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Documentary Film Elective


Become a Powerful Visual Storyteller for Christ

When you join YWAM Salem for a discipleship training school (DTS), you can experience our Documentary Film elective and experience God’s story from a new perspective. God created the story, now you get to tell it through your unique lens.

God’s Story – Your Cinematic Talents

Do you have a passion for visual storytelling? Are you eager to share God’s story with the world?

YWAM Salem’s discipleship training school Documentary Film elective is right for any creative individual seeking a life of missions and movie making. When you understand how scripture uses stories to display God’s character, you can effectively share your faith with the nations through film.

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

What is Documentary Film DTS?

Our Documentary Film 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 untouched by The Word. There you’ll implement your newfound documentary skills to capture God’s love at work and make faith-based connections with new believers.

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 new levels of their relationship with God while surrounded by God’s natural creations on our 35-acre campus. Located only 15 minutes from downtown Salem and 1 hour from Portland, Oregon, you’ll be fully immersed in new environments and have the chance to explore daily.

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 Documentary Film elective, you will participate in weekly, hands-on training sessions that fine-tune your video production skills for Christ. Whether you’re brand-new to filmmaking or have been called to previous documentary projects, we’ll provide the knowledge you need to succeed in a lifetime of mission-driven visual storytelling.

Our weekly Documentary Film topics include:

  • God as a Storyteller
  • Creating the Narrative
  • Tone, Pace & Emotion
  • The Gear & The Team
  • The Camera
  • Lighting
  • Audio
  • Editing


Outreach Phase

Once the Campus Phase is complete, put the skills and knowledge you gained in the Documentary Film 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. Once there, you’ll use your visual communication abilities to document and share God’s love in a new light.  As you dive deeper into your vibrant relationship with God, you’ll find that our missions training and immersive outreach are just the first step in your new future in missions and film.

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 Documentary Film Fit Into Discipleship?

Matthew 28:18-20 says: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Discipleship calls us to spread God’s word through every community, space, and societal sphere we find ourselves in. Film production provides a unique opportunity to reach the masses, especially individuals who may not encounter God’s story through other avenues. Documentary films specifically can call people to God by sharing inspiration or uplifting messages of the truth of God’s love at work in our world.