Our founders Lester and Pauline Meyers founded the ministry in 1957 in downtown San Jose, California. They started it as a feeding program for homeless men and then families. Four years later, the ministry - then known as the San Jose Rescue Mission - moved to a larger facility where it began providing shelter as well as meals to the homeless. In 1964, Pauline opened the New Hope Home for Women and Children.
Around that same time, May and Mac McLean were operating a boys ranch in the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains and a summer camp in Lake Tahoe for boys from broken homes. In 1969, the McLeans asked the San Jose Rescue Mission to consider merging the two ministries, and soon the organization was reaching out to both the homeless and troubled youths.
San Jose Rescue Mission changed its name to Cityteam in 1983, a name which more accurately represented its expanding urban focus. Also that year, the summer camp was relocated to 172 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the name was changed to Camp MayMac in honor of May and Mac McClean who dedicated their lives to providing a safe haven for children.
In 1987, Philadelphia churches called upon Cityteam to start their national expansion to the East Coast by serving people in need located throughout the greater Delaware Valley. During this time period, Cityteam started a full long-term recovery program for men.
Each year, the rate of women and children living in poverty situations was rapidly increasing. In order to help those women suffering from addiction, abuse, abandonment, crisis pregnancy and homelessness, Cityteam started three new programs: House of Grace and Heritage Home in San Jose and the Well Baby Program in Philadelphia. These programs became life changing for both the children and their mothers.
In 1997, Cityteam broadened its scope by launching Cityteam. In 2007, its name was changed to NewGenerations International, a division of Cityteam, to emphasize the centrality of disciples making disciples. This division focuses on training, equipping and coaching national leaders in 38 countries around the world. NewGenerations International partners care for hurting people with compassionate services by providing food, purified water, medical services, education and other essential care as the first link in developing relationships that serve as the basis for reproductive church planting.
Cityteam’s Disaster Response Team started in October 1989 by responding to and sheltering the victims of the Loma Prieta earthquake that hit Santa Cruz County. Since responding to both the Tsunami in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Cityteam has developed a unique four-phase framework that specializes in the long-term recovery process in the aftermath of major disasters, helping communities who are unable to recover on their own. Today we are training and preparing volunteers and partners to respond to future disasters.
In 1999, Cityteam’s ministry family expanded with locations in Oakland, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle (formerly Peniel Missions). Many of these locations had been serving the poor since the late 1800’s. During the past 50 years, hundreds of thousands of lives have been transformed at Cityteam because someone cared enough to reach out to them and help with their immediate physical, emotional and spiritual needs. We are constantly improving our programs to meet the changing needs of the communities that we serve and improving our ability to reach out to more individuals and families through volunteers. This in turn helps us become an even better organization to provide effective programs for an ever-changing world.
Cityteam’s founders have left a legacy of godly love and practical care for those in need, a reminder of God’s heart for the poor. Building upon that legacy today, the organization has grown from its small beginnings in the city of San Jose, California to reaching out across the nation and around the world. Cityteam continues to strengthen its commitment to provide compassionate service and to raise up a new generation of extraordinary leaders. Through volunteers and generous support from donors, the legacy of service and transforming lives and communities continues.
In 2012, Cityteam Ministries changed our name to Cityteam. We officially added the word "international" to our name to better reflect what we've been doing for years - sharing the hope of Jesus Christ locally, and around the world. Think of it as the "same mission - bigger neighborhood"!
Together with donors and volunteers, we are Cityteam: demonstrating God's love through serving others. Currently, Cityteam is caring for over 500,000 people in the United States and training and equipping, mentoring and coaching local leaders in 48 countries around to care for those that are lost and in need in their own communities. We build long-term relationships through compassion ministries including medical, dental and eye care, education, safe water, emergency food relief, seeds and farming agriculture, transportation and so much more. Meeting their physical needs is the first step in bringing the Gospel into a specific community. Jesus set the perfect example for all of us by ministering to both the physical and spiritual needs of people. Jesus chose ordinary people to follow His example to disciple and spread His Word throughout the nations.
Cityteam has been blessed in training and equipping over 600,000 new believers who have started over 18,000 new churches in the past six years. Disciples are now mentoring others to rapidly reproduce and become disciples.
Our long-term history since 1957 continues today as we compassionately care for those in need and share the real hope that real change is possible locally and around the world through the power of Jesus. Think of it as the same mission—just a bigger neighborhood!