Purpose of a DTS

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TRANSLATIONS - English (en) हिन्दी (hi)


Purpose of the DTS and SOE

Making Missionaries

"The original purpose for the DTS was to make missionaries. We wanted to give students the equipment to be able to serve God: to give them the tools, but also to give them the character. We wanted people to know God and learn how to make Him known. We recognised that the learning process was speeded up by living together, by learning from people who actually were walking in faith, working in some category of service to the Lord.

Part of the goal was to have a cross-cultural experience, to be able to know how to share the gospel cross-culturally, but the bottom line of this was always to make missionaries, that was the purpose of the DTS and so the best way possible to equip them."[1]

Darlene Cunningham
Purpose and Outcomes of DTS approved by YWAM's GLT August 25, 2001

1. To GATHER and CHALLENGE people to worship, listen to and obey God, releasing them (in the context of the DTS) to serve through evangelism, intercession, acts of compassion and other expressions of God's heart for the world, possibly even pioneering new ministries. 2. To INSPIRE and CULTIVATE growth in one's relationship with God resulting in Christ like character, which is based on a solid Biblical foundation, the work of the Holy Spirit and the personal application of Biblical truth, especially concerning God's Character, the Cross and empowering Grace. 3. To SHARPEN one's ability to relate to, learn from and work with people, including those of different cultures, personalities and perspectives. 4. To further EQUIP each one to serve God's purposes either in or outside of YWAM Family of Ministries, strengthening a commitment to reach the lost, especially the unreached, to care for the poor, and to influence all areas of society. 5. To IMPART the vision and foundational values of Youth With A Mission International as well as that of the host operating location and to provide information regarding a variety of opportunities for service.

The DTS aims to graduate students ...

• with a growing understanding of the breadth and depth of God’s character and ways • who are becoming more like Jesus in the way they relate to God and people who increasingly cooperate with the empowering presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit • who listen to and obey God as the result of God’s enabling Grace • who search the Scripture in such a way that transforms beliefs, values and behaviors • with strengthened lifestyles of worship, intercession and spiritual warfare • with a greater ability to work with others, especially those different to themselves • who can share the Gospel with the lost and have a life long commitment to do so with a commitment to continue to be involved in some way with God’s work among the nations, including unreached people, the poor and needy and in spheres of society • who understand the calling and values of YWAM and are aware of a variety of opportunities available to them throughout YWAM • with a clearer understanding of God’s purposes for their life and a sense of their life direction • who either: • go on to serve God in either a context familiar or foreign to them • pursue further training (in or outside of YWAM) to equip them for further service. [2]

History -- It's All About the Map!!!

In 1956 God gave Loren a vision of the world with waves sweeping onto the nations, successive waves sweeping further onto the continents. As he looked closer he saw the waves were young people -- and so YWAM began.

Loren and Darlene led short outreaches for several years until God led them to start a School of Evangelism (SOE) in Switzerland. It would be a training program to prepare and release the waves of young people in line with the vision. The first SOE was in Lausanne in 1969.

At the end of some early SOEs the Lord led Loren to place a large map of the world on the lecture room floor and challenge the students to pray and ask God where they were to spend the rest of their lives and then to go and stand on that country. Several are still there today more than 30 years later!!!

After some time Loren realised that some of the students weren't ready to stand on the map by the end of the SOE. God spoke to him about a new school that would prepare students for the SOE such that they would be able to stand on the map. He spoke to Leland Paris in the US and Barry Austin in New Zealand and they ran the first DTSs in 1975. Students would do the DTS and immediately move into the SOE and then be ready to stand on the map.

So then, what is the purpose of a DTS? In short, it is to prepare people to be able to stand on the map, to find their place in reaching the world.

After many of our SOEs closed, the DTS became, for many, the sole entry point into YWAM. It had been considered a 'package' where the DTS was to prepare the Messenger and the SOE trained students in the message and the methods in reaching the world. We have broadened out our training to include Schools of Biblical Study, Primary Health Care Schools etc but mustn't lose sight of the goal of standing on the map.

I asked Loren at the YWAM England Staff Gathering at Holmsted Manor in 2006 if this was true and accurate history. He said, "We only put the map out when we felt God direct us, but yes, that accurately represents the spirit of what we were doing."

The challenge for us today is to continue with what God has said to us and not try to reinvent the DTS to do a different job.

And it is a Role Play too

In the early 80s a psychiatrist friend of ours suggested that the DTS was a roleplay. It seemed a bit offensive to describe this fabulous school of ours as a role play. I felt a bit indignant until I thought about it! It is like a role play -- do you think that God might be calling you into YWAM? Then come and give it a go for 6 months and see.

So again, I asked Loren about that and he said, "No, it isn't!"

However, a couple of years later when he was speaking at the YWAM Liverpool Missions Fest (about 2004?) Loren said to the hundreds gathered, "Do you think that God might be calling you into YWAM? Then come and give it a go for 6 months and see, it is like a role play."

And amongst the several important purposes of a DTS, the one that we can easily overlook is the real possibility that God might want you to play a part in reaching this world with the love of God through being part of YWAM. It isn't to demean the other goals of a DTS but it is the one purpose among them all that sees the waves of young people flood into all the nations of the earth....


  1. Quoted in International YWAMer June 2009.
  2. YWAM International DTS Centre [1].