Youth With A Mission

Youth With A Mission
Youth With A Mission (YWAM)
Founder(s) Loren Cunningham
Type Evangelical Missions Agency
Founded 1960
Key people
  • John Dawson, International President
    *Iain Muir, International Director
    *Lynn Green, International Chairman
Area served 180 Countries
Employees 16,049 volunteers
Motto To know God and to make Him known

Youth With A Mission (YWAM, generally pronounced as "y-wam") is an international, inter-denominational, non-profit Christian missionary organization. Founded by Loren Cunningham in 1960, YWAM's stated purpose is to "know God and to make Him known".[1] [2]

In the 50 years since its inception, YWAM's activities have expanded from youth-focused short term evangelistic missionary journeys to include educational training, church planting, business as mission, and relief and development services. Today, YWAM involves people of every age group.[3]

YWAM now includes people from over 150 countries and a large number of Christian denominations, with over half of the organization's staff coming from "non-western" countries.[4] YWAM currently has over 16,049 full-time volunteer workers in over 1,000 operating locations in 180 nations{{[5]}} and trains 25,000 short-term missions volunteers annually.[6][7]



Youth With A Mission was conceived by Loren Cunningham who tells how in 1956, while a 20-year-old student in the Assemblies of God College, he was traveling in the Bahamas when he had a vision of waves breaking over the Earth. He says when he looked closer the waves appeared to become young people taking the news of Jesus into all the nations of the world. He envisioned a movement that would send young people out after high school to gain a sense of purpose when going to college, and would welcome Christians of all denominations.[8][9]

In late 1960, the name Youth with a Mission was chosen and the small group embarked on their first project, a vocational mission trip. The result was that YWAM sent two men in their early twenties to Liberia to build a road through the jungle to a leper colony. This was the organization's first official mission trip.[10]

Loren Cunningham married Darlene Scratch in 1963. By this time, the new mission had 20 volunteers stationed in various nations, and the Cunninghams were planning the mission's first "Summer of Service". Later in the year, YWAM teams were being sent to West Indies, Samoa, Hawaii, Mexico, and Central America. By 1966, there were 10 full-time YWAM staff including the Cunninghams and hundreds of summer short-term volunteers. That year YWAM ministries also began in New Zealand and Tonga.[10][11]

In 1967, Cunningham began to work on his vision for the first school. It was to be the School of Evangelism in Lausanne, Switzerland, which was held from December 1969 to the middle of 1970 with 36 students. The students' lodging and classes took place in a newly renovated and leased hotel in Lausanne. By the end of the year, YWAM purchased the hotel and made Lausanne its first permanent location.[12][13]

The School of Evangelism was formed in 1974 in New Jersey as well as Lausanne. With a focus on biblical foundations and character development as well as missions, much of the material from this course is now taught in the present day Discipleship Training School (DTS).[13] A format of three months of lectures followed by two or three months of outreach is still used in most Discipleship Training Schools today.[9][13]

By 1970, YWAM had a total of 40 full-time staff.[13] That year, 1000 volunteer YWAM staff headed to Munich, Germany, to prepare an outreach for the 1972 Summer Olympics. This was the first of many YWAM Olympic outreaches.[12]

The University of the Nations online magazine has stated that Cunningham met scientist and professor Howard V. Malmstadt at a conference in 1974. They started giving educational seminars together, and Cunningham asked Malmstadt to help expand the training arm of the mission. In 1977 YWAM purchased the Pacific Empress Hotel in Kona, Hawaii, and began renovations to turn it into the campus for what was initially called the Pacific and Asia Christian University—the forerunner of University of the Nations.[14] In 1978, YWAM began Shining Lights, an outreach to prostitutes in Amsterdam.[15]

By 1979, YWAM's Mercy Ships ministry was launched with the commissioning of the ship "Anastasis" (the Greek word for Resurrection).[16][17]

By the end of the 1980s, YWAM changed the name of its university to University of the Nations (U of N). The concept of a YWAM university that would encompass training programs in hundreds of YWAM locations was developed by Cunningham and Malmstadt.[14][18] When communist regimes in Eastern Europe began to fall in the early 1990s, Youth With A Mission began outreaches to countries there, including Albania.[19] Other efforts in this decade include a school for the disabled in Mongolia.[20]

By 2000, YWAM had over 11,000 staff from over 130 countries and had become almost 50 percent non-Western.[4] Reflecting this diversity, in 1999, New Zealander Frank Naea, who has Samoan and Māori parentage, was chosen to become YWAM's first non-white president in 2000, replacing Jim Stier, who was to continue as international director of evangelism and frontier missions and national director for Brazil.[21] In 2000, YWAM developed a new role of Executive Chairman, which Jim Stier stepped into, and made the presidency a three-year rotating position.[4] By 2006, YWAM had joined the International Orality Network (ION), a multi-agency outreach effort to "the world's non-literate masses", employing verbal and dramatic means to introduce the Gospel to populations which do not read.[22]


