Outdoor Ministry Program

Technical Training for Outdoor Ministry

The need for highly trained outdoor guides is higher than it ever has been. Today, more and more organizations (Christian and non-Christian) are starting to see the positive growth that the outdoors can bring to their staff, clients, and students. They just need someone to lead them safely and confidently. Could this be you?

The Outdoor Ministry Program is geared toward those who have experience in the outdoor  environment, but now want to develop their technical skills in backpacking, mountaineering, and rock climbing, in order to have what it takes to lead people safely and confidently in an alpine environment. Along with the technical skills, you will walk away with an Avalanche 1 and Wilderness First Responder Certification. The goal of this program is for you to have the ability to safely and confidently staff or pioneer an outdoor ministry to reach the outdoor industry with the Gospel.

Why 11 months?

To train through different seasons

Here and in Montana and many other places in the world there are 4 seasons and each season brings with it a new challenge depending on what type of activity you are doing. Having 4 seasons also means we can teach a broader curriculum to provide you with more experience to add to your Resume. As you can see from the list, each skill will have its season to train in and spend time focusing on that skill.  In the springtime you can climb a 10,000ft peak Alpine style, and only 3 months later you can climb the same peak with no snow where you might have to set up a hand line or a belay along a ridge.

To become proficient in your outdoor skills

You don’t become an outdoor guide overnight. Or even become one if you have taken a few classes on “Outdoor guiding”. You become an outdoor professional by spending large amounts of time and energy on different skill sets in the outdoors so you become a master at each one, to the point that it becomes second nature to you. Being here for eleven months will help you better understand/prepare yourself for guiding groups of people as you build your resume of experience.

To grow/mature in your personal life and leadership abilities

Being an outdoor guide doesn’t just mean you know all the cool facts that no one really cares about, but it is also knowing how to lead with confidence, dealing with and encouraging people, facilitating/debriefing small groups, teaching, organizing details, following your gut instincts, and having well rounded knowledge of why you believe what you do. This is why we spend so much time reading through different books, have one on ones, and attend lectures on different topics on top of our outdoor curriculum.

Working with SAR, EDTS, and leading missionary member/community trips.

You get almost a whole year working with other outdoor enthusiasts and free training when you volunteer with Search and Rescue (this also adds a very positive point on you resume). When working with EDTS and leading missionary member/community trips, it puts you into the leadership position so you gain the necessary experience and knowledge that it takes to organize the trips, activities, and advertising.

Upon application, you will also be asked if you want to be involved with our local Flathead County Search and Rescue organization. If you are accepted with them, you will be given opportunities for more training and a chance to be involved with the community.


Built into this time, there is also a 5 week outreach to one of our Target Nations (Ukraine, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Taiwan and an undisclosed location), where we will use our outdoor skills to further His Kingdom and be introduced to existing outdoor ministries.

Here is a partial list of the outdoor curriculum:

  • Rock climbing 1 and 2
  • Backpacking
  • Orienteering
  • Mountaineering
  • Winter camping/survival
  • Leave No Trace
  • Wilderness First Responder certification
  • Avalanche 1 certification

Because we are training not just to improve our skills, but to influence those around us, we will also be focusing on growing spiritually and in leadership. This will be done with reading, lectures, worship, one-on-ones, and intercession.

*Cost Includes: Room and Board, training, travel, and some required gear.

*YWAM Montana-Lakeside operates under special use permits with the Flathead and Kootenai National Forests and is an equal opportunity provider*

Upcoming Schools

  • Fall 2017

    • Start Date:09/18/17
    • End Date:08/10/18
    • Total Cost:USD 14,000
      Apply By Dates
    • By Applicant Nationality
    • If you are an international applicant, please fill out the contact form below and we will connect with you regarding the visa deadlines for your specific nation.

