YWAM DTS: 101+ Questions (and we have the answers)

By YWAM Orlando | May 27, 2021

 

ywam dts students on overseas outreach in Tanzania

ywam dts: The Ultimate Guide for arriving prepared.

You want to do a YWAM DTS. You want to grow closer to Jesus and travel the world at the same time, and a YWAM DTS seems like a good option.

 

But YWAM's super big and you have a ton of questions.

 

And that can make you feel overwhelmed. You don’t want to waste your time or money, and we don’t want you to either.

 

We’ve been in your same shoes, trying to decide if YWAM DTS is the right option.

 

Read this piece so you can stop feeling overwhelmed and start feeling confident in your decision to do YWAM DTS.

Contents

1   All YWAM DTS in the United States

          1.1   Cost, length of time, Covid, & other specifics

          1.2   What are my options after I graduate from DTS?

          1.3   Is YWAM is a cult? and other YWAM beliefs.

          1.4   Not sure if DTS is the right fit for you?

          1.5   Married, an international, or have children?

          1.6   DTS rules and a few do’s and don'ts

2   Specific to YWAM Orlando’s DTS

          2.1   What is Overseas Outreach like?

          2.2   Elective Experiences / Tracks

          2.3   Campus life, dorm situation, weekends, food etc.

YWAM DTS in the United States

What is Discipleship Training School (DTS)?

You want to use your passions to change the world, but you don't know how and fear keeps you feeling stuck. DTS is a 5-month missions experience that can help you overcome fear and use your faith and skills to change the world.

DTS has 2 parts: 1) Campus Phase 2) Outreach Phase

     1) In Campus Phase you’ll get to know God better.

     2) In Outreach Phase you’ll make God known to the world by going on an 8-week overseas outreach.

 

Click here to watch a 3 minute video that explains this in more depth.

How much does DTS cost?

Most DTS’s in the United States range anywhere from $5000-$9000. YWAM Orlando’s DTS starts at $7490. That price includes 5 months of housing, meals, activities, training, lectures, and airfare to the Overseas Outreach location. You’ll have to pay for small personal expenses like laundry and snacks, but it’s nearly all-inclusive. Click here to see what else is included in a YWAM Orlando DTS.

Why is it so expensive?

Here’s a simple breakdown of some of what your school fees cover:

  • food and housing
  • lectures
  • class expenses, events, and ‘fun day’ outings
  • Overseas Outreach housing, food, transportation, and ministry expenses.

DTS is inexpensive compared to traditional colleges or universities. According to a study by the U.S. News on the school year of 2020-2021, the average cost for higher education was $41,411 at private colleges, $11,171 for state residents at public colleges, and $26,809 for out-of-state students at state schools. Click here to see what else is included in a YWAM Orlando DTS.

How long is Discipleship Training School?

The DTS is 5-6 months long, consisting of 3 months of Campus Phase and 2-3 months of Overseas Outreach. The exact length of your DTS depends on the YWAM campus you choose to attend.

Is there a Shorter DTS?

Nope. Every YWAM DTS is at least 5 months long.

If 5 months feels like a huge commitment, that’s ok! To start living fearlessly takes a fearless first step.

A 2015 American Gap Association study revealed that taking a year off before continuing on to further education or the workplace helped in (1) personal development and maturity, (2) growth in self-confidence, and (3) in communication skills.

How old do I have to be to do a Discipleship Training School?

You only need a high school diploma or equivalent to do DTS.

 

If you’re still in high school, check out the following options:

What locations offer YWAM DTS?

There are over 865 YWAM training locations in 191 nations.

Our favorite location is
YWAM Orlando.

 

You can click this link to find YWAM DTS near you.

How can I raise money for my DTS?

Most students can’t pay for DTS on their own. DTS is a missions experience, so it’s completely appropriate to raise money for DTS. Here are a few ways DTS students have paid for their way:

  • Working a job and saving up
  • Selling some of your belongings. People have sold cars, motorcycles, even homes to pursue missions.
  • Reaching out to your friends and church to see if they would be willing to partner with you in missions.

If that last option sounds intimidating, don’t worry. Most full time missionaries have financial partners that help them with their mission work.

 

When God’s people want to go overseas for the Gospel, God provides. Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen God provide again and again. 

Does financial aid work for DTS?

No. You may be able to apply certain general scholarships that you’ve earned to your University of the Nations or YWAM DTS training.

Does YWAM offer scholarships?

Certain YWAM campuses offer scholarships, but it's primarily to international students. YWAM Orlando does not currently offer scholarships for DTS.

Will my DTS be different because of COVID-19?

There are a few different ways COVID could affect your DTS:

  • If a student contracts COVID, you may have to move to zoom classes for 1-2 weeks.
  • Your Overseas Outreach location may change because of COVID cases. As of 06/2021 YWAM Orlando is offering international outreaches for DTS, but we’re prepared to switch to stateside US outreaches depending on Covid regulations. (Click here to watch a 1-minute DTS testimony from Chris who went to Tanzania in January 2021.)
  • You may have to wear masks at different times throughout the day (depending on the state’s and county’s mask requirements)

Will my DTS count towards a degree?