YWAM leaders characterize the organization as a “family of ministries” rather than a structured, hierarchical entity.[23] YWAM's website describes how each of YWAM’s 1000+ operating centers is responsible for determining which training programs it will conduct, the character and destination of its outreaches, personnel recruitment, financial sustainment, and ministerial priorities.[24] YWAM has no official international administrative headquarters.[24]

YWAM sources cite the following characteristic as common to all operating locations: A) The pre-requisite of the Discipleship Training School. B) The mandate to "know God and make Him known". C) A threefold ministry of: evangelism, mercy ministry and training/discipleship. D) A shared statement of faith, vision and values.[24]

Accountability and leadership are maintained through a system of regional, national and international oversight. The Global Leadership Team (GLT), which consists of approximately 45 leaders from around the world, is considered the authoritative body of leadership for YWAM International. In addition to Loren Cunningham’s influential role as Founder, the GLT elects an international Chairperson, and an international President to provide overall leadership and representation to the organization.[23]

Doctrine and practices

According to its Statement of Faith Youth With A Mission “affirms the Bible as the authoritative word of God and, with the Holy Spirit's inspiration, the absolute reference point for every aspect of life and ministry.”[25] YWAM teachers and leaders emphasize the following conduct in response to what they understand to be God’s initiative of salvation toward humanity: A) Worship: A calling to praise and worship God alone. B) Holiness: A calling to lead holy and righteous lives that exemplify the nature and character of God. C) Witness: A calling to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who do not know Him. D) Prayer: A calling to engage in intercessory prayer for the people and causes on God's heart, including standing against evil in every form. E) Fellowship: A calling to commit to the Church in both its local nurturing expression and its mobile multiplying expression.[26]

Discussing YWAM strategy with the Christian Post, Lynn Green has stated that YWAM missions "would be seen as indigenous". The perception, he claimed, combined with the intensive six-month training program, 'ties everyone together' so as to promote cooperation in working toward national goals.[9]

Values and Philosophy

YWAM 's values are clearly spelled out in a document titled, "The Foundational Values of Youth With A Mission." Officially, “These shared beliefs and values are the guiding principles for both the past and future growth of our mission... They are values we hold in high regard which determine who we are, how we live and how we make decisions.”[26] In February 2004, the Global Leadership Team released a revised statement of YWAM’s Foundational Values. A summary of these is as follows:

1) Know God, 2) Make God Known, 3) Hear God's Voice, 4) Practice Worship and Intercessory Prayer, 5) Be Visionary, 6) Champion Young People, 7) Be Broad-Structured and Decentralized, 8) Be International and Interdenominational, 9) Have a Biblical Worldview 10) Function in Teams, 11) Exhibit Servant Leadership, 12) Do First, Then Teach, 13) Be Relationship-Oriented, 14) Value The Individual, 15) Value Families 16) Rely on Relationship-based Support, 17) Practice Hospitality[26]


The three types of ministry that Youth with a Mission emphasizes are Evangelism, Training, and Mercy ministries.


Sports camps, drama presentations, musical events, along with other creative and performing arts are the avenues through which volunteers and staff share their Christian faith.[27]

YWAM also engages in church planting, in coordination with churches from various denominations, or alone when working among "unreached people groups" who do not have churches among them.[citation needed]

YWAM Campaigns

YWAM Campaigns is the campaign evangelistic arm for Youth With A Mission globally. The YWAM Campaigns arm DBA the Impact World Tour.

Impact World Tour

The Impact World Tour presents the Gospel in 21st century relevant ways using elements of the culture itself to deliver the message of Jesus.

Language, gender, age and values are all elements of culture. To really reach people, we must minister cross-culturally. If our appearance or methods cause people to miss the message of the Gospel, the burden is on us to change!

Martin Luther said: If you preach the Gospel and do not relate it to the issues of the day, you’re not preaching the Gospel at all.

Perhaps the greatest challenge for us believers is to do what Jesus did, leave “our worlds” to reach another. The methods Jesus used were relevant to the culture of the time, but very different than the culture of the “church” in its day. Most of today’s younger generation are not open to the methods that reached their parents.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ has never lost its power and relevance. Our greatest challenge now, as a Church, is to present this message in a relevant way...

The results are startling. Our history has proven that around the world large numbers of people are responding to Christ. We’ve seen approximately 10% of those in attendance in developed nations make public commitments. In less-developed nations, the response is many times even greater.

On five continents, in over 2300 communities, people young and old have been coming to Jesus! [28]

Olympic outreaches

Youth With A Mission has been active in evangelism at the Olympic Games since 1972.

