YWAM Las Vegas is a family of four ministries focused on evangelism, training, combating human trafficking, orphan care, and developing the community of the historic West Side of Las Vegas. We serve 650 people per month with grocery assistance, mentoring, support groups, community banquets, nail day, and other in-reaches and outreaches.
Family of Four Ministries:
Mission Adventures Experience (MAX)
Mission Adventures Experience (MAX) is a one week training and outreach hosted throughout the year in Las Vegas for youth groups from all over North America and beyond. Since 1999 thousands of youths have participated and thousands of people in Las Vegas have been served, blessed, and made decisions to follow Jesus. Missionary Internship Experience (MIX) is the summer internship in which participants lead, disciple, and model the Kingdom of God. The original thing that God spoke to YWAM Las Vegas occurred in 1996 “out of a groundswell of evangelism in Las Vegas new ministries will be pioneered.” Richard Thompson, the founder of YWAM Las Vegas, started the local expression of Mission Adventures. Its primary purpose is to mobilize young people to share the gospel to the people of Las Vegas.
Missionary Internship Experience (MIX) is the summer internship in which participants lead, disciple, and model the Kingdom of God. The original thing that God spoke to YWAM Las Vegas occurred in 1996 “out of a groundswell of evangelism in Las Vegas new ministries will be pioneered.” Richard Thompson, the founder of YWAM Las Vegas, started the local expression of Mission Adventures. Its primary purpose is to mobilize young people to share the gospel to the people of Las Vegas.
Foster Connect unites local Christians to the cause of the fatherless; FC offers a growing network of Christian foster families in the Las Vegas valley. This network offers resources such as a support group, special events, respite care, and more. Foster Connect has recruited and disciple hundreds of families in fostering kids in the Las Vegas valley as well as helped placed hundreds of foster kids into Christian homes since its inception. Many forever-family adoptions have resulted! “Las Vegas will be reached through the sphere of family” is another thing that we believe God has spoken to us to here at YWAM Las Vegas. In 2006 Ray and Claire Biggerstaff started a ministry called Foster Connect in response to a crisis of an extreme shortage of families willing to foster children.
Many forever-family adoptions have resulted! “Las Vegas will be reached through the sphere of family” is another thing that we believe God has spoken to us to here at YWAM Las Vegas. In 2006 Ray and Claire Biggerstaff started a ministry called Foster Connect in response to a crisis of an extreme shortage of families willing to foster children.
The Butterfly Effect
The Butterfly Effect is a partnership of our anti-trafficking efforts and ministry to the neighborhood of the West Side. Butterfly Effect serves between 500 – 650 locals per month with grocery assistance, mentorship, prayer, community banquets, nail day, and other in-reaches and outreaches. The heart of Butterfly Effect is “To fill practical need, create relationship, and open doors to a new future for those caught in trafficking, addiction, and homelessness in the greater Las Vegas area.”
Another thing we believe that God has spoken to YWAM Las Vegas is to “be visionary and multiplicative.” In 2007 we chose to go to the heart of the most challenging neighborhood in Las Vegas, the West Side, to pioneer focused ministries. We have been providing all of these services free of charge since we received a grant from the city of Las Vegas in 2007. Seven years later, in 2013, the City of Las Vegas and the mayor were so happy with the fruitfulness of the YWAM resource center, that they voted to “give back” or release ownership of the portion of the building that they gave us as a grant in 2007! Since then we continue to be a resource to so many on the West Side and beyond.
The Discipleship Training School (DTS)
The Discipleship Training School (DTS) is the basic discipleship training school accredited by the University of the Nations designed for the individual who seeks a lifelong involvement in missions through intercession, giving, going and mobilizing. Several hundred young people have been mobilized to about 25 nations from YWAM Las Vegas.
The word of the Lord that YWAM Vegas has been holding on to since 2014 is “thriving”: to bear fruit in every area of ministry life as a base and as individuals. YWAM Vegas and its staff are called to walk in the authority that God has given them in the city of Las Vegas; they are called to be the head and not the tail (Deut 28:13). The Discipleship Training School has grown and thrived since this God spoke this to us in 2014.
