Discipleship Training School (DTS)

Discipleship Training School (DTS)

Fall DTS Starts: September 22nd, 2024
Winter DTS Starts: January 5th, 2025

What is a DTS?

A Discipleship Training School (DTS) is for people of all ages (17+) who are serious about taking their relationship with God to the next level. It is a five month program blending classroom learning, small group activities, personal reflection, practical service, and community living, with the goal of learning to give your all for Jesus as you discover your part in God’s mission for the world. Come join us as we pursue God and His purposes together!


The first three months of DTS set you up for lifelong friendship with Jesus. Experienced speakers teach on topics like Being a Disciple of Jesus, Knowing God, Fulfilling the Great Commission, and so much more! You’ll live out these foundational principles in a community giving their all to seek after Jesus, daily putting into practice what you learn in the classroom.


  • Deepen your relationship with God
  • Learn the story of God and your place in it
  • Make lifelong friends from all over the world


The YWAM DTS outreach will take you to the ends of the earth to preach the gospel, to show God’s love to the poor, to pray for the sick, to help refugees, and to care for orphans and widows. See lives changed, hearts transformed, and Christ’s Kingdom coming to Earth.


  • Share God’s love in creative, practical ways
  • Experience other cultures
  • Encounter God’s heart for the nations


$3850 plus outreach. Tuition covers the cost of meals, lodging, guest speakers, and books. Outreach fees vary from $2500 – $4000, depending on the location and cost of airfare.

white girl holding a black child

Compassion DTS

Learn to see people how Jesus sees them, and how to be His hands and feet towards all people.

Dates: September 22, 2024 – March 1, 2025

village and dusty road

Ends of the earth DTS

In the Ends of the Earth DTS, God WILL share with you a piece of His heart for the lost in the nations.

Dates: January 5, 2025 – June 7, 2025

Available Electives

Each DTS follows the same core curriculum. However, you can choose an Elective that will provide supplementary teaching and training on a topic that you are uniquely passionate about. Not every Elective is available with every DTS, so whether you attend the Fall or Winter DTS could impact which Electives you have available to choose from.

Children at Risk

Help bring mercy to children who are abused, forgotten, enslaved, or abandoned.

apple on books

Teachers for transformation

Learn how to transform people and nations through education as God’s truth brings freedom, peace, and love. Gain the knowledge and skills to make it possible!


Discover how the mission of the Kingdom of God intersects with science, technology, environmental care, and more!

Freedom’s Cry

Explore modern day slavery through a Biblical lens, learn from experts in the field, and find opportunities to take action in the fight for freedom.

man playing guitar

Spark: Arts, Media, Music & Dance

Learn how your passion for the arts can be unleashed for the Kingdom of God, merging your God-given creativity with His plan to disciple the nations!

End Bible Poverty

There are millions upon millions of people who currently have no access to read, hear, or understand Scripture. Let’s change that together!

DTS Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?

We’re glad you asked. It’s super easy to apply online! You can do it at the top of this page!

Really like using paper? Ask us to mail you an application instead.

We’ll begin processing your application once we have received your registration fee, application, and all your references.

How much does DTS cost?

$3850 + $35 application fee + Outreach.
The cost of DTS covers tuition, housing, food, and books.

Outreach costs vary from $2500 – $4000 based on the location of the outreach (the cost of living in that location and the cost of transportation to get there).

Can I get a scholarship?

We do not have scholarships available for DTS. Every student is responsible to raise the funding necessary for both the lecture and outreach phases.

How long until I know if I am accepted?

Once we have received your complete application it is our goal to have an answer to you within two-three weeks.  In most cases this happens, but occasionally it might take longer if the school leader is out of the country.

Encourage your references to submit their forms back as soon as possible. We cannot process your application without all three reference forms returned to us.

How do you decide to accept someone into the course?

To be eligible for a course, students must first meet the initial entry requirements and successfully submit a completed application and accompanying reference forms.

After we receive the application we carefully pray, asking God if this is the best time and place for each applicant.

What is a typical day in a YWAM DTS like?

Life in DTS is full! Your day will usually start with personal devotions and worship with your classmates and staff. Then you’ll have a few hours together as a class where you’ll learn from that week’s speaker.

Depending on which elective you choose, you may have separate class times and activities.

Outside of class, you’ll be involved in “small groups,” which are discussion groups designed to grow your friendships with each other and digest the information from class in a smaller environment.

Community Responsibilities: We all share the responsibility of keeping our community running well. Community responsibilities include helping prepare or clean-up meals, cleaning bathrooms, mowing the lawn, weeding the garden, helping with building maintenance, or other projects.

Devotional time: Disciplining ourselves to spend time with God each day is significant to growing in our relationships with Him. This time is specifically set apart each day for that purpose.

Worship: Led by staff and students, worship is a time to focus on God, to praise and thank Him for who He is. Worship is our response to God and is just as unique and creative as each of us.