It is believed 1,000 volunteers were part of the outreach effort.[12] which included 50 Dutch volunteers under Romkje Fountain (who later founded YWAM Holland)[29]
The outreach included street evangelism.[30]
YWAM notes they performed street theater during these games.[34]
YWAM conducted open-air church services and performed gospel drama and dance in the streets.[35]
4,500 YWAM members were active behind the scenes.[36] About 1,000 volunteers were official greeters at the Olympic Village[37][38] and 1,000 more helped with Olympic security and translating.[38]
Southern Baptist International Mission Board missionaries cooperated with YWAM at the Nagano Winter Olympic Games Outreach.[39] According to the YWAM website, the central event was a prayer march from Zenkō-ji, an historic Buddhist temple, to the Olympic Plaza.[40]
YWAM Member Kara Miller Stewart participated in an Olympic dance events.[41] YWAM worked closely with United Bible Societies to distribute Towards the Goal, a sports focused New Testament.[42]
YWAM was hosted by the Salvation Army.[43]
YWAM member musician K. Benny Prasad was invited to perform during these games.[44] YWAM also organized arts and music events.[45] A YWAM member was arrested for "suspicious activity" and but was later released. Greece is the only European Union (EU) country to ban proselytism in its constitution.[46]
This was reportedly the 16th YWAM Olympic related event. YWAM used entertainment events such as music, street drama, community festivals and snow boarding clinics for creative interaction.[47]
A season of outreach is planned before, during and after the Summer Olympic Games in London, 2012.

Other evangelism ministries

Other notable evangelism ministries include:

  • Shining Lights, an outreach to prostitutes in the red-light districts of Amsterdam.[15]
  • YWAM Montana has an outreach to St. Croix which includes dancing, basketball, and cookouts. College-aged youth also perform tasks like painting, landscaping, and school maintenance assisting the mission work of Southgate Baptist Church.[48]
  • Create International is an international ministry of Youth With A Mission that specializes in the production of media tools to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ to unreached people groups. Create International was formed in 1987 and now has centers in Australia, India, and Thailand.[1]


The purpose of YWAM training programs is to raise up men and women who will "disciple nations and transform cultures". A central concept to YWAM teaching is the notion of societal "spheres of influence", such as education, government, arts and entertainment, media and communication, business and commerce, family, and church.[49][50] YWAM aims to train and equip Christians to become influential within these spheres.[51]

The various training schools of YWAM are organized under the structure of The University of the Nations (U of N).[9] The U of N offers modular courses[9] and is unaccredited.[52] Most schools in the U of N system have a three month lecture phase which is then followed by a two-to-three month field assignment.[9]

Discipleship Training School

The Discipleship Training School (DTS) is YWAM's entry level training. DTSs are run in YWAM centers around the world with the purpose of teaching students about God and His purposes for humankind. The DTS encourages personal intellectual and spiritual growth and seeks to help graduates find their place serving God in the world. It also provides a foundation for students to continue their education through the U of N. The DTS generally lasts 5–6 months and consists of a 3 month lecture/study phase followed by a 2-3 month evangelistic/service outreach.[53]

Many centers run DTSs that emphasise certain parts of the world or specific ministry strategies which help students use their skills and talents in world missions. Examples of specialized DTSs are the Emerge DTS run by YWAM Wollongong, Australia, Mercy Ministry DTS run by YWAM in Melbourne, Australia, Justice focused DTS run by YWAM Wiler, Switzerland, Celtic Way DTS run by YWAM Scotland and a Surfers DTS hosted in Perth, Australia. Information about specialized DTSs and other schools are published each year in the Go Manual, a listing of worldwide training and ministry opportunities with YWAM.[54] DTS, like some other phases of YWAM's operation, sometimes relies on music and dance to help convey vision and purpose.[55]

DTSs are operated according to the guidelines of the YWAM International DTS Centre,[56] which was established to maintain and enhance excellence in DTS programs worldwide in accordance with the DTS purpose and curriculum guidelines set by the International Leadership of Youth With A Mission and the U of N.

Principles in Child and Youth Ministry

The Principles in Child and Youth Ministry (PCYM) is YWAM's secondary level training and requires a DTS training.

Biblical Training

The School of Biblical Studies (SBS) is one of YWAM's many bible training programs. Other Bible training programs offered by YWAM include the School of the Bible (SOTB), Bible School for the Nations (BSN) and School of Biblical Foundations (SBF). SBS was founded by Ron and Judy Smith in September 1981 in Kona, Hawaii. The program is a nine month course that uses the inductive method to study all 66 books of the bible. SBS worldwide has now conducted about 500 schools in the last twenty-five years and have trained somewhere between 7,000 and 10,000 students. [57] SOTB is an 11 month course that includes a 9 month lecture phase and a 6 week outreach. SOTB uses many methods to study through the entire Bible, including Inductive method (historical-grammatical approach), word studies, topical studies, key charts, and literary analysis among others. Other topics include effectively communicating the Bible, leadership, cross-cultural communicating and teaching skills, understanding worldviews, church history, and Biblical principles of government, education and economics.

