The main age group of people that join Youth With A Mission is between the ages of 18 to 30. Short term missions (3-12 months) involvement, including YWAM, is often something people do as part of a “Gap Year” either between high school and post-secondary education, or after finishing their post secondary education and before starting their career.
Representative Charles B. Rangel (Dem) from New York of the United States of America has recently proposed a bill that would make national service during that prime age for short term missions required for all Americans. The summary for his bill is below:
Summary for H.R.748 – To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 25 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or as civilian service in a Federal, State, or local government program or with a community-based agency or community-based entity, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, to provide for the registration of women under the Military Selective Service Act, and for other purposes.
Mandatory national service could be either a boon to the recruiting of missionaries, or a large obstacle to it depending on how a “community-based agency or community-based entity” is defined.
There are many examples of how potentially churches and Christian organisations like YWAM or other missions organisations could be excluded from list of “community-based agency or entity” in America. Some of these include the exclusion of churches from FEMA help after Hurricane Sandy (source) as well as churches being banned from using public facilities like schools for worship services (source).
In the United States there are many organisations that work towards no government involvement or association with “churches”. You can almost certainly guarantee that the following organisations would work towards eliminating all faith based organisations from eligibility to participate in any national service movement:
- The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
- The Freedom From Religion Foundation
- Americans United for Separation of Church and State
- Secular Coalition for America
If you are involved with the recruitment of missionaries to your organisation have you given any thought to how this would change your strategy?