In November of 1987, John Dawson, along with the YWAM Los Angeles council and staff, commissioned and sent Dick and Pat Eachus to move north from the Southwest Regional headquarters to pioneer and establish YWAM Northern California. It was the relationships that had been built by Loren and Darlene Cunningham, the Dawsons and the Eachus’s that formed the foundation that YWAM would build on.
The city of San Francisco is only 47 square miles in size, but its potential to reach the nations is endless.
The target was the major urban centers of Northern California, San Francisco being the first. It was the thought and prayers of the Los Angeles council that God would provide a facility in San Francisco for the purpose of training and also for the development of ministries that would focus on revival for these diverse cities. Youth With A Mission had been reaching into major cities all across the world: Paris, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Hong Kong, yet California’s San Francisco, a major metropolis and world-class city, remained untouched. Dick & Pat immediately established a YWAM office in San Francisco and began prayer walking the neighborhoods. Short term teams were brought in to help develop an up to date demographic system that could be a tool for the development of diverse ministries to reach the city.
As this work was being done in San Francisco, a surprise was on the horizon. The potential of a training facility began to materialize. Cecil and Lillian Cooper, directors of the Springs of Living Water in Richardson Springs, California, were seeking to broaden their focus with another ministry. In 1988, the Coopers generously handed the torch they had been carrying for 20 years at the Springs property to Youth With A Mission.
After one year of searching, God again blessed YWAM Northern California with the Bridgemont High School facility in San Francisco, where staff could be housed, short term outreaches could continue and an Urban DTS could begin. To pioneer the work there, a team was sent from YWAM Richardson Springs. They ran the first DTS in 1991 and mobilized the short term teams that came.
In 1995, a YWAM SF staff of three moved into the Tenderloin Training and Outreach Center (TTOC) at 357 Ellis Street in order to be more strategic in reaching the Tenderloin and nearby Polk Street. The TTOC held its first DTS in the Fall of 1996 and has continued every year, with a second school added in January 2002. Mission Adventures started in 1995 (although not called Mission Adventures until 2002) and has continued as well. We just hosted over 1600 MA participants in 2007.
In April of 1998, the Street Team moved into discipleship house called The Refuge, located on Girard Street in Visitation Valley and began taking in kids for overnight stays. In September 1999, our base director moved into the Bayview/Hunter’s Point neighborhood, further expanding our vision for the city. In the summer of 2001, the Pharos was opened as our Street Team ministry was restructured and a team moved out to an apartment on Polk and continued to minister out of that location until 2004, when the ministry was brought back into the TTOC. In June 2003, YWAM San Francisco opened up the Oakdale Youth House, located in the Bayview/Hunter’s Point neighborhood, offering an after-school program and a free Summer Day Camp each year for the local youth.
As we began 2008, we still had two Discipleship Training Schools each year, our Mission Adventures teams, the Oakdale Youth House, a Street Team, our new Discipleship Training Program and an Urban Internship. At the same time, we will continue to look beyond the walls of our building and our current ministry, to see where else God would lead us. The city of San Francisco is only 47 square miles in size, but its potential to reach the nations is endless and we hope to bring release of that potential as the Holy Spirit leads and empowers us!