Titus Project is one of the field assignments for graduates of any SBS. It includes a 3 week teacher training time that focuses on the basics of preparing and presenting the Bible in the most effective way.

Mercy Ministries

YWAM works to help meet the practical and physical needs of the global community through its many relief and development initiatives, collectively known as Mercy Ministries International. Its humanitarian efforts, along with countless global partners, reach an estimated[who?] 3,000,000 people annually and is increasing in its aims to be serving 100 million of the world's poor by 2020.[citation needed]

YWAM's various 'mercy ministries' are spread throughout most of the locations that YWAM missionaries live and work, and range in scope from serving the poor through local feeding programs to international disaster relief teams that work in places of great need, such as the 2004 Tsunami[58] and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.[59][60]

Ship-based Ministries

Marine Reach, the maritime arm of YWAM's Mercy Ministries, uses ships to bring physical and spiritual healing to the poor and needy. YWAM ships have provided vitally important surgeries, dental care, medical supplies, food, seeds, construction materials, development projects, training, and their message to the port cities of the world.[61]

Mercy Ships was the original ship-based relief ministry of YWAM, and Marine Reach grew from the foundations laid by Mercy Ships vision and expansive ministry. Mercy Ships was founded by YWAM missionaries Don and Deyon Stephens in 1978 and operated as a well-known ministry of YWAM for over 25 years.[16] Mercy Ships is now operationally distinct from YWAM, although YWAM and Mercy Ships continue to partner and share staff and resources on a regular basis.[62]

Relief & Development

Youth With A Mission teams internationally are involved in many relief and development ministries. Some of these ministries are under the purview of Mercy Ministries International, while many operate autonomously as simple ways of serving a local community. One of the more widely-noted mercy-focused ministries is ARMS (Australian Relief & Mercy Services Ltd). ARMS is the Mercy Ministry arm of Youth With A Mission, Australia, it also uses the branding 'Australian Mercy'. ARMS is a registered Christian aid and development organization that cares for the poor and needy both within Australia and overseas. ARMS works in nations such as East Timor, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, India, Zambia, Vietnam and China. It provides medical support to communities as well as disaster relief teams that serve in natural disasters and war zones. It also supports preschools and orphanages in poor communities, runs primary health care programs, and is also involved in building and construction, water and agricultural projects. In recent years ARMS has launched the Buzz Off campaign against malaria and the Donna McDermid memorial fund which addresses gender injustice and sexual abuse in the developing world. [63]

Women's Rights and Protection

In 2009 ARMS launched the Donna McDermid memorial fund a funding initiative to help address gender injustice issues and sexual abuse in the developing world. The fund seeks to raise the profile of issues such as, bride burning, female genital mutilation, child brides, breast ironing, sexual abuse, sex trafficking. [64]

Disaster Relief

Various YWAM ministries took part in relief efforts in Louisiana and surrounding states after Hurricane Katrina and Rita.[65]

Youth With A Mission was also involved in disaster relief and grief counseling after the 2004 Tsunami. Tsunami relief by YWAM staff took place in India, Thailand, and Indonesia in both the immediate aftermath of the Tsunami and is reported to still continue in some areas.[58][66]

Flooding in Pakistan in 2007 in the Sindh province prompted a reaction by twenty Muslim, Christian, and Hindu volunteers led by YWAM Pakistan chairman Zafar Francis. They were assisted by an appeal by YWAM London's relief office. They were able to distribute food for a month to 3,000 of the 150,000 homeless survivors there.[67]

Additionally, the ARMS ministry RescueNet has sent medical and SAR interventions teams to Iraq in 2003,[68] Philippines in 2004, Pakistan in 2006, Samoa 2009, Indonesia 2009 and Haiti 2010.<>FOM-Apr 05</ref>[69] ARMS has also sent intervention medical teams to East Timor in 2006.[70][71]

Disease Prevention and Treatment

In Uganda, YWAM is working with villagers to provide relief for HIV/AIDS. They have established orphanages and are ensuring children are educated. British singer, Lemar visited the project in Soroti in 2007.[72][73]

In 2007, ARMS announced a new ministry focus - an international campaign against Malaria called Buzz Off.[74] The campaign is aimed at empowering smaller NGOs and ministries working in Malaria endemic nations to tackle the problem of Malaria at the local level.

In from 2009 - 2010 Buzz Off fed resources into Burmese Internally Displaced People camps providing LLIN mosquito nets into IDP areas through already established health networks. Some funding organizations in Australia are getting behind the work that Buzz Off is doing with the IDPs.