Yes! The University of the Nations (UofN) is the academic pillar of YWAM. The UofN offers a number of degrees, all of which can be fulfilled through YWAM training schools. Discipleship Training School is the foundational school and a prerequisite to all other University of the Nations schools. You can pursue your UofN degree at 600 YWAM locations in 160 nations and on 6 continents.

It’s important to note that the UofN is not accredited. This is because it is international. To pursue accreditation in one nation may disqualify it for accreditation in another. The primary purpose of University of the Nations degrees is to prepare the individual to serve effectively in their sphere of influence.

What kind of degrees can I get in YWAM?

YWAM’s University of the Nations (UofN) offers 2- and 4-year degrees in Arts & Sports, Christian Ministries, Communication, Counseling & Healthcare, and many others. God made you to effectively advance the Gospel wherever you go, and often that requires years of specified training. YWAM is prepared to provide you with that training and equip you for whichever ‘mission field’ or vocation to which God leads you. Click here to watch a video and learn how the UofN will activate and equip you to change the world.

 

Zach did the School of Ministry Development, one of UofN’s secondary training schools, and on his Overseas Outreach to the Middle East, he witnessed God move supernaturally in a Muslim man.

Will a YWAM degree transfer to other colleges or universities?

Because national Accreditation agencies have significant differences in their systems, the UofN  (YWAM’s University) has not at present applied for any one nation’s accreditation. So just like with other colleges, not all universities or colleges will accept a YWAM degree for further education. However, Liberty University in Virginia and many Australian universities have accepted YWAM credits in recent history.

What else can I use a YWAM degree for?

DTS equips you to effectively advance the Gospel and model a lifestyle of ministry in any sphere of influence. DTS will equip you for success in ministry and the workplace. 

 

After her DTS, Cassie had the opportunity to minister within the fashion industry at NYC Fashion Week. Check out her story here.

 

(The spheres of society are the various facets of life that make up society and daily life.)

seven spheres of society that a ywam dts can impact

How is DTS different from Bible college?

Bible School and DTS have different purposes. DTS offers missionary training to effectively advance the Gospel wherever you are. It accomplishes this inner transformation through hands-on training in a discipleship-focused, live-learn atmosphere. Bible college offers an academic, in-depth study of the Bible and other ministry vocations and can ordain you for ministry. Click here to discover 10 differences between Christian University and DTS.

Is YWAM a cult?

No.

Because YWAM campuses are religious communities committed to sharing their beliefs, they are sometimes confused with cults.

The following list contains criteria that are common with cults.

Following the criteria is a description of how YWAM operates in the context of that criteria.

 

1. In a cult: Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished. 


In YWAM: YWAM Foundational Value #10 is to function in teams.

At YWAM Orlando, students and staff are encouraged to ask difficult questions, present doubts, hold leadership and peers accountable to Biblical standards of living, and put forward creative solutions to problems.


2. In a cult: The group's leader is not accountable to any authorities or oversight board.

 

In YWAM: Our campus has a board that provides oversight and accountability.  Additionally, our leaders are part of a national and international leadership team that provides transparency and accountability.

 

3. In a cult: The leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control them.


In YWAM: DTS is designed to empower students to walk in forgiveness according to New Testament teachings. In that way, DTS often helps students find healing from guilt and emotional wounding.

YWAM leadership seeks to disciple and come alongside, not control, those on our campus. They do this in a caring and open way with the aim to empower staff and students.

 

4. In a cult: Members' subservience to the group causes them to cut ties with family and friends, and to give up personal goals and activities that were of interest before joining the group.

 

In YWAM: YWAM Foundational Values #14 and #15 are “Value the Individual” and “Value Family,” respectively.

YWAM Orlando does not interfere with or impede its members' relationships with friends and family.

We encourage staff to pursue dreams and interests and try to facilitate their talents by placing them in departments and on teams where their personalities and skills can thrive.

 

5. In a cult: Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.


In YWAM: YWAM staff are attendees at various churches in the area, members of parent/school groups, and regularly involved in our city’s community events. We enjoy taking our students to these venues while they study with us. Students live on campus during their time with us in a similar way that students at any university live in the surrounding dormitories and eat at the cafeteria.

 

6. In a cult: Members are not allowed to leave the community.


In YWAM: Staff who want to move on to different locations or vocations are free to leave whenever they want to. In fact, we pray for and bless them as they move on, believing that God has good plans for them in their next chapter.

 

7. In a cult: The group is focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment; The group centers its veneration on the leader(s) directly, rather than on God.


In YWAM: In YWAM we respect our leadership, while holding them accountable to Biblical standards of living and leadership. Worship is reserved for God alone.

 

For further reading, please see YWAM International’s complete Purpose, Beliefs, and list of Foundational Values.

