YWAM has been in Spain for over 45 years and there are currently YWAM bases and ministries in Asturias, Barcelona, Bilbao, Caceres, Madrid, Vigo and shortly Santiago de Compostela.
YWAM trains more than 25,000 short-term missions volunteers annually. Founded by Loren Cunningham and his wife Darlene Cunningham in 1960, YWAM’s stated purpose is to “know God and to make Him known”.
The first school run by YWAM was called the School of Evangelism, held at Chateau-d’Oex, Switzerland in 1969 with 21 students. A second school ran from the summer of 1969 to the summer of 1970 just outside Lausanne, Switzerland, in a newly renovated hotel in Chalet-à-Gobet that YWAM purchased, making Lausanne its first permanent location in Europe.
How did YWAM Spain start?
The first YWAM team came to Spain in 1968 followed by a second team in 1969. The first apartment was rented in Torrejon de Ardoz (Madrid) in the summer of 1972.
Why Torrejon? One of the main reasons for YWAM to settle in Torrejon was the ministry with the American air base, which at the time was located there. In addition, on the outskirts of Torrejon there was a neighborhood specifically designed for the American soldiers, and YWAM was given the opportunity of renting apartments at an affordable price just 20 minutes from the Madrid airport.
Over the years, YWAM Madrid became a well-established operational center running many different ministries simultaneously, and with a staff of up to 80 people at times.
At the beginning of the 1980s, YWAM Spain was granted legal status by the Spanish Ministry of Justice, at a time when the organization had centers in Torrejon and Cornellá, Barcelona.
By 1982, coinciding with the celebration of the FIFA World Cup held in Spain, YWAM was established in the five major cities: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville and Bilbao.
It was in 1992, during the Barcelona Olympics, following a tough legal and spiritual battle, that YWAM Madrid acquired the current facilities in Torrejon de Ardoz.
They are functional, modern and suitable for carrying out the ministries currently run by YWAM Madrid: Discipleship Training School (DTS), Bible Core Course (BCC), Leadership Development School (LDC), 100% Life Association and Impact World with its Hip Hope ministry. In addition, YWAM Madrid regularly sends teams to Asia, Africa and Europe on trips of social cooperation and works with local churches in Torrejon, Madrid and Spain.