First and foremost we exist because of Jesus—with, for, and because of him. He is our inspiration, our motivation, and our reason for being.
YWAM Sydney Newtown is a small, pioneering team with vision to grow into a thriving multicultural, multigenerational community in the heart of Sydney.
At our core we’re all about fostering community through hospitality, generosity, inclusion, caring for one another, and equipping believers for missional living in any realm of influence they feel called to. We believe every person has the right to meet Jesus and determine for themselves if they will follow him or not—we’re passionate about God’s redemption story and giving people opportunity to find themselves within it. We also believe every Christian is called to mission; it’s just a matter of finding where our skills, passions, personalities, and the needs of the world collide. We’re committed to help you do that.
Our vision is to gather and equip believers to love like Jesus, make disciple makers, and see heaven come to earth as we care for the world around us in Sydney and among the nations.
We exist to ‘know God and make him known’ as we seek the peace of our city and the blessing for all peoples and nations through believers who are mobilized with the disarming love of Jesus, the radical inclusion of the Father, the empowering grace of the Holy Spirit, and God’s redemptive story for the whole earth.
Because cities are complex and diverse, we believe in order to reach Sydney our strategy must be dynamic, multifaceted, and community-based. Our long-term vision is to create a network of ministries— YWAM and otherwise—that are decentralized but connected by relationship, shared values, mutual accountability, encouragement, and support. Our dream is to have numbers of specialized teams scattered throughout the city, working in different neighborhoods, spheres of society, socio-economic groups, and ethnic/linguistic people groups, embodying the love of Jesus in tangible ways for the welfare of our city and the advancement of the whole gospel among Australia and the nations of the earth.
(Spheres of society: arts and entertainment, the media, education, family, science and technology, commerce, government, and the church.)
Our core values, informed by the bible and the shared values of Youth With A Mission are outworked in our local YWAM Sydney Newtown community through the following:
We believe that the entire world is in the process of being renewed by God and this happens through the personal and corporate spiritual practices of prayer, worship, discipleship, the sharing and application of God’s word to every area of our lives, and embracing the whole gospel for our whole beings so that we might be continually transformed from the inside out.
Jesus said that the world will know us by the way we love one another. Hospitality, in it’s truest form, is more than just a warm hello and cup of tea. The ministry of welcome, inclusion, and care is a powerful force that ushers in the Kingdom of Heaven amongst us, giving our neighbours the best possible chance of meeting Jesus in our midst.
Creation itself was an act of extravagant generosity toward mankind, and God has never stopped being generous since. Generosity is more than just an exchange of dollars; it’s a state of heart and a state of being that’s a direct result of God’s continual generosity toward us. There are many forms generosity takes, including being generous with our faith and God’s story (evangelism), generous in our grace toward one another (healthy relationships), and generous with our time, talent, and resources (serving others).
People are not designed for isolation and independence but hard-wired for relationships, family, and friendship. We believe that the pursuit of genuine community is the beginning of healthy homes, churches, schools, businesses, cities, peoples, nations, and even our environment as a whole.
We are concerned for the poor and marginalized and seek to find ways to connect the resources of our city with the needs of her people, both on a local and global scale through various works of justice, compassion, and advocacy. This does not come exclusively through Christian programs and ministries, but also through personal responsibility, civic initiative, and shared movements among the Body of Christ.
Jesus didn’t leave a “ministry” assignment that is exclusive to apostles, prophets, pastors, and missionaries; he left it to his people—the Body of Christ. It’s the role of church leaders now to “equip the saints” (believers) for the work of the ministry in the world (Ephesians 4:11-13). Faith, work, and life-in-general were never meant to be segregated. We seek to inspire every man, woman, youth, and child in our care to learn what it means to do the work of the ministry through whatever vocation or sphere of influence they find themselves in and equip them for a genuinely missional life outside the walls of the church.
We believe that city transformation—and nation transformation—is possible, but not without the pursuit of unity. We refuse to be in competition with like-minded organizations or local church movements and believe that as we work together (along with community and civic groups, local businesses, and others) we can help provide maximum room for God to move and have his way among our city, our nation, and to the ends of the earth.
