Lately I have been thinking a lot about YWAM and it’s call in relation to the local church and her call. Specifically my call within YWAM and YWAM Seattle. For a while now my focus has been on helping people live better lives here at home, or wherever they are going back to after their DTS. I have been trying to build community and wanting people to get involved in community groups. I have also been wanting people to get involved in some sort of church, however that looks.

Just recently it has hit me that I think that I am either in the wrong place, or focusing on the wrong thing. I was called by Jesus a long time ago to be a missionary, and 7 years ago to be a missionary with YWAM Seattle. So based on that, and the fact that Jesus has not called me, to my knowledge, to do anything else, I am not in the wrong place.

What this leaves me to believe is that I have been focusing on the wrong thing. I believe that people learning how to live better lives at home and also the job of building community is the job of the local church. Unfortunately, for most of my friends the local Church is not doing her job well. Some of my friends feel burned and let down by the local Church, and if you have done any reading on Emerging Church lately you will see that a lot of people out there feel the same way.

The job of the local Church is described well in Acts 2:42-47

“They spent their time learning from the apostles, and they were like family to each other. They also broke bread and prayed together. Everyone was amazed by the many miracles and wonders that the apostles worked. All the Lord’s followers often met together, and they shared everything they had. They would sell their property and possessions and give the money to whoever needed it. Day after day they met together in the temple. They broke bread together in different homes and shared their food happily and freely, while praising God. Everyone liked them, and each day the Lord added to their group others who were being saved.”

Now I am not saying that this is the only job of the local church, but I believe that she is there to teach God’s people and bring community.

So what is the job of me, the missionary? I believe, in my position it is to bring awareness of what is going on in the world internationally with areas of injustice and in areas where there is a high percentage of un-reached people and encourage individuals to go. I am specifically speaking of my roll in YWAM. I am a missionary working in a missions organization, I am not a pastor working at a local church. I want people to go. The anointing on this mission is one of sending people cross culturally to bring the good news of Jesus to the un-reached and the not yet believers.

How do we work together with the local church? Well, if we are both doing our jobs and following our calls then the local church will be able to train, equip and disciple people in their relationships with Christ and each other and then we can help these people who understand Christ and community go overseas and bring this to others. If the local church does not do her job then we get a bunch of messed up people who are in no position to tell anyone about Jesus. Similarly if we don’t do our job then there will be a bunch of great people who are just staying home and making America a better place and not reaching the world. How sad.

I am sure I will get some comments on this. I invite them as it will help me process more and help me see where others are at with this.

Thanks.

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2 comments so far on “YWAM and the Church

  1. Jamie Arpin-Ricci says:

    Very provocative post. I am not sure how to respond. I’ve left it for some time, but I am still not sure I am sure.

    First, I would caution about the assumption that one of YWAM’s strengths is sending people on cross-cultural missions. While there is an element of truth, it also reveals an underlying assumption that cross-cultural missions equals leaving Western culture to a non-Western culture. This kind of subtle paternalism encourages the concept of missions that teaches that WE go to THEM.

    Rather, I would say that one of YWAM’s anointings is to send all nations to all nations. Therefore, North America is equally an important missions field as, say, China.

    This is not to say that we should ignore the unreached. However, I believe that we need to seriously consider our definition of unreached. I think a significant portion of the Western world is unreached in that, while they have been exposed to Christendom and propositional Christianity (which are both important), there is not a relevant and authentic incarnational model of the Gospel.

    Now, as to your role, I think what you are describing is mobilization. It even suggests a strong element of the prophetic. I think the binary dichotomy of pastor/missionary is problematic and inadequate. Missional should be the nature of every believer. Within missionality there are those gifted and called to be pastors, teachers, prophets, etc. It is at our great peril to view “missions” as a field or specialty of the faith rather than a fundamental aspect of Christian DNA.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts!

    Peace,
    Jamie

  2. C says:

    Hey, that’s funny, I clicked to comment and one purpose was to direct you to Jamie’s blog as it seems you are interested in the “emerging” conversation and here’s his comment already here. So that’s done. Hey, you guys probably know each other being from the same freezing cold, flat city that loves slurpees as each other!

    My other purpose was to point you to an article by Lynne Green at the ywam.org web site. He has some interesting things to say about YWAM and the church. It’s under the “words from leaders” selection in the home page. You might find it helpful…I liked it.

    I’m still here in Modesto. Looks like the West Coast conference is done for. So if you ever need speakin’ help up there, I’d love to come and see you guys again (I’m going to Winnepeg in March!).

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