We have a variety of ministries that serve our city of Salem and provide ways for you to get involved in missions locally. 

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Biblical Counseling Elective


A Journey of Self-Discovery for Future Counselors

The highlight of YWAM Salem’s discipleship training school (DTS) is our 6 elective course offerings tailored to your unique interests. The Biblical Counseling elective will send you on a transformative journey that empowers you to pursue profound personal growth, while also preparing you to become a compassionate and effective lay counselor.

Personal Growth for a Lifetime of Service

Do you seek a future in which supporting others spiritually and emotionally is a part of your every day? The Biblical Counseling elective can help you step confidently toward this calling from God.

At YWAM Salem, we offer an introduction to counseling course as part of our discipleship training school. In this spiritual training, you will delve into your past and emerge with a deeper understanding of yourself through a faith-based lens. With a foundation of confidence and spirituality, you will carry an invaluable perspective into the rest of your life that enables you to assist others as they travel the unique path God has called them to.

To attend a DTS you simply must be at least 17 years old and have a high school diploma.

What is Biblical Counseling DTS?

Our Biblical Counseling elective is offered as part of the Campus Phase of our discipleship training school. YWAM Salem’s DTS is a 5-month missions training experience like no other.

You and your fellow students will travel from across all corners of the country to our beautiful campus just outside Salem, Oregon, for 12 weeks of dormitory-style living, daily training, and group worship activities. Then, embark on the adventure of a lifetime in our Outreach Phase. For 8-10 weeks, you’ll live in an overseas community unfamiliar with God.

Biblical Counseling training is a powerful conduit for your personal growth, while also giving you the knowledge and strength to guide others on their journeys toward healing and self-discovery in Jesus.

A new DTS starts every fall, winter, and summer. So, what are you waiting for? 


Campus Phase

Our DTS begins with a 3-month Campus Phase where students discover more about God while surrounded by His beauty on our 35-acre campus. Located only 15 minutes from downtown Salem and 1 hour from Portland, Oregon, you’ll be fully immersed in His creations and have the chance to explore countless new communities.

During the campus phase, students will live in a close-knit community where they’ll encourage each other to grow in their walk with the Lord. There is also time to meet in small groups, and the opportunity to be personally mentored, encouraged, and discipled by our YWAM staff.

When you choose the Biblical Counseling elective, you will participate in weekly, hands-on training sessions that bridge the gap between faith and personal development. We will also perform weekly outreach ministry at a local nursery home. No need to have previous counseling or spiritual mentorship experience – our counseling missions training will provide all the information you need for the successful shepherdship of others through life’s myriad of challenges.

Our weekly Biblical Counseling topics include:

  • Intro to Biblical Counseling
  • Active Listening
  • Family Background
  • Trauma Informed Care
  • Self-Care for Longevity in Ministry
  • Cross-Cultural Counseling
  • Transition
  • Developing Your Ministry Plan


Outreach Phase

Once the Campus Phase is complete, put the skills and knowledge you gained in the Biblical Counseling ministry elective to work in the real world during YWAM Salem’s Outreach Phase. 
Travel on an 8-week mission trip to an overseas community unfamiliar with God and His story. There, you’ll use your newfound cultural competence and self-awareness to enact a transformative impact on people from all walks of life.

While we will complete daily missions activities, you have the unique opportunity to minister to new individuals in a deeply intimate way with effective lay counseling embodying the spirit of Christ.

DTS Details: Everything You Need to Know Before You Go

When is DTS?

YWAM Salem offers 3 DTS each year. Upcoming DTS include:

Winter DTS 2024: January 3rd - May 30th
Summer DTS 2024: June 19th - November 21st
Fall DTS 2024: September 26th Start

How Much Does DTS Cost?

Our total DTS cost for lodging, meals, tuition, training materials, outreach activities, and local transportation is $5,995. Students are responsible for their own airfare for the outreach phase's international travel. On average, a ticket costs about $2,000.

Per YWAM Salem’s payment plan, a $500 refundable deposit is due at least one month before your DTS start date. Starting in Week 1, a minimum of $600 will be due every Monday until your total balance is paid.

Start the Journey Toward Your Calling Today!

Step 1 - Schedule a Call

Chat with one of our student mobilization specialists to learn more about all our DTS elective offerings and get answers to all of your questions. Ready to answer God’s call right now? Skip ahead to Step 2 - Apply Today!

Step 2 - Apply Online

Fill out our online application at any time to kickstart the next phase of your life. It only takes 10-15 minutes to complete!

Step 3 - Connect with a Mentor

Identify a trusted adult in your life who will agree to sponsor you as a mentor. Then, send us their name and contact info so we can verify you have a lasting support system in the circle of your life outside of DTS.

Step 4 - Application Review

Once we have all of your information, we’ll review your application and send you your approval notice within 24-48 hours.

Step 5 - Get Excited…You’re Going to DTS!

It’s time to prepare for your future. Upon acceptance, you’ll have access to countless online resources that provide a digital checklist of every step you need to take to have a successful DTS experience.

How Does Biblical Counseling Fit Into Discipleship?

Proverbs 15:22 states: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

As a part of God’s great kingdom, we were not designed to suffer alone in silence. When you choose the missions path of biblical counseling, you’re acting as a conduit of God’s unending love in another’s story. At its core, counseling is an intensive and intimate form of discipleship by which you use the Bible and God’s Word to relate to and overcome a person’s life obstacles.