Every person was created for and within family. Sometimes this is expressed through our biological relationships; other times it’s expressed through cultivated relationships. When family is functioning according to the ways of Jesus, it becomes life-changing, life-giving… and revolutionary.
We believe that Jesus is beautiful and that when his beauty is on display through humanity (and the things we create and cultivate), people can’t help but to be drawn to him. And when we see the beauty of Jesus, we can’t help but love him.
While peacekeeping is passive, peacemaking is active. We are a community committed to pursuing peace for our relationships, our city, and the earth.
Jesus is the most complete picture we have of God (Heb 1:3; Col 1:15), and he came to show us exactly what God looks like: Love (1 Jn 4; Jn 1; Jn 3). Jesus is the Person we filter our theology through. When we read the Bible, we do so through the lens of Jesus and the help of Holy Spirit. When we approach God the Father, we come through Jesus. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together are the essence of Love, and Love is what all believers enter into when we say ‘yes’ to Jesus.
Our measure of success cannot be defined solely by “bums on chairs” or “staff on our books,” but instead is marked by the movement of the gospel in our lives and communities through authentic, growing relationships, creativity and intentionality in everyday missional living, and the planting and multiplication of new initiatives through those “sent out” from among us.
We exist not for ourselves, but for our neighbours. “Each of us should please our neighbours for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself.” —Romans 15:2-3
YWAM Sydney Newtown is part of a global missions movement—Youth With A Mission—of five million people with 26,000 full-time operational staff volunteering in more than 1,000 locations in 180+ countries. Founded in 1960, YWAM (pronounced “WHY-wham”) is dedicated to presenting Jesus personally to this generation, to mobilizing as many as possible to help in this task, and to the training and equipping of believers for their part in fulfilling God’s great redemptive plan for humanity by presenting the whole gospel for the whole person.
As a mission we are decentralized in structure, meaning each center is financially and legally autonomous to allow locations to adapt and serve the specific needs of the community, while also making provision for multi-cultural leadership and the exploration of new ways to see lives changed. We are networked by relationship, common values, eldership, freedom in the Spirit, and a shared passion to ‘Know God and Make Him Known’ and held accountable to uphold these principles and convictions. Our workers have varied thought, story, culture, Christian tradition, and spiritual practice but together we make a movement that is passionate about keeping the main thing the main thing: Jesus and his centrality to the world. Our statement of belief, values, and more can be found on the YWAM Global website (www.ywam.org).
The training we offer—such as the Urban Village DTS—is part of the University of the Nations. The U of N, born out of YWAM, is the world’s first global university. With more than 400 locations in 110 countries, the U of N is a university for missions. The university is comprised of seven colleges designed to bring God’s truth and hope to the most influential areas of society: Christian Ministries, Communication, Counseling and Health Care, Education, Humanities and International Studies, the Arts, and Science and Technology.
Courses offer a variety of guest instructors and professionals teaching in their area of expertise. Theory and “hands on” practice are blended, both in courses as well as on outreaches, field assignments, and internships, emphasizing service and experiential learning along with formal classroom learning. If you’d like to know more about the University of the Nations, please watch this 15-minute mini-documentary.
YWAM Sydney Newtown is located in the heart of Australia’s biggest city in a vibrant, multi-cultural “village” called Newtown. Just four kilometers (two-and-a-half miles) from Sydney’s famous Pitt Street, Newtown is bursting with creatives, students, small businesses, ethnic diversity, and young professionals living side-by-side with some of the city’s urban poor. It is a wonderful hub for arts and culture with an eclectic mix of people, lifestyles, cultures, and orientations. According to recent census data, Newtown is “Australia’s least religious post code” and we think that makes it a perfect place for a thriving, Jesus-centered community of YWAMers to put down some roots and get to know our neighbours. We have so much to learn from one another.
Newtown is minutes away from landmark sights such as the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, the Rocks, and the Darling Harbour precinct, and an easy jaunt on public transport to Australia’s most famous surf beaches such as Manly, Coogee, and Bondi. We’re within walking distance to some of Sydney’s most interesting neighbourhoods and parks, while still being on the doorstep to the Blue Mountains—some of Australia’s most spectacular national parklands.
