I spent my weekends. I wanted to have the same interests and hobbies as those around me so that maybe, somehow I could fit in. When I came to DTS, God began to take those thoughts and actions away. I began to understand that my identity is found only in God.
Relationship ~ Growing up, I had been given the understanding that it is important to spend time with God. He wants to have a relationship with us, and the best way to get to know His heart is spending time with Him. One of the first topics that was covered during my DTS was hearing God's voice. It was amazing to me to learn about all the different ways that God speaks to us and how He speaks to us as individuals.
Perspective ~ Throughout my life, I wasn't exposed to many different religious beliefs. Most of the people I was close with grew up in the church, and we all pretty much shared the same worldview. When I got to college I met people from all different cultures and backgrounds. My freshman year of college, I took a basic religions class that covered several different religions and ideas. Although in my heart I knew what the truth was, I didn't know exactly how to discuss issues that clashed with other religions. During my YWAM schools, one of the teachings that we had was on spiritual worldviews. For me, it was a review on what these ideas are and where they come from, but the info that really helped me the most showed me how to share the truth in a loving manner.
Purpose ~ I heard a teacher here at YWAM once say, "The will of God is going to be done here on earth no matter what; it is just going to be a matter of where we will be when that will is complete." God wants to be able to have a relationship with each and every one of us. He has created each of us individually to do great things for His Kingdom. Before coming to YWAM, I saw evangelism as just leading someone to Christ, but it goes so much deeper than that. Once someone comes to know the Lord, they are called to be a light and reach out to others in their communities.
I'm not looking back with regret because I believe, at the time, going to college after high school was the best decision for me. However, if I had the choice to do differently, gaining a deeper understanding of truth at YWAM Tyler would have given me better preparation for the rich mission field that college is.
If you're at a place where you're trying to decide what to do next, consider doing a Discipleship Training School (DTS). It doesn't mean you won't ever be able to do college; actually you'll be more readily equipped to be a messenger of God's love and truth when you do attend.
We partner with 7 colleges and universities to offer you college credit for your time in DTS and our other training schools.
Come join us at YWAM Tyler. We offer schools four times a year in January, April, July, and October.
If you liked this blog you should read Allison's story as well. It's great!
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