Rock the World Youth Mission Alliance

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Rock the World Youth Mission Alliance is a Christian ministry that trains young people as leaders. Their core training programs create an ongoing network of relationships where the grads and trainees collaborate to offer events and conferences, generate new ministries, and support one another in life and ministry.

Among other programs, Rock the World currently runs the Josiah Project, a summer collegiate leadership initiative; re:mix, an annual conference for young people ages 14–30; Ambridge Youth Ignite, a local ministry with kids in Rock the World’s home town of Ambridge, PA; and "Next Step" retreats for kids in middle school through high school. Rock the World's activities exist predominantly inside the USA but extend globally.

Mission of Rock the World The stated mission of Rock the World is to “multiply young Christian leaders.” The longer version of their mission states “Rock the World’s mission is to mobilize young people to follow Jesus, grow together in knowledge and love of God, serve in the power of the Spirit, and impact the world for the Kingdom of God.” Both versions emphasize the capacity of Jesus' young disciples to make more disciples. The long-term goal of RTWYMA is to ignite a spiritual awakening among young people on every continent.

Rock the World is not legally a part of any denomination. At its founding, Rock the World was informally associated with the Episcopal Church. By the end of the 1990s this association had broadened to include a wide range of denominations. Although Rock the World is officially independent of any denomination, Anglican influence still finds expression through the involvement of so many Anglicans in the ministry.


The Rev. Whis Hays founded Rock the World in 1989. After 14 years in ministry with college, high school, and middle school young people, he saw the need for a new ministry that gave leverage to the energy, dedication, and fresh insight of young Christian leaders. His published works include numerous articles and films, the best known of which are his 1995 article “Arresting the New Sexual McCarthyism” [1] and his 1980 film, “Jesus, Head of the Church.” He is also known for 16 years of teaching youth ministry courses as Associate Professor of Youth Ministry at Trinity School for Ministry, teaching there while serving in his position as Rock the World’s Executive Director.


The organization derives its name from the Bible's book of Acts, chapter 17 verse 6. The story makes it clear that Paul and his friends were not trying to make trouble, but only trying to speak about Jesus and act according to the Kingdom of God. Obviously, sometimes this shook up things around them! When young followers of Jesus do the same thing today, it's not unusual for them to get the same result.

Primary Ministries[edit]

Rock the World has offered 3 core training programs:

1. In 1990 Rock the World launched the Josiah Project, a two-summer leadership program for college students. The main focus of this program is preparing students for a lifetime of leadership by giving them classroom training, hands-on experience, and the opportunity to launch new ministries. Josiah graduates are proving to be effective leaders: more than 90% of Josiah graduates continue to be involved in Christian ministry leadership today.

2. Epicenter is a one-year internship program, launched in 2004. This one-year internship focused on student ministry leadership training, also including elements of cross-cultural ministry and planting of micro-church movements.

3. Beginning in 1991, Rock the World's Student Ministry Professionals Program offered the first Master's Degree in youth ministry anywhere in the worldwide Anglican Communion in partnership with Trinity School for Ministry. Graduates prepared for a career in youth ministry through the local church. This program is currently in a state of transition.

Incubated Ministries[edit]

Rock the World has become the platform for a number of new ministries launched by their graduates and trainees, some of which become a permanent part of Rock the World. One of these is Ambridge Youth Ignite (AYI),[2] a holistic outreach to children and middle school youth in Rock the World's hometown of Ambridge, PA. AYI was created in 2004 by Josiah Project students Eric and Shea Rankin Geisbert who met while participating in Rock the World's Josiah Project.

re:mix[3] is an annual "Kingdom Outbreak" conference launched in 2003 for young adults and high school youth. The re:mix founder who is also a Josiah Project graduate, says “re:mix helps young people go further in with God and further out to spread Jesus' message of the Kingdom of God both locally and globally.”

Other programs that started within Rock the World have spun off to become their own ministries, such as inneracts.[4] Incubation of new ministries is continuing as trainees and graduates are inspired to pursue fresh initiatives.

Other ministries[edit]

Rock the World also offers various retreats and weekend leadership training seminars, such as Striking Fire, a weekend training event, and Next Step, a retreat for middle school and high school kids themed on following Jesus. Rock the World also engages in various global initiatives, having consistent partnerships with All Nations Family [5] and Anglican Global Mission Partners.[6]


Rock the World’s trainees and graduates are spread out across most of the United States and several foreign countries, serving in churches, schools, and other contexts. Aside from founder Whis Hays, Rock the World’s longest-serving employees have been (in order of longevity) Meredith B., Steven Tighe, Carol Jaros, and Cynthia Seeliger Seifert. Some graduates especially well known in student ministry circles include Holly Rankin Zaher, Aran Walter, Joel Tassie, Dixon Kinser and Jack Gabig. Thousands of young people are touched by the ministries of their graduates, and hundreds decide to follow Jesus every year.


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