Intercession: Prayer for others–nations, people, events. During the first week of lecture, you’ll receive training on what intercession is and how to effectively intercede for others.

Homework: Keep in mind that, as a prerequisite for further study within University of the Nations, the DTS is a university course. Homework may include the following: journal entries, book reports, geography quizzes, Bible study and memory work. We know that each person has different learning styles, so we incorporate several creative and fun projects.

Free time: We know that all work and no play makes it very hard to learn and stay motivated. So there are definitely free hours during the day for you to hang out, to get alone with God, to do whatever it is you do.

Weekends are available for you to sleep in, work on homework, relax, shoot hoops in the gym, do laundry, reflect on the last week’s teaching, or go with other students and staff on fun activities (Hello, cheese curds and frozen custard and Sassy Cow runs!). Sunday mornings, all the students will attend a local church of their choosing.

Where will I live during Training Phase?

We have 3 buildings that we host our schools at! In the fall, DTS typically meets at our Training & Retreat Center, 20 miles north of downtown Madison. There are large dorm rooms, divided into cozy spaces with bunk-beds, shelves, and dressers.

Built on seven acres, the Training Center (a former Elementary School) also includes a gym, bonfire pit, garden, and porches to enjoy the sunset (without mosquitoes!). We’ve also got an indoor wood stove — perfect for hanging out inside during the colder months. The classroom is just down the hall from the dorms.

It may be a surprise for you to suddenly be out in the country, but our students come to love the Training & Retreat Center. It is very peaceful and our students develop a lively community because of all the activities they can do together.

Other times of year, we host DTS at our Global Missions Center on the Northside of Madison, or at our discipleship house for university students on campus downtown Madison.

What is Outreach Phase like?

The second half of the school is the Outreach phase. It is where you practice hands-on discipleship.

For ten weeks, live what you learned in class through cross-cultural service, team building, and evangelism as you go out in teams to other nations.

Each outreach is different. During the lecture phase, staff and students pray and seek God for the details and specific focus for each team. It’s exciting to work with God this way!

Check out our blog for exciting stories from the field. Some of these stories could be yours someday!

Where do outreach teams go?

Outreach locations will be decided near the beginning of each school. The staff will present the outreach locations and then you will be given some time to prayerfully decide which team to join.

In the past, we have had DTS outreaches to every continent (except Antarctica). Past outreach locations include places like Uganda, Tanzania, Ukraine, Latvia, Albania, Greece, Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Thailand, Cambodia, and many more! We love ALL nations!

How can I afford a YWAM DTS?

Once you’ve been accepted to the school, we’ll be happy to help you come up with ideas for raising the money for DTS. Please feel free to call us to discuss it.

Some of our students are supported by their churches, friends, or families. Others work for a period of time to earn the money, and others use their savings accounts or sell their car.

Who are the speakers during Phase One (Lecture)?

The teachers are resident staff and visiting lecturers from different parts of the world. Your school leader can give you the teaching schedule.

Which topics are taught?

During Phase One (Lecture Phase), these are the exciting aspects of Christian living that you’ll learn:

  • God’s nature and character: encountering God
  • God’s intention for individuals, peoples and nations: seeing all of life from God’s perspective
  • God’s redemption–sin and the cross: recognizing Jesus as Lord
  • God’s family–His children and His Church: becoming more like Jesus
  • God’s world–His call and commission: doing the works of Jesus
  • YWAM–a response to God: knowing God and making Him known

During Phase Two (Outreach), you’ll learn in a different way — through life. Living in close contact with each other for a while brings out the best (yes, also the worst) of us and gives us many opportunities for personal growth.

Expect to learn things like:

  • giving up personal rights
  • worship and obedience (even when you don’t feel like it)
  • communicate cross-culturally
  • listen to God for direction and details
  • practice daily Christian living
How do I get a visa for DTS?

You can begin the visa application process after you have been accepted for the school. We’ll let you know the type of visa you’ll need and will send you a visa recommendation letter from YWAM Madison to help you obtain your visa.

The necessary visas for outreach will be taken care of by our office.

*Please note that obtaining a US visa can be difficult for some countries. As a result, our admissions team may recommend you attend a DTS in a country where you are more likely to obtain a visa.

Can married couples or families attend?

We’ve had several couples join us for DTS — some just a few months after their wedding. They thought DTS was an awesome way to begin their lives together, and we agree.

We can help you find a more ideal location for your family with children to attend DTS, as we are not currently set up to accommodate families.

What about holidays?

If you’re in our fall DTS, you can expect about 5 days off for Christmas. For other holidays, we don’t have more than one day off. Details of exact dates off for the school you’re attending will be sent to you prior to your arrival.

Still have questions?

We’re here to help! If you have any other questions about DTS, or you just want to chat with a real human about the possibility of doing a DTS, we’d love to talk. Just send an email to admissions@ywammadison.org and we can answer any further questions you may have!

YWAM Madison
Part of the YWAM global family of ministries