Youth With A Mission (YWAM) has been globally championing children and families as central participants in the Great Commission for more than forty years. We believe passionately in the capacity of children and youth to know God intimately and walk in a living relationship with Him, which can eternally impact those around them. In short, kids are not only a key target group for missions but also key players in reaching the world for Jesus!
Last summer, fifteen kids aged 6-15 participated in YWAM Tyler’s Family Sync School. This unique program provides discipleship training in tandem with YWAM Tyler’s Summer Family Discipleship Training School (DTS), enabling children to be trained in missions alongside their parents. They participate in twelve weeks of classroom-style learning on our YWAM Tyler campus in Lindale, Texas, including numerous opportunities to learn alongside their parents. Then, they put their learning into practice as a family through local community outreach activities. This phase is followed by two months of full-time, hands-on missions as the kids join their parents on outreach, both domestically and abroad.
Awesome, right? Here’s what some of last year’s Family Sync students shared about their experience:
Before we went to YWAM, I did not want to go because I thought it would just be like a school. However, on the first day we just had a fun day and played games and got to know our leaders, Chad and Crystal. The next day they taught us about God. I was a little scared because our parents weren’t with us, but I learned a lot about God. Every week we learned a new thing about God. After being in class, I started talking to God. Then we went on outreach to New Mexico.
One day in New Mexico we were in a park, and my friend Heather was with me. I met a girl named Maria, and we asked if we could pray for her. She asked us to pray for her doll and her Dad. So we prayed for her, and I gave her a piece of candy. After we prayed, we played with Maria. Later I asked her if we could meet her dad, so she took us over to him. Then I asked if we could pray for him, but he said, “No thank you.”
You can pray for people too. Even though you may be scared, God is with you!
It was lots of fun living together with others in community and exciting to learn about other cultures and people. I also learned a lot about God and ministry. My highlights from outreach were playing guitar in front of a church in New Mexico and helping the girls in a Mexican girls’ home learn about Jesus.
Through Family Sync I got to learn about God. It was a really good experience. I had fun learning and playing games. I could grow to know Jesus more and then use what I learned on outreach. In New Mexico I really enjoyed getting to help with the ministries there by performing skits and dramas, and in Mexico I loved playing soccer with the kids.
One day we learned about hearing God's voice for others. After the teaching, we did an activity where we asked God to speak to us for someone standing behind us. We had no idea who it was or what we were listening for, but some of the things people heard were so spot on for the person behind them! We repeated the activity a few times, all with different people.
One of those times I clearly saw an apple tree in my mind. It had many apples on the low branches, within arms reach, which were quite bad-tasting. But there was one really good apple slightly higher up. Lots of people were walking past and stopping to pick an apple, choosing the bad apples because they were within reach, but they ending up disappointed and disgusted by how they tasted. The one good apple kept trying to call out for people to look a little harder and put in a little work to reach higher so they would be satisfied with a delicious-tasting apple.
The picture faded, and I asked God what it meant for the person behind me (still not knowing who that was). I suddenly understood that whoever was behind me had been seeing people around her looking for good friends, but they kept going with the easy friendships that weren't very good for them. The "good apple" felt quite alone and just wanted someone to look a little harder and reach a little higher to come to her, so she could be a good friend to them. When I turned around and shared the story with the girl behind me, she started crying and said that was exactly how she had been feeling. So we prayed together that she would find some people she could be a good friend to. At the end of the activity every single one of us walked away amazed by God and how He speaks to us.
If the idea of your whole family being discipled, trained, and released into missions together gets your heart pumping, come join us at YWAM Tyler this coming Summer and Fall for Family Discipleship Training School and Family Sync! Click below for more details.