Back in the mid 90’s, God spoke to us here at YWAM Newcastle many foundational things that have shaped who we are and what we look like today.
Our first DTSs were Youth Ministry DTSs that ran for nine months. These schools would run lunchtime programs in high schools three days a week and lead youth groups in the three different “high need” neighbourhoods in the Newcastle Region.
Those DTS students were out there doing it. There were some great wins when God did incredible things in the lives of young people, and there were also times that it was so hard that we were crying out to God, “Help!!”
I am sure that youth leaders out there reading this totally understand. It was after one of those “help” moments that God spoke to us two key scriptures that we still hold onto today.
We had gone to a local high school to run a lunchtime program. After working in this particular high school for well over a year with great results, this day was quite different. On this day, the high school students were out of control! Turning on and off the huge lights in the auditorium, throwing chairs around and just general chaos. The Principal of the school was apologetic to us when we went to meet with him to say our apologies.
This experience amongst others had us on our knees before God – “What are we doing?” “Are You sure You really want us to stick with Youth Ministry?”
And do you know what God said to us? Put your nets on the other side…
“Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break So they signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.”
Not long after this, God also spoke to us about being people who “understand the times”.
“Since it was customary for the king to consult experts in matters of law and justice, he spoke with the wise men who understood the times”
“The men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do”
1 Chronicles 12:32
These two scriptures transformed our youth ministry and have given us fresh vision for the last 16 years to not give up and to continue to get God’s heart for young people. These scriptures have given us vision to be people who seek to understand the ever changing facets of youth culture.
Out of this background came the vision for the School of Innovative Youth Ministry.
The founder of YWAM, Loren Cunningham, visited Newcastle in 2002, and while he was being driven back to the airport, he encouraged our Base Leader, David Stephenson, by saying “You guys should start a School of Innovative Youth Ministry.”
Through this course, students will learn principles that can be used within any local community that desires to reach young people for Jesus. They will be able to experience Youth Street, a proven innovative Youth Ministry that has been effectively reaching out to the youth of Newcastle over the last 10 years. As students begin to understand global youth culture, they too will be able to come up with God-inspired evangelistic strategies that will reach out to the young people in their local community.
For more info on the School of Innovative Youth Ministry, click here.