3 Reasons Why DTS is So Effective

I remember when I did my Discipleship Training School with YWAM. I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t have any friends who had done it, or anyone to really ask questions about the program. All I knew was that I needed to “Go”. I wasn’t really sure what that meant either, funny as that is. But I had this longing in my heart to both “do something for God”, as well as a desire to get away from home in some capacity. Maybe it was a longing for adventure, or just a need to satisfy my restlessness. Anyway, whatever it was, it was enough to get me moving.

I think God will use whatever He can to help us follow His will for our lives. In my case, I didn’t even really know what I wanted. But God still used the opportunity to bring me to a place where He could reveal Himself to me in a life-changing way. In fact, looking back I would say that DTS was one of the most impacting times in my life. I could even clearly define for you the difference between who I was before DTS, and who I am now after God did so much in my heart through my DTS experience.

That was many years ago. And now, after so many years, I am still amazed by DTS. I have spent the last 9 years of my life working in DTS in different capacities. During those years, I have watched hundreds of students come to DTS. All of them from different backgrounds, even different countries, and many for different reasons as well. But one thing is for sure, they all left changed. I mean transformed, really. Like, they met with the living God, and He did major work in their hearts, and they left having a better understanding of who God really is, who they are in His eyes, and what is their place in the world.

So this finally leads me to the question that I’ve been asking myself about DTS. Maybe you’ve wondered the same thing.

What’s the big deal?

What makes DTS so effective?

Well, here goes…


Leaving Home

One thing that makes doing a Discipleship Training School so effective, and fairly unique, is the fact that every student has to leave home. In fact, some of the students travel from other countries around the world to come do a DTS here at YWAM Montana. This is actually one of my favorite parts about DTS. There is something challenging, and yet freeing, about leaving home, school, job, even friends and family, to pursue a deeper relationship with God.

It makes me think about Abraham. In Genesis 12, God calls Abraham out of a great city at the time, Ur. God then tells Abraham to go where He leads him, and promises that He will lead him to a land that will be his own, and he will be blessed. So what does Abraham do? He goes. He doesn’t even know where! He just goes, and along the way God reveals Himself more and more to Abraham. It took a great level of trust for Abraham to leave everything he knew; everyone he knew, and go where God led him. But the payoff was amazing. A life and legacy of fulfilled promises.

DTS is not about escaping. It’s about re-creating.

So that is the blessing that awaits every DTS student. The opportunity to leave an old life behind. Old habits. Even old friends. You know those people in our lives that keep reminding us of who we don’t want to be, and whenever we try to be the person God called us to be, they somehow drag us back to our old ways? Sometimes, we just need a clean break from those relationships. But DTS is not about escaping. It’s about re-creating. In DTS, you have the wonderful opportunity to discover who Jesus made you to be, and actually become that person. Actually be that person. That New Identity.

Thinking about getting involved in missions? Learn more about a YWAM Discipleship Training School!

A Discipleship Training School is a 5 1/2 month intensive missions and discipleship course. The journey begins in Lakeside, Montana where students get to learn and grow in the Lord followed by traveling to an outreach location to make God known in the nations.


Common Focus

Another great aspect of DTS, is that you are surrounded by other students who are in the same boat. They also are leaving an old life behind, and stepping into a new life. They also are discovering how good and faithful God really is. How loving He really is. Together we get to experience the living God, and let Him shape the way we think.

Working with a team of people is a great experience. When we come together with a common focus, we are able to accomplish great things. Not only that but it also helps us to grow in the Lord. The world is so full of distractions, right? How many times have you made the decision to pursue a deeper relationship with God, only to have your focus shift because the people in our lives have a totally different focus from our own? We are easy influenced. Admit it.

This is why it’s so important to surround ourselves with people with a common focus. When we are pursuing God together, we stay on track. When one of us wanders off a little, the positive influence of our godly friends helps steer us back on course. This is not something that all Christians have. At least, not at the depth that we may be longing for. Have you ever thought, “There must be more”? Me too. Welcome :)


Community Momentum

There is one more thing that I’d like to point out as a major strength in DTS. It’s similar to having a common focus. Really, I think it’s the fruit of having a common focus.

I’m not much of a sports guy. Watching sports on TV just isn’t very exciting to me. But every once in a while, I will go with friends and family to a baseball game. Something happens when I’m there. As the stadium gathers together to root for their favorite team, I can’t help but find myself also getting really excited. I find myself cheering for the team; joining in the excitement. I even get emotional. It’s weird. But it’s kind of refreshing too.

It’s so good to care about something.

It makes me feel alive.

During DTS, we see a lot of cool stuff happen in people’s lives. I mean, we see people who are struggling with depression get set free and become full of joy. We see people who are overcome with shame about their past, then come to experience the forgiveness and grace of God, and begin walking in confidence that they are made righteous through Jesus’ work on the cross. We see people with no hope or sense of purpose for their future discover their identity and call from God, and become full of passion and excitement for what God is doing in the world, and anticipating their own role in God’s mission.

We see people come alive.

I never get tired of seeing the effects of the Gospel take place in people’s lives

This creates an amazing environment where students are celebrating the life-change in their new friends, and looking forward to God working in their own hearts as well. This creates a sort of momentum. Once that ball starts rolling you can’t stop it. I never get tired of seeing the effects of the Gospel take place in people’s lives. Some of those changes actually seem to take place overnight.

What’s really amazing is that passion and faith continue on as the students go into the second phase of DTS: Outreach. Those same students that just experienced the transformational power of the Gospel in their own lives, then go to other countries and tell people about the living God that loves the world so much that He would send Jesus so that they also can experience new life in Him. They get to tell people who have never even heard of Jesus before. Those people are often trapped in fear and shame through the world religions that promise relief but fail to deliver. But upon learning of their Savior Jesus, they become believers and also experience God’s goodness, faithfulness, and the transformational power of the Gospel in their own lives. DTS students who get to witness this are excited and empowered all the more to continue living a radical life for Jesus, experiencing His love, and continuing to share it even as they return home after DTS. The momentum continues!

Come Join Us!

The truth be told, there are many more reasons that DTS is so effective. But the final thing I would say is that I am humbled that God would choose to use us; YWAM. We are not that special. Definitely not better than local church. But God simply chooses to work through our programs and mission. I’ve seen it over and over again. I never get tired of it.

So, if you are looking for more, wanting to go deeper, feeling a pull to missions, or even feeling restless at home, come join us.

Thinking about getting involved in missions? Learn more about a YWAM Discipleship Training School!

A Discipleship Training School is a 5 1/2 month intensive missions and discipleship course. The journey begins in Lakeside, Montana where students get to learn and grow in the Lord followed by traveling to an outreach location to make God known in the nations.

All photos courtesy of former YWAM Montana Lakeside DTS student Non Luckanachai

Ready to make the jump.

At YWAM Montana-Lakeside, we are all about doing whatever it takes to know God and to make Him known, together! We’d love to help you make that next step in your global missions education. Apply now!

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