October 18, 2018
After doing a Discipleship Training School with Youth with a Mission, I still felt unprepared to enter into the world of missions on my own.
My hunger for wanting to experience more led me to pursue a gap year with the World Race, which then God used to lead me to Bethany Global University to further develop my relationship with the Lord and grow in my knowledge of the Bible while preparing for full-time ministry.
While many programs such as YWAM equip and train you for missions, not all prepare you for long-term missions overseas or give you degrees for continuing your education in ministry.
Benefits of Earning Your Degree After YWAM with BGU
Entry into Restricted Countries
Showing your YWAM certification upon entry into a restricted country wouldn’t be wise if you’re intending to live as a full-time missionary within that region. However, getting a degree in Business or Childhood Education would grant you easy access to a country that is aware of their need for their economy or education system to be fixed. While you are still doing full-time ministry, your reasons for being a foreigner in that country when people question you would be easy to identify.
Leadership Development and Training
On the YWAM outreach phase, students have the opportunity to grow in leadership by becoming a co-leader for their team on the remainder of the DTS. While leading in a culture that you know nothing about can be difficult, it is highly beneficial to the student’s growth and personal relationship with the Lord.
However, not all students may have the opportunity to grow in leadership while in a DTS.
What if you want to develop those skills?
BGU provides opportunities for students to develop their leadership skills through Practical Training (PT). PT equips, empowers, and ensures growth in multiple areas of a student’s life, including leadership training and development.
Not only are students given the opportunity to become a Student Life Advisor and disciple their peers in the dorms or become a student manager in an office department, but each PT position plays an important role in preparing the students for life after college and their future ministry on the mission field.
Living in Relationship-Oriented Missional Community
“We are a multi-generational community of staff and students from many nations and church backgrounds, sharing life and serving together. We eat together, seek God, live in a variety of shared housing, and are constantly strengthened by the gifts and experiences of others.”
“From chapels and prayer, to life group and discipleship, we want to see you matured and ready to live out the Christian life. Our desire is to see missionaries raised up who not only have the practical skills necessary for effective service, but who minister from the overflow of their love for the Lord.”
One of the central values that BGU and YWAM share in common is living in community with other believers. Ask any YWAMer or BGUer what their favorite part about their experience is and they’ll answer with a smile, ‘the community and lifelong friendships that are made.’
BGU believes that community is essential to the growth and faith of a believer. Living in a missional community that is centered around God encourages, strengthens, and lifts one another in love, through prayer, and with a shared passion for God to be made known throughout the earth.
As a previous YWAMer myself, I cannot express how thankful I am for the friendships in this community that God has blessed me with at BGU from the first moment I stepped on campus.
Hands-On Experience and Equipping
YWAM Discipleship Training Schools focus on developing your relationship with Christ through a semester-long intensive study on the character of God and His Word.
After twelve weeks of equipping, students may go on outreach and spend two to five months getting hands-on experience in the mission field while applying what they learned during the past three months in the classroom.
However, after students graduate YWAM, many feel a little unprepared to face full-time ministry head-on and will often enroll in a second DTS to get further training and eventually become staff at a YWAM base. Read more about YWAM here.
At Bethany, our focus is to:
“Take the church to where it is not and helping others do the same.”
This is done through multiple programs:
Each of these programs builds a critical foundation on the Word of God essential to the life of a missionary while equipping you to go overseas long-term.
After their first two years on campus in Bloomington, Minnesota, students are sent out on a sixteen-month Global Internship in another country where they will be learning the language, living in another culture, taking online courses, building relationships, and doing ministry in the third and first half of their fourth year. At the end of their Global Internship, they will fly back to BGU where they will complete their degree and graduate.
Students will also have the opportunity to continue their education in the Master’s program or be sent back out overseas with Bethany International as a full-time missionary now fully equipped to do the work God has called them to.
Accredited vs. Certification
Doing just one DTS will not give you all the tools you need to go onto the field for long-term. Many students at BGU were once enrolled in YWAM, and after completing a DTS, began searching for more training. When interviewed, most of them felt like they weren’t prepared to go onto the field long-term. While YWAM does provide some accreditation with a DTS certification to the University of the Nations, it is not recognized by other schools.
BGU not only provides accredited classes in Bible and Theology, but also Intercultural Ministry Studies, Transformational Entrepreneurship in Missions and Business, Childhood Education in Missions, Social Justice Studies, Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and Montessori training so that students may be fully equipped with multiple skill sets that can be used on the mission field to reach unreached people groups with the gospel.
Because of your previous experience with YWAM, you are already a step ahead in your growth and preparation for long-term missions. Not only are you able to continue growing in deeper intimacy with the Lord and live in a community of people who love Jesus, but you’re able to grow mentally and spiritually as you study God’s Word and develop a stronger understanding of God’s heart for the world and His story of redemption.