In no less than 4 days time the first of 12 students will be arriving in one of Belfast’s two airports. Laden down with luggage, we will welcome them into our community here in YWAM Belfast.
Next Monday begins the 7th DTS to be run in Belfast (at least this time around! I keep hearing rumour about a DTS that was run here in the 1970′s….) and I think the 4th to have a distinctly Reconciliation focus.
So what’s that all about? Why “reconciliation”? In many ways, reconciliation is becoming one of those buzz words, thrown out there to sound impressive though no one really knows what it means. Here in Belfast, we long to be serious about it. In a world where anger, violence and revenge are often the “go-to” tactics in conflict situations, we wonder whether there is another way?
We believe yes, and we’re going to be spending the next 7 months exploring this idea with this group of 12 students. YWAM’s motto is “To know God and make Him known” and one of our foundational values is “Do first, then teach”. There’s something special about knowing something personally before you move on to ministering out of that. In this time, we want to share with the students the God who came to them, who has reconciled Himself to them, and from that place of knowing God as a reconciler we can move on to trying to mirror His image and be peacemakers in these situations that surround us.
During the DTS students will have lectures, be involved in local outreach in the local community, have a chance to hear stories from people affected by conflict and learn from them, and also engage in a 10 week trip to a post or current conflict area to put what they are learning into practice.
Our vision is for a group of people to emerge from this DTS, trained in both discipleship and an awareness of their relationship to God, but also skilled to speak into conflict situations, to speak out “this is NOT the will of God!” To cry peace in a land of war, and forgiveness in the midst of revenge.
After all, we’ve been told to get on with it: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18). We have a mandate…. This DTS exists to raise a generation of people willing to live it… Those willing to give up everything to see it come into being.