    • :
    • :
    • :
    • Domestic:09/04/2017
    Apply Online
  • More Dates
    Coming Soon
Apply By Dates

The "Apply By Dates" are dates that are generated by your nationality, and our Registrar's estimation of time needed to properly process and acquire all the materials necessary for any student to attend one of our schools. If you have missed the apply by date set for your nationality and are still interested in attending the school, please feel free to email our Registrar's Office at [email protected] to see if applying is still a possibility.


Discipleship Training School
Able to confidently rock climb a difficulty of 5.6 in rock shoes.
Documentation of 10 top rope climbs 5.6 or harder (date, Location, route name).
Familiar with basic climbing knots including: figure 8, bowline, clove hitch, munter hitch, mule hitch, prussik, flat overhand, double fisherman's and klemheist.
Documentation of at least 3 overnight backcountry trips.
Some experience on 3rd and 4th class terrain.
Able to run 6 miles.
CPR/First aid certificate (this only applies if you want to be involved with Search and Rescue).
*Documentation of rock climbs and backcountry trips can be included in your application.

Weekly Schedule

Work Skills 12 Hours/Week

12 Hours/Week

Each week, you will spend 12 hours either in the Kitchen or the Auto shop. Wherever you are, there is always food to be made and a car to get you where you need to go. So, you get to serve YWAM Montana by helping out, but at the same time learning essential skills that will prepare you for running or pioneering an outdoor ministry. These 12 hours are learn-as-you-go time.

Reading 11 Hours/Week

11 Hours/Week

Personal Growth (9 hours)

  • Hearing God’s voice
  • Character and Nature of God
  • Holy Spirit
  • Missions/pioneering
  • Finance and budgeting
  • Worldview
  • Discipleship
  • Jesus
  • Leadership
  • Evangelism

Outdoor Education (2 hours)

  • Mountaineering
  • Rock climbing
  • Snow and snow travel
  • Wilderness Medicine
  • Risk Management
  • Effective leadership in the outdoors
  • Navigation

Outdoor Training 10 Hours/Week

10 Hours/Week

These 10 hours a week are a time specific to learning outdoor skills (see Outdoor Curriculum list), training, trip prep, or running a program like staff outings or a community activity.

Worship/Intercession 3 Hours/Week

3 Hours/Week

We will be joining our YWAM Lakeside family for corporate times of intercession & worship throughout the week. As a school each morning we will begin with times of worship & intercession.

Lecture 2 Hours/Week

2 Hours/Week

There are 2 hours set aside for lectures (see lecture topic list) each week. This time is for topics on (soft skills) personal growth, spiritual training, leading, running a kitchen, mechanics, etc… Not a time for learning outdoor skills (hard skills). Some of these topics will be taught by one of the program leaders, but most will be taught by others here on base or by outside sources.

One-on-Ones 1 Hours/Week

1 Hours/Week

During the week, each program participant will meet with a program leader for 30 to 60 minutes to process the week.

Training Log 2 Hours/Week

2 Hours/Week

This is not a journal, just writing down facts so at the end of the program you have a log of all your outdoor experience that you can write up a resume with.

Resource Materials

School Leaders

Tyler & AnnaRose Johnson

Tyler did his DTS in 2004. Since then, he has completed a YWAM outdoor guiding school (Bishop, CA), completed the YWAM Biblical Core Course (Kona, HI), served in many DTSes (in both NZ and MT), and has been leading groups and individuals in the outdoors for the last 8 years on mountaineering, climbing, hiking, and backpacking trips. Tyler and AnnaRose have been married for 7 years and have two children. They have been missionary members with YWAM since 2010.

AnnaRose did her DTS in 2006. Since then, she has done a YWAM School of Worship (Lakeside, MT), served in 4 DTS’s (New Zealand), served with the School of Worship (Lakeside, MT), and is involved with a sewing ministry on the base.

Find Us

(406) - 844 - 2221
[email protected]
YWAM Montana | Lakeside
501 Blacktail Rd.
Lakeside MT, 59922
United States
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We are currently looking for full-time volunteers to fill these staff positions: Kitchen Manager.