Discipleship Training School (DTS) is YWAM’s “bread and butter” so-to-speak. The acronym gets thrown around so much, and while you may have heard of this training school before, you may not actually know what it is, or what makes it unique. As a basic definition, DTS is a six month intensive course, made up of three months of lectures and intentional discipleship, followed by three months of cross-cultural missions, in order to be catalyzed in your relationship with God and be equipped for His unique design for your life. During my four years of serving with YWAM, I have been a part of three DTS’s: my own, which I graduated from in August, 2015, Detroit’s first DTS, which I staffed during fall, 2017, and our most recent DTS, fall of 2018, which I had the honor of leading. Each of these experiences have contributed to my growing love for the structure and the purpose of the DTS, and my passion to see young people truly know God and surrender to His transformation in their lives. Allow me to take a moment to share with you three specific reasons why I love DTS!
1 . You Hunger for God
When I arrived in Brisbane, Australia, (February 2015) for my DTS, I’d never seen so many people my age worshipping God out of true love and devotion. Sure, I’d grown up going to church, Sunday school, Christian summer camp and youth group, but this kind of love for God was something totally new to me. Being surrounded by these staff and students stirred in me a deep longing to know God the way they did. This was the first time I was hungry for God.
I can clearly remember the third week of my DTS. Our lecture topic for the week was “The Holy Spirit” and one day, our speaker simply prayed that we would encounter God that morning, and she let Him take over the classroom. Immediately after her prayer, I began weeping and laughing at the same time, totally overwhelmed by the love of God. I looked around the room and acknowledged that many of my fellow students were experiencing the tangible love of God in a similar way. That morning my hunger for God was satisfied and yet deepened even more!
The first reason why I love DTS is because you truly hunger after God. Being a part of a live-learn environment, where your peers are worshipping and seeking God, is both challenging and contagious. You may be skeptical at first, but the beauty of the body of Christ is that the hunger of others stirs up hunger in your own heart. Why not spend six months with people who will encourage you to listen to, seek after and worship God more?
2 . You Develop Character
Character is defined as, “The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” This goes much deeper than our personalities or the things we like or dislike. Character is displayed in the way we respond to people and situations that are difficult, challenging and stressful. Last winter, I was a part of a team of staff and students who went to Lesvos, Greece, for the outreach portion of DTS. While on the small island, we volunteered 40-80 hours a week in an overcrowded refugee hotspot. Everyday we performed a variety of duties to serve the people at the camp who were living in makeshift homes made out of tarps and camping tents. These families did their best to make due with what they had, all while surrounded by mud, disease, cultural tension and filth. Without a doubt, this was the most difficult, challenging and stressful two months of my life.
One of the purposes of the DTS is to inspire and cultivate one’s relationship with God, in order to develop Godly character. You see, while coming face to face with people who have lost everything due to war and violence every day was extremely difficult, God also did some rewarding work in my heart. I had to face discomfort, differences and conflict to develop His character. It's under pressure that my ugly tendencies of pride, anxiety and entitlement were exposed, and it's only when those were uprooted that God began to plant His ways of humility, grace and endurance into my heart.
The field assignment, or outreach portion of the DTS, is an essential part of the course because it the time where, “the rubber hits the road” for students. During outreach you’re not just talking about forgiving one another, serving the poor and needy, or communicating with integrity; you are forgiving your teammates for waking you up at night, you are exhausted from your whole day of building a house for a family who’s never had one, and you are sharing the Gospel with the man you met on the bus. This is when our hearts are most ripe for God’s character to be developed in us, and the fruit is priceless!
3 . You Expand Your Worldview
The third reason I love DTS is because it expands your worldview! One of YWAM’s values is to be international and interdenominational. The impact of this value is profound and is an essential ingredient to the DTS. Did you know that Swiss Germans are highly punctual, or that Thai culture holds in emotions? Have you ever been in a class with people from the west coast discussing what the Bible says about relationships? When was the last time someone prepared you their favorite childhood meal for you or you celebrated the Norwegian national holiday?
I am so grateful to say that for the past four years, I’ve always lived with people who are from different nations and cultural backgrounds then I am. Why? Because it's extremely humbling and it's so much fun! There is no better way to learn how to get along with people and love them then living in a house with them. From meal times to classroom lectures, from small group discussions to laid back movie nights, each moment of the day is a chance to learn something new and relate with people the way Jesus does.
I hope these reasons give you a glimpse of the unique and valuable time that DTS is in an individual’s life. I want to remind you that six months is not forever. However, what if you took six months and gave God room to develop spiritual hunger, character and a new worldview that will shape the way you live the rest of your life?
If you’re interested in doing a DTS yourself, I invite you to inquire today about our DTS in September! For cost, info and dates, please click here.
Written by Dana Bullock, YWAM Metro Detroit staff
This summer we were honored to host an outreach team from YWAM Brisbane’s Sports DTS. This enthusiastic trio arrived at the end of June and served in Detroit until the first week on August.
This post is written by Hannah, one of staff members.
Have you graduated from high school, or college, or even an extensive season of your life such as a job or raising your children? Do you remember that heavy cloud over your head that left you in doubt about what will come next and where you’re meant to be? I remember so vividly reaching high school graduation and not feeling any peace or confidence to rush into college. As a result, I became the rare case of that time who took the doomed “gap-year”. The world around me questioned if I would ever move beyond my gap-year and go to college.
