In 1995, youth pastor Brian Aaby was tasked by the missions committee at his church to “get the students passionate about missions!” He was excited to learn that a mission trip was on the horizon, and so were the students in his youth group. However, after researching possible overseas locations it became evident to Brian that he'd be asking his students to take on something far beyond their readiness. They would have to raise a lot of money to travel to a foreign culture with a different language to do something they weren't even doing at home - evangelism and service.

Instead of planning a trip to generate a “spiritual high” in a foreign land, Brian developed strategies to engage and equip students to reach their own campus, club, community and church with the Gospel. There was a mission trip that year, but it was used as a catalytic event in the lives of students to empower the other 51 weeks outside the trip. Well-trained students were able to go on their mission, engage their peers with the message of Christ, and return with spiritual confidence and a heart for the lost in their own hometown.

As the church grew, other youth leaders from other churches sought out Brian's help and began to implement the same strategies with great success. So many youth leaders requested the training that Youthmark was born to meet the ever-expanding need. Youthmark Mission Ventures and the Mission51 strategies are now enabling Youth Groups and Schools nationwide to make a lasting difference through Christ-centered ministry.