In the mid 1980s, YWAMer John Dawson was looking around for a property in Southern California for a YWAM training campus. After a few false starts, he came up to northern California for a visit to San Francisco. While there, he decided to take a drive out to Chico, to visit Cecil and Lillian Cooper, and the Springs of Living Water (SLW) ministry they had founded. Little did he know what he was walking into.It was a poignant moment when Cecil’s health was failing, and he knew he was coming to the end of his life. His vision for ministry, however, was not failing. He wanted the work of SLW to continue after him. It was then that John came into the lobby of the Richardson Springs Hotel.
Cecil was meeting with his board, explaining his vision. They saw John was there and invited him to come in and join the meeting. After some conversation, Cecil and John realized that the first 5 of YWAM’s ministry goals were the same as SLW’s original vision statement. And the last of their visionary goals was to train and send young people into the world; a goal they had yet to complete.
This brought about a “marriage” of the two ministries, as John Dawson calls it, not a transaction of property.
Since the merger in 1988, Youth With A Mission- Springs of Living Water has continued to be a place that welcomes people from all over, because this is a meeting place, a place of renewal and open heaven. It is a place to focus on youth and youth camp, and a place of individual encounter. It is a place of building up and sending out, and a place of gathering for our extended family all over the world.
To know God and make Him known
YWAM affirms the Bible as the authoritative word of God, and with the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, the absolute reference point for every aspect of life and ministry. Based upon God’s word, who He is, and His initiative of salvation, the following responses are strongly emphasized in YWAM:
Worship: We are called to praise and worship God alone
Holiness: We are called to lead holy and righteous lives that exemplify the nature and character of God
Witness: We are called to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who do not know Him
Prayer: We are called to engage in intercessory prayer for the people and causes on God’s heart, including standing against evil in every form
Fellowship: We are called to commit to the Church in both its local nurturing expression and its mobile multiplying expression
Our values are the expression of our basic beliefs coupled with specific directives given by God since our beginning in 1960. They are recorded here in order to pass on to successive generations that which God has emphasized to us. These shared beliefs and values are the guiding principles for both the past and future growth of our mission. Some are common to all Christians everywhere; others are distinctive to Youth With A Mission. The combination of these beliefs and values make up the unique family characteristics of YWAM. They are values we hold in high regard which determine who we are, how we live and how we make decisions.
YWAM Chico - What We Do
Since 1988 when YWAM merged with Springs of Living Water, our vision has been to equip, train and commission people of all ages, whose passion for Jesus will impact the needy and make disciples in the cities and towns of Northern California, unreached people groups and developing nations. We do this through life-changing training schools, outreaches, youth ministries, serving, and partnering with the body of Christ.
We are also unique in that we steward a large conference center. Throughout the year many outside groups use the conference center for camps and conferences. This is place for refreshing, renewal and life changing experiences for thousands each year. As well as our training schools and youth ministries, we support serve the following ministries:
Mexico adventures. In just one year our Mexico Adventures program serves over 8,000 meals, builds more than 25 houses hands out hundreds of shoes, baby and clothing items and shares the gospel with many individuals and families.
House of Redeeming Love. The House of Redeeming Love is being established to restore women coming from homelessness and brokenness. The house will be opened in 2017 and will offer an 18 month program to six women. The program with include a specially designed DTS, practical life schools, regular counseling and healing and much more.
Community Ministries. Every week we send a team to serve meals and offer friendship and prayer at the Jesus Centre (Chico’s center for homeless people). We also send a team weekly to Hamilton City (a neighboring immigrant township) to do community projects and disciple a group of teen boys. Most weekends a team from YWAM Chico is on the streets sharing about God’s love and building relationships.