Other Mercy Ministry Initiatives

YWAM San Diego is actively involved in building homes for families in Mexico through its Homes of Hope ministry. According to Sean Lambert, president of YWAM San Diego/Baja, teams participating with his base have built 2,084 homes for needy families since 1991.[75][76] Teams purchase the housing materials and, optionally, furniture. These teams then travel to Tijuana or Ensenada, Mexico to build the house with YWAM staff overseeing the project.[77]

Dangerous work

Hurricane Katrina flooded all eleven of YWAM New Orleans' buildings. Personnel were evacuated to YWAM bases in Baton Rouge and Tyler, Texas, where volunteers in their MercyWorks relief arm prepared to take food, "baby items" and water to victims once access was granted to relief workers by the National Guard.[78] Earlier that year, YWAM lodgings in Phuket, Thailand were destroyed by the tsunami of 26 December 2004.[79] In May 2006, Jules was caught in anti-foreign riots overtook Kabul, Afghanistan in May 2006. Violence there left eight people dead and 107 injured.

Youth ministries

Despite its historical and value emphasis on young people, YWAM involves people of all ages. However, there is still a core emphasis on youth ministry. While YWAM has many programs focusing on youth ministry, within the larger organization it has developed three transnational ministries for youth: Mission Adventures (MA), King's Kids International (KKI) and Youth Street. YWAM holds an annual spring event offering free dentistry to children in Lindale, TX. The ministry is first come, first served; while thousands are given free treatment, thousands more are turned away, sometimes coming from many states away.[80]

Film projects

YWAM Missionary Lee Isaac Chung's film Muryangabo (Liberation Day) earned Un Certain Regard at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Chung cast two street kids whom he found through YWAM's soccer-outreach program as the stars of a film that dealt with the moral and emotional repercussions of the Rwandan Genocide.[81]

David Loren Cunningham, son of the group's founders, recently produced a controversial film titled Hakani: A Survivor's Story, which contains a depiction of infanticide among Amazonian tribes of Brazil. The film gave new vigor to the debate on human rights regarding indigenous people.[82]

Create International, a media ministry of Youth With A Mission, has produced documentary and evangelistic films for over 50 of the world's least reached people groups. These films are free for all Christian workers to utilize in their evangelism and church planting efforts among unreached peoples. These films can be downloaded on their website at Create International has initiated a campaign called the, "20/20 Vision" which plans to create partnerships with local churches, media professionals, and other mission agencies "To produce and distribute an indigenous evangelistic audio-visual tool for every one of the Least Evangelized Mega Peoples by the year 2020, so that all can clearly see and understand the gospel message and embrace it as their own".

Associations and working relationships

Youth With A Mission is a global mission with links and partnerships internationally. International Chairman Lynn Green recently reported that YWAM representatives often sit "on boards of other commissions" and organizations.[9]

YWAM also works closely in with various missions and churches, as well as independent missionaries across the globe. One notable working relationship is the OneStory Project[83] which is a partnership between YWAM, Campus Crusade for Christ, the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, Trans World Radio, and Wycliffe Bible Translators as well as other Great Commission-focused organizations, churches and individuals.[84] United Bible Societies has also worked closely with YWAM as a missions partner.[42] YWAM joined with the Evangelical Alliance and John C. Maxwell to design the training program for the Global Pastors Network's Million Leaders Mandate.[85] YWAM and Christian Direction work together to pray for Muslims during Ramadan.[86] YWAM Pittsburgh has been involved in ecumenical local efforts to revive Epiphany School through teaching young people "Christian principles" and exposing them to dance and the arts.[87]


YWAM partners with:


YWAM is a member of:


  • Church of God Assistant Director Douglas Leroy has noted the cooperation between COG and YWAM, among others, and endorses cooperation with mission groups "who have expertise in certain areas, without compromising our doctrinal or policy integrity."[91]

Notable people associated with YWAM

2007 shooting event

A gunman, identified as a former YWAM student Matthew Murray,[94] shot four staff members at the missionary training center near Denver in the early morning hours on December 9, 2007, killing two, after being refused access to the training center's facilities.[95]

Afterwards, YWAM's School of Writing director Janice Rogers noted that YWAM had been the victim of violent offenders before, including homicides and other violent acts, although this is the first act of aggression against the mission on US soil, according to Mrs Rogers. Rogers stated that there are "two predominant reasons YWAM'ers have been killed; robbery or crime, or spiritual resistance to the Gospel".[96]

Youth With A Mission's Dean Sherman also released two podcast messages in response to the shootings.

Political Affiliation & Involvement

Youth with A Mission officially has no political affiliations or working relationships. However, the YWAM website acknowledges that "Individual YWAM staff and students come from a wide variety of political backgrounds and affiliations." [97]

Member Affiliation

Some of the most notable political affiliations of individual YWAM staff is in New Zealand. Bernie Ogilvy, a former national director of YWAM in New Zealand, Larry Baldock, a former YWAM staffer,[98] and other evangelical Christians entered the New Zealand Parliament in 2002 representing the United Future New Zealand party. Ogilvy, Baldock and Frank Naea, former International President of YWAM, are on the Board of The Kiwi Party and are standing for the party in the 2008 New Zealand Parliamentary election. Simonne Dyer, former CEO of the ship Anastasis, is another candidate for the party.[99]

Accusation of Political Alliances

Sara Diamond's 1989 book Spiritual Warfare includes an account alleging that Loren Cunningham supported a 1982 coup by Efraín Ríos Montt in Guatemala, by drawing connections from an alleged meeting between an unnamed Rios Montt aide and a group of Christian representatives that may have included YWAM's founder, Loren Cunningham.[100] Diamond also accused YWAM of having "sought to gain influence within the Republican party."

