Purpose of the Outreach
What is the purpose of the DTS Outreach?
The outreach serves several purposes but I'd like to suggest the two main purposes of the outreach:
- to learn to do some relevant, successful, cross-cultural evangelism, and,
- to answer the question, "Lord, should I be here, or somewhere like here?"
At the bottom are 3 of the purposes of the DTS and one of the several descriptions of a DTS graduate.
It is easy to get so wrapped up in working on a DTS, in working closely with the DTS students as they get to grips with what God is teaching them, that we lose sight of the purpose of the DTS. It is possible that we want so much to happen in the students lives that we lose sight of the overarching reason why God brought them to us in the first place. God brought them to us to give them opportunity to discover if they are going to work with us somewhere in the world!
My friend Mike Jones said that a DTS is like a role play -- "Do you think God might be calling you to work in YWAM? Then come and try it out for 6 months and see if it is for you, or not." I asked Loren what he thought of the role play idea and he said he didn't like it! Within 2 years he was heard using it as a description of the DTS! He definitely used it at a talk he gave at the Merseyfest missions mobilisation event in Liverpool some years ago.
For many years our DTSs went on outreach into Europe and did evangelism. Although we did a great variety of evangelism the backbone of it was open air street meetings with dance, drama, testimonies and preaching. (Many say this is dated but I wonder if it isn't just that we aren't doing it! There is more street entertainment in Europe than ever before, but seemingly less Christian presence. Perhaps we should try it again?) BUT, most of our students came back from outreach with the thought that they had done their outreach, full stop. We had spent at least one evening a week during the lecture phase of the DTS getting ready for the outreach and when we returned there was that sense of completeness, we had done what we set out to do. Very few of the students had considered going back there or staying in missions.
We had a sense of failure that was only rescued by a chance encounter with Jim ________ from YWAM in Amsterdam. He was passing through Holmsted Manor and spent just 75 minutes with our DTS staff. It changed everything, our DTSs in the UK would change permanently. Jim had run Schools of Mission in Amsterdam and had worked church planting among immigrants -- he knows about cross-cultural evangelism.
He told us to do a few simple things.
- before you begin evangelim learn some of the language
- learn something about the people
- and learn what God is doing there already and fit it.
We did what Jim said and only one of the 60 on outreach wanted to return home at the end of the outreach. (She wanted to see her boyfriend again! It didn't work out.) And the majority of the DTS stayed on in YWAM.
Hence the second purpose -- to seriously ask God if I should be here or somewhere like here. If a DTS student gets through an entire DTS and is never faced with this question then may we assume that the DTS itself has failed the student?
The Purpose Of The DTS is:
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.
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:who either: go on to serve God in either a context familiar or foreign to them or pursue further training (in or outside of YWAM) to equip them for further service.