YWAMKnowledgeBase:Brussels Consultation Summary

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6-9 June 2006, Etterbeek, Brussels

The conference started with a time of mediation and sharing around Psalm 105. We then took time to pray for an individual and encourage him. This was a pattern for our time together - we mixed formal presentation, discussion, sharing, ministry to each other, mediation, times of worship and many informal social times.


We looked firstly at the one word that can describe us as YWAM: Multiplication. We started by asking ourselves the question: What is God saying to us about Multiplication in terms of:-

  1. Evangelism
    • Break the term - much more about our lives, about being amongst people
    • Non-Christian people are not projects!
    • Paradigm shift: people in an office for many years and out of touch with people
    • 1 Thess 2:8 Paul shared not only God but lives with Thessalonians
    • What do relevent churches look like?
    • Intensely relational, genuine and not fake! Going to DO evangelism is a bit non-real and more similar to selling and marketing
    • Start lots of new churches - meet in the cafe and bar and see what grows... What is working?
    • Lauren Hill "What people want is fantasy but what they need is reality"
    • Helping people in the mundane, discipling them in the mundane, helping them to live, helping them when they get depressed. DTS is pressed and stressed and programmed and afterwards how do we get them to live in a daily way. Are we feeding the "entertain me" culture?
    • Struggle for us in YWAM is to meet non-Christian friends - hard enough to meet non-YWAM Christians. Hard to CARE
  2. Europe
    • How can we reach people in a post-Catholic Europe?
    • What is it like in Anglo-Saxon Protestant Europe?
  3. New teams
    • How do we multiply well?
    • Is it really a strategic goal? How do we make this strategic as YWAM?
  4. Training leaders
    • Do we give people to management skills they need?
    • Can we do training for new team leaders that really helps them grow?
    • Letting young leaders go and let it go their own way? Giving space for failure. Leadership needs a broad support for the new leaders to go out and provide a strong challenge to get out and go.
    • Leader going with new teams - leading and coaching well.


Using Stolons as a biological analogy of growth for us in YWAM. See ConsultationEssentialPrereading for more depth

The second main theme was that of how do we help new things to start in YWAM, to start well and to last. For this Steve presented his thoughts about Strawberry plants. These plants (and many others also) reproduce in an interesting way. They send out shoots or stolons in many directions. Sometimes these join with others sometimes not. They produce Nodes which may send down a root and grow another fruit right there or send out another stolon. Nodes get DNA and nutrients from the mother plants... locally sunlight, air, some nutrients, water. Plants that grow like this can cover a large area, in fact the largest organism on earth covers 100 acres and is a fungus that grows via stolons.

Steve's point was that this biological model of growth has some very strong analogies for us in YWAM. We then set ourselves the question of how could we apply this biological model in order to plant new teams?

  • Western Europe has a goal of doubling operating locations - do we have a clearer strategic plan? Would this model work?
  • What actually does a new team/operating location actually need to have to be planted well and grow well?
  • What should YWAM as the "plant" provide? (DNA, prayer, funds, people, moral support, training)
  • What can be found in the local circumstances? (opportunities, friends, some money, pastoral, experience)
  • We noted that the biological model allows for stubbornness and redundancies - weeds are effective plants that can be hard to remove!


The third main question referred to lessons learned from teams that had started recently. What could we have got/needed to start a new team/location?

  1. What ought we get/may we get/should we get from the sending base?
    • HAS ANY NEW TEAM HAD A GOOD EXPERIENCE BEING SENT OUT AND SUPPORTED BY ANOTHER BASE? We could not find a positive response - perhaps the sample was too small?
    • Pre-training: management skills - ongoing regular mentoring.
    • Initially: funding for travel, basic admin, some resources, outreach.
    • Long term less funding - start up capital and on going decreasing support for 3 years. Crisis support.
    • On going training and support.
    • On going visit and prayer (sending base should budget this).
    • Broad strategy supporting what we do - sense that we are making a part of the whole - not to be dropped off face of planet.
    • Evaluation, Appraisal - help to find out how much progress made.
    • Help with communications, fundraising.
  2. What can we get locally?
    • Some money
    • lots of opportunities
    • Some pastoral support
    • each team has different needs - ie good local mentors and pastoral support
    • not to be dependant on another base but going with support that enables you to embed yourself well in your new area
  3. If we created a network to help new teams start, what could that network offer?
    • Encouragement - KEEPING THE FIRE BURNING
    • Peer ideas and knowledge of what works
    • Others to encourage, others to travel to
    • Prayer
    • Creating collaborative weeks of other little teams.
    • Network that provides regular perspective and relationship.
    • Relating to people 2-3 years down the line is better than relating to people 15 years down the line.
    • Creating gatherings of like minded people yearly. get encouragement, get a bigger dynamic, celebration. Plenty of relational people time.
    • Sharing knowledge and information of whats working, teaching deeper principles to each other and how it is fleshed out e.g. Jonny's Forgiveness curriculum.
    • Dealing with peoples perceptions of YWAM all the time and this is prob not all unjustified - we let people crash and burn and suffer the bad PR!

An important point was made about sending teams out with little support; the lay on hands, say goodbye, remove staff picture from notice board syndrome. We contrasted that with Jesus' picture of the loving Father who supports not with stones or snakes but with bread. i.e no "Spiritual abuse". In a concrete example: if a base says we love you and sends you out but offers no support (gives monthly money, sends a weekly dts team) then it is not love.

We also noted that people often who start stuff are the hard headed Absalom's and can marginalise themselves (and can't always reproduce their success). This could be classed as the Dandelion seeds approach to multiplication in contrast with stolons; very wasteful and careless with people and resources.

We may need a memorandum of understanding, independent of circumstances. Relationship - structure and agreement - survives the movements of leaders and loss of relationship. Helps stop the swerve to rot.

What Next?

  • The conference was a fruitful time and each participant gained a lot. There was much desire to meet again perhaps a year later (Near a budget airport).
  • We wanted to keep dialogue flowing but did not work out how to do that.
  • Hospitality rooms and Inviting to speak on DTS's.
  • Steve was asked to share some of the feelings and findings of the group, particularly in regard to being more strategic in starting new teams with senior leadership. (Perhaps we need to formulate a white paper on this?)

Lessons learned and other observations

  • The consultation style was one thing that most people took away. They found the relaxed schedule with plenty of time for formal and informal interaction very helpful. The feeling was the relationships built will be foundational for the future and were inspirational for each of us. People genuinely felt that they had contributed something and been listened to.
  • We have much to gain from gatherings like this, where those who are already developing new YWAM centres can pass on information to those who are thinking of starting.
  • This wiki was a very useful tool for all to take notes on at the same time. The potential for sharing of expertise and knowledge is very high. Younger people also had no problem registering and creating their own spaces. (Click on the participants below for examples)
  • YWAM Brussels can offer a great space for small groups of up to 12 people for mini-conferences/retreats like this.

Participants list


Some of the useful material before the conference can be found here: Consultation Essential Pre-reading