Who is YWAM?
Youth With A Mission is an international volunteer movement of Christians from many backgrounds, cultures and Christian traditions, dedicated to serving Jesus throughout the world. Also known as YWAM (pronounced “WHY-wham”), our purpose is simply to know God and to make Him known.
When YWAM began in 1960, our main focus was giving young people opportunities to demonstrate the love of Jesus to the whole world, according to His command in Mark 16:15. Today, we still focus on youth, but we have members (known as “YWAMers”) of almost every age and many of our short-term efforts have grown into long-term endeavors that have impacted lives and nations.
YWAM has a decentralized structure that encourages new vision and the exploration of new ways to change lives through training, convey the message of the gospel and care for those in need. We are currently operating in more than 1000 locations in over 180 countries, with a staff of over 18,000.
All YWAM locations share a common statement of faith, vision and values.
YWAM’s 3 Methods of Action
YWAM embraces three methods of action – ways which we believe God has given us to be a part of the goal of taking the Gospel to all the world:
1. EVANGELISM (Convey)
People who encounter Jesus want to tell others about Him. Christ’s love inspires us to use many creative means to make His gospel understood to any audience – large or small. We use tools such as music, performing arts and sports to connect with people of all ages and develop friendships which can lead to conversations of eternal value.
When working in other cultures and among people of other faiths, Christ’s message of peace is our starting point. We believe everyone has the right to hear this message and our hope is to see fellowships of believers, worshipping and following Jesus in every nation, tribe and tongue.
2. TRAINING (Change)
Change your mind. Change your life. Change your world.
YWAM training teaches you to explore and share your faith. A wide variety of specialized training programs equip students with skills that can be applied in many situations to convey the love of Christ and participate practically in missions. Our introductory course, the Discipleship Training School (DTS), is offered in many nations and languages and is a unique opportunity to focus on building your relationship with God and discover new opportunities to work with Him.
3. MERCY MINISTRY (Care)
If you believe it, you have to live it. YWAM Mercy Ministry teams follow Jesus’ example of compassion to those in need. We operate relief and development programs in over 100 countries, working among people living in desperate circumstances.
Our volunteers serve in areas such as agricultural assistance, health care, micro enterprise development and with women and children at risk. Their goal is to ease suffering and provide hope for those affected by poverty, disease or injustice.
YWAM teams responded to critical situations such as Hurricane Katrina, the Pakistani earthquake, and the Asian tsumani and they remain in long-term community development efforts in these and other places never seen on the news.
YWAM’s Statement of Faith
Youth With A Mission (YWAM) is an international movement of Christians from many denominations dedicated to presenting Jesus personally to this generation, to mobilizing as many as possible to help in this task, and to the training and equipping of believers for their part in fulfilling the Great Commission.
As citizens of God’s kingdom, we are called to love, worship, and obey our Lord, to love and serve His Body, the Church, and to present the whole gospel for the whole person throughout the whole world.
We of Youth With A Mission believe: that the Bible is God’s inspired and authoritative word, revealing that Jesus Christ is God’s son; that people are created in God’s image; that He created us to have eternal life through Jesus Christ; that although all people have sinned and come short of God’s glory, God has made salvation possible through the death on the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ; that repentance, faith, love and obedience are fitting responses to God’s initiative of grace towards us; that God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth; and that the Holy Spirit’s power is demonstrated in and through us for the accomplishment of Christ’s last commandment, “…Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
We affirm the Christian Magna Carta which describes the following basic rights as implicit in the Gospel. Everyone on earth has the right to:
- Hear and understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Have a Bible available in their own language.
- Have a Christian fellowship available nearby, to be able to meet for fellowship regularly each week, and to have Biblical teaching and worship with others in the Body of Christ.
- Have a Christian education available for their children.
- Have the basic necessities of life: food, water, clothing, shelter and health care.
- Lead a productive life of fulfillment spiritually, mentally, socially, emotionally, and physically.
We commit ourselves, by God’s grace, to fulfill this covenant and to live for His glory.(Developed by YWAM leaders, 1981)
The Foundational Values of YWAM
Youth With A Mission (YWAM) affirms the Bible as the authoritative word of God and, with the Holy Sprit’s inspiration, the absolute reference point for every aspect of life and ministry. Based upon God’s word, who He is, and His initiative of salvation, through the atoning work of Jesus (His death, burial and resurrection), the following responses are strongly emphasizes in YWAM:
Worship: We are called to praise and worship God alone.
Holiness: We are called to lead holy and righteous lives that exemplify the nature and character of God.
Witness: We are called to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who do not know Him.
Prayer: We are called to engage in intercessory prayer for the people and causes on God’s heart, including standing against evil in every form.
Fellowship: We are called to commit to the Church in both its local nurturing expression and its mobile multiplying expression.
The Foundational Values of Youth With A Mission are the expression of our basic beliefs coupled with specific directives given by God since YWAM’s beginning in 1960. They are recorded here in order to pass on to successive generations that which God has emphasized to us. These shared beliefs and values are the guiding principles for both the past and future growth of our mission. Some are common to all Christians everywhere; others are distinctive to Youth With A Mission. The combination of these beliefs and values make up the unique family characteristics of our YWAM “DNA”. They are values we hold in high regard which determine who we are, how we live and how we make decisions.