 

To find out about a few other misconceptions about YWAM, click here.

What exactly is Youth With A Mission?

According to the YWAM Statement of Purpose, Youth With A Mission (YWAM) is an international movement of Christians from many denominations dedicated to presenting Jesus personally to this and future generations, to mobilizing as many as possible to help in this task, and to the training and equipping of believers for their part in fulfilling the Great Commission.

 

Click here to watch a 1-minute video explain how YWAM does that.

What does YWAM believe?

YWAM’s mission is “To Know God and Make God Known.” That mission is also the first 2 of 18 values that YWAM adheres to. Those values influence not only how YWAM does ministry, but also the culture/atmosphere of your DTS. Once you complete a DTS you will be able to know and understand the ywam values more thoroughly.

 

Click here to see those 18 values.

What denomination is YWAM?

YWAM is interdenominational (check out value 8) and believes that completing the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) is going to take cooperation across denominational lines. YWAM also upholds the Christian Magna Carta as one of its core values. These are guiding beliefs which commit to the conviction that even though beliefs differ from denomination to denomination, everyone stands firm on a few basic tenets.

Do all YWAM bases believe and teach the same thing?

YWAM is committed to diversity and every tribe, nation, and tongue (Revelation 4) being a part of God’s redemption story. Since YWAM is both international and interdenominational, there are over 1,500 YWAM bases in 187 countries. That means each YWAM base, whether in Florida, Colorado, Tanzania, or Colombia, is going to look different and express God’s image uniquely. That said, each YWAM base adheres still to the 18 Foundational Values as their starting and ending point in everything they do.

What are some of the DTS teaching topics?

Here’s a list of some weekly teaching topics. (Click any of the following topics to hear a Spotify teaching straight from a DTS classroom.)

What if I don’t feel qualified or 100% ready for DTS?

It’s not uncommon to arrive for DTS being unsure or feeling unready. However, It’s better to be unsure with an open heart to learn than to feel 100% ‘ready’ with a closed, unteachable heart. Oftentimes, we don’t feel fully prepared for what God’s calling us to. Our emotions can be misleading. Many of Jesus’ disciples were busy and ‘unprepared’ when Jesus first called them: some were busy fishing, planning a funeral, or filling out tax forms. Yet they stepped out in faith when Jesus called them. If you believe that Jesus is leading you to do DTS, step out in faith, believing He will make you ready and conquer every fear.

 

Sam Etudor, one of YWAM’s full-time missionaries, also didn’t feel qualified or 100% ready when he started his DTS.  He struggled with public speaking and what others thought of him, yet he still showed up, fears and all. Click here to watch a video of him sharing how God still used him, even though he didn’t feel ready or qualified.

Can Catholics do DTS?

Yes! As long as you're able to participate in the day-to-day requirements, you're able to do DTS.

What is missions? What does it mean to be a missionary?

Great question! When you hear the word ‘missions’, you probably think of people who live full-time overseas and only occasionally visit their home country. And you’d be right. They definitely are missionaries and an integral part of God’s plan for the nations. But Jesus said that every believer is a missionary. Whether you’re at college, work in retail or at McDonald’s, or aren’t sure what your ‘calling’ is, Jesus has called you to be a missionary (Matthew 28:18-20). Followers of Jesus must have a heart for both their neighbor next door and the indigenous tribe on the other side of the world. As long as you’re obedient to where God is leading your life, that’s your mission field. But if we’re honest, fear holds us back from sharing our faith and walking in obedience to follow where God calls us. The DTS equips you for fearlessly taking on that mission field through hands-on training and a missions experience.

Do I have to be from a Christian background to do DTS?

Not long at all. You could give your life to Jesus on a Sunday and arrive for DTS on a Monday. Look at the blind beggar in John 9. Within hours of encountering healing through Jesus, this uneducated beggar is already sharing his testimony and witnessing for Jesus. What matters is having an open heart and a desire to learn.

How long do I have to have been a Christian to do DTS?

Not long at all. You could give your life to Jesus on a Sunday and arrive for DTS on a Monday. Look at the blind beggar in John 9. Within hours of encountering healing through Jesus, this uneducated beggar is already sharing his testimony and witnessing for Jesus. What matters is having an open heart and a desire to learn.

How will DTS change me?

How you experience personal change in your DTS is simple. You will grow mainly in two ways:

  1. You’ll get to know God better
  2. You’ll learn how to make God known

As you get to know God better during Campus Phase, you will begin to overcome fear. As you begin to overcome fear, you’ll start using your faith and skills to change the world and make God known during Overseas Outreach. If you come with an open heart toward the Lord and a desire to learn, we promise that you will encounter God and you will be changed.

 

To get a more detailed understanding of how you’ll experience change, the curriculum and structure in DTS is defined by 12 Outcomes. Click here to find those 12 Outcomes.

 

Elena, one of our DTS graduates, struggled with fear and stepping out boldly in obedience. God radically changed Elena during her DTS Overseas Outreach, and she learned to walk fearlessly with Jesus.

