When I signed up to do a Discipleship Training School with YWAM, I was pretty sure I knew a lot about the program and what I was getting myself into. However, if I could go back now, after completing and staffing a DTS, and tell my old self a few tips before coming, here’s what I’d say:
1. DTS is more than a spiritual high.
When I first came to DTS, I imagined it would be like a 6-month long church camp. I thought being around other Christians would make me super excited and stoked on Jesus. But it didn’t. Being around JESUS made me excited and stoked on Jesus!
2. You’ll make lifelong friends from many other countries!
Before coming to DTS I had never even met a Canadian before. Imagine my surprise when I found out I was doing DTS with people from Switzerland, England, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, and Finland! I learned about so many different cultures, not just Australian culture while being in Newcastle. And, I picked up some cool things too, like cheering for the Oilers in hockey, eating with a knife (I thought it was for decoration, okay!) and having morning tea.
3. Be open to growth.
Growth in the things you thought you knew about God. Growth in the things you thought you knew about yourself. Growth in the things you don’t know about God and yourself! We can’t promise you’ll find all the answers here, but DTS is a safe environment to start to explore the things you thought you knew and the things you don’t. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and who God has created you to be.
Come open and ready to receive what God has for you. Be willing to grow, willing to be challenged on what you believe and don’t be afraid to admit you were wrong. Everyone comes into DTS with different beliefs and life experiences, and I’ve realized I want to find out for myself what I believe about God, not just accept what others tell me. I want to experience God and really believe in my heart who He is, and in order to do that, I had to admit I was wrong at times. I had to admit I believed some things about God and myself that weren’t true, and I had to accept that I didn’t know everything and invite Him to change the places in my heart which didn’t line up with His truth.
4. You can cook a lot of things on a panini press.
Our main campus kitchen is industry standard, so staff and students are unable to use the kitchen for personal use. We have a number of smaller kitchenettes, but none with a stove top. I discovered real quick it’s possible to cook eggs, hash browns, all kinds of vegetables, and pancakes on a panini press!
5. You get what you put into DTS.
This is something my DTS one-on-one (mentor) told me, and it’s so true! Your life with Jesus is like a building; you have to dig deep, laying a solid foundation in order to build a tall building. The deeper you go to “clear out the rocks”, the higher the building (your life) can go. If you open up, share what you’re feeling, and ask questions, you give God so much room to work in your heart.
6. YWAM Memes are so relatable.
Need to find humor in the fact that you’ll be sharing a room with people you don’t know for 6 months? Meme it. Want to laugh about how much money you didn’t have and how much God provided? Check out @ywammemes on Instagram to laugh at the good and hard things you’ll experience on DTS, created by people who have been there before you.
7. You’re going to fall in love with the place you go to for outreach.
The country/countries you travel to for outreach will become so dear to your heart, you will literally get butterflies in your stomach when you think about it! Going into a place and seeing it the way God sees it and putting your time and effort into seeing transformation in the people, brings so many feelings with it. Before I even went on outreach to New Zealand I began to get God’s heart for the country and people. During my time there I absolutely fell in love with the Maori people and culture and wanted to get behind the work that God was and is doing in New Zealand! The following year I was able to return to New Zealand, this time leading an outreach team. I literally cried happy tears as we were landing because I was so in love with this place and these people that God created!
8. You might find the experience you had on DTS difficult to explain to people, and that’s okay.
It might be difficult to explain to your friends back home what a “one-on-one” is, or the purpose of “work duties”, but don’t stress it. The most important thing to have happened will be the things God has done in your heart, and those things are universal.
9. YWAM Staff know YWAM life hacks.
The campus staff are a wealth of wisdom. They can pretty much do anything, from re-wiring a soundboard to scaring birds out of the office with a nerf gun. They know the secrets to effective ministry, have crazy outreach stories, and have probably been sick in the middle of a jungle at some point. Sit with them and ask to hear their stories. Learn from their mistakes. Care about them and pray for them!
by Kai Bruntmyer,
YWAM Summer Classic DTS Staff