Youth with a Mission does not see itself as an organization in the narrower sense, but as an organic network or dynamic movement within the Christian community. This understanding is also expressed in our structure. For example, there is no "headquarters" and no main base. Instead of a hierarchicall leadership structure, the individual centres within the YWAM umbrella organisation in Germany act largely on their own responsibility and are independent legal entities. The members of the umbrella association are linked by common statutes and values. The umbrella association is led by a leadership team consisting of representatives of individual centres.
From pentecostal-charismatic to traditional-conservative - as diverse as the church landscape is, so broad is the spectrum of churches and faith communities from which our staff and course participants come. We work with a large number of churches from a wide variety of backgrounds and traditions.
Communities consisting of many nations, languages and cultures is not only a nice idea for us, but a basic element of our work and an expression of the diversity of God. We love the nations, because each culture expresses a different facet of God's character. Many of the staff and course participants in the different YWAM bases come from abroad, also from developing and emerging countries.
In 1972, on the occasion of the Olympic Games in Munich, YWAM was looking for a location in the vicinity of Munich to host the 1.000 young people expected for the big evangelistic campaign that was to take place during the Olymic Games. The place was found in the Hurlach castle in Bavaria, about 70 kilometres west of Munich. We purchased the castle at that time and is still used as a training center today. After Lausanne, Switzerland (1969) the Hurlach castle became YWAM's second permanent training center.
Over the past 40 years, thousands of students from Germany and abroad have attended various schools such as the Discipleship Training School (DTS) and newer schools such as the School for Bible Studies (SBS) or the School of Biblical Christian Worldview (SBCW). Seminars, evangelistic efforts and mercy ministries in Germany and abroad as well as local ministries were offered.
In the course of the decades YWAM had short or medium-term teams in different places in Germany and also some long-term work was developed. YWAM ministries in several countries were also initiated from Germany.
In the German-speaking area, Youth with a Mission became known through several publications, including the magazine "Der Auftrag" and numerous books by Loren Cunningham, Floyd McClung, Günter Krallmann and others. YWAM is also known to many through the numerous worship and praise songs, which were among the most popular songs of the charismatic movement in Germany and have since found their way into many songbooks.
As members we are active in the umbrella organizations "netzwerk-m" (previously: Ring Missionarischer Jugendbewegungen; www.netzwerk-m.de) and the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Pfingstlich-Charismatischer Missionen (www.apcm.de).
"Jugend mit einer Mission" consists of the national umbrella organisation "Jugend mit einer Mission - Deutschlandverband e.V." and its affiliated member associations. These are mainly the various YWAM centres, which are legally independent but operate under the YWAM umbrella association.
YWAM does not belong to any faith community, but sees itself as a movement of people from all Christian backgrounds. In Germany, therefore, YWAM/JMEM staff members are active in many Christian networks, because cooperation within the body of Christ is of great value to us.
Although much of our activity is focused on YWAM bases, YWAM is actually much larger. Many of our staff are working abroad as project leaders, missionaries or development workers.