YouthWorks, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit corporation, was created in 1994 by Paul Bertelson. At that time Paul was serving as a youth pastor at a church in a suburb of Minneapolis, MN. After leading week long mission trips with his own youth group, Paul realized that his students grew more in these one week experiences than they did the entire rest of the year. His hope and prayer in starting YouthWorks was that every teenager would have the opportunity to go on a mission trip and have their life changed by God.

Paul Bertelson
Founder Paul Bertelson
Youth Works 2006 (100)
YouthWorks Summer Staff, 2006

With a Christ-centered board guiding the team, YouthWorks has seen incredible growth over the last 20 years. The first summer, 35 churches brought approximately 400 participants to two communities. By 2000 there were 35 communities and over 10,000 participants. Each  summer we have over 21,000 participants serving on mission trips in over 45 communities.

Throughout this growth we have learned a great deal about youth ministry, serving and partnering with communities, the logistics of a mission trip, and how to love the church.  We’re grateful for the journey we’ve been on and  invite you to join us as we continue to pray about what God has in store for the future of YouthWorks.

1998 shirt design
Recruiting in fall of 2000
YouthWorks welcome banner