Over the course of the 6 month school that I was a part of in April 2019 there were two sections; lecture and outreach. YWAM’s mission statement across the globe has always been to “Know God and Make God Known”. The first three months consisted of lectures that allowed us to examine what we know about God, possibly learn new things about each subject, and evaluate all of those ideas against the Bible; knowing that God never contradicts Himself and that Scripture is the living Word of God.
All of these sections were focused on seeing what the Bible said about God, learning how to live like Jesus, and how to demonstrate that to others.
Throughout this section we were constantly encouraged to challenge the ideas, both those brought up by speakers and those we came in with, with what Scripture REALLY says about them. It was incredible to see just how much I didn’t know about what I knew. There were many times where I would talk to the speakers, staff, or my fellow students about ideas that we didn’t completely “get” yet. Likewise, it was incredible to get new insight from the ideas of the speakers and from God on subjects and passages that I had previously thought to have had an understanding of. I spent many afternoons and evenings pouring over my Bible for context and etymology to know what the authors of the Bible were saying and why. And there is STILL more that I could have gotten.
There were some other ministries and activities we were involved in as well such as YouthStreet, Evangelism Thursdays (as I called them), Tuesday morning worship/devo, Thursday morning intercession, work duties, and more! I will do my best to provide a concise description of each lecture week and activity we participated in.
Disclaimer: This is not how every DTS lecture phase is structured. Every YWAM location, school, and leader have a different flavor that can sometimes vary. Also, this is what I took away from each week; other student’s perceptions may vary.
Week 1: Orientation
This week was all about YWAM (Youth With A Mission); the history of the organization, background of YWAM Australia and Newcastle, and outlining what the school was going to look like. We took a look at YWAM’s core values, documents, ministries, and spheres of society. There were some other things such tidy time and work duties that I will go into later on. This helped us see more of what God is doing in YWAM across the world.
Week 2: Recognizing God’s Voice
Recognizing God’s voice was all about what the title says, getting a better understanding of how God speaks to us. We learned that there are many ways to hear His voice, and did some exercises with intercession that helped us practice hearing His voice so we could further live life with God. This week also helped us see the value of recognizing His voice in our everyday life, and knowing that He does speak to us all the time.
Week 3: Relationships
Relationships week was all about team and individual dynamics/relationships. We learned a lot about God’s relational character and nature, interdependence, boundaries, restoration of relationships, and being loved by God.
Week 4: Father Heart of God
This week built on the previous week in that we talked about how relational God is, and how our relationship with Him impacts our life. We had discussions about being where He is to know who we are, drawing near to the Father, and liturgies that we choose that shape our life and how we live.
Week 5: Character and Nature of God
Character and Nature of God week was all about how God’s nature and character are revealed in Scripture. We talked about the similarities and differences between nature and character along with how these attributes apply to missions and ourselves.
Week 6: Spiritual Authority
The week on spiritual authority was all about the identity, authority, and inheritance we receive through the promise of Holy Spirit after Jesus’ ascension. We had many discussions on how the armor of God defends us, and that it is Jesus that goes to battle for us.
Week 7: The Living Word
Over the course of the Living Word week, we went through an overview of the Bible, examined how we can learn about God through the Word, recognized the authority of the Word, and learned some different methods of studying the Bible. There were also many discussions about how the Bible can be broken up by genres, authors, audience, and chronology.
Week 8: Evangelism
Evangelism week was based heavily on how relational God is, how He pursues every one of us, and what we can learn from Jesus in terms of loving others. We also had many opportunities to “do” evangelism once a week as well as whenever we were walking in town.
Week 9: Lordship
The week on Lordship focused a lot on giving everything to and getting everything from God. Making Him the Lord of our life should be our first priority and what everything else should flow from. Humility was a topic that came up as humility is submitting before the Lord, and coming from a “thy will be done” perspective.
Week 10: Missions
Missions week was focused primarily on getting God’s heard and vision for the nations as well as discipleship. There were a lot of similarities between this week and evangelism concerning bringing the individual back to relationship with God as He values each person.
Week 11: Fear of the Lord
This week was all about having a right heart posture before the Lord as well as having a right understanding of sin in our life. We had a few discussions about how important it was to have all aspects of our life submitted to Him, and what holiness might look like.
Week 12: Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit week was a time for us to dive into Scripture to see what the Word has to say about Holy Spirit. We discussed the many gifts, types of gifts, and fruit of the Spirit as well as how both gifts and fruit must be present when the gifts are being used. There was a description of Holy Spirit as a bird with two wings; gifts and fruit. Without one wing or the other you can not “fly” with Holy Spirit.
Other Ministries and Activities
This was a youth program that a handful of our staff and students would participate in for the local youth to come be a part of once a week. We played games, ate food, and had a great time every week over the course of our lecture section.
Once a week, we would pair up and go into our community to make relationship with people in Newcastle, and spread the love of God around the area. This time also included moments of intercession to allow God to move in whatever way He wanted.
Tuesday Morning Worship/Devo
Each week we start Tuesday morning with a time of worship and a quick word to help our YWAM Newcastle community get started, unified, and prepared for the coming week.
Once a week the entire community gathers to pray over a topic or location brought up by one of our staff. After a quick debrief of the topic, the community takes time to lift it up in prayer; usually ended by a final prayer of the speaker that morning.
Tidy Time and Work Duties
Every morning the staff and students wake up and complete the cleaning of a small section of the house in order to keep our home clean, this is called Tidy Time. Work Duties are in the afternoon and consist of either cleaning, hospitality, or dinner preparation.
The lecture portion of DTS was great. Our teamed learned a lot about ourselves, team dynamics, and how life can look when God is brought into every aspect of life.