When visitors come to Byron Bay, one of the must-see places to visit is the lighthouse. The Byron Lighthouse is one of the icons of the town of Byron Bay. It stands as a beacon on the headland, and its beam of light can be spotted from miles away, sweeping the night sky.
When Kevin and Tiffany Stickle first came to Byron Bay in 2004, they came with the vision of being a light in a dark place.
Since those earliest days, YWAM Byron Bay has adopted the lighthouse as the symbol of their ministry here in Byron Bay. They believe in Jesus’ mandate to us as His followers to be a light to the world.
Often when teams come to do outreaches here in Byron Bay, they are taken up to the lighthouse to pray over the town from the high ground overlooking it.
From bustling streets to remote jungle villages, from Buddhist monks to Muslim housewives, the light reaches out to the farthest corners of the earth and into the darkest corners of the human heart.
Byron Bay has long been known as a spiritual gateway to the nation. To the early Aboriginals it was known as a gathering place. These days, more than ever, Byron is known as a place where the world gathers. With its beautiful beaches, tropical rainforests, surfing hotspots, adventure sports and relaxed, chilled-out atmosphere, people come from around the globe to take in everything the town of Byron has to offer. They come here searching—some looking for adventure and excitement, others seeking peace and spiritual enlightenment. YWAM Byron Bay’s mission, like the lighthouse, is to light the way for these seekers on their spiritual journey.
Since most of these travellers would never enter the door of a church, Kev and Tiff decided to bring church to them and thus the vision of “church in the park” was birthed. Every Friday, the Rails Park in downtown Byron lights up with the presence of God as backpackers, locals and homeless alike intermingle, enjoying free food, live music, dramas and testimonies. Every year, 100’s of free Bibles given away at this weekly event find their way into the hands and backpacks of people from every tribe, tongue and nation, sending rays of light out into the far corners of the earth.
“I decided to go travelling around Australia but little did I know it was God’s plan for me. I went travelling to find myself and to get away from the average life. All it took was one message to a long lost friend and I came to YWAM Byron Bay intending to crash for a couple of days. Instead, I ended up getting saved and it changed my life. I went with an openness and attitude to give anything a go and I experienced things which I didn’t think were possible. The past 2 years I had felt lost and I hadn’t moved forward in any way. Now my eyes have been opened and I look at life in a new, brighter way. I went on to get baptised the following week and haven’t looked back since. Things have become so much clearer and I can be who God created me to be. I am now a Believer.”
– Paul Baker (UK)
Lighting up the world
This is just one story that demonstrates the truth of YWAM Byron Bay’s key verse; “They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might.” (Psalm 145:11)
However it is not enough for the base to be a single, solitary light in this community. YWAM Byron Bay is called to be a city on a hill. This is why, every year they host events like Schoolies and Impact Summer where hundreds of volunteers come from all over Australia. All these individual lights coming together with one common vision and purpose create a veritable floodlight of God’s glory through the streets! Countless testimonies of salvations, healings and lives touched by the power and love of God emerge during these evangelistic outreaches into the community.
This light is then carried to the nations of the world by the young people participating in Discipleship Training Schools who go overseas on outreach. From bustling city streets to remote jungle villages, from Buddhist monks to Muslim housewives, the light reaches out to the farthest corners of the earth and into the darkest corners of the human heart.
Ultimately, the vision as a base is to see every youth in Byron Shire, and as many backpackers as possible come to Jesus. Be it in schools, skate parks or surf spots; new and creative ways to shine the light of the gospel throughout this region and the world are always being searched for.
Come and visit us, or contact us learn more about how God is using YWAM Byron Bay to be a light to the nations and how you too, can be a part of it, because, “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it”.