Interested in DTS but want more details? Here are the answers to a few questions you may have. You can also get in touch with us – we’d love to answer your questions over the phone, by email, or in person!
What is a Discipleship Training School?
DTS is a five-month, in-depth discipleship program that includes a 12-week teaching phase followed by an eight-week mission trip. It’s a “heart-change” course designed to give you a solid foundation of personal growth and relationship with Jesus – whether you’re interested in career missions or simply taking time to get to know God better.
What does a typical day look like?
We like to start our day off right. That’s why we begin each morning with time set aside to connect personally with the Lord through prayer and Bible study. Afterwards you’ll join your teammates in the classroom where we’ll focus on a different topic each week. Our classroom time is interactive, with an emphasis on personal application and real life change.
Other regular activities include:
- Small Groups – These groups of men or women provide an opportunity to build deep friendships while processing what God is doing in their lives, praying for one another, and offering accountability and encouragement. The YWAM staff member who leads your small group will also meet one-on-one with you each week.
- Ministry Prep – You’ll learn effective ways to share your faith wherever you go, with specific training for the cross-cultural ministry of your DTS mission trip. This often includes creative tools like dramas and music.
- Worship – These times are the heartbeat of DTS. We’ll gather regularly to direct our hearts and our songs to Jesus, and to pray as he leads us.
- Local Ministry – Throughout your DTS you’ll be a part of a smaller ministry team that shows God’s love to Louisville through after-school programs, homeless ministry, service, evangelism, and more.
- Work Detail – Like most families, our YWAM family works together to see that practical needs are met. As part of your DTS training you’ll be given responsibilities that range from general cleaning to meal prep or yard work.
What topics will be covered during the classroom phase?
Each week we’ll bring in speakers who have experience in ministry and in walking with the Lord. They’ll teach us on a foundational aspect of following Jesus. Our class times are interactive and challenging, focusing on real-life application. Our goal is for the truth to sink deep into our hearts, changing us from the inside out.
- Intimacy with Jesus
- How to Hear God’s Voice
- God-Honoring Relationships
- Becoming More Like Jesus
- Knowing and Trusting God’s Character
- How to Share the Gospel
- Effective Prayer
- How to Study and Understand the Bible
- Healing from Past Hurts
- Knowing Who You Are in Christ
- Spiritual Warfare
Check out our DTS in Short blog posts for an inside look at what you’ll be learning.
What should I bring to DTS?
We’ll send out a thorough packing list, as well as other helpful information, after you’ve applied. (You can also download a packing list now.) In the meantime, bear in mind that you’ll be sharing space with others, so don’t feel the need to bring your entire wardrobe. You’ll have access to laundry facilities in your home and stores are easily accessible if you forget anything.
Things to think through:
- Passport – If you don’t have a passport, please apply for one before coming to DTS. If you do have one, bring it with you, and make sure it will still be valid at least nine months after the starting date of DTS.
- Vehicles – While some students enjoy having their vehicle at DTS, many come without one – either because they don’t have one or because they want to limit potential distractions and expense. You’re free to make that decision. If you do choose to bring your car, be aware that in some of our houses parking is limited; on some nights, you may need to park your car at the YWAM office instead of bringing it home. If you choose to come without a vehicle, someone will be happy to help you run necessary errands.
- Laptop – if you have a laptop, please bring it. You’ll find it’s helpful for communication and for fundraising activities, like creating newsletters.
- Addresses – As part of your training, you’ll be assigned to send out a newsletter updating people back home about what God is doing. Bringing addresses now will save you a lot of effort later. (Since this assignment will be at your own expense, you’ll also want to be prepared to spend $70-100 on printing and postage.)
- Storage – Please bear in mind as you pack that it’s only 12 weeks before you’ll be leaving for outreach. You’ll need to pack up your things before you go, and our storage space is limited.
What age should DTS students be?
DTS is open for high school graduates and older. Yes, we’re called “Youth With A Mission,” but there’s no age cap; many of our staff are well beyond their college years, and we often have students of all types. So whether you’re a married couple, a family with children, retirees, or fresh out of high school, you’re welcome!
What is DTS outreach?
Once the twelve-week teaching phase of DTS has wrapped up, you’ll take the truth you’ve learned and put it into practice in a ministry setting. After 10 days of ministering here in the states, you and your team will head to an overseas destination!
