“As the DTS goes, so goes the mission.”
-Darlene Cunningham, YWAM’s Co-Founder
The Discipleship Training School has, and continues to play a vital role in the growth and multiplication of Youth With A Mission. All of YWAM’s staff have gone through the DTS. So whether or not your main focus is on training like the DTS it is still an important part of our mission. One that you should support and champion. This post and the following points are not meant to help simply get more students for numbers sake. Instead my hope is that you will see it as a way to help mobilize more people into missions. To see, as YWAM’s motto puts it, more people get know God more and then make Him known. Also this is a very basic way to kickstart things in what I am aware is a primarily western way of doing things. To really see sustained growth in any context I believe there is so much more time and energy needed in this area. Though I did want to give a quick kickstart that I think can help many of you.
1. Make It A Priority
The first trap with a blog post like this is that these points are simply tips that will make the process easy. Trust me it won’t. You are in for a lot of hard work and you need to be willing to make communications, especially 3-6 months out from a school, a priority. So for some of you that may mean putting other focusses on hold for a season. Be willing to have more of your team working on it and make the space and resources needed available to them.
Extra Tip: Contact me about further training opportunities or talk to other YWAM locations you see that are growing.
2. Learn Who Is Likely To Join You
We often don’t have a lot of time and resources to put into this. So knowing where to focus your efforts will help you not waste time and resources. Take some solid time to research what sorts of people are most likely to join you. If you have run DTS’s before that is a great place to start. Where did they come from? How old were they etc.? It’s not that you don’t want other types of people to join your DTS. It’s more about starting where the most fruit will be. Remember this is all about a kickstart.
Extra Tip: Ask other YWAM locations in your country if they have any of this information they would be willing to share with you.
3. Start A Blog
You may already have a blog on your web-site but if not figure out how to start one as soon as you can. If you do have one than start writing and getting more quality posts out. So whether that’s one a day, or one a week, try and do whatever you have the capacity to do. Though the main thing is to keep the topics relevant to those that might be interested in joining missions. Have a look at our YWAM Newcastle blog or YWAM Salem’s for ideas.
Extra Tip: Place a simple contact form embedded at the bottom of every blog post for people who want to Learn More. Don’t make people have to click to a Contact Page to do that.
4. Promote On Facebook
I am assuming you already have a Facebook Business Page. With that make sure you have an advertising account set up with it. Then depending on your available budget take some of your best blog posts and use the Boost feature to help promote it. This will get your blog post seen by more people, Start with the feature to Boost to your “Likes & Friends of Likes” in the countries most likely to join you.
Extra Tips: Use a strong excerpt from your blog as the supporting text when posting on Facebook. Do not simply say “Check out our latest blog.”. Also if you have someone with web site experience have them install the Facebook Pixel that will help you track results.
5. Get On The Phone
This point is not simply about getting back to people as soon as possible, though that is critical. Never wait a week to reply to someone who is genuinely interested in joining you. Though the number one thing here, one that I have gathered data and reports on from locations around the world, is to get on the phone! Don’t default to email or text. If you truly value the response then you need to get as direct as possible. So get more phones if you need it. Then make as many phone calls as is physically possible in the time you have, with as many phone numbers as you have received. If you skimp on this one you can forget about all your previous efforts.
Extra Tip: Make sure your web site’s contact forms require a phone number. Just getting an email will be quite limiting.
The first part of this one has to do with asking God for the goal. How many students is He leading you to believe for? What vision has He given you for your growth and specifically the growth of your DTS? Having a target and a clear vision will give your team something clear to pray about. Prayer through the whole process, including the above points, is so important. We never want to slip into doing things on our own strength. To see the growth as somehow coming from our cleverness. Thankfully that has not been the case in the growth I have participated in. I have been so grateful for the lessons God has taught us and the journey we have been on. So make sure to remind your team of this.
Extra Tip: Maybe schedule in a weekly time of prayer and fasting with a focus on the upcoming DTS.
The above list is in no way extensive and is obviously missing pages and pages of context. There is no way to squeeze in every reason why these things are important. Though feel free to contact me if you would like to learn more about them. I am currently running week long Mobilization Sprint’s with YWAM locations around the world that dive in a lot deeper. Also YWAM Newcastle runs a 3 month School of Communication & Digital Influence. We really want the school to be training up skilled communicators to help you with this. So maybe pray about sending someone, or coming yourself, this coming April.