In 2005, Americans United for Separation of Church and State accused Youth With A Mission of offering to donate $10 million dollars to train youth. It is unclear how this would benefit Rod Parsley's Restoration Ohio project, however American's United suggests it would contribute to politically conservative goals as well as towards evangelizing Ohioans.[101]

In 2009, YWAM was linked to property used for hosting Bible studies, prayer meetings, and as boarding facilities for members of the US Congress. [102]

Teachings on Ministry and Government

YWAM's founder Loren Cunningham, along with Bill Bright of Campus Crusade developed a strategy in 1975 for influencing what they felt were seven main segments or spheres of society and culture. One of these segments included fighting a spiritual "battle" to "take back", or redeem, the "mountain of government."[103] Although the idea behind this teaching is to influence government through spiritual means, it has been the cause for some concern in the blogosphere.[104]

Criticism and controversy

There have been allegations by former members that a few YWAM leaders with authoritarian personalities have intimidated volunteers and reprimanded those acting in opposition to the organization's vision and values.[105][106][107][108] Some of the political involvements of its founders and members have also been examined by the media.[12][100][108][109][110][111] It is also claimed by Christian apologists that YWAM has taught some controversial doctrines.[112][113][114]

In 1990, cult investigator Rick Ross published an evaluation of Youth with a Mission, that cited both positive and negative aspects of YWAM. Ross concluded that he did not "recommend Youth With A Mission" or its programs.[108] After the 2007 shootings, Ross told the Fox News Network that he continued to receive occasional "serious complaints" about Youth With A Mission, but he believed it is "not a cult" ."[95]

Theological concerns

Evangelical theologians Alan Gomes and E. Calvin Beisner claim that certain unorthodox doctrines were taught at some YWAM locations from the 1970s until the 1990s.[112][113]

YWAM's previous endorsements of Moral Government Theology (Arminian view of the Atonement) and teaching on Spiritual mapping has been controversial as well.

Sara Diamond, citing an interview with Gary North, also claimed that YWAM "sees its role as an on-the-ground combat force against liberation theology."[115] Lynn Green, speaking on behalf of YWAM, disagreed that post-modernism is detrimental to youth, because of its oppositions to scientific materialism.[9]

Responses to criticism

As of 2008, David Clark, director of Youth With A Mission in Minneapolis, acknowledges these concerns with a rebuttal in two main points. "People have been hurt," stated Clark which he attributes to the freedom of the leadership of each base combined with the actions of a few "bad apples" who haven't adhered to core principles. Clark addressed the theological concerns by citing Youth With A Mission's acceptance of the National Association of Evangelicals Statement of Faith. He noted that many YWAM critics are "radical individuals who do not appreciate theological diversity" and "hard-core Calvinists", while claiming the ecumenical spirit within the organization embraces Calvinists.[116]



