What is a DTS?

About DTS

Do you suspect that there are greater depths of intimacy with God than you are currently experiencing? Or does He seem distant? Do you have questions you need a safe place to wrestle with? Unsure about what to do with your life and want to press in to God for his plans? Do you want to explore missions? Or do you want to travel and have an adventure? Any of these are a great reason to do a DTS!! 

Discipleship Training Schools (DTS) are divided into two parts. Lecture Phase and Outreach Phase. YWAM’s motto is to ‘Know God and Make Him Known’ and a DTS can simply be summarised in the same way: Lecture phase is about getting to know God more personally and deeply for yourself, allowing Him to make changes in your heart and life. Outreach phase involves taking everything you have learned on lecture phase and putting it into practice on a cross-cultural outreach.

Here in YWAM Queenstown, we currently run 6 different Discipleship Training Schools throughout the year, each one with a special focus. You can learn more about each DTS through the links:

Arise DTS         Lighthouse DTS              Classic DTS

Worship DTS   Ski & Snowboard DTS   Extreme DTS

Lecture Phase

The DTS lecture phase provides classroom learning, community-bonding, and heart change. It’s a chance to have your perspectives altered and your view of God deepened.


Lecture phase engages the mind and spirit. You will receive powerful teaching from motivating speakers and missionaries, meant to provoke, challenge, and encourage. Issues like Hearing God’s Voice, Character and Nature of God, Identity, Forgiveness, Missions, Relationships and much more are discussed. Classroom time is a chance to build friendships and dig deeper into the questions we all have.

In addition to lectures, you will also have worship, prayer/intercession and bible study times designed to challenge you, help you grow and experience different ways of connecting with God.

Small Groups and One-On-One

Perhaps one of the most important parts of DTS is small groups and one-on-one discipleship. These times will allow you to process what you’re learning about God in a safe environment.

One-on-ones are usually held with a DTS staff member, someone who is with you throughout the entire lecture phase. It is their goal to help you grow through mentorship and counsel – personalised to you.

Small groups are held with other DTS students. Here, you can see how your classmates are being challenged as well. With vivid discussions and personal input into what you’re learning, these are not only times to get to know your classmates better, but also a time to experience the change in others

Practical Work

A key part of character development is serving those around us. A part of DTS is working to keep the YWAM Queenstown community functioning, while teaching teamwork and dedication. Whether it is gardening, cleaning, baking a birthday cake, or something else, this side of DTS helps you become a part of the community of YWAM around you.

Local Ministry/Outreach

Personal transformation leads to the transformation of community. You will have a chance to make a difference in the surrounding Queenstown-Lakes community through ministry and mini-outreaches. Whether it’s outreach to backpackers, helping serve a local church, working on a community project, or praying for the area, your DTS staff will guide you every step of the way, equipping you to impact a neighborhood. You will learn valuable skills and grow in boldness in sharing your faith with others.

Live/Learn environment

Part of YWAM’s philosophy of training is that learning and discipleship happens all the time, not just in the classroom. In order to maximise your growing opportunities you will live in community with other students, staff and leaders who will encourage and assist you in your development.

Outreach Phase

Discipleship Training Schools include practical application where you will have the chance to bring hope and life to those who are in great need.

Taste the rainforests of Papua New Guinea or the dusty streets of an Indian city. Hear the excited sounds of children’s voices in Indonesia, perform a gospel-based drama in a remote village in Thailand, or sail on a fishing boat to hold an open air service deep in the islands of Fiji. Our outreach region extends from New Zealand into Australia, the Pacific Islands, and out toward Southeast Asia. 

Together, with a team of other students, you will make a big impact on the communities you visit and work with on your DTS outreach. You will find out who else is on your outreach team, and the location you are going, usually around week 3 of lecture phase.

Debrief and Graduation

After Outreach, all the teams will reconvene together. We will take time to properly debrief our experiences of Outreach and DTS overall, as well as have teaching to prepare us for our next steps after DTS.

Before everyone goes their separate ways, we will have a graduation celebration to commission students out into whatever God has for them next.

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