Do I have to be a super-Christian / Jesus freak to do DTS?

No! At times, we can meet people who seem to have it all put together in their walk with Jesus. Sometimes these ‘super-Christians’ come off as intimidating or even annoying. It’s important to keep our eyes on our own personal pursuit of Jesus instead of turning our attention to comparing ourselves to others. It’s a blessing when someone’s fervor for Jesus challenges and encourages us, but if looking at others results in a heart of inferiority or judgment, we're missing something. We all have areas that need further maturity but before we can humbly witness a change in others, we have to allow Jesus to change our own hearts. The DTS is an opportunity to commit 5 months to living with an open heart toward the Lord and a desire to learn. If you do DTS with that heart attitude, we promise that you will encounter God and be changed.

 

Lily arrived for her DTS struggling with anxiety and depression. Had she decided to stay home because she didn’t look like a ‘Jesus freak,’ she wouldn’t have ministered to a young woman in the Middle East who was also struggling with anxiety and depression. Click here to watch Lily share this story.

If I don’t want to move overseas to be a full-time missionary, can I still do DTS?

The DTS equips you to step out in obedience wherever God calls you. Every believer is called to disciple the nations yet still effectively advance the Gospel wherever they live. Jesus calls some DTS students to live overseas full-time; others He calls to live in America, while still having a heart for the nations. Wherever Jesus calls you to go and advance the Gospel, the DTS equips you to fearlessly step out in obedience.

What if I already want to move full-time overseas?

Moving overseas long-term as a cross-cultural missionary is a daunting task. According to a study on missionaries from the US, only 43% of missionaries reach the commitment they set out for on the mission field. That’s a challenging statistic, but shouldn’t deter you from going. The DTS is the first step in the training process to equip you for that mission-field. It accomplishes that through hands-on training and an overseas missions experience. If you want further training for cross-cultural missions, the SCCM is a secondary school that you can pursue after your DTS that will prepare you for longevity overseas and give you the skills you need to fulfill your commitment in the place to which God is calling you.

What if I’m not sure I’m saved?

If you’ve acknowledged faith in Jesus, repented of your sin, and committed your life to following him according to the Bible, then you’re a born-again Christian.

 

When you decide to follow Jesus, you immediately become a target of the enemy. You’ve signed up to be used by Jesus for His kingdom. The enemy hates that and will often attack and bring accusations to the foundation of your faith. Here are a few things that will hopefully help with clarity and confidence in your relationship with Jesus:

 

  • read Ephesians 1-2 and 1 John (the Gospel Coalition wrote an article on this)
  • reach out in vulnerability to a spiritual mentor, close Christian friend, or pastor.
  • research what some of the church greats (like Billy Graham) have said on this matter.

 

It’s important to differentiate between the voice of the enemy, which brings condemnation and accusation, versus the voice of God, which brings specific conviction and assurance of your faith. What you may be wrestling with is no joke, and we hope you can clearly hear what Jesus has to say to you. (In the first 1-2 weeks of DTS, you’ll learn how to discern the voice of God and that will help you grow in confidence in this.)

What if I don’t have any missionary experience?

Do you remember the story of the woman at the well in John 4 in the Bible? Jesus meets this woman going about her daily routine and starts a conversation with her. Just a few verses later, this woman is radically transformed and with her one-line testimony, she reaches her entire village for Jesus. That morning when she woke up, she was living in condemnation as an adulteress. But after one encounter with Jesus, she experienced freedom and became an effective missionary, the first one found in scripture.

 

Watch this story of how a 19yr old DTS student named Kalysta who was battling 2 chronic illnesses witnessed God move radically on her Overseas Outreach in Thailand.

Are people in YWAM nerdy?

Nope. But don’t take it from me. Meet some DTS graduates.

Can I do DTS if I’m older?

Yes. A few different YWAM bases (Kona, HI and Chico, CA) offer a Crossroads DTS, which specifically caters to people in their mid-20s and up. That way you can experience the transformation of DTS while walking alongside people who are at the same stage of life.

What if I don’t speak English?

Multiple YWAM bases in the US offer a bi-lingual DTS. YWAM Orlando offers a Spanish-English DTS, and both YWAM Tyler and YWAM Minneapolis offer a bi-lingual DTS. There’s also a good chance there’s DTS in your home country. Click here to find the closest YWAM base.

 

 

Click here to watch a Spanish-testimony from Chris. Originally from Guatemala, Chris did his DTS in Orlando and went on his Overseas Outreach to Tanzania.

If I’m not from the US, can I still do DTS?

Yes! Many of YWAM Orlando’s students and even current full-time missionaries come from all over the world: Sweden, the Faroe Islands, the Domincan Republic, Barbados, Scotland, Norway, England, Ireland, and South Africa (to name a few).

 

Eivind, one of YWAM Orlando's full-time missionaries, did his DTS in 2012. Click here to read his story of moving overseas for missions and overcoming homesickness.