You’ll share the message of Christ through the performing arts, acts of mercy and service, and friendships with people who don’t know Him. Each nation and outreach setting is different so ministry activities can vary greatly. Our goal is to take the name of Jesus to places where the Gospel is not readily available and share the message of hope in a compelling way.
Where will we go on our overseas outreach?
We prayerfully handpick international locations for each DTS, giving attention to the giftings and passions of each team as well as the needs of the locations where we minister. Our goal is for each student to be both stretched and fulfilled by a variety of ministry activities. Recent DTS teams have ministered in Peru, South Africa, Thailand, and Ukraine. We also regularly travel to some restricted-access nations that it’s better not to mention here.
What’s the housing like?
YWAM staff and students live together in separate houses for men and women. You’ll find it’s a lot like a family home, just a little bit fuller! You’ll be sharing a room with other YWAMers and hanging out in the shared space (like the living room and kitchen). This community style of living isn’t a matter of convenience or budget-stretching so much as it’s a part of who we are: God has called us to deep relationship and day-to-day discipleship.
Will I get time off during DTS?
Keep in mind that DTS is not your typical university setting: it will require all of your attention and most of your time. September DTS teams spend Thanksgiving ministering here in Louisville and spend some time at home during the Christmas season. January and March DTS students will have a long weekend set aside to raise funds for outreach in their hometowns.
In any DTS, some evenings and weekends will be scheduled with ministry or other training-related activities. Many evenings and weekends, however, are available for students to study, relax, or hang out together.
How is doing a DTS elective or "focus DTS" different from any other DTS?
During certain quarters at YWAM Louisville, you can customize your DTS by adding an elective (like the Basketball DTS or Worship DTS). The core elements of DTS are the same; the special focus adds the opportunity to develop skill in something you’re passionate about, while learning more of God’s design for you to make a kingdom impact with the gifts he’s given you.
In other words, a focus DTS is like a regular DTS – just better.
Do I need to audition for the Worship DTS?
We don’t have a required skill level, although the Worship DTS is definitely designed for musicians with at least a little bit of experience on their instrument. Ultimately, though, our goal is to honor God with the gifts he’s given us and worship him from our hearts. The Worship DTS staff will be on hand to work with you and help you develop your skills.
Do I need to play an instrument to attend the Worship DTS?
Vocalists and sound technicians are welcome, as well as anyone who wants to “make a joyful noise to the Lord.” The focus is definitely on the musical side of worship, though; visual artists should check our our Create DTS to learn more about worshiping God with their gifts!
Should I bring my own instrument to attend the Worship DTS?
We have a couple of keyboards and some percussion instruments (including a drum set) on hand, but it’s best to bring your own instrument so that you’ll have it available to you. Get in touch with us for questions on specifics.
Which sports will the Sports DTS include?
We love customizing our DTS activities based on the gifts and passions of incoming students, so as applications come in we’ll have a better feel for which sports are represented.
Right now our YWAM community plays a lot of basketball, volleyball, frisbee, and spikeball. Some of our staff are also involved in local soccer and hockey teams, disc golf competitions, and running events. And there’s always an American football to toss. But if you love to play a sport that we’re less familiar with, don’t worry – someone will jump in with you.
Is there a required skill level to join the Sports DTS?
The Sports DTS staff are gifted athletes, but not one of them has gone pro. If you’re ready to learn, participate fully, and have a good time, you’ll fit in just fine.
Do I need to bring my own gear to the Sports DTS?
Anything that you regularly use to play (cleats, skateboard, hockey stick, catcher’s mitt, whatever) would be a good idea to bring along. As the school approaches, we’ll have a better idea of the interests of the Sports DTS team as a whole, so we’ll let you know if there’s any additional equipment you should bring.
Do DTS students attend church?
We require all of our students to commit to a local church during DTS. You’re free to choose which church you attend. Our staff are involved in several different churches around Louisville, so we’ll help you know what’s available. Your parents or your home pastor may also have recommendations for you.
Can I get college credit for my DTS?
The Discipleship Training School comes under the umbrella of YWAM’s University of the Nations, and you will receive 20 credits upon successfully completing the course. An increasing number of colleges in the United States accept U of N transfer credits; contact specific institutions to find out their policy.
