We know how it goes: you’ve heard about this thing called “DTS”, searched around the web, filled out a form, and next thing you know, you’ve applied and are getting ready to go to YWAM.
We understand that it’s a big decision, so we want to do everything we can to help you be as prepared for it as possible. That’s why we thought we would take some time to answer the question, “What are some ways I can get the most out of my DTS?”.
So grab a cup of coffee (or tea), sit back, and take note of these 7 ways that you can get the most out of your DTS experience.
If you’re like most DTS students, chances are that one of the main reasons you’re even doing a DTS in the first place is to know God.
One way or another you’ve found yourself wanting to encounter him on a deeper level. Maybe you’re a new Christian and you want to know what God is really like. Or maybe you’ve known about God your whole life but you wouldn’t say you actually know him.
We know you’ve had to go through a lot to set aside 6 months to focus on your relationship with God. So when you get here, be intentional in your alone time with God.
Make sure that your daily devotions, or “quiet times” as we like to call them here, are at the top of your priority list.
We have a lot going on at our campus: ministries, events, family times, community meals, you name it. The point is that even here at YWAM Mazatlan, you’ll need to be intentional about setting aside time to be alone and go deeper with God.
Take advantage of the fact that you’ll have fewer responsibilities on DTS than at home and use that extra time to spend with Jesus.
Allow him to teach you new things and show you more of who he really is. Ask him questions you have about what you’re learning in class, and practice listening to his voice.
You may never get another 6 months in your life when finding long periods of alone time with God is so easy, so take full advantage of your DTS and enjoy every minute of it.
We know what you might be thinking: “Read the Bible in 6 months? Is that even possible?”
The answer is yes! Many people wrongly believe that it takes forever to read the whole Bible. But did you know that it actually only takes 72 hours to read the whole thing?
On DTS, you’re going to have plenty of time to read. So much so that we’re willing to bet that you’ll have at least 1-2 hours each day that you could use to read the Bible.
Your schedule might feel full—and sometimes you might find yourself quite busy—but you won’t be so busy that you can’t possibly find a good chunk of time every day to go deeper in the word with God.
However, we want to encourage you to not just read the Bible for the sake of reading it. It’s one thing to read a random Bible passage here and there, but it’s an entirely different thing to read the Bible as it was meant to be read: as a story.
Spending a more concentrated amount of time reading the Bible will help you see the whole story so much clearer. You’ll be able to understand better who God is based on what he’s done since the beginning of time. You’ll be deeply impacted by the unconditional love that God continually extends to our broken humanity.
Reading the Bible as a whole will also help you find those random passages that you’re familiar with and discover the context they were written in.
Ultimately, saturating yourself with the Word of God will only give you a greater understanding of who he really is and why it’s so important that we make him known throughout the nations.
You might be traveling to DTS alone, but you’re definitely not going to do DTS alone.
You’re going to meet a bunch of other people when you arrive. Most of them are there for the same reason: to know God and make God known. They’ll likely be from all over the world, speak another language, and come with a life experience entirely different from yours.
This is one of the best parts about DTS: the diversity in people. God is the one who calls each DTS together. You’re all there for a reason, so get to know them as best as you can.
You’re going to be sharing up to 6 months of your life with these people. They’re going to be with you in your best and worst moments. They’ll be there when you laugh, when you cry, when you’re upset, and when you’re feeling on top of the world.
Invest in your DTS mates. Step out of your comfort zone, invite someone for a cup a coffee, and listen to their story. Share your story, too! Remember that transparency invites more transparency.
Lastly, don’t shy away from getting to know others on your DTS that you might not click with at first. You just might find yourself making a friend for life!
Your DTS staff are some pretty amazing people, and God will use them to enrich and bless your life if you let him.
Your staff genuinely love you and are committed to walking alongside you during your DTS. They want to see you grow deeper in your relationship with God and will be praying for you constantly.
Make it a point to spend time with your staff outside of class and other school activities.
Ask them questions, listen to their stories, and invest in getting to know them, just like you will with the other students on your DTS. Don’t be fooled by how busy they might appear to be!