Newtown, Sydney is pretty much awesome in every way. There’s something for everyone to love here—come see for yourself. Check out this Coldplay video for a look at Newtown. This was filmed about two blocks from our place:
Jesus came to show us what incarnational ministry looks like, and we believe we’re most effective when we also take an incarnational approach. In the book of John, chapter one it says that Jesus became flesh and blood and moved into our neighborhood. That is exactly the sort of organic, grassroots, incarnational approach we practice in Sydney — our teams are moving into neighborhoods, becoming a part of them, and quite literally learning to love our neighbours well.
We envision a groundswell of people coming together under the banner of Love—those who claim the church and those who don’t. Together we find common purpose in serving one another and making our city a better place for Love’s sake.
As our city is transformed by Love, we naturally want to spread the Love beyond our borders—to the whole of Australia and into the nations of the earth.
YWAM Sydney Newtown is a pioneering work and, therefore, all of these ministries and training courses are at various stages of the pioneering process. Some are underway, but most are still a dream in our hearts. This list is not exhaustive nor is it conclusive. Our ministries will be shaped by the leaders God brings to our team so expressions of God’s heart will be wide and varied and nuanced according to their passion and skill as well as the needs that spring from within of our neighbourhood and community.
Even though we have an outline of ministry expressions based on our passions and the gaps we’ve already identified in the city, we recognize that this list will morph and change depending on our team’s capacity and the changing landscape of our local community. Many of these initiatives will be pioneered through the hands-on ministry training of our Discipleship Training Schools and Leadership Communal, the first of which will run in September 2019.
Ultimately we are prepared to scrap this “list” if—as we listen, learn, and listen and learn some more—we discover these “ministries” are not the things the community needs or wants. We desire that everything we put our hand to is shaped by our posture as learners in our local community. Together with those around us, we pray and endeavour that the ministries of YWAM Sydney Newtown will emerge in God’s way, in God’s time.
Our Leadership Communal is a 12-month track that encompasses a 6-month YWAM DTS with an additional half year (volunteer) internship. You will receive in-depth training, mentoring, and experience in ministry development and leadership within our collaborative pioneering team. If you’re curious about exploring urban missions or developing your leadership skills for life then the Leadership Communal is for you.
Home by home, street by street, this is an initiative to distribute bibles at every door in our community for those who want to receive the free gift of God’s word, starting with Newtown and then reaching into the other surrounding villages of inner city Sydney. Our strategy includes making sure the bible is available in peoples’ own heart language (often in digital form). The Word for All is a part of the global movement, End Bible Poverty. We recognize that having a Holy Book on a bookshelf is not enough to transform a life, but through this effort we are meeting our neighbours, establishing a connection point, and then looking for other ways we can engage and explore genuine friendship and neighbourliness.
A movement of individuals, families, community and civic groups, and local churches and businesses extending acts of kindness, compassion, hospitality, and generosity in the name of Love. These will often take place through collaborative service days and neighbourhood-based events.
Short-term missions training and outreaches for churches and schools who desire to give opportunity for their youth—or their young at heart—to get involved in local and cross-cultural volunteerism.
A youth community to engage young people (ages 12-17) in inner Sydney in a way that fosters belonging, identity, healthy relationships, and the transforming love of Jesus. We believe youth thrive when they’re given the opportunity to rise to the challenge of engaging their faith and being equipped for gospel-centered leadership and a missional lifestyle (1 Tim 4:12).
A collection of initiatives designed to empower women, particularly mothers, with a strong emphasis on maternal care in underdeveloped nations through resourcing and training as well as community engagement among women in our own local area.
A supportive community to resource, encourage, and facilitate creatives among us in multiple expressions of art, music, and cultural engagement for the peace, beauty, and welfare of our city.
A training and mentoring framework to assist emerging leaders within YWAM Sydney Newtown’s operational staff who have vision to pioneer new missions initiatives within our city and beyond. (This will include a process of leadership development, project planning, mentoring, and prayer.)
