Thinking about a gap year? Why not do a Discipleship Training School (DTS)?
In Australian culture, having a ‘gap year’ is a common decision. After studying for 12 years most people are well and truly ready for some time away from the books to discover the world, themselves and often God. When I finished high school all I wanted to do was hop in the boat of discovery in all things geographical, but most importantly I wanted to discover God for myself. So, for those of you who are thinking about a gap year, wondering why you should or shouldn’t, or just need some extra insight, here are some things to think about.
1. Do you have direction?
Direction is a funny thing. Often it’s a trend, often direction is following what your friends or family are doing, or even being directed by their opinions and beliefs. What’s important though is that you have your own direction for your future. Going to university is a great stepping stone for the future, but if you’re in a uni degree that you don’t like or don’t know much about, a gap year might be an idea that will equip you better for the future.
2. Do you know yourself?
It sounds like a strange question – do you know yourself? Obviously, everyone on earth spends their entire lives knowing themselves better – but it is such a valuable tool to be able to identify the basics before you step out big in the world. Taking a gap year is a great way to ‘know yourself’ better – spending time with God, growing in friendships, leadership and experience are all things that will grow you in this time.
3. Do you desire to know God better?
The most important (and I mean it, the MOST important) thing you will EVER invest in is your relationship with God. I say ‘invest’ because the benefits of investing are always long term, gradual and they often take a lot of work. By investing in your relationship with the CREATOR of the universe you will fulfil desires in your heart that you don’t even know exist yet. Trust me on this one – it’s worth doing. If having a gap year is the thing that will build and grow your relationship with God the best – then it’s worth it.
4. So, I’m thinking about doing a gap year, what should I do?
If you have decided that a gap year is something you want to look at doing, it’s so important to plan it out. Most people that don’t plan their gap year will often end up feeling more directionless then what they started out at. In my personal experience – doing a Discipleship Training School was the best thing I could ever do, and although not everyone is called to YWAM long term, discipleship training is something that you will use for the rest of your life. It’s a great foundation for the future, it gives you a solid introduction to the mission field and shows you how BIG God’s heart for the lost is. A DTS will equip you, motivate you, challenge you and give you direction and vision for the future – in any sphere of society.
If you’re still unsure about whether or not a gap year is for you – spend some time asking God about it. He loves to equip us with direction and loves it when we choose Him first. Listen to what He’s saying, get opinions from others and ask your friends and family to hear God too. If DTS is what you decide, YWAM Newcastle runs a heap of electives each year – all specialized to different passions and talents – go and check them out!
by Susanna Dobbin
YWAM Newcastle Alum