DTS is a five-month, in-depth discipleship program that includes a twelve-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.
DTS is open for high school graduates and older. We’re called “Youth With A Mission,” but there’s no age limit. Whether you’re a married couple, a family with children, college graduate, or fresh out of high school, you’re welcome!
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 gender separate groups 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.
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.
YWAM staff and students live together in separate houses for men and women. You’ll find it’s a lot like a family home. 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.
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.
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 ten 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 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.
YWAM DTS costs vary based on the operational costs of their location. Here in Louisville, our lecture phase costs:
- September DTS: $3390 tuition + $295 conference fee
- January DTS: $3390 tuition
- March DTS: $3390 tuition + $195 conference fee
- Additional fees for electives. See elective pages for cost associated with each elective
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.
YWAM has around 1,200 ministry locations globally, making us one of the largest missionary organizations. That being said, not all YWAM locations focus on training missionaries. YWAM Louisville runs a DTS, three times a year, but you can find other locations around the world by going to ywam.org. You can search DTSs based on continent, electives offered, and time of year.
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.
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, may be available for students to study, relax, or hang out together. It is best not to make plans for any personal holidays or overnights away during a 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.
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.
At YWAM Louisville, you can customize your DTS by adding an elective (like the Basketball DTS or Music & 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.
We don’t have a required skill level, although the Worship elective 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.
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 out our Create Elective to learn more about worshiping God with their gifts!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A $250 deposit is due within a month of acceptance. The balance of $3140 (plus any applicable conference fee or focus track fee) is due five days before the first day of DTS.
You can also pay online by clicking on the "Pay/Give" tab.
Or you can pay with a check 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes! Here at YWAM Louisville we encourage students to consider following up their DTS with our School of Ministry Development. 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.
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.
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