What type of visas does YWAM accept?

YWAM Orlando accepts B1/B2 tourist/business visas, but can't promise to give you a tourist visa because that’s only given by the US embassy in your home country. YWAM can send you a letter that helps explain what you'll be doing in your 5 months of DTS. That letter will help at your embassy appointment. To learn how other YWAM bases issue visas, just call or email them.

Can families do DTS?

Yes! Multiple families have done DTS and even continued on to serve full-time. Some bases even offer a family-focused DTS (Tyler, Texas and Kona, Hawaii), but you and your family can choose any YWAM location that best fits your situation.

 

God can use people of all ages to advance the Gospel in the nations. Louis, an 8-year-old boy whose parents did DTS, shared a testimony about how God used him to minister to the homeless in India.

Can single parents do DTS?

Definitely! Just this past year, YWAM Orlando had a single mom with two young children do DTS and go to Tanzania for Overseas Outreach. Click here to check out an IG post about her story.

Can married couples do DTS?

Yes. The Andersons, one of the families that serve full-time in Orlando actually did their DTS as a married couple back in 2004.

 

Here’s a Facebook Live video of Jessie teaching at our weekly Community Night.

Can dating or engaged couples do DTS?

Yes!

Can I start dating during DTS?

Nope. The DTS is a season set aside for you to be equipped for missions.  You can more fully focus on what God has for you during this time if you are not worrying about or focusing on starting a relationship. It’s also an opportunity to grow in creating healthy friendships with the opposite gender without added romantic pressure.

What if I’m already in a relationship before DTS?

If you are already in a relationship, you can still do DTS! At YWAM Orlando, students have done DTS together as a dating couple and also individually by maintaining a long-distance relationship.

Can I smoke cigarettes or vape?

No. Since convictions on this can vary, YWAM Orlando asks that all DTS students not use tobacco products for the five months of the DTS. This commitment is most honoring to your fellow believers, who may or may not have struggled with tobacco before arriving for DTS.

Can I drink alcohol during DTS?

Similar to the above question about tobacco, YWAM Orlando asks that you do not consume alcohol during the DTS. Tobacco and alcohol can deter both yourself and your neighbor. You don’t want to be an unnecessary challenge for anyone who has a history of alcohol abuse as they’re growing with their walk with God.

YWAM DTS in Orlando

What does an average day on Overseas Outreach look like?

Since Overseas Outreach can be in numerous countries and cultures, an average day can be challenging to pin down. But to give you an idea, it could look something like this:

  • wake up at 7
  • personal quiet time / devotions
  • team breakfast
  • ministry
  • team lunch at 1
  • ministry
  • team time debriefing the day
  • dinner at 6
  • team worship + prayer
  • free time for the rest of the evening

Check out our day in the life on outreach video to get a better idea.

What are some typical DTS Overseas Outreach locations?

The YWAM Orlando DTS goes to Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, South Africa, Dominican Republic, Haiti, or Nepal. Click here to watch testimonies from DTS students in those countries.

 

Since the Covid pandemic, the YWAM Orlando DTS has gone exclusively to Tanzania and Panama. Since the coronavirus has made international travel challenging, by the time you arrive for DTS you could be going to a different nation! Fortunately, God has been faithful in leading the DTS in a year where travel seemed impossible. Before 2020, YWAM Orlando had never been to Tanzania. In early 2020, God randomly spoke about the nation of Tanzania to us. Since then Orlando has sent three DTS teams there and witnessed over 1200 salvations and 80+ emotional and physical healings.

 

God is endlessly creative when it comes to reaching the nations through those who want to advance the Gospel. Don’t let Covid stop you from doing DTS! God has been faithful to lead before Covid, during Covid, and He will continue to be faithful in the years to come.

Who decides where I go on Overseas Outreach?

At the beginning of the DTS, you will spend time learning how to discern the voice of God. After that, you’ll pray and ask God for direction on which country you should go to for outreach. After you’ve prayed and decided on a country, the full-time missionaries who are leading the Overseas Outreach teams all gather, pray, and finalize the teams.

 

Normally, the countries to choose from are already decided before you pray. At times, there’ll only be one Overseas Outreach location to pick from, depending on how many students arrived for that DTS.

When will I know where I’m going on Overseas Outreach?

You’ll pray and decide where you’re going for Overseas Outreach at the end of the second or third week of the DTS.

 

However, due to some of the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, you may not know where you are going on outreach for the first two months of your Campus Phase. But don’t worry! God is faithful to find a mission-field for his fearless missionaries.

 

Click here to watch a 3 minute story from a DTS student named Cassia. She reached a young Tanzanian girl with the Gospel in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

What type of ministry will I do on Overseas Outreach?

This depends on which country you go to. Here’s a list of ministries you could do:

  • evangelism
  • praying for physical healings
  • preaching and teaching
  • mercy ministry (building projects, providing food for the elderly/poor)
  • teaching English (as an opportunity to preach the gospel)
  • children’s ministry

Sam Winslow went to Taiwan for his DTS and God moved radically through a worship time in a Buddhist temple. Check out his testimony here.

