The Start of Something New
5 years ago, I decided to fly 22 hours over my home country and the Pacific Ocean before reaching Brisbane, Australia to join Youth with a Mission (YWAM). I figured a 6-month commitment of a Discipleship Training School (DTS) was short enough that I could easily back out if the course was not what I intended. Now, I sit at my desk, currently going through my 7th DTS. No, I haven’t failed the course 6 times, I am now the School Leader for the Pathfinder DTS.
Some people ask me if I get sick of DTS’s because I’ve been involved in so many. They ask, “don’t you get sick of seeing people come in and out all the time?” They assume that DTS is the same; they assume it’s cyclical like so many things we think about in life. But God is never the same and when He’s leading, DTS is never the same.
I came to God with Questions
I came on DTS as a new student with so many questions, not doubts about God, but about what God was capable of doing in 6 months and if He could really answer my hard, deep questions. My biggest question was not based on theology, but based on experience, as I find is true with most people. My biggest question was whether or not God was good. My Bible told me one thing, but my experience seemed to tell me another and I couldn’t seem to make my mind believe what my heart wanted to believe so badly.
Within the first 2 weeks, my questions about God were answered. God showed me I was trying to define ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and that it wasn’t my role or position to define these things, but God alone; I was trying to be Him and it wasn’t working. After gaining this new revelation so early on in the course, my imagination was re-opened as I started to think about what was possible with God after staying in this environment for another 5 ½ months. By the end of the course; I had grown more in my relationship with God than I ever thought possible and had wrestled with God in so many of the areas I had questioned for most of my life.
After being involved in leading and staffing 6 DTS’s since my own, I’ve realized there is nothing special about the program. The thing that makes the DTS so special is God’s hand upon it. DTS is different because it’s not Man’s idea, but God’s. Loren Cunningham started DTS because God told him to; it’s plain and simple. God wanted the program, so God chooses to show up every time, not because He has to, but because He wants to. He anoints it, and that changes everything.
God is Always Doing Something New
I get so excited whenever heading into a new DTS because there is always an element of surprise. The program structure itself doesn’t change too much, but the way God shows up is new and exciting every time. Every time there are different people and God loves working with people. One of the foundational values of YWAM is ‘Hearing God’s Voice’ so part of the planning process of a DTS is hearing God’s voice for that school because He has a specific agenda and heart for those students.
“Religion is doing twice what God told you to do once,” this is what one of our speakers often talks about. God isn’t into stagnant religion, He’s into having relationship with each of His children. He is a God of adventure who loves doing things that surprise us. Jesus often did things differently in the Gospels and threw off the Disciples on a daily basis.
DTS is far from boring when God is the captain of the ship. Every day God shows Himself in new ways to His children. He opens Heaven’s door long enough for us to peer in and catch a glimpse of His greatness, only to hunger for more.
The more risk taken, the greater the chance of success and reward. DTS often means packing up an old life and stepping into an uncertain adventure with God, but God loves to come through for His children, especially when they’ve taken a risk to meet with Him. And I would say it’s worth the risk, every time.
Laurinda is a missionary at Youth with a Mission in Brisbane where she leads a discipleship program for young adults. On her day off you can find her hiking up a mountain or swinging in a hammock.
Laurinda Rapp’s previous articles may be viewed at