What is a DTS?
A DTS (discipleship training school)is a six-month course where you learn to know God and make Him known. It is split up into two phases. The first phase of three months of the DTS is known as “Phase One,” a time specifically set apart to seek God and understand His character. You will spend more time in the classroom during this phase, where each week, you receive teaching on a different topic. For example, you will learn about the Holy Spirit, the nature and character of God, how to hear the voice of God, etc.
The second two-three months of DTS is known as “Phase Two,” where you will get sent to your outreach location. During this time, you will be practically applying what you have learned from the first three months of DTS. You will most likely travel to an overseas nation in the 10/40 window and share Jesus with those who have never heard of Him before.
Finally, once you return from outreach, you will enter “Phase Three,” or a two-week period of debriefing and processing what the Lord has done in your life over the past several months. You will have the opportunity to discuss the highlights as well as challenging parts of Phases One and Two. YWAM Lancaster staff will be ready to pray with you and help prep you for the next season of your life, whether you feel the Lord leading you into college, work, or full-time missions.
What does a typical day-to-day schedule look like during Phase One?
While your exact school schedule will be given to you on your first day of DTS, some things that you can surely count on are times of corporate worship and intercession, personal time with God, local outreach in Lancaster County, and work duties on base where you will work alongside staff. You will get to listen to and engage with speakers from around the globe in a living-room-style environment. There will be a staff person that you will meet with on a regular basis throughout Phase One. These will be times of intentional discipleship where you can share about what God is doing in your heart and how He’s growing you. Many weekends will be free, which are awesome opportunities to build relationships with other students/staff and explore the area.
Will I get thrown into Phase Two, or will I have the opportunity to prepare for outreach during Phase One of DTS?
You will most likely know where you are going on outreach by the third or fourth week of your school. There will be opportunities to learn about the culture and language, intercede for the trip, and participate in team-building activities. Some of the purposes of intercession prior to the trip are to have God’s heart for the people you will meet, create strategies for outreach, and receive specific pictures or prophetic words for you and your team before you leave.
How much does a DTS cost? Do you have to pay for everything up front, or are you able to make sub-payments?
Each YWAM base is different depending on location/what they offer. At YWAM Lancaster, the lecture phase is $3,995, and outreach is between $4,000-$6,000. The lecture phase cost covers lodging, food, teachers, and books required for reading. The payment for the lecture phase is due the first day of school (October 1st for the fall 2023 DTS). The cost of outreach is due before the first day of outreach, which may vary depending on your location.
How can I fundraise for DTS?
Raising money for DTS is an incredible opportunity to see God provide as well as to partner with other believers. There are some practical ways that you can do this.
One great way to start is to share with your church about how God is leading you to do DTS. Don’t let money be the focus; rather be yourself and let people see your passion to know Jesus more and share his love with others.
Organize a bake sale. Allow your church and friends to donate baked goods to sell. Be ready to talk about the adventure you’re about to embark on and have a sign-up sheet ready for folks who would like to join your prayer updates/newsletters.
Consider sharing in front of your youth group about your trip. Include a testimony about how God has been real in your life, and invite the youth to partner with you in catalyzing the next generation of Jesus followers. While youth may not have the most money, God can take their small offering and multiply it. Jesus said that the widow’s coin was worth more than any offerings from the wealthy (Mark 12:41-44).
Steward your money well by working a part-time job. It is not unspiritual to save your money and plan ahead for future costs.
Submit your needs to the Lord. Commit your needs to him; trust in him, and he will act (Psalm 37:5). The Lord loves when we step out in faith and obedience to what He is calling us to do.
Do you need to complete all three phases of DTS to graduate?
The answer is yes! All three phases of DTS are integral to completion. Phase Two builds upon Phase One; what God taught you about Himself, as well as about yourself, in Phase One, will be essential to what He wants to do in and through you in the nations. Phase Two is an incredible opportunity to begin to put into practice the things you’ve learned together with a strongly supportive, disciple-making community. Phase Three allows you to put together all that God has been showing you in Phases One and Two and process with staff who have also gone through this intensive training. While six months is a significant commitment, it is a small one in light of eternity.
Can I receive college credit for completing a DTS?
Yes, DTS students will receive twelve credits for Phase One and eight credits for Phase Two of DTS at YWAM Lancaster. These are accredited with the University of the Nations, which is an international university that offers educational opportunities in over 160 nations worldwide. Various accredited institutions throughout the world accept UofN transfer students and credits. UofN is a degree-granting institution (Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees) but has not applied for accreditation in any one nation’s educational system.
Will I be able to join staff after I complete my DTS?
After you complete your DTS, you will need to complete either an internship or an Advanced Training School before you can apply to be a staff member for YWAM Lancaster. While the focus of DTS is your personal relationship with God, an Advanced Training School (such as a School of Ministry Development or SOMD) or internship will help you grow in specific leadership skills and make the transition between student and staff.
If I’m married and have a family, can I still do a DTS? Does my spouse have to participate as well? Is there childcare provided?
We love families and have several couples that are on staff at YWAM Lancaster. We do require both spouses to complete a DTS at the same time since there is so much growth that occurs during a DTS. Families do have to provide their own childcare during the day, as DTS will run between 8a-5p on weekdays. If one spouse has already completed a DTS, the other is permitted to audit and does not have to pay the full tuition expenses.
Why should I do YWAM Lancaster’s Discipleship Training School?
At YWAM Lancaster, we are passionate about hosting the presence of God. This is our number one priority and value. We are committed to spending time in prayer, worship, and intercession as a community. Currently, we are partnering with the Ending Bible Poverty Movement. Why? There are still billions who have not yet heard the goodness of Jesus and thousands of languages without the Bible. Our other top values are to embrace the work of the Holy Spirit, operate in the unity of believers, and proclaim a bold gospel message.
God is raising up a movement out of Lancaster County that is prophesied to be the tip of the spear to fulfill the Great Commission. Believers of Amish and Mennonite heritage are rising up and responding to the call of God on their lives. They are traveling to the ends of the earth with the love of God in their hearts. Young people in every school district in Lancaster County are hungry for the real truth. The Lord is filling them and encountering them as He promises in Matthew 5:6. There is a prayer and worship movement that is overflowing from this region into the unreached and forgotten places of the world. Jesus is receiving His maximum glory from the thousands of prayers and commitments to go into all the world and preach the gospel.