1. Know God
YWAM is committed to know God, His nature, His character and His ways. We seek to reflect who He is in every aspect of our lives and ministry. The automatic overflow of knowing and enjoying fellowship with God is a desire to share Him with others.
2. Make Him known
YWAM is called to make God known throughout the whole world, and into every arena of society through evangelism, training and mercy ministries. We believe that salvation of souls should result in transformation of societies, thus obeying Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations.
3. Hear God’s voice
YWAM is committed to creating with God through listening to Him, praying His prayers and obeying His commands in matters great and small. We are dependent upon hearing His voice as individuals, together in team contexts and in larger corporate gatherings. This is an integral part of our process for decision making.
4. Practice worship and intercessory prayer
YWAM is dedicated to worship Jesus and engage in intercessory prayer as integral aspects of daily life. We also recognize the intent of Satan to destroy the work of God and we call upon God’s power and the Holy Spirit to overcome his strategies in the lives of individuals and in the affairs of nations.
5. Be visionary
YWAM is called to be visionary, continually receiving, nurturing and releasing fresh vision from God. We support the pioneering of new ministries and methods, always willing to be radical in order to be relevant to every generation, people group, and sphere of society. We believe that the apostolic call of YWAM requires the integration of spiritual eldership, freedom in the Spirit and relationship, centered on the Word of God.
6. Champion young people
YWAM is called to champion youth. We believe God has gifted and called young people to spearhead vision and ministry. We are committed to value them, trust them, train them, support them, make space for them and release them. They are not only the Church of the future; they are the Church of today. We commit to follow where they lead, in the will of God.
7. Be broad-structured and decentralized
YWAM is broad-structured and diverse, yet integrated. We are a global family of ministries held together by shared purpose, vision, values and relationship. We believe that structures should serve the people and the purposes of God. Every ministry at every level has the privilege and responsibility of accountability to a circle of elders, with overall international accountability to the YWAM Global Leadership Team.
8. Be international and interdenominational
YWAM is international and interdenominational in its global scope as well as its local constituency. We believe that ethnic, linguistic and denominational diversity, along with redeemed aspects of culture, are positive factors that contribute to the health and growth of the mission.
9. Have a biblical worldview
YWAM is called to a Biblical worldview. We believe that the Bible makes a clear division between good and evil; right and wrong. The practical dimensions of life are no less spiritual than the ministry expressions. Everything done in obedience to God is spiritual. We seek to honor God with all that we do, equipping and mobilizing men and women of God to take roles of service and influence in every arena of society.
10. Function in teams
YWAM is called to function in teams in all aspects of ministry and leadership. We believe that a combination of complementary gifts, callings, perspectives, ministries and generations working together in unity at all levels of our mission provides wisdom and safety. Seeking God’s will and making decisions in a team context allows accountability and contributes to greater relationship, motivation, responsibility and ownership of the vision.
11. Exhibit servant leadership
YWAM is called to servant leadership as a lifestyle, rather than a leadership hierarchy. A servant leader is one who honors the gifts and callings of those under his/her care and guards their rights and privileges. Just as Jesus served His disciples, we stress the importance of those with leadership responsibilities serving those whom they lead.
12. Do first, then teach
YWAM is committed to doing first, then teaching. We believe that firsthand experience gives authority to our words. Godly character and a call from God are more important than an individual’s gifts, abilities and expertise.
13. Be relationship-oriented
YWAM is dedicated to being relationship-oriented in our living and working together. We desire to be united through lives of holiness, mutual support, transparency, humility, and open communication, rather than a dependence on structures or rules.
14. Value the individual
YWAM is called to value each individual. We believe in equal opportunity and justice for all. Created in the image of God, people of all nationalities, ages and functions have distinctive contributions and callings. We are committed to honoring God-given leadership and ministry gifts in both men and women.
15. Value families
YWAM affirms the importance of families serving God together in missions, not just the father and/or mother. We encourage the development of strong and healthy family units, with each member sharing the call to missions and contributing their gifts in unique and complementary ways.
16. Practice dependence on God
YWAM is called to practice a life of dependence upon God for financial provision. For individuals and YWAM corporately this comes primarily through His people. As God has been generous toward us, so we desire to be generous. YWAMers give themselves, their time and talents to God through the Mission with no expectation of remuneration.
17. Practice hospitality
YWAM affirms the ministry of hospitality as an expression of God’s character and the value of people. We believe it is important to open our hearts, homes and campuses to serve and honor one another, our guests and the poor and needy, not as acts of social protocol, but as expressions of generosity.
18. Communicate with integrity
YWAM affirms that everything exists because God communicates. Therefore, YWAM is committed to truthful, accurate, timely and relevant communication. We believe good communication is essential for strong relationships, healthy families and communities, and effective ministry.
(YWAM Foundational Values approved by the Global Leadership Team August 2003; released February 2004.)