I received an email from my uncle with questions about the organization I work with, YWAM, and its connection to the “emergent church” movement. I spent some time writing a fair response to the claim, reassuring him that YWAM is a Gospel of Christ focused movement and we are not connected with any such movement.
To be fair, I don’t know enough about the “emergent church” to sustain a viable argument against it. From what I do know, the “emergent church” is nothing more than a collection of individual Christian thinkers with no single thread of ideas. These thinkers are not satisfied with the status-quo of western Christianity.
I will agree that our flavor has grown dull, but we should not “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” The only attraction the world will ever have to Christianity is if Christ Himself is living, active and moving in our lives. I believe our nation is on the cusp of another Great Awakening because the Church is unafraid of the consequences and will allow God to move. And He will move.
- YWAM is a movement
Anyway, here is my response. I’d love to hear what you think, so please comment after the blog.
It was so good seeing you guys again in. Jess and I love being able to be a part of your missionary family. We were extremely blessed to have you guys send us some kindergarten home schooling books. Our son got a new school desk this weekend and is already starting on one of the books. He loves learning and I’m glad he gets to do it at home where we can influence his education.
Thanks for the question. I don’t have a standard response. You can find all sorts of junk on the internet by simply typing YWAM and negative word into Google and we can’t have a response for every argument that comes against us. I think, for the most part, YWAM tries to avoid conversations that distract us from the progress of the Gospel, which is the call that God has given us as a mission.
To give you the facts.
YWAM is an International, inter-denominational Christian missions movement. (http://www.ywam.org/About-YWAM/Who-we-are/Statement-of-Faith) I think the key is that YWAM is a movement, not an organized denomination in the normal sense of the word. There are around 1500-2000 operating locations around the world with around 25,000 full time workers. This doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands that come through our doors for training every year. With all of this activity, each YWAM location operates as a “self governing entity,”( http://www.ywam.org/About-YWAM/Who-we-are/Governance) similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, with-in a set of boundaries (http://www.ywam.org/About-YWAM/Who-we-are/The-Foundational-Values-of-Youth-With-A-Mission) according to the Word of God, which have been set by International leadership over the last 50 years of YWAM’s existence. Each one of us have our own Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, Board of Directors and leadership teams (Elders.) We are only liable to another YWAM location by inter-personal relationship, in no way is there any legal connection between a base in Denver and a base in New Delhi.
We do have parameters as to how we must operate. And within those, our call as an organization is “To Know God and to Make Him Known”, this call is three-fold: Training, Mercy Ministries and Evangelism. So you may see one YWAM location, in a closed country operating a business and taking advantage of opportunities God gives them to share the Gospel, or another Latin America doing open air evangelism, while another location only works with aids orphans in Africa, and you have another location who simply trains workers to go into these ministries full-time. Each location serves as only one part of the three-fold call, but together you get a picture of the Gospel functioning as a whole body. Some locations, with many staff do all three. But we do not always know what God is doing through other ministries since we are continually working at the ministry God has given us, except through the relationships we have with individuals on that location.
I cannot guarantee that some individuals within our organization are not claiming to be a part of the “emergent church.” But the very nature of our organization is to proclaim the Gospel to every nation, everywhere by every means. We are a dynamic group, but some people are just whacko’s. So I apologize for what you may have heard, we’re not interested in a “watered-down” version of the Gospel of Christ.
Anyone can say anything and somebody is going to listen. But if I could say only one thing to the noise of detractors, they’re wrong. We’re just too busy trying to advance God’s Kingdom to earth to get caught up in that. If you want to see YWAMer’s doing the Gospel, (now that you’re on facebook) you can check this out (http://www.facebook.com/OCUprising2011). We have 250 young people, in Huntington Beach, CA proclaiming the gospel, seeing the sick be healed and people are coming to Christ in the old-fashioned, big tent revival way. We believe this is the beginning of a wave of revival that is going to be sweeping across our nation. God has America primed to reconnect with Him.
Please let me know if you have any questions.