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History [ About GYi ]

In 1978, Dann Spader began Sonlife Ministries in North America—a ministry designed to train youth leaders. Growing out of a church-based youth ministry operating on the model of Christ’s own ministry, Sonlife Ministries simply looked at how Jesus multiplied disciples and taught the same principles to youth workers. 

Believing that most of Jesus’ disciples were in their teens or early twenties when he began to work with them, the Son’s Life became the model for ministry. By 2000, over 75,000 youth leaders had been trained in the Son’s Life.

Soon, a number of these leaders began to take the training of Sonlife to other parts of the globe. Bill Hodgson began Youth Ministry Australia, Dave Patty started Josiah Venture in Eastern Europe, Mark Edwards began Sonlife Latin America. Within a few short years, the training of Sonlife was being taught in over seventy countries with indigenous trainers in over 40 countries. Other leaders began to surface with a similar passion of training youth workers in Christ’s life and ministry.

In 1998, a number of these leaders began to meet together yearly to learn from each other cross culturally. The first few gatherings were held at the Sonlife Campus in Illinois and then we began to move around the globe, learning in different countries and contexts . In 2002 we met in the Czech Republic—hosted by Josiah Venture. In 2003 we met in South Africa—hosted by Mark Tittley of Sonlife Africa. In 2005 we met in Costa Rica—hosted by Mark Edwards. In 2006 we met in Singapore—hosted by Andrew Tay.  Since then we have met in Israel and the Philippines. 

In 2004, Dann was asked by the leadership team of GYI to become the President of Global Youth Initiative. In January 2005, Dann, along with his wife Char, accepted that position, becoming the first full time employee of GYI. In 2009 Steve Hudson joined the GYI team as the second employee.  Steve and Dann give leadership to GYI initiatives and partnerships around the world, including volunteering their time to lead Sonlife North America.

The vision of GYI is to “see a movement of God among the youth of the globe”. Specifically we are trusting God to have movement leaders in 100 countries by 2020, and through these organizations, see 100,000 reproducing disciple makers be multiplied…”from everywhere to everywhere”.

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