YWAM DTS: 5 Reasons You’ll Hate Discipleship Training School in 2023

YWAM Orlando Missionary walking down a street in the woods

(Are you avoiding God’s call on your life simply because of fear? Could it be that all you need to step into lifelong intimacy with Jesus, God’s purpose for your life and your true identity is a simple perspective shift? Read on and let’s find out!)


"We always have control over our perspective and attitude. We choose whether we react positively or negatively."

Life is a game of perspectives. At least that’s how I see it.


There’s an anecdote I recently heard about a Mom and her daughter dealing with a difficult waiter at a restaurant. When they left the Mom said to her daughter, “Man, that waiter made me so mad.” The daughter replied, “No mommy, you brought ‘mad’ with you.” 


The point is that no matter how much we blame external circumstances and unplanned occurrences for how we react, we ALWAYS have control over our perspective and attitude. We choose whether we react positively or negatively. 


In this blog I want to present to you some reasons why you'll either hate or love a Discipleship Training School (DTS). The key variable is perspective. Each point will be related to an event or aspect of DTS that will happen. Class time, traveling, growing closer to God, etc. We will look at each element through two lenses: fearful and fearless.


Ditch fear. Choose fearless living. Apply to Discipleship Training School today.


As you read, you’ll most likely resonate with aspects of both lenses. I would encourage you to keep track of how many times you agree with the fearful perspective and how many times you agree with the fearless perspective. At the end reflect with the Lord on which lens you seem to be favoring and why.

1. Cross Cultural Experience

What is a mission training school without traveling overseas? The DTS is focused on empowering students who know God and use their lives (time, skills and resources) to make God known. Our God is pursuing the people of every nation and He’s invited us to help Him. The importance of sending DTS students into cross-cultural experiences as part of training has been clear to YWAM for the last 50 years. YWAM Orlando has sent students to Thailand, South Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and East Asia.


Fear: “I have to go where? What about the food? Isn’t it really hot/cold there? I heard they don’t have wi-fi in most places. Will I be safe?”


Fearless: “How will the world know about Jesus if no one goes? I can travel to another country for 2 months, learn the culture, eat the food AND share the Gospel?! Of course I’ll do that.”


2. DTS Curriculum

Every aspect of your DTS schedule is connected to your growth and transformation. From class time, to small groups, to work duties on campus, to local outreach, over the last 25 years, we’ve been refining the discipleship process of a DTS with YWAM Orlando. By immediately applying lessons God is teaching you, you’re able to gain education through experience and not just theory. YWAM International also runs the ‘University of the Nations’, which offers Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs. Completing a DTS will provide you with credits which can be transferable to Christian Universities in the U.S!


Fear: “Sounds a little intense… I’m not sure I wanna be super busy. But is it actually worth it? How do I know it’s long-term growth? I’ve been through seasons before where I’m close to God but then I’d backslide.”


Fearless: “I’m done with my old life and I’m ready for what God has for me. There have been too many areas where I’ve compromised and missed out on amazing opportunities. If DTS is what God has for me then I’m going to do it and give it 100%. I’m ready for everything God wants to do in my life!”


3. DTS Cost

DTS total cost is between $7,000 and $9,000. The fluctuation is dependent on where your outreach location is. Those numbers include housing, airfare, food, materials for class, etc. One of the areas the Bible tells us to trust God in is our finances. Time and time again we’ve seen students raise the money needed to complete the DTS and other YWAM schools!


Read how one DTS student left the 'easier options' behind her and said yes to fearless living.


Fear: “No. I’m not asking people for money. I don’t like that. Where am I going to get nine grand from? Yeah, yeah, God provides, but that’s a lot of money. I don’t know anyone that could donate to me.”


Fearless: “If this is what God is calling me to then He will provide. I know that God wants me to go through a DTS more than I do and that means the money will come. I’m willing to do the work it takes to raise or earn the money to pay for a DTS. The nations have to know Jesus and I have to know how to grow closer to Him.”

"Jesus showed us in His life that the most effective discipleship happens when we live alongside one another."


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4. Live-in Community

We call it our live-learn environment. Jesus showed us in His life that the most effective discipleship happens when we live alongside one another. It’s not enough to sit in a classroom and learn about God. You need to be out in daily life with people who know, love, and look like Jesus. In the soil of the day-to-day, our roots grow deep in understanding who God is and how to walk closely with Him.


Fear: “What if my roommates snore? I don’t want to share a bathroom with anyone. What if the people in my school don’t like me or accept me? I know what it’s like to be an outsider and I don’t want to feel that for 5 months.”


Fearless: “God called us to live in community and that’s an area I need to grow in. It’s time the world sees a church that’s unified and I want to be a part of that. Jesus said that the world will know us by our love, but it seems right now the world knows Christians only by what they stand against. I want to learn how to live in a healthy Biblical community and be discipled by people who love Jesus.”


5. Five Month commitment

DTS is a foundational school. Its purpose is to give you a platform to live the rest of your life in close relationship with Jesus seeking to take His gospel to the ends of the earth. 3 Months of the school is spent in Orlando on our 190 acre training facility. This “Campus Phase” is geared toward you knowing God intimately and being discipled in the ways of God and His Kingdom. The last 2 months is the Outreach Phase. The goal of outreach is to make God known.


This is the fully-immersive, cross-cultural mission trip DTS is most known for. It is where all the revelation and understanding of God from the campus phase gets applied. This is also when you get to share the Gospel and see nations changed. When it comes to laying a foundation, you want to take the necessary amount of time to ensure that whatever will be built on that foundation won’t collapse. This is why the DTS is 5 months: to promote long-lasting transformation through training and direct application.


Fear: “I’ve never left home for that long. I want to keep my options open in case something better comes along. I’m not sure I want to commit that much time. Maybe you have a 2 week version? 5 months is a big commitment. I have to make sure it’s really what God wants me to do.”


Fearless: “I’m willing to take the time to ensure my growth. I want to live my whole life for Jesus and if that means 3 months in Florida and 2 months overseas, I’m game! God’s not gonna be mad at me for taking 5 months to get to know him more and share the gospel while doing it!”


The Question is...

There is a cost to DTS in both time and resources, and it will not necessarily be an easy process the whole time. However, what will happen in those five months, the things God does when we give him an undistracted 24 weeks of our lives, is beyond worth the price. If you come to do a DTS with an open mind and a willing heart you will experience life-long transformation and be trained to live fearless


The question is: will you listen to fear’s perspective or will you choose to be fearless? Choose today to recognise and remove the ‘fear-lens’ and allow God to take you to new peaks of fearless living, realising the fullness of what he has for you in your life. The time is now.


Get trained. Live fearless.



Written By:

Joseph Suggs | YWAM Orlando Staff

Feature Image By: Eivind Lovund