Christian Life & Discipleship

The Importance of Application

Nine weeks into the 4-Wheel Drive Discipleship Training School (4WD DTS), and as I glance back at the growth that has already taken place in both me and my team, I’m greatly encouraged. I remember the students I first met—bright-eyed and filled with anticipation—yet completely unaware of the major changes just ahead. The transformation I’ve witnessed in my classmates is nothing but a work of God.

The transformation I’ve witnessed in my classmates is nothing but a work of God.

I see purpose, humility, love, leadership, and the Power of the Holy Spirit; it’s springing up like a well everywhere around me. At first I wondered how so much growth could happen in such a short time—there must be a secret, right? But now I see it’s not a secret, but a practical principle. There are so many invaluable facets to a DTS, but I must say YWAM’s specific focus on application is the string that holds everything together.

From the littlest details to the overall structure, the focus of application is woven all throughout DTS and YWAM as a whole. It’s something different than I’ve seen anywhere else. While teaching in a classroom setting is important, the training doesn’t end there. The three months of outreach following lecture phase of each school solidify everything learned in the first half of training. It’s at the heart of everything: application—putting what we believe into action. As James 1:22 says, Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (NIV)” Without application, everything in a DTS would be merely head knowledge. In order for it to truly hit the heart, truth must be applied. 

It’s when we choose to take what we’ve heard and respond; it’s a practical, personal decision to make our faith real—to be not only a hearer, but a doer also.

As I think about lecture phase, our days of application stand out most. In February, we set out as a school for three weeks of camping. Fleeing the busyness of Perth, we hopped in our 4-Wheel Drives and headed six hours south to remote camp-sites located on the coast of Australia. Each week, a different guest speaker would join us for class in woods or on the beach, as we spanned the topics of Worship & Intercession, Lordship, and Fear of the Lord. At the completion of each week, we would apply what we learned.

This looked different each week; with Worship & Intercession, we gathered on top of a massive rock on the shoreline and worshipped from sunset ’til late in the night. By the end, we had the bright stars and glowing moon overshadowing our time of prayer and dedication to the Lord. With Fear of the Lord, we headed down to the beach and stood outside our own version of the Tent of Meeting, as in the Old Testament. Jason, our school leader, drew two rooms in the sand, with a rock for an alter in the inner room. After praying outside the tent, each of us in our own timing went to the outer courts. We sat and watched as each of our classmates would go to the inner court, stand in front of the group, and declare Jesus as Lord over their life. Each of us prayed prior to application, asking God for a specific action we could do to resemble the inner change taking place in our life. For some, it was smashing a sea shell with a mallet; for others, throwing a lock or chain out into the ocean or laying a personal possession on the alter was perfect.

It was so wonderful to watch each person do their own thing, each act reflecting their inner-self; I could see freedom and joy washing over every student as the leaders prayed for them. For Fear of the Lord, we ended the week with a time of prayer. It was simple and I’ll never forget it. One after another, we each repented for our lack of fear of the Lord, expressed our need and desire for it, and declared Jesus above everyone and everything else in our lives. There was so much passion and faith in our words; I can see the transformations in my classmates which are without a doubt an answer to our prayers that day.

Each of these application days vary tremendously, yet they all have in common the lasting impact made on our lives. Application is a time to take all the knowledge gathered up and put it to use. I can’t imagine what DTS would look like with the absence of it. It works it’s way into the littlest things, from our weekly Creative Journals to our memory verses to our classes, and serves as the overall structure of DTS, with outreach phase applying all taught in lecture phase. In a fast-paced world filled with information, it’s almost unnatural to reflect on what we’ve learned—shouldn’t we be spending that time learning more? But application is essential in order for the things we deem true in our heads to affect our lives and touch our hearts. Application is making space to decide if something is really true to you, and if so, doing something about it.