YWAM Sydney Newtown was a dream in the hearts of a young Australian boy and young American girl far before they ever knew each other. Ryan Booker and Adriel McIntosh joined YWAM in 1999 and 2000 (respectively) not knowing that God had set them on a path to discover His heart for the world in a way that would eventually lead them to both commit to full-time vocational ministry.
While serving on opposite sides of Australia at different YWAM bases—Ryan in Townsville and Adriel in Perth—they met during YWAM national leaders gatherings and not long after fell in love and promised their lives to one another. YWAM Sydney Newtown was born out of two long-time visions for Sydney becoming one.
After serving together at YWAM Townsville for another six years after marriage, the Bookers packed up their two young boys in order to follow God’s leading to inner-city Sydney in late 2014 with the support of YWAM Australia Eldership. They bought a tiny vintage caravan to live in and began the planning and preparation stages of what would become a YWAM hub in the heart of inner Sydney. The word God gave them during this season of incubation was: “from little things, big things grow.”
By mid-2015 the Bookers began the work of finding a place to put down roots in Newtown and gathering team and community to help pioneer and birth this new urban missions initiative, and by February 2016 they began moving into the YWAM house and renovating it for the purposes of life and ministry.
Ryan and Adriel Booker bring with them 40 years of combined leadership experience within both the local church and missions contexts. Their main areas of focus throughout the years has been pioneering and leading youth ministries, equipping and mentoring leaders, pastoral care, preaching and teaching, project management and events, administration and finance, communications and creative story-telling, advocacy, and urban ministry both in western and non-western contexts. As you can see, YWAMers tend to move in and out of several roles as we serve and grow in ministry, so the Bookers have a wide range of experience. Between the two of them they’ve led a dozen YWAM Discipleship Training Schools (DTS), more than a dozen YWAM Basic Leadership Schools (BLS), and have been a part of serving hundreds of staff and students in Great Commission community. They have three young boys and another baby on the way, and believe there’s plenty of room for all sorts of people in missions—young and old, single and married, childless couples, single parents, big and small families, and everything in between.
Yes, the Bookers have a bit of experience that’s gotten them to the point of being ready to step out in faith and pioneer a new work, but they also recognize they have a lot yet to learn. Ministry planting in a new city and new context is a whole different ball game and they are leaning into Jesus as he teaches them how to walk humbly and serve in this new capacity. Mostly, the Booker family just wants to see God’s Kingdom come. This is the flavor and emphasis woven right throughout their vision, work, and even their family life.
YWAM Sydney Newtown is looking for tribe members who share the same heartbeat: a relentless desire to see God’s Kingdom come. We are not a flashy, established ministry centre running lots of slick ministries and multi-leveled training programs. What we are is a small community of visionary pioneers creating something new in the heart of Australia’s first city—God’s forever dream of redemption for a new day. (Do you think you’ve got what it takes to join us? Learn more here.)
Ryan and Adriel have what it takes to launch a work in inner Sydney. They have, what we like to call in America, "grit." Their determination, faithfulness and love will serve the city of Sydney well.
Ryan and Adriel Booker hold a great hope in their heart for the city of Sydney. Over several years I have observed their desire for a missional community whose passion is to build for the Kingdom in every sphere and translate faith into constructive action. Gifted leaders themselves, I know people will be drawn alongside them in YWAM Inner Sydney's efforts. I anticipate that a decade from now a vibrant, servant-like, urban hub will be thriving in worship and missional expression in new and exciting ways. Without a doubt the nations will be blessed through them.
I can say with much confidence that I would not be who I am today if it weren't for Ryan and Adriel's leadership, mentoring, and deep friendship. They are two of the most approachable leaders who are passionate about equipping people to lead others, and I was constantly left feeling empowered while serving under them. My life is continuously impacted by the way they pursue God and disciple and love anyone and everyone along the way. I am so beyond grateful for them!
Ryan and Adriel live out the truth they teach, they lead by example. They invested their love and time into helping me realise my potential of who I am in Christ. They empower and encourage, they helped me change my life, and cannot wait to see the amazing work they will be doing in Sydney - bringing hope and joy and the love of Christ to people.