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.
History of YWAM Newcastle
In late 1991 God led Rod and Anne Thorpe to Newcastle, NSW, to pioneer a new YWAM centre. They in turn asked David and Carolyn Stephenson to pray about a future in Newcastle and God made it very clear that was His plan. YWAM Newcastle was officially opened in July 1992. They began training with the Mission bridge course [a part time DTS] moving on to their first DTS in 1994. Dave and Carrie took over leadership of the base in 1996 as Rod and Anne prepared to be sent out to the Middle East. 20 years, several properties and countless schools later, YWAM Newcastle has over 60 staff members, trains over 100 students per year and typically sees one to three thousand salvations annually.
What is Youth Street?
Youth Street is a community development project aimed at reaching young people. It was created to provide a safe place where young people feel valued and can learn to build healthy relationships while discovering their purpose. Youth Street is not a physical location. It is a community of young people involved in different programs that can be adapted to any and all locations using whatever resources you have. The vision of the program is to adopt, to accept, to love and to listen. Imagine creating a place for young people to go where there is no risk of danger, and through a positive, affirming atmosphere, they have the freedom to be themselves, and express themselves – freely, artistically, and creatively, without the fear of receiving scorn or rejection in return. Youth Street will provide community empowerment and is essentially a non – profit organization.
History of Youth Street?
Youth Street was originally conceived by the leaders at YWAM Newcastle with the vision to take the walls out of our ministry and take it to the streets. Officially launched in 2001,Youth Street became a city-wide project with a primary focus of building community, and championing young people. It has since been developed and multiplied across Australia.. We now have several operating locations including Newcastle, Townsville and Melbourne which currently see approximately 200 youth attend a variety of programs each week with over 15,000 walking through the doors over the past 8 years. Internationally, countries such as Spain, Brazil, The Philippines,, Vanuatu, The U.S., Mexico and New Zealand have shown an active interest in seeing Youth Street started in their communities.
How Can Youth Street Help?
We see Youth Street as a great vehicle in helping positively impact local cities. Each Youth Street location may look very different but there are 5 Key Values that keep Youth Street in line with YWAM’s foundational values.
We believe Youth Street helps with
- Bases connecting with local community
- Starting new ministry centers or bases
- Engages DTS students in hands on community work and mentoring during their lecture phase
- It can also then lead into DTS outreach teams having clearer purposes, goals and outcomes
- Helps DTS outreach teams connect with and influence local businesses, broader community, and schools
Rahab Newcastle was launched in February 2012 with a focus of reaching out to the sex workers of all ages and backgrounds in our city to build a support network around them.
Our team visits about 12 local brothels (30-40 women) on a monthly basis where we bring in gifts and spend time with the women. Through building a trusting relationship over time, meeting practical needs such as professional counseling referrals, or simply just a friend to talk to, we empower them to reach their full potential. We have been able to encourage them and then see girls leave the industry to find jobs elsewhere where they can feel empowered and valued for who they are.
Our goal is to be able to reach into more brothels, to offer more useful services, and to assist the sex workers in ways we can. So far, we have been able to offer English classes and housing assistance.