Discipleship is a central part of YWAM. It’s the essence of the YWAM motto, schools, and vision. Follow Jesus alongside others is the imperative. I worked for several years in one of the key ways in which YWAM expresses the call to discipleship: the Discipleship Training School, better known as DTS. Being a part a DTS was a wonderful and challenging journey of following Jesus out of my comfort zone.
However, now that I’m married and living life outside of a missions organization, discipleship looks different for me. It’s not that I stopped following Jesus in everyday life, but my everyday is different from what it was in a DTS and therefore discipleship has a different feel now.
If I were to put words to how I experience discipleship now after a DTS, I would say it is slow discipleship. Inside of a DTS, things happen fast. There is constantly fresh input, new processes, and relationship building swirling around. Discipleship feels intense.
In a life outside the rhythms of a DTS, discipleship as I experience it is mellow. Things take more time to sink from my head into my heart. My time is taken up by my marriage, my studies, my work, and other relationships instead of by a Bible school. There are still processes of translating faith into my and letting God transform my life, but the gift of seeing that work blossom takes longer to receive.
At first, this slowness was frustrating. Where was the radical growth and change I was used to seeing? But now I am enjoying this slow discipleship phase of life. I have the gift of savoring whichever process or work God is doing inside of me. This savoring of slow discipleship is not to say that discipleship outside of a DTS is somehow superior to discipleship processes inside of one. Both experiences of discipleship are equally valuable and good.
I think the Teacher in Ecclesiastes sums things pretty well up in chapter 3, verse 11a:
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.”
God has made discipleship to be a beautiful thing and we need both times of intense, accelerated growth as well as times of slow, deep growth.
//Written by: Emily, previously staffing the Urban Life DTS