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Eldership in YWAM at the point of writing is a hot topic for discussion and understanding. There are various papers written and letters circulated. The aim of this page is to summarise in one place these different strands of discussion.

Eldership in YWAM

Elders and Eldership is mentioned in several of the Key YWAM Documents in particular:

YWAM Foundational Values

5. Be Visionary

YWAM is called to be visionary, continually receiving, nurturing and releasing fresh vision from God. We support the pioneering of new ministries and methods, always willing to be radical in order to be relevant to every generation, people group, and sphere of society. We believe that the apostolic call of YWAM requires the integration of spiritual eldership, freedom in the Spirit and relationship, centered on the Word of God.

(Isaiah 42:8+9; John 4:35; Matthew 10:1-10; Hebrews 11:1-3; Proverbs 29:18; Habakkuk 2:2)


7. Be Broad-Structured and Decentralized

YWAM is broad-structured and diverse, yet integrated. We are a global family of ministries held together by shared purpose, vision, values and relationship. We believe that structures should serve the people and the purposes of God. Every ministry at every level has the privilege and responsibility of accountability to a circle of elders, with overall international accountability to the YWAM Global Leadership Team.

(Mark 10:42+43; Exodus 18:17-26; John 8:36; 1. Corinthians 3:4-9; Hebrews 13:7+17)

Nanning Covenant


We joyfully submit our personal ministries and the corporate ministries we lead to the spiritual eldership of the GLT and the appropriate elderships at other levels under the GLT;

We choose afresh to be transparent and open in our relationships with each other, and to give fresh emphasis in our mission to God’s Word as our compass and plumbline for daily living;

We commit to our responsibility as elders to serve and encourage those under our care with love, as loving servants, respecting their dignity and value as his children, and giving godly coaching for them to be released to fulfill the fresh new words from the Lord;

We commit to serve our leaders by submitting major leadership appointments, new visions or changes of directions, policies and practices in the ministries we lead, supporting and encouraging a spiritual environment of trust, unity, love and peace within YWAM, that we may enjoy the complete fellowship God intends for us within our YWAM relationships;


Manila Covenant

This document has a number of passages where the ethos and style of leadership is declared:


We affirm that God wants both young and old, male and female, in positions of leadership and responsibility in our mission.

We affirm servant leadership and the importance of being accountable and submissive in our leadership styles and attitudes. We confirm the importance of all new staff going through a period of culturally appropriate training and orientation to help prepare them for service in God’s Kingdom. We express our desire for God to continually revive and invigorate our discipleship training programs to make them a source of encouragement, equipping, and empowering for Christian service.

We affirm the importance of a spirit of humility, brokenness, and godly transparency in our relationships with one another. We commit ourselves afresh to the principles of unity as described by the apostle Paul in Ephesians chapters four and five. We accept the responsibility to deal with any character weakness or cultural barrier in a manner that would be pleasing to the Lord Jesus and that would promote unity within our mission and with the whole Body of Christ.


We affirm the importance of accountability between Youth With A Mission as a whole and its various bases, ministries, teams and schools. We confirm our need to be in submission to those we serve, those who are over us in the Lord, and those we work with as co-laborers. We believe that this spirit of accountability welcomes correction, encouragement, and openness in our corporate and personal lives.


Other Letters

File:John Dawson on Eldership 3-2012.pdf
File:Eldership - LC updated 2012.pdf