“So why did you do a Discipleship Training School?”
Having done my Discipleship Training School about four years ago and now being on DTS Staff, this is one of the most frequent questions I get asked. You could ask ten people this same question and you would probably end up getting ten different answers. Some people have grown up wanting to be missionaries, some came because their parents encouraged them to, and some because they didn’t know what else to do. For me, it was simple…
I was lost in my faith. I knew there was more and I wanted it. I needed it.
I grew up in a loving Christian home where my family had always been involved with church in some way or another. My oldest sister had done a DTS after she graduated high school and then joined staff; so I was pretty familiar with the concept of DTS. During my sophomore year of high school everyone was so concerned about their GPA and their extra curricular activities. They were doing everything right so that they would qualify for the right scholarships to get into the best colleges, while I was still thinking, “I have absolutely no clue what I should go to college for, so why would I go and waste my time on a degree I don’t even know if I can use, or that I even want?” I enjoyed school, I just wasn’t sure of the direction I wanted my life to take. Around that same time, the youth group at my church fell apart and the youth pastor ended up leaving. That was when I realized my faith was in serious trouble. I had allowed myself to be spoon fed without developing my own relationship with God. I knew He was there and that He loved me, but my faith wasn’t my own.
Missions had always been something that interested me and I wanted my own relationship with God. I knew DTS was a great program where I would be submerged in a community where we would all be going after God’s heart together, which was what I wanted.
I hope that through sharing some of my experiences I’ll be able to communicate a little bit of what I’ve learned during my time with DTS. Here are the five reasons why I think you should do a Discipleship Training School.
#1 To Know God
Wherever you are in your walk with God, whether you just submitted your life to him, or you have been following for a while. . . there is so much more to learn about God. He is just so vastly outside of our comprehensible limits. However, He has made Himself available to us. He wants to be known. He wants to be known by you. In DTS, we learn about topics like The Father Heart of God and Hearing God’s Voice (and many more). By understanding more of His character and hearing Him speak to us, we can eliminate the lie that He is a distant and cold God. In reality, He is loving and inviting and is trying to communicate with you this very second. He desires relationship with you and is waiting for you to take a step closer.
THERE IS A GOD WHO LOVES YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN COMPREHEND
This might surprise you, but most students that come to DTS do not believe that God loves them. They know He does in their head (many of us are quite familiar with the Sunday School tune “Jesus Loves Me”), but they don’t believe it in their hearts. Honestly, who can blame them? It doesn’t make sense. I think to myself, “Why would the Creator of the universe love me? I am flawed, broken, and more sinful than I care to admit. What about me is worthy of being loved at all, especially by the King of all Kings?” I think the more we understand the gift that Jesus was, and the love that motivated that kind of sacrifice, the more we are changed. We are completely undone because that kind of love that is so undeserved, yet so freely given. If you have no idea what I am talking about, please, please come do a DTS. There is a God who loves you more than you can comprehend and He is just bursting with excitement to be able to shower that love upon you.
#2 To Know Yourself
It says in Genesis that we are made in the image of God (1:27). Therefore, by knowing more of who God is and how we bear His image we will ultimately learn more about ourselves. In my DTS, one of the biggest things God spoke over me was my identity. By looking into God’s Word, He revealed so much to me about who I am and who He created me to be. By learning to hear and recognize His voice, He taught me who I was as an individual and how He uniquely designed me. I found out who He said I am instead of what society and culture were trying to make me out to be. I am to be set apart, and so are you.
I love this verse as it is written in The Message.
1 Peter 2:9 (MSG) “But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.”
God has so much more in store for you and your life. Are you willing to give Him the chance to reveal that to you?
#3 To Make God Known
We are all called to make God known, wherever we are. In Matthew, the last words of Jesus before He ascends to heaven are:
“God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 MSG
This is the charge the Jesus leaves with his disciples. The word “disciple” translates to mean “a follower”. I believe if we consider ourselves followers of the Lord Jesus Christ then this verse applies to us. We are called to be disciples and we are called to disciple others.
These first three reasons to do a DTS are connected. How can we make Him known if we don’t even know Him? How can we understand ourselves and our purpose if we do not understand our Creator? We are called to know Him in such a way that the outpouring of our relationship with God spills out to every area of our lives, making it impossible to keep it to ourselves. That is how transforming the love of Christ is.
WHILE ON OUTREACH YOU’LL GET A GLIMPSE OF WHAT OVERSEAS MISSIONS LOOKS LIKE
During your Discipleship Training School you’ll be given the opportunity to Make God Known by visiting a foreign country and sharing His love with people who have maybe never even heard the name of Jesus. The Gospel is for everyone. What an amazing privilege – to be able to introduce Jesus to someone for the very first time. While on outreach you’ll get a glimpse of what overseas missions looks like, and you will have the opportunity to use your gifts and abilities for the Kingdom of Heaven.
#4 Because He is Worthy. He is the Redeemer.
I have this picture of what it will be like to stand before God on Judgement Day. I am standing there, knowing I deserve hell, having accepted my sin and my humanity, knowing that my best efforts just weren’t enough to deserve eternity… and then Jesus walks in. He comes to stand right in front of me and shows the Father His hands where His scars remain. These scars that say I am clean, that my slate has been washed by the blood of Christ, that I bear my sin and shame no more. As Jesus stands in my place on that Day, I am ushered to the gates of Heaven where the most amazing Holy Spirit party is taking place because of the reality of what Jesus did for us the day He took up our cross.
DTS ISN’T THE CLIMAX OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD BUT RATHER THE BEGINNING OF A LIFE FULLY COMMITTED TO HIM
Because of this, He is worthy. He is worth taking five months to fully devote yourself to Him. We don’t want your DTS experience to be the climax of your relationship with God but rather the beginning of a life fully committed to Him. He is the Savior and He is the one who comes to redeem your story. No matter what kind of story you might have, no matter what you have done, you cannot out-sin His forgiveness. He is worthy, and redemption is yours for the taking.
#5 Why Not?
Take a minute to ask yourself “Why not do a DTS?” – I understand that we all have our own obligations, ambitions, hopes, and dreams to consider. I have been there, I know! Sometimes we need to give God the opportunity to be faithful in our lives. God is steadfastly faithful, but when we try to control everything, we don’t allow Him to reveal that part of Himself to us.
LOST IN MY IDENTITY, INSECURE AND HOPELESS, THE LOVE OF CHRIST CHANGED ME
Why not set aside five months of your life to chase after God with everything you have? Look back at where you were five months ago. How much is different? How much is the same? I can guarantee you that when you look back after your DTS you will see that a transformation has taken place. That is the power of giving everything over to God.
Lost in my identity, insecure and hopeless, the love of Christ changed me. Will you let Him change you?
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.