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  29. ^ YWAM Associates InTouch Renewal Gathering to be Held in Switzerland
  30. ^ - Everyone Benefits from STM
  31. ^ According to the Christian Post, the 2006 Winter Olympic outreach in Turino was YWAM's 16th, yet the total number of Olympic Summer and Winter games from 1972 to 2006 would need include the 1980 Summer Olympics and still only amount to 15 games. One supposes that the Christian Post has knowledge of YWAM activities at Moscow and one previous event.
  32. ^ Olympian outreach games in LA attracting thousands of evangelists
  33. ^ Major faiths to race for souls of 7,200 athletes
  34. ^ "Performing arts". Youth With A Mission, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  35. ^ Freethought Challenges Of The '90s
  36. ^ DAWN News from USA (Atlanta Olympics), Islamic World, Russia
  37. ^ NEWS: 1,800 Churches Participating in Olympic Outreach | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction
  38. ^ a b
  39. ^ International Mission Board:: News & Information
  40. ^ Japan, April 1998 YWAM News Digest
  41. ^ Pasillas, Gena (August 26, 2000). "O.C. RELIGION; ORANGE COUNTY FILE; Events". 
  42. ^ a b UBS World Report 339, March 1999
  43. ^ An army of charming volunteers - 2002 Winter Olympics coverage
  44. ^ Saipan Tribune
  45. ^ "Newspaper Archive". 
  46. ^
  47. ^ YWAM Prepares for Winter Olympics Outreach in Italy |
  48. ^ Virgin Islands, Virgin Islands Newspaper, A Pulitzer Prize Winning Newspaper, Virgin Islands Guide, Virgin Islands Info
  49. ^ "About". inTouch Camps Europe, YWAM. Last updated 26 July 2008.
  50. ^ "Q&A with Loren". Transformations, volume 3, page 2, 2006. University of the Nations, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
  51. ^ "Perspective: A Fire of Cleansing, in Every Area". International DTS Centre, YWAM. 1 February 2005.
  52. ^ "Considerations about accreditation". University of the Nations, Kona, Hawaii.
  53. ^ "DTS Prerequisite Policy". International DTS Centre. Last updated 16 December 2006.
  54. ^ YWAM Store, YWAM.
  55. ^ "Diana’s Vision Takes a Leap". Ghana Music. 7 February 2005.
  56. ^ YWAM International DTS Centre
  57. ^ "History of SBS". Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  58. ^ a b "YWAM Workers Continue Tsunami Relief Despite Anti-Christian Violence - KLTV 7 News Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |". Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  59. ^ "WKYC staffer arrives in Haiti, finds 'worse than expected' conditions". 2010-02-04. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  60. ^ "Missionary Gives Exclusive Look into Haiti One Month After Quake". 2010-02-12. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  61. ^ Marine Reach - - Youth With a Mission
  62. ^ YWAM Article Library
  63. ^ Christian Aid and Development Organisation - ARMS
  64. ^ "Donna McDermid Memorial Fund, addressing issues of female opression in the developing world". Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  65. ^ A Happy Ending for one Sulphur Family. KPLC.
  66. ^ [4][dead link]
  67. ^ Maria Mackay (July 29, 2007). "Relief Agencies Continue to Respond to Silent Cries of Pakistan Flood Victims". Christian Post. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  68. ^ FOM-Apr2003-all linked files
  69. ^ Advocate_May_4030.indd
  70. ^ August 06
  71. ^ Rescuenet Australia
  72. ^ a b Reuters AlertNet - Christian Aid partners help those left homeless by Ugandan rebels
  73. ^ Reuters AlertNet - Lemar returns to Africa for Christian Aid Week
  74. ^ ARMS
  75. ^ Angela Holman (December 14, 2006). "Carlsbad students help build housing for the homeless". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  76. ^ "Fresh Produce Sportswear Brings Color and Hope to Underprivileged Families in Mexico". PR Newswire. January 30, 2007. 
  77. ^
  78. ^ Katherine T. Phan (September 2, 2005). "YWAM Houses, Prepares Aid for Hurricane Katrina Victims". Christian Post.,_Prepares_Aid_for_Hurricane_Katrina_Victims.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  79. ^ Bette Nunn (January 12, 2005). "Missionaries spared from tsunami's path". Mooresville-Decatur Times. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  80. ^ Free Health Care in East Texas. KLTV.
  81. ^ Peter T. Chattaway (June 4, 2007). "Out of Africa". Christianity. Archived from the original on 2008-01-10. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  82. ^ . 
  83. ^ a b The OneStory Partnership
  84. ^ a b c d e OneStory - About Us
  85. ^ Evangelical Alliance & YWAM to Launch Million Leaders Training Programme
  86. ^ Religion Today Summaries - October 4, 2006
  87. ^ Epiphany School given new life -
  88. ^ What Others Say About YWAM
  89. ^ What Others Say About Us
  90. ^ YWAMers Join Global Initiative to Bring One Billion to Christ
  91. ^ FaithNews Network
  92. ^ Mission Frontiers August 1999 Keith Green Commands Us to Go
  93. ^ Hannibal Courier-Post Local Happenings Story Bebo Norman to appear at Orpheum Theatre October 30 10/19/02
  94. ^ Meyer, Jeremy P.; Erin Emery, Christopher N. Osher (December 10, 2007). "Police believe revenge motivated shooter". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  95. ^ a b "Missionary Group Thrust Into Limelight After Colorado Shootings". Fox News. December 11, 2007.,2933,316371,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-04. ""Some former staffers and families of current members have likened it to brainwashing," Ross said, adding, "When I say brainwashing, I mean breaking people down and molding them into a YWAM mindset that is basically submissive and obedient and pliable to the leader's agenda."" 