While it’s true that they do a ton of behind-the-scenes work to make everything happen that needs to, don’t assume that they’re too busy to hang out with you! Besides, your staff probably know the best coffee shops, taco stands, and beaches to go to in your free time!
You’ll probably see your DTS staff the most out of all the staff on campus. However, there are many other departments and ministries that we run here at YWAM, and it’s highly likely that you’ll spend quite a bit of time with non-DTS staff!
Long story short, take full advantage of getting to know the other people in the community, especially those who are working hard to make sure you have an incredible DTS experience!
Who knows? Maybe you’ll feel called to do our Artios Internship after your DTS to join us on staff yourself!
Regardless of how you feel about writing, keeping a journal is one of the best decisions you can make while on DTS.
Here’s the thing: you’re going to grow a lot in these next 6 months. A lot of things are going to happen. As much as you might like to convince yourself that you’ll remember everything, especially the important stuff, the reality is that you’re more likely than not to forget it later on.
Your journal (or notes app on your phone) will be the place you write down encouraging words from God, a friend, or your 1-on-1. You could use it to take notes from class times and process all the things you’re learning and growing in.
The things you journal about won’t just last you for a year or two after your DTS is over. Your DTS journal will be something you find and read over again and again, years into the future.
It’s a place where you can record milestones in your relationship with God. You can write down your dreams, visions, worries, fears, and prayers.
And while you’re on DTS, on those days when you’re discouraged or feel like you haven’t come very far, it’s so helpful to look back on all the things you’ve learned to see that yes, you have grown.
So even if it’s hard at first, pick up a pen and turn to a fresh page in your journal. Trust us—you’ll be glad you did.
Every DTS student is given what we call a “1-on-1”. Essentially your 1-on-1 is a staff member dedicated to meeting with you on a regular basis for you to process your DTS experience with them.
While you are required to have a weekly 1-on-1 during your DTS, don’t let the fact that it’s a “requirement” deter you from taking full advantage of the personal discipleship and development you can get out of it.
Your 1-on-1 will be someone committed to praying for you, listening to you, and encouraging you throughout your DTS. They are there to walk alongside you and provide a safe space where you can process what you’re learning and how it’s affecting your life.
The thought of having a weekly meeting with a staff member might seem nerve-wracking to some, but let us encourage you to be brave and trust that God has put that person in your life for such a time as this.
While you’re getting to know your 1-on-1, ask God to lead you in what to talk about with them. As you grow in trusting them, give your 1-on-1 a place to speak into your life, and don’t be afraid to get real with them.
After all, the deepest growth only comes when we’re willing to be real and authentic about what’s really going on inside! Your 1-on-1’s have the potential to become one of the most impactful parts of your DTS, so don’t shy away from it.
Remember that your entire DTS is designed to be a safe space where you can find freedom in Christ, learn how to trust, gain victory from past struggles, and cultivate lifelong friendships.
It’s common to arrive at YWAM ready to experience these things, yet many times our fears can keep us from being vulnerable and going deep with those God has placed around us.
Because of that, most people choose to wait until the middle of their lecture phase before they really begin to open up. While this might feel “safer” and more natural, a surprising amount of students later say that they wish they had chosen to be more vulnerable earlier in their DTS.
Many DTS graduates realize their connection with God and others grew dramatically largely in part because they chose to open up and go deep with their leaders, staff, and roommates.
It’s definitely not easy to choose to open up with people you’ve only just met. But with a little bit of bravery and willingness to put yourself out there, chances are you’ll find yourself experiencing transformation like never before.
DTS has the potential to be one of the most life-changing decisions you could ever make, but it’s all the little day-to-day decisions you make that will determine how transformational your experience will be.
Like anything in life, you only get out what you put in.
At the end of the day, just remember: all the time, money, and effort it takes to get to DTS is ultimately for you to encounter God in a profound way and discover the depths of the personal relationship you can have with him and with others. Hopefully these tips will help make that happen!
Now, grab your Bible, journal, and a pen, and get ready to know God more alongside others who are just as committed to deepening their relationship with him as you are!
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