Serving the Church
We love the Church! Some call YWAM a “para-church” organization but we call it part of the global body of Christ. As part of the Church body we partner with local churches, youth, pastors, leaders and ministries as well as being active members and participants in local fellowships.
Changing the City
We love Las Vegas! Some call it sin city but we call it grace city. We are expanding our current ministries highlighted in orange above such as foster children, inner city youth, EMT workers and international tourists as well as pioneering new focused ministries to some of people groups in white letters. First up is a ministry that combats human trafficking.
Reaching the Nations
We love the Nations! Some say “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” We say, “What happens in Vegas will change the world!” We are sending more and more trained and effective missionaries out to the most unreached parts of the world, especially India and Nepal.
In September of 1996, Richard and Kara Thompson and their children moved to Las Vegas. One year earlier the Lord had begun to speak to them about moving there from Amsterdam. With them was a team of four other adults, and their first task was to conduct an extensive survey of all of the Las Vegas valley pastors and churches. Having a greater understanding of the needs of the city the following ministries were established.
1996 - 1999
Lost World Rescue is a youth training and inner-city outreach for Las Vegas churches was established in 1997 and is still operating today. Over fifty local groups have been trained and mobilized to do outreach primarily in the inner city.
In 1998 YWAM Las Vegas established the Street Cafe in partnership with churches around the city. By the time it closed in 2004, the Street Cafe had provided over 150,000 meals to the homeless.
1999 - 2003
The Mission Adventures program launched in 1999 is a one week training and outreach in Las Vegas, hosted throughout the year for youth groups from all over North America and beyond. Over 2000 youth have been mobilized to come to Las Vegas for community outreach.
International Mission Adventures Outreaches, established 2002-present is an overseas version of Mission Adventures.
Winds of Change (formerly LuminoCity) 1999-2005: an outreach to the estimated 15,000+ prostitutes in Las Vegas,
Discipleship Training Schools (DTS), established 2000-present: is a three month lecture phase to train and equip youth, mobilizing them into missions with an additional two-to-three month cross-cultural international outreach. Over 300 students have gone through our Discipleship Training School (the core course of a degree with the University of the Nations – the YWAM University with 30,000 students per year in campuses across 100 nations).
X-Alt (King’s Kids), established 2001-2008: Children learned about and displayed God’s love through performing arts, sports and community service projects.
From 2001-2007 up to seven after school Bible clubs were held weekly in four middle schools and three high schools – sometimes serving up to 1500 kids per week.
Hang Time established 2002-2005: An after-school homework club for neighborhood kids – aged from elementary through high school. Up to 120 kids came on a regular basis up to 4 times a week in three different locations in the city.
2003 - 2007
RescueNet, established 2004-present: is an international, rapid-deployment disaster response team.
Project Igal, 2003-2004: A performing-arts ministry.
YWAM Clothing, 2002-2004: Production of YWAM clothing for fundraising and promotional purposes.
The Point, established 2003-present: is a Filipino community church that was pioneered her in Las Vegas.
The Beach House was purchased in April 2006. This was our first purchased property. A big house that is zoned both commercially and residentially. We accommodated staff and students here for small schools and housed our main offices.
Foster Connect, established 2006-present Ray and Claire Biggerstaff: Was developed to minister to the broad needs of the 3,000 Foster Children in Clark County annually. Their primary mission is connecting volunteers to opportunities, families to resources and families to families. Foster Connect has recruited 100’s and discipled dozens of families in how to foster kids in the Las Vegas valley as well as helped place over 350 foster kids into Christian homes. We have been involved with over 100 adoptions!
We launched a new YWAM center from Las Vegas with seventeen staff at Pismo Beach/Central Coast California and are currently developing other locations around the world, including a YWAM campus in Lucknow, India.
