Our Outreach teams just got back – and they brought some insightful tips back with them! Here are 11 things they wish they knew before they left!
1. Your Expectations Will Be Shattered
Sometimes we don’t realize we have expectations until they become unmet. Luckily, God’s ways are higher than our own and transcend our own understanding. Over the course of outreach, some of the biggest testimonies will come from moments when you least expect it! Keep your eyes open and your heart set on God! He is still moving no matter what.
2. Communication is Key
Outreach can be stretching at times, emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Luckily, you’ll be surrounded by a team of people who care about you and your well-being! Vulnerability and openness open heaven, be honest with your team, and don’t be afraid process everything that’s been going on often!
3. 8 Weeks Goes By In The Blink of an Eye
Did it even happen? Now that I am back in America, outreach feels like a dream. Time flies when you’re doing The Lord’s work! So BE PRESENT! Enjoy and savor each and every moment of radical living for The Lord. DTS is such a unique season of being poured into as you pour into the World!
4. God Will Show Up
Sometimes, even our weakest ‘yes’ to The Lord’s call is all He needs to work wonders! YWAM Founder, Loren Cunningham, teaches the importance of laying down our own rights and picking up the cross. Outreach is the perfect season to begin fully walking in that way of life! Even when you don’t expect it, have faith that God is using your very presence to shift atmospheres and change lives! We saw healing, miracles, salvations and so many divine appointments – don’t doubt that he wont use you powerfully!
5. Quiet Times Are Critical
During your lecture phase, you’re surrounded by people always ready to pour into you. Outreach is a time when you get to pour out of what you’ve received. Dates with Jesus have never been more important. Make sure you let Jesus fill you up. Everyday. When you feel cranky, dysfunctional, offended, anxious, or even like you need a nap – you probably just need a quiet time! Talk to your best friend about everything – He knows you best anyway!
6. Team Turns To Family
On outreach, it doesn’t take long for your team to turn into family when you are doing everything together! And I mean EVERYTHING. At one point we didn’t even have a proper door to our only bathroom. There’s nothing like having breakfast to the sound of a teammate throwing up. But seriously, there is nothing like getting to know people as intensely as you do when you are on outreach together. Choose it! Love it! I promise you, you’ll miss it!
7. Less is More
Oh, the mysteries of packing. Less is more; I’ve learned this the hard way! With an overflowing backpack that had to be repacked for every one of our 14 flights, the mystery was solved! Less IS more! You’re supposed to use the same t-shirt three days in a row or every third day if you prefer. So ditch the extra clothes, and leave room for the souvenirs. You won’t use those jeans, or the extra pair of shoes, or even that Costco-sized shampoo bottle.
8. Culture Shock Happens
It’s really easy to get into your own habits and ways of life in the comfort of your home countries. Once that rhythm gets thrown out of whack, sometimes it’s easy to shut off and shut down. Again, communication with your teammates if you’re feeling culture-shocked is the way to go! Also, find simple ways to connect with the country you are in; let yourself fall in love with the food, and do your best to listen and make connections with locals! Be aware of reverse culture-shock when you get home. Find people to talk to that understand what you have gone to – and be grateful that you have gone through the experiences you’ve been through.
9. Learn to Lead and Be Led
YWAM entirely is rooted upon championing young people to step into their callings. During outreach, it’s important to surrender and trust your leaders with important decisions. But, you’ll also get the opportunity to step into leadership through encouraging for motivating your team. Don’t gossip, don’t be offended, and trust that the Holy Spirit is moving through everyone on your team and your leaders!
10. Boldness Brings Breakthrough
“Since we have this confidence, we can also have great boldness before him, for if we ask anything agreeable to his will, he will hear us.” (1 John 5:14 TPT)
God always has His ear tuned upon our wants and desires, but sometimes He asks us to step out of our comfort zone, be bold and trust His plan! You’ll see the most breakthrough over outreach when you step out in boldness! Obedience + boldness = a success outreach!
11. It’s Not About You
Let God shape your heart, and reveal Himself through you to the rest of the World. A nice bed? Healthy meals? Good team dynamics? Successful ministry? Good instagram pictures? Decent wifi? Is that what you need to serve the Lord joyfully? When you have every comfort taken from you, you really get to know if Jesus is your everything. After all, it’s not an “in-reach”, it’s an outreach.