Is YWAM part of a denomination?
YWAM is interdenominational, which means that YWAMers come from all kinds of church backgrounds and traditions. We believe that the Bible is God’s Word, and our training is grounded in its principles. You can read our beliefs and values here for more details.
Is the outreach location safe?
Of course we can’t guarantee anyone’s safety, anywhere in the world. But we do take seriously our responsibility for students on our outreach teams, and we don’t take unnecessary risks. We stay in close communication with our contacts in each outreach location so that they can let us know of any situation we need to be aware of. We also prepare our teams to be aware of cultural differences and security precautions.
What vaccinations do I need to have?
All students need to have up-to-date Hepatitis A and tetanus shots before arriving at YWAM Louisville for DTS. Further immunizations are at your discretion and are your responsibility. Check with the Center for Disease Control for recommendations specific to the country you will be visiting.
How much does DTS cost?
- September DTS: $3390 tuition + $295 conference fee
- +$100 for the additional resources included in the Sports DTS, Music & Worship DTS, and Frontier Missions DTS
- January DTS: $3390 tuition
- March DTS: $3390 tuition + $195 conference fee
Please note that the tuition covers the first three months of DTS. The outreach portion is a separate expense. The conference fee covers the cost of a special, week-long conference that you’ll attend.
When is the tuition due?
A $250 deposit is due upon acceptance. The balance of $3140 (plus any applicable conference fee or focus track fee) is due in full on the first day of DTS.
What does tuition cover?
Tuition covers all of your training, food, books, and transportation to and from official DTS functions. Housing is provided at no additional cost.
Incidental expenses like snack food, laundry, gas, doctor’s visits, etc. will be your own responsibility. Also, each DTS student will be asked to send a newsletter to update friends and family, so plan to spend $70-100 for envelopes, printing, and postage.
How do I pay my tuition?
Make checks payable to YWAM and send them to:
PO Box 22185
Louisville, KY 40252
Put your name and the school you’ll be attending in the memo.*
*Donations toward mission trips must NOT have your name in the memo; the instructions above only apply to tuition payments.
How much does the outreach cost?
Airfare and living expenses vary greatly depending on location and time of year, so the cost of each outreach varies as well. During DTS we’ll teach you what the Bible says about funding ministry efforts like a mission trip, and we’ll walk you through the process of involving people in sponsoring your trip financially. In the meantime, we’d encourage you to bring whatever you can toward the mission trip expense and to get in touch with us if you have further questions.
How will we pay for DTS outreach?
During DTS we’ll teach you what the Bible says about funding ministry efforts like a mission trip, and we’ll walk you through the process of involving people in sponsoring your trip financially. In the meantime, we’d encourage you to bring whatever you can toward the mission trip expense and to get in touch with us if you have further questions.
Can people who give towards my DTS receive a tax deduction?
YWAM does not issue tax-deductible receipts for tuition. Many incoming students arrange for their home churches to process financial support for them so that donors can receive a tax deduction. Please communicate clearly with anyone who wants to give a donation towards your tuition.
How much spending money will I need?
We’ll provide food, housing, books, and transportation to school functions. Miscellaneous expenses like laundry, snacks, special dietary needs, gasoline, postage, doctor’s visits, etc., will be your own responsibility.
Also, each DTS student will be asked to send a newsletter to update friends and family. This newsletter is required and will be at your own expense, so plan to spend $70-100 for envelopes, printing, and postage.
Can I receive further training with YWAM after my DTS?
Yes! Here at YWAM Louisville we encourage students to consider following up their DTS with our School of Ministry Development (SOMD). The SOMD picks up right where the DTS leaves off, continuing your discipleship and growth in the Lord while helping you develop practical ministry tools and focus in more specifically on the calling God has given you.
We also offer a Bible School for the Nations (BSN) course that dives deep in the the word of God. You will learn about the nature and character of God and the overall story of the Bible.
YWAM’s University of the Nations also offers hundreds of training programs at campuses around the world. The DTS is a prerequisite to almost all YWAM training. The goal of these courses is to further equip you to accomplish the mission God has given you. They can also lead to a degree from the U of N. We’ll share more with you about further training opportunities once you’ve arrived for DTS.