Will I get to do any tourism?

For sure! There will be time set aside to do some sightseeing in the city and countryside, and even some tourist shopping for friends and family back home.

Will I be safe?

When traveling internationally, there’s always an element of risk. That said, the DTS leadership takes your safety very seriously when planning where you go on your Overseas Outreach. Entire overseas locations have been changed two weeks before flying due to safety risks at the original destination.

Will I take everything overseas that I brought to Campus Phase?

Probably not. Check out the Overseas Outreach packing list that's pictured beow. If needed, you can leave a few things in storage at the YWAM Orlando campus.

ywam dts student overseas outreach packing list

What kind and how many shoes will I need for Overseas Outreach?

This depends on where you are going overseas and the time of year. At a minimum, you’ll most likely need hiking or athletic shoes, dress shoes for church, and shower sandals.

Will I need to get shots?

Yes. To get an idea of some of the shots you’ll need, refer to the CDC travel page. It would be very helpful to get those shots before arriving for DTS, but it’s not required.

Is stateside outreach an option?

The YWAM Orlando DTS goes overseas for outreach. If you’re interested in going stateside, check out the YWAM Circuit Riders DTS in Huntington Beach, California.

What are Elective Experiences or ‘tracks’?

Different YWAM bases have different names for this. At the YWAM Orlando campus it’s called the Elective Experience, but elsewhere it’s called tracks or passions. Here’s the basic rundown of what they are: training that develops your passion or skill so you can use the things you love to fearlessly advance the Gospel. Each class consists of both classroom learning and hands-on, practical teaching to grow you in using that passion for the Gospel. The Elective Experiences at YWAM Orlando are photography, worship, justice, sports and fitness, world missions, Gospel, and barista.

 

Other YWAM locations offer training on healthcare, writing, performing arts, and many more.

Can I do more than one Elective Experience?

No. This way you can give your full attention to developing one particular skill to effectively advance the Gospel.

Do I have to do an Elective Experience?

Nope! If you want to just focus on your DTS class-time studies, you can. (Note from the author: I did my DTS in 2015 and I didn’t do an elective and still fully enjoyed my DTS.)

How much of a time commitment is the Elective Experience?

Your Elective Experience consists of four hours of your DTS weekly schedule. Each Elective will give assignments such as projects or further reading on the topic.

What is the daily schedule during Campus Phase?

Here’s a breakdown of what an average day looks like: (some of the terms are defined at the bottom):

  • 7:15-8:00am Quiet time
  • 8:00-8:30am Breakfast
  • 8:30-9:00am Ship Shape
  • 9:00-9:45am Campus worship
  • 9:45-10:15am Coffee and snack time
  • 10:15-1:00pm Class time
  • 1:00-2:00pm Campus lunch
  • 2:00-4:00pm Small group, Overseas Outreach prep, prayer room, or Elective Experience
  • 4:00-6:00pm Community responsibilities (or free time)
  • 6:00-7:00pm Campus dinner
  • 7:00 and on: Community night, ministry night, pick-up sports, or free time

Overseas Outreach prep: preparing both practically and prayerfully for your outreach with your team and leaders.

Prayer Room: time set aside for hearing and praying for what’s on the Lord’s heart.

Ministry Night: extended time of worship, ministering to God, and spending time in His presence.

Elective Experience: training that develops your passion or skill so you can use the things you love to fearlessly advance the Gospel

Small Group: thoroughly processing the DTS experience in a more intimate setting

Community Night: every Tuesday night the Orlando campus hosts a worship service and a teaching for visitors and non YWAM'ers to attend.

Ship Shape: quick cleaning every weekday morning to keep the campus presentable and clean.

Will I have to wear masks?

In accordance with Florida state/county laws, you no longer are required to wear a mask.

When can I go off campus?

Whenever there’s free time in the weekday schedule or on the weekends, go for it! Central Florida has a lot to offer and we’d hate for you to miss out. Click here to find Our 12 Favorite Things To Do Near WAM Orlando.

Should I bring my car?

Having a car gives you the freedom to leave campus whenever there’s free time. Just be prepared to help out and give rides to your fellow DTS’ers who don’t have cars!

Will I need personal money for anything? What’s all provided?

At YWAM Orlando and most YWAM bases, breakfast, lunch, and dinner (including coffee) are provided seven days a week. However, you will need to provide your own body wash, toothpaste, etc, and bedding.

If I don’t have a car, how will I get to the store?

You can tag along with your DTS classmates that brought their own cars. Oftentimes, the full-time missionaries will load up a passenger van and head to the nearby Target.

Will the weekends be free?

Occasionally, there will be Local Ministry in Orlando for part of a Saturday, but other than that, the weekends are free.

How much free time will I have during the week?

