“How was your trip?”
This is the question that I get asked continually after returning from doing a Discipleship Training School (DTS). It’s a loaded question people don’t realize they’re asking.
A DTS isn’t just a vacation, a time studying abroad, or a missions trip. It’s something people don’t quite understand. It’s something that you can’t answer “How was your trip?” or “What did you do while you were gone?” in a simple, quick and understandable fashion.
So buckle in. Because I’m going to explain what a DTS actually holds for your average 19 year old.
Discipleship Training School was genuinely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. I can’t say I’ve ever grown that much, that quickly, or even in that way, ever in my life. I grew in ways I didn’t know I could. I experienced things I didn’t know existed. I learned about people, places, concepts, languages, religions, and above all: that I know infinitely less than I thought I did.
I often tell people that DTS truly changed my life. That answer seems to be a fairly common response among those us known as “YWAMers” (people involved in Youth With A Mission).
In my opinion, it’s because a DTS is aimed at two different things: 1. Teaching and guiding students to learn how to be a disciple of God and 2. Teaching and guiding students to help others understand what it means to be a disciple of God. This is incredibly important for someone like me who has been raised in a Christian home, but never truly understood what it meant to be a disciple or follower of God. It’s equally as important for someone who barely knows who or what God and Christianity is.
Following God truly started for me by understanding who God is.
Knowing who God is, that His heart is for the people around me, and for all of His children, changed the way I see the world, the way I treat customers or coworkers, and even the way I treat my family.
DTS challenged me more than I’d ever been in my life. I think any time you throw a bunch of young people together in the same room every morning for three months straight is going to be challenging.
What amplifies this is the fact that most of my fellow students are from a country other than mine, many of them learned English as a second language, grew up in very diverse cultures, and come from a different way of life. There’s bound to be some obstacles under those circumstances, but those are all nothing compared to dealing with the struggles in your own personal life that God wants to work with you on. Those times are the most rewarding when you come out on the other side.
To say growth comes without pain is pessimistic in my opinion, I think pain is an option, but growth comes from the struggle. It comes from persistence. God will always be persistent when there’s something He wants you to grow in, and we have to be persistent with Him to grow spiritually.
This is what DTS is about.
It’s setting aside time; alongside people from all over the world, who are going through the same stuff as you, and diving deep with God, into who He is, and into your own life.
Then you’ll go and share this with other people. You’ll help others to understand that growing isn’t always comfortable but relying on God, following Him and obeying His direction will reflect in them being a new person.
At its core, DTS changed my life because of one simple reason: DTS is 6 months of seeking after God harder than you probably have ever before.
So that’s really how my trip was.
By Tyler Combs
Port YWAM Kona Staff