  96. ^ Patrick Butler (December 11, 2007). "Shooting Won't Change YWAM". Tyler Telegraph. 
  97. ^ "[5]" YWAM FAQs
  98. ^ "Team Kiwi". The Kiwi Party.
  99. ^ "Simonne Dyer". The Kiwi Party.
  100. ^ a b Sara Diamond (1989). Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right. Boston, MA: South End Press. ISBN 9780896083615. "Ríos Montt's ascension to power [by coup in 1982] was celebrated by the U.S. Christian Right as a sign of divine intervention in Central America.... In May, 1982, [Pat] Robertson told the New York Times that his Christian Broadcasting Network would send missionaries and more than a billion dollars in aid to help Rios Montt rule the country. While Robertson's offer never came to fruition, it enabled Rios Montt to convince the U.S. Congress that he would not seek massive sums of U.S. aid. Instead, he would rely on "private aid from U.S. evangelicals. Toward that end, Rios Montt's aide... came to the United States for a meeting with... [Reagan consigliore] Edwin Meese, Interior Secretary James Watt... and Christian Right leaders Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Loren Cunningham)." 
  101. ^ "Ohio Pastor Launches $30-Million Campaign For Nation's 'Restoration'". Church and State. November 2005. 
  102. ^ Roig-Franzia, Manuel (June 26, 2009) "The Political Enclave That Dare Not Speak Its Name." Washington Post. Retrieved on July 12, 2009
  103. ^ Video (posted on January 29, 2008). "Reclaim 7 Mountains of Culture"
  104. ^ Wilson, Bruce, aka Troutfishing (July 11, 2009). "Ensign House Owned By Group Proposing Christian World Control Plot." Daily Kos. Retrieved on July 12, 2009.
  105. ^ "Youth With A Mission (YWAM)". Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  106. ^ Mitchell, Paul (December 1999). "Christi-Anarchy". Shoot the Messenger. Archived from the original on 2009-10-22. Retrieved 2007-12-25. 
  107. ^ Jacobson, Laurie (1986). My Experience in YWAM: A Personal Account and Critique of Cultic Manipulation. 3. International Cultic Studies Association. pp. 204–33. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  108. ^ a b c Ross, Rick A. (October 1990). "Youth With A Mission". Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  109. ^ "This Week In Blogging the Religious Right: The Path to 9/11 Edition". Retrieved 2007-12-22. "Ríos Montt's ascension to power [by coup in 1982] was celebrated by the U.S. Christian Right as a sign of divine intervention in Central America.... In May, 1982, [Pat] Robertson told the New York Times that his Christian Broadcasting Network would send missionaries and more than a billion dollars in aid to help Rios Montt rule the country. While Robertson's offer never came to fruition, it enabled Rios Montt to convince the U.S. Congress that he would not seek massive sums of U.S. aid. Instead, he would rely on "private aid from U.S. evangelicals. Toward that end, Rios Montt's aide... came to the United States for a meeting with... [Reagan consigliore] Edwin Meese, Interior Secretary James Watt... and Christian Right leaders Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Loren Cunningham (head of Youth With a Mission)." 
  110. ^ Max Blumenthal. "ABC 9/11 Docudrama's Right-Wing Roots". "According to Sara Diamond's book Spiritual Warfare, during the 1980's YWAM "sought to gain influence within the Republican party" while assisting authoritarian governments in South Africa and Central America. Cunningham, Diamond noted, was a follower of Christian Reconstructionism, an extreme current of evangelical theology that advocates using stealth political methods to put the United States under the control of Biblical law and jettison the Constitution." 
  111. ^ "ABC 9/11 Docudrama's Right-Wing Roots". September 11, 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-16. "Last June, Cunningham's TFI announced it was producing its first film, mysteriously titled Untitled History Project. "TFI's first project is a doozy," a newsletter to YWAM members read. "Simply being referred to as: The Untitled History Project, it is already being called the television event of the decade and not one second has been put to film yet. Talk about great expectations!" (A web edition of the newsletter was mysteriously deleted last week after its publication by the blogger Digby, but has been cached on Google at the link above)." 
  112. ^ a b Gomes, Alan W. (1981). Lead Us Not Into Deception - A Biblical Examination of Moral Government Theology
  113. ^ a b Beisner, E. Calvin. (1994). The False God and Gospel of Moral Government Theology.
  114. ^ James B. Jordan (April 1994). "PROLIFISM: A New Humanism". Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  115. ^ Sara Diamond (1989). Spiritual Warfare. South End Press. p. 206. 
  116. ^ David Clark. "Concerns about YWAM". Youth With A Mission, Minneapolis. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 

Further reading

  • Blumenthal, Max. The Nightmare of Christianity The Nation (September 9, 2009)
  • Cunningham, L. w/ Rogers, Janice, The Book that Transforms Nations, YWAM Publishing, 2007. ISBN 1-57658-381-3
  • Cunningham, L., Is That Really You God?, YWAM Publishing, 1984. ISBN 1-57658-244-2
  • McClung, Floyd Jr. and Charles Paul Conn. Just Off Chicken Street. USA, Fleming H. Revell, 1975. ISBN 0-8007-0699-4.
  • McClung, Floyd. Basic Discipleship. InterVarsity Press, 1992. ISBN 0-8308-1319-5.
  • McClung, Floyd. The Father Heart of God: Experiencing the Depths of His Love for You. Harvest House Publishers, 2004. ISBN 0-7369-1215-0.
  • Schaeffer, Edith, Francis A. Schaeffer and Deirdre Ducker. L'Abri. USA, Crossways Books, 1992. ISBN 0-89107-668-9.
  • Schaeffer, Francis. The God who is There. 1968.

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