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So how exactly does YWAM work?

Individual YWAMers (YWAM missionaries) commit some time to serve the work of the organisation in that place, usually starting with a one or two year commitment.

In many locations around the globe, YWAM teams live in community.

The YWAM team in that location will work with the individual (who wants to join the organisation) to find out what the individual feels a calling to, look at then needs of the location and consider the skill-set or background and training the individual can offer.

After an application process, consisting of an application form, taking up references and at least one interview (often via Skype or equivalent face-to-face platform), it will become clear whether the location, its needs and opportunities and the individual are a good match. If they are, then an invitation to join the team will be extended, and if visas are required to enter the country where the individual is headed then there’s an additional process (which is out of YWAM’s hands somewhat!).

Upon being accepted to join the team, this new YWAMer will then have to set about raising their own finances to enable them to live where they are going. Unlike many traditional mission agencies, YWAM doesn’t operate an across-the-board financial policy with specific amounts specified for individuals to raise. Rather, location by location the amount needed to cover housing costs, food, local transport and other expenses will be communicated to the applicant and they become personally responsible to raise the money they need. Those of us from the ‘western world’ have a distinct advantage here over our brothers and sisters from nations that in Christian terms are younger, as missionary giving and support is commonplace in many of our churches. We encourage those who join us to be in good standing with their home church (sending church) and to be intentional in communicating through the application process with their own leaders at home so their whole church gets behind them - supporting them with encouragement, prayer and finance.

Many of our YWAM missionaries have a number of friends and family who will also give to them financially to help cover their costs.

This isn’t just something for our new staff, a ’rite of passage’, this is how we live. No one in YWAM is salaried. In some locations YWAM will work with subcontractors, or for legal purposes will need to pay an accountant to audit end of year accounts, but those of us who are full time YWAMers are responsible for raising our personal funds.

This can present us with challenges.

Many of us have had regular donors lose their job, have another child, die or even move into mission themselves, leaving us with a reduced group of supporters and less monthly financial support.

In some places YWAMers will be able to take on some paid employment. Wherever possible we trust God to provide for us through his people, the church, but sometimes an opportunity will arise for a short term, temporary job that will help provide funds for a specific reason or serves to deepen local relationships.

Our YWAM communities operate as a Christian collective. We share costs and centralise funds in order to minimise expenses. Many YWAM locations are large houses with lots of people in them for this very reason.

Over the years, my experience has been that I’ve seen God provide what is needed (through random gifts, tax rebates, donations of ‘things’) when it is needed.

Our challenge, is that God doesn’t always provide what we want, when we want it!

YWAM is a bit like a monastic expression within the Christian church. We consider ourselves to be part of God’s church, not additional or separate, yet we have a different ‘DNA’.

Back in the early 1970’s, ________ , a missiologist offered a very helpful explanation of the role of the mission organisation and its relationship to the local, denominational expression of church. The challenge of ‘sodal’ and ‘modal’ church is really helpful to look at and consider, it gives some context to various expressions of missions and missionary endeavours.

So as an organisation YWAM is self-funded, as are those in the organisation.

YWAM operates alongside the local church as a catalyst for mission and local expressions of ministry and evangelism, wherever possible in relationship with our neighbouring brothers and sisters.

YWAM values the Christian traditions we are from and are part of.