As friends went off to college and other parts of the world, I remained home as a full-time nanny. I had been surrounded by friends and community for many years that gave me awareness of life with Jesus and what that looks like, so I had become a really talented impressionist. What I lacked was the hope, freedom, and joy of having a genuine relationship with the Father as I invested my time in the nanny life.
I remember going through each day feeling empty and without purpose, headed in no specific direction.
Meanwhile, a best friend of mine had been experiencing the living God and found herself transformed while completing DTS (discipleship training school) and staffing in YWAM Worcester, South Africa. Although she continuously suggested to come taste and see this goodness, I had always disregarded the idea, concluding it as nearly impossible. Life had become redundant and my joy meter shot down to a new low, at times causing me to question what the purpose of living happened to be. On a quiet fall afternoon, I felt spontaneous and had the sudden urge to listen to my friend. I decided to contact the YWAM Worcester base to be a volunteer and I booked my flights.
Please be praying for Detroit Public Schools (DPS) this week. Today and yesterday it was all over the news that DPS was only going to be able to pay their teachers until June 30th. With the teachers obviously being concerned about their financial needs more than 1,500 of the them have called in sick to protest. This has caused 94 of the 97 schools in DPS to have to close their doors temporarily. This is obviously a severe issue here. Education is an absolute priority for the youth of Detroit. Please join in with us in praying for DPS to be able to get back on their feet and also pray that the people making the choices for the future of DPS would consider the students education that is at stake.
For more information about the history of DPS please check out this report done by LOVELAND. It shows the history of the last 200 years or so of the district's rapid growth to the current state of being.
If you have anything that comes to you while praying please share it with us. We would love to know how God is moving in your heart for the schools here. 3
***From our previous blog -- originally posted 1/27/16***
YWAM in Detroit has been blessed so far in the pioneering process. We have felt so much favor and support from everyone we have met. Our building in Hazel Park has been such a blessing to us. The original wing of the building was dug by hand in the early late 1930’s and the newest addition to the building was added in the 1970’s. Over the course of time there have been multiple leadership changes along with congregational ups and downs. We have been renting a section of the building from the existing church. We were so blessed by them to have been given full permission to do what we wanted with the space. The location was perfect for what God wanted us to do in the metro Detroit area. Unfortunately, with so many changes over the years in the building there is now a long list of things wrong with the building.
Last Thursday we came back to the building to see a notice from the city. The notice said that we (YWAM and all other ministries in the building) had 48 hours to vacate. A city inspector had come through and noticed a number of things that did not comply with building codes. We were hoping that the issues would have been manageable to fix right away so that we could move back in. Unfortunately, we will not be able to move back into the building anytime soon. We are still hopeful that we will one day be able to move back in.
This has come as a huge surprise to us. Thankfully we have been blessed with such a huge amount of support from families and churches in the area that have taken the team in and given a place to stay in the meantime.
You are probably wondering where we are with finding another building? We have been looking at our different options all over the metro Detroit area. We have been looking at potentially renting house and we have also been looking into some buildings similar to where we previously were running our ministry out of. We just want to reassure you that the team here is well taken care of. We could really use your prayer in this time. We are still exploring our options and seeing where God is taking us.
We will try to keep everyone updated as much as we can. Thank you to those of you who have been with us every step of the way! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them.
***From our previous blog -- originally posted 1/14/16**
Here at YWAM Detroit, we have been hosting a DTS outreach team from Richmond, Virginia. They have been a real blessing to us here thanks to their huge heart to serve in the metro Detroit area. One of the most interesting areas for ministry here is in the city of Dearborn because it has the largest Arabic Muslim population in the U. S. and is home to the largest mosque in North America.
Yesterday we set out for a church in Dearborn with the YWAM Richmond team and a few YWAM Detroit staff. We started off our day at a friend’s church worshipping and eating lunch, but due to a change in plans we found ourselves with some time to kill until the evening when we were coming back to the church for the midweek service.
We all had decided to let the Holy Spirit lead us and take a driving tour around Dearborn. We were planning to stop at the Justice House of Prayer which was located at Springwells Church, just a few miles down the road. Before we had gotten to the church we noticed that there was this car that had been closely following the YWAM van for a few miles. When we changed lanes this car would change lanes and when we would turn this car would also turn. When we finally pulled off the road into the church parking lot the car still followed. It pulled up in front of our van, and a man got out to ask us what we were doing. He then went on to say that he was the pastor of the church we had just arrived at. He just so happened to see the van which says “YWAM” on the side and then followed us right into his church’s parking lot. His name was Trey and he invited us into the church for a cup of coffee.
This had to have been an equally strange encounter for Trey as it was for us. And for Trey, he saw the YWAM van and followed us right into his parking lot without any sort of communication before this. Purely a divine appointment.
Once we went inside Trey sat down with us and shared about his time in ministry in Dearborn over the last 30 or so years. This was just the man that we wanted to talk to. An expert in his community with tons of opportunity to serve in the area. A few of us had questions about the culture and religion which Trey was able to answer for us. The following day the outreach team was invited back for early morning prayer and the girls were given the chance to help in an English class for some of the women in the community while the guys from the team were able to bless Trey by cleaning up and organizing part of the church.
This was quite an odd but awesome act of God’s perfect timing. A minute later or earlier could have made the difference. We may have never been able to meet Trey and hear about his heart for the Muslim Arabic community in Dearborn.
Want to know more about sending an outreach team to Detroit? Check out our Outreach Team page.