In 1983 Steve Aherne led a DTS team to pioneer YWAM in Melbourne, coming from Goulburn, on what became a “spying out the land” visit. After and outreach blessed by God, 19 people stayed on to establish the first YWAM base in Melbourne. Their first facility was a few rooms at St. John’s Anglican Church in Camberwell. The rooms consisted of a caretaker’s cottage and the Sunday school classroom, which meant that every Sunday the guys had to pack up their belongings to make way for the children!
After a while a house became available in Toorak, Melbourne’s most fashionable suburb. All 19 stayed in a two-storey house for almost a year until it was auctioned and sold. From Toorak they moved to a facility in Collingwood. Ideally located close to the city, it was an old nursing home, owned by Melbourne City Mission. As the team grew, they began believing God for a permanent property where the work could be established and grow. As they prayed, many felt that God was leading them to work to raise money for a facility. One by one they found work in factories, hospitals, and supermarkets and prayed that God would provide for them.
After much prayer and commitment, they discovered what is now the Surrey Hills base.
Melbourne is one of the most vibrant cities in the world, with a very particular heartbeat that keeps evolving as the city grows. The capital of the state of Victoria has everything you can think off: a exciting inner city life, beautiful suburbs with strong identities and the beachside, with over 4 million people. Such growth brings at once opportunities and challenges, and it isn’t different for the body of Christ. How can we address the problems that are so particular to big cities? How can we affect the life of millions at once? How can we be a blessing to the Church in places as different as the city and suburbs, the beachside and the forgotten neighbourhoods? It takes heart, passion, networking, vision and willingness to persevere. All things that you will find in YWAM Southlands Melbourne, a pulsating community committed to go where the needs are.