2007 - 2012
The Anthill Project, established in 2007: is an educational development project targeting schools in war-torn West Africa.
School of Apostolic Pioneering (SOAP), established 2007-present: This University of the Nations course came out of YWAM Las Vegas. Its purpose is to equip students to pioneer new YWAM Ministries and Bases around the world especially to the most unreached places. There are currently 17 new ministries that have been pioneered in India, 7 in the Southern Region of Africa, 2 in North America, and one in Queenstown New Zealand in partnership with the SOAP.
Purchase of our current YWAM building on the West Side occurred in December of 2007 with the help of a generous $482,000 grant that was supplied by the City of Las Vegas.
The Pier Community Resource Center (2008-present) continues to serve around 500 locals per month with grocery assistance and youth mentorship programs in one of the most challenging and impoverished neighborhoods in Las Vegas and the USA.
2013 - Present
Martin Malmberg took over the leadership of YWAM Las Vegas in May of 2013 helping to stabilize and expand its ministry reach. The YWAM base morphed into a dual mission hybrid of a training campus and outreach center which houses our “family four ministries” focused on evangelism, training, combating human trafficking, orphan care, and developing the community of the historic West Side of Las Vegas.
These are some of the highlights of what has happened since May of 2013:
- We have gone from 7 full time staff up to 18.
- We are stable financially and have eliminated $72,000 in credit card debt.
- We have gone from having no leadership team to having a thriving leadership team consisting of Martin Malmberg, Vacheral Carter, Alexa Johnson, and Chelsea Freund.
- Foster Connect, which was started as a response to a shortage of foster families, has expanded and we have seen hundreds of connections between foster children and families resulting in many adoptions. We recently had 10 adoptions in one month (August, 2017)! We continue to support, as ‘retention specialists’ 75 foster families.
- We chose to go to the heart of the most challenging neighborhood of Las Vegas—the West Side, to pioneer focused ministries that develop the community which we received a grant for in 2007. The City of Las Vegas was so happy about how well we fulfilled the requirements of the grant many people we served that in 2014 they voted to release ownership back to YWAM. We now serve even more people (about 650) per month with grocery assistance, support groups, mentoring for teenagers, community banquets, nail day to women at risk, among other things.
- Our 5 month long Discipleship Training School that trains and sends young people out to change the world has doubled in school size since 2013. From 2013 to 2018 we have sent out 150 missionaries on mid-term mission trips to Cambodia, Thailand, India, Nepal, Zambia, Uganda, South Africa, Republic of Georgia, Czech Republic, and Berlin, Germany, and other locations.
- Our Mission Adventures program is on an upward trajectory and we will host around 300 short term missionaries in 2018! These are the ones that go boldly out to love, serve, and proclaim the good news to the people of Las Vegas. Our summer internship is training 15 college aged missionaries to reach Las Vegas and do the same in their home towns and college campuses.
- We just finished this website www.ywamlasvegas.org!
- At one point we had no functioning vehicles but the Lord provides! We now have two mini buses, a 15 passenger van, and an old Volkswagen Beetle. They are all in working condition (for now 🙂 ).
- In 2018 we are starting a community garden! See here:
Overall we have launched and/or assisted in bringing leadership to various networks in our city including to African-American church leaders, Filipino church leaders, the Christian Ministries Network, the Youth Pastors Network and the Global Missions Network, the Worship and Prayer Network, and the Citywide Interfaith Network for Combating Human Trafficking.
We have seen over 4,000 people make commitments to Christ in Las Vegas and in the over 40 nations that we have ministered to.
We have launched and/or assisted in bringing leadership to various networks in our city including to African-American church leaders, Filipino church leaders, the Christian Ministries Network, the Youth Pastors Network and the Global Missions Network, the Worship and Prayer Network, and the Citywide Interfaith Network for Combating Human Trafficking.
We have seen over 4,000 people make commitments to Christ in Las Vegas and in the over 40 nations that we have ministered to.