Some days of the week you’ll be busy from 8:00am - 7:00pm (refer back to the daily schedule above), but other days you might have a two-hour break before dinner. Two to three evenings a week will consist of Community Night, Ministry Night, or downtown evangelism. It’s important to use your free time wisely (especially during the weekends) to stay rejuvenated for everything God is doing.

What kind of homework is there?

You’ll be assigned the following:

  • 3-4 books with a simple book report for each one
  • memorize one Bible verse / week
  • read the entire New Testament

How much class time will there be?

Each DTS has a minimum of 12 hours of class per week, which averages out to about 2½ hours per day.

Is there a lot of homework?

Compared to a traditional college or university, not at all. There are approximately 5 hours of homework per week (not including what your specific Elective Experience might require).

What is there to do nearby?

Within fifteen minutes, you can get groceries from Target or Aldis, food from Chick Fil A or Chipotle, coffee from Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts, as well as hit up Goodwill, TJ Maxx or Forever 21. To find out about other things you can do near campus, click here.

What is there to do on campus?

The YWAM Orlando campus is 190 acres and consists of:

  • sports field for football, soccer, ultimate frisbee etc
  • basketball court
  • tennis court
  • a coffee shop co-working space that seats 80
  • a 24-hour prayer room
  • space to play capture the flag, hostages, sardines etc
  • nature boardwalk
  • fishing
  • space for both spending alone time with Jesus and also for building community through sports, games,and quality time.

Take a look at YWAM Orlando’s campus tour video.

How close is the campus to the beach?

The closest beach is within an hour’s drive, but YWAM Orlando’s personal favorites (Clearwater, New Smyrna, and Vero) are a bit farther.

Does it ever get cold in Florida?

Depends on who you ask! It gets to the low 30s °F in the winter. Even if you’re from a much colder climate, those low 30s can feel surprisingly cold when you’ve become acclimated to Florida’s more temperate weather. Even if you’re from up there in the snowy north, bring warm clothing for the winter.

How many roommates will I have?

Each room can house 8 people, though it’s more common for each room to have 5-7.

Can I decorate my room?

Yes! Feel free to make it as homey as you like, as long as it’s back to normal when you graduate. (Here’s more information on decorating your YWAM Orlando room.)

 

Check out the photo below to see what your room can look like!

ywam dts dorm room decorated bed

What’s the bathroom situation in the dorms?

In each dorm room, there are two sinks, two toilets, and two showers.

Will there be a TV?

Some of the common rooms in the dorms have TVs, but those TVs are primarily for when the common room has to serve as a classroom.

How much storage space will there be in my room?

There’s enough space for 1 carry-on bag and 1 checked bag.

Can I bring my video game console?

Yes! But before you bring your PS5 or Xbox, I encourage you to honestly answer this question: is playing video games your primary way of unwinding or taking your mind off of things? If your answer is yes, then I’d advise you to think again about packing that up. The DTS is a season set aside to become equipped to advance the Gospel. How you spend your time outside of the classroom processing with God about what you are learning is crucial. If video games habitually become the go-to way to take your mind off what God is teaching you, then you’re missing out on what God has for you in DTS. That said, if you are in a healthy place with video games, bring them along! It’s just important to practice intentionality with how you spend your time in the DTS.

Will I have to get up early?

Every weekday in the DTS starts with 45 minutes of quiet time. Every week of DTS consists of 12+ hours of teaching and equipping for living fearlessly and using your faith to change the world. That’s a lot of time taking in information! Your daily time alone with God to process what you’re learning is indispensable. Without that consistency, you’ll miss out on all that God has for you in DTS.

Can I bring a pet?

No, but service animals are allowed.

Is there a dress code?

Not exactly. There is no strict dress code, but as followers of Jesus, men and women are called to dress in a way that honors both ourselves and others. As a diverse, international community full of people of all ages and backgrounds, we want to encourage each other towards walking and dressing above reproach.

 

A good friend should lovingly and graciously let you know if what you’re wearing is crossing a line...

What should I pack?

Check out this packing list.

 

Author’s note: bring an Aeropress, a basketball, a disposable camera, and a copy of A.W. Tozer’s Pursuit of God or Leonard Ravenhill's Why Revival Tarries.

Can I work at the same time as my DTS?

No. If you refer back to the previous question about the daily schedule, there won’t be time to maintain a job outside of DTS.

Can you do DTS online / virtually?

No. Hands-on training and a discipleship environment are needed for being equipped effectively, so an online DTS is not offered.

Is there a basketball court?

Yes, there is a full basketball court. (Check it out on the YWAM Orlando campus tour video.)

Is there a place to get a haircut?

Yes! There’s a spot within 15 minutes for both the guys and the gals. (Some full-time missionaries even cut hair, too.)

Is there a curfew or a lights-out time at night in the dorms?

There is a curfew. Reason being, YWAM values creating friendships alongside the training curriculum as an integral part of the DTS experience. If you spend most of your time off-campus at night, you’ll miss out on the opportune time to grow closer to those around you who are also pursuing breakthroughs.

