About Joshua Wilderness Institute

The Joshua Wilderness Institute is a 9-month, discipleship gap-year program existing to disciple young adults toward loving God and His Word in order to set a foundation for a life worthy of the gospel.


We believe that we are “renewed in the knowledge of the image of our Creator” (Col. 3:10). The Joshua Wilderness Institute has a strong, academic core designed to give students a Biblical foundation of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.


We believe that all Christian knowledge and action is useless without true, genuine faith and humble dependence on Christ. The Joshua Wilderness Institute prioritizes spiritual formation in all that happens through classes, one on one discipleship, small groups, intentional discussions, purposeful reflection and more.


We believe that it takes practice to live a life worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Students will apply what they learn every day through living alongside others, serving and working at Hume Lake Christian Camp, and through our five, yearly trips.

Join us as we live in a gospel-centered community and learn and serve in the Sequoia National Forest, Los Angeles, Hume SoCal, the Dominican Republic, Israel, and more!

So what does it actually look like?


Joshua students participate in robust and enriching classes ranging from Old and New Testament surveys to Hermeneutics, Spiritual Formation and Foundations of Christian thought.

In partnership with Biola University, Joshua students will engage in Socratic, cohort-style classes geared toward strengthening Biblical foundations and a strong, Christian worldview. 

Students will take Biblical Interpretation and Spiritual Formation coupled with Old Testament Survey in the fall and Foundations of Christian Thought and New Testament Survey in the Spring. In addition, students will learn about ancient Israel’s geography to prepare for our trip to Israel in April.


In the 9-months that Joshua students are in the program, they participate in five trips. Three of the trips are within the United States, focusing on service and evangelism, bringing students out of their comfort zones for the sake of the gospel. The other two trips are to the Dominican Republic and Israel where students will be able to serve alongside missionaries and see their learning come alive in the Holy Land. Our discipleship staff goes with students on every trip, walking alongside them as they directly apply what they have learned inside of the building.


Every week, students gather in the evening to sit under the wisdom, experience and Biblical teaching of a Joshua-selected speaker.

Our 22 speakers are professors, missionaries, Bible scholars, apologists, and pastors, each bringing a unique experience, perspective, and grounding in the Word of God. Gathering together for corporate worship and teaching helps create an atmosphere of praise, growth, and true discipleship in the building and is a highlight for staff and students alike.


We believe that we are meant to do the Christian life in community. We describe the Joshua community as the “rock tumbler”… Joshua students will have the opportunity to be encouraged through learning, growing, struggling, succeeding, and being challenged with and by their JWI peers. 

The Fast

Joshua is an environment where students can eliminate distractions and put their focus solely on their relationship with the Lord through an intentional Joshua fast. We ask students to willingly lay down media, pre-recorded music, and furthering dating relationships for the sake of being both physically and mentally present while they are in the program.

Interested? We’d love to talk with you.
Start the conversation by filling out the interest form.

Frequently Asked Questions

Joshua has a max capacity of 56 students and 4 live-in staff.

Move in day is Saturday, September 10, 2022 and graduation will be May 20, 2023. There will be a break for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter and you will have a few weekends off (when you are not working).

There are six full time Joshua staff members throughout the year.  All of our staff have a passion and desire to walk alongside students as they learn who God is and how to live a life worthy of the Gospel. We can’t wait to meet you!

We thought you’d never ask. They are great! All JWI students live in the Joshua lodge and share a room with one other student. Living and doing life with others is a huge value here at Joshua! Every room has two beds, closet space, dressers, and a bathroom. Rooms on the top floor of the Joshua lodge all have large lofts.

The 2022-2023 JWI out-of-pocket cost will be $20,300. This includes all classes, room and board, travel, and trips.

Each student will be enrolled in a payment plan. Need-based camperships are available through an application and committee review. Set up a meeting with us to learn more!

A Covid-19 vaccine will not be required to attend the Joshua Wilderness Institute. However, we will be monitoring updated regulations locally and internationally. Because some of our trips are out of country we must follow the guidelines set by those countries. If those countries change their vaccination requirements it could mean that students would not be allowed entry without a vaccine. All this to say, we are encouraging but not mandating students to be fully vaccinated.

Our international trips will be to the Dominican Republic and Israel. Our domestic trips are subject to change, but in the past we have gone to Los Angeles, Mexico, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Fresno, Texas and more! Each year we evaluate our ministry goals and decide where our students will go and how we will serve. 

Unless you want to be stuck at the LA airport…Yes! Because the entire Joshua class goes on trips overseas, you will need to have a current passport with at least 14 months left until expiration at the start of the program.

Applications for Joshua are on a rolling schedule. The sooner you apply, the greater chances you will have to enroll before we hit our capacity. Why wait? Apply today!

In 2000, JWI was birthed out of a pre-existing program at Hume Lake called Caleb. Caleb was a week-long summer program directed toward spiritually mature, high school leaders. While the program was running, many college-age summer staff began attending Caleb sessions and asking if there was something similar for them.

Realizing that many young adults were hungry for growth, Hume Lake’s leadership set about developing a program to help guide students to discern how to live through a biblical worldview. For over twenty years the Joshua Wilderness Institute has helped to guide students toward Loving God and His Word through inductive bible study, basic life skills, discussion groups, Old and New Testament surveys, spiritual formation, cross-cultural trips, worldview development and more.

In Numbers 13, when Moses sends twelve scouts into the promised land, only one of them comes back with a belief that Israel can take the land. Caleb has faith and states, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (v.13:30). Joshua is part of the twelve sent to the promised land yet says nothing. However, in chapter 14, following Caleb’s lead and faith, Joshua proclaims, “If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us” (v.14:8). Although Joshua is not the first to believe and act, we see that he is chosen by God to be the leader of all of Israel, guiding them into the promised land. The Joshua Wilderness Institute is for the student who, like Joshua, does not arrive as the faithful, confident disciple, but is willing and open to God working mightily in their lives for His glory and their good.

Glad you caught that! JWI is a place for students to eliminate distractions in their life and focus on a relationship with Christ. Moses’ first interaction with God happened at the burning bush. He was in the wilderness, removed from distractions and alone with God. In this moment God set the course for Moses’ life. We read later in Exodus 33 that God spoke to Moses “face to face, as one speaks to a friend”. The Joshua logo reflects that God speaks to us, desires a relationship with us, and will speak to us as a friend.

Cruce, Libro, et Atro literally means “the cross, the book, and the plow.” This Benedictine motto from the 9th century serves as the philosophical foundation of our training at the Joshua Wilderness Institute. It emphasizes the necessity of personal balance in faith, knowledge, and works for the disciple. Christian activity motivated by anything other than a heart gripped by the glory of God is wasted. Work ethic alone, separated from true heart conversion, knowledge of who God is and who one is in Him is not only dangerous, but directionless. It is only when one learns to synchronize Biblical faith, the acquisition of knowledge and the service of God and others that we get to experience a picture of what a life worthy of the gospel looks like.

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