 

There is no lights-out time. That’s up to you and your roommates to decide on a time that works best for all of you.

Is there a church on Sundays?

YWAM Orlando does not provide a church service, but there are numerous churches (Mosaic, Real Life, Emmaus, the River)  within 15 minutes that you can attend come Sunday morning.

Are there work duties? If so, what are they?

Yes! Your work duties (we call them community responsibilities) will be:

  • preparing meals for the campus
  • tending to the campus garden
  • grounds keeping
  • housekeeping

What does the laundry situation look like? Does it cost anything?

There is a laundry room available on campus. These laundry machines receive quarters, and it’s $3.50 to both wash and dry one load. Feel free to start saving quarters now!

Is there a gym on campus?

Yes there is! There’s an open-air gym with a CrossFit jungle gym that contains multiple bench presses, squat stations, and pull-up bars. There are also numerous machines, free weights, resistance bands, jump ropes, box jumps, tires, and medicine balls.

 

Click here to watch the Orlando campus tour video and you'll find our gym!

Will there be free coffee at all during the day?

Yes! After worship (and sometimes in class), there’s coffee for the taking.

Are there coffee alternatives?

There’ll be black and green tea (with sugar too).

Is there a coffee shop on campus?

Yes! The Depot coffee shop is open mornings, afternoons, and evenings after dinner.

 

If you’re interested in using coffee to advance the Gospel, the barista Elective Experience for your DTS will equip you to become a skilled, faith-filled barista.

Will there be vending machines?

There are no vending machines on campus, but there is a campus coffee shop that sells sodas and occasionally sells snacks and candy bars.

Can I use bed risers?

Yes! A little bit of room under your bed is always helpful.

Is there a dorm kitchen?

Four bedrooms all share one common room. In that space, there is a fridge, a hot plate, a sink, a hot water heater, a toaster,  a coffee maker, and a microwave.

Can I get a tattoo during DTS?

If you have processed it with your parents, you’re able to get a tattoo. It’s important to honor your parents and the community to which you are returning after DTS. You want to avoid lifestyle decisions during your DTS that would hinder your ability to return to your community and effectively advance the Gospel. How your parents and community view you after your DTS is paramount to being effective. Like it says in Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3, you want to remove any potential grounds for them dismissing God‘s work in you in the DTS.

Will I ever get to eat out?

Yes! Chick Fil A, Applebee’s, Five Guys, Waffle House and Chipotle are all within 15 minutes, and if you or one of your friends have a vehicle, then you’re set to go.

What are the meals like? What kind of food is provided?

Mealtimes are an opportunity to meet either students from different schools or full-time missionaries that serve in other areas like lawncare or housekeeping that you wouldn’t necessarily meet during your day-to-day schedule. Here’s a list of some of the meals we’ve provided in 2021:

  • Cajun chicken pasta with a side of broccoli and garlic bread
  • Raspberry chipotle chicken with a side of cilantro-lime rice, green beans, and a raspberry BBQ sauce
  • Red Thai curry with rice noodles
  • Taco Tuesday with ground beef or chicken, guacamole, lettuce, sour cream, and salsa
  • BBQ ribs with a side of mashed potatoes and collard greens
  • Lemon pepper garlic salmon with a side of wild rice, roasted asparagus, and a lemon butter garlic sauce

What if I have specific dietary needs (or I’m vegan)?

At every meal (including the ones mentioned above) there is a vegan, dairy, and gluten-free option, as well as a salad bar.

What type of Local Ministry in Orlando will I get to do?

Here are some of the primary ministries:

  • evangelism in downtown Orlando
  • serving at non-profit Christian organizations and ministries
  • visiting the elderly at nursing homes
  • serving at a children’s church program

Will I get a refund if I don’t like DTS? How long can I wait if I want to cancel?

When a participant enrolls, it is expected that they will complete the entire program. Follow this link and click the words Refund Policy to learn more about when someone leaves early from a training school.

So what's the next step?

You should be confident in your decision to do DTS.

 

We know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed and having a dozen unanswered questions about DTS.

 

We know you ought to have as much information as possible before making a decision about 5 months of your life.

 

Every year, YWAM DTS helps thousands of people to overcome fear and use their skills and passions to change the world.

 

It’s your turn to start fearlessly changing the world.

 

If you still have unanswered questions about YWAM DTS, then here’s the next step:

 

Talk to a DTS coach so you can stop living in fear and start using your skills and passions to change the world.

TALK TO A COACH

Want to get missions training that will help you use your passions to change the world?

 

Submit your contact info below. A DTS Coach will get in touch with you soon.

ywam dts graduate hans fitschen wrote this piece

Author Bio

Written by full-time YWAM Orlando missionary Hans Fitschen. Hans has traveled with outreach teams to eight nations with the Gospel to both reach the lost and empower the saved. He has a heart for evangelism in urban areas and discipling this generation into living missional lifestyles.