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|Type||Evangelical Missions Agency|
|Area served||180 Countries|
|Slogan||To know God and to make Him known|
|This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (April 2014)|
|Type||Evangelical Missions Agency|
|Area served||180 Countries|
|Slogan||To know God and to make Him known|
Youth With A Mission (YWAM, generally pronounced "why-wam") is an inter-denominational, non-profit Christian, missionary organization. Founded by Loren Cunningham and his wife Darlene Cunningham in 1960, YWAM's stated purpose is to "know God and to make Him known". 
YWAM includes people from over 180 countries and a large number of Christian denominations, with over half of the organization's staff from non-Western countries. YWAM has over 18,000 full-time volunteers in more than 1,100 ministry locations in over 180 countries. They train upwards of 25,000 short-term missions volunteers annually.
Youth With A Mission was conceived by Loren Cunningham in 1956, as a 20-year-old student in an Assemblies of God College, he was traveling in the Bahamas when he had a vision of waves breaking over the Earth. 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.
In late 1960, the name Youth with a Mission was chosen and 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.
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.
In 1967, Cunningham began to work on his vision for the first school. It was to be the School of Evangelism, which was held at Chateau-d'Oex, Switzerland in 1969 with 21 students. A second school which was twice as long, ran from the summer of 1969 through the summer of 1970 just outside Lausanne, Switzerland (in Chalet-A-Gobet). The students' lodging and classes took place in a newly renovated and leased hotel. By the end of the year, YWAM purchased the hotel and made Lausanne its first permanent location.
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). A format of three months of lectures followed by two or three months of outreach is still used in most Discipleship Training Schools today.
By 1970, YWAM had a total of 40 full-time staff. In early 1972, a small team headed to Munich, Germany, to begin preparations for an outreach during the 1972 Summer Olympics. YWAM had about 1000 people there for the outreach. This was the first of many YWAM Olympic outreaches.
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.
By 1979, YWAM's Mercy Ships ministry was launched with the commissioning of the ship "Anastasis" (the Greek word for Resurrection). In 2003, Mercy Ships was released as a separate organization. Since then several new YWAM ship ministries have sprouted up which are part of a growing network of ship-equipped ministries around the world. There are now 15-20 vessels in YWAM, with more being added regularly.
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. When communist regimes in Eastern Europe began to fall in the early 1990s, Youth With A Mission began outreaches to countries there, including Albania.
By 2000, YWAM had over 11,000 staff from over 130 countries and had become almost 50 percent non-Western. 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. In 2000, YWAM developed a new role of Executive Chairman, which Jim Stier stepped into, and made the presidency a three-year rotating position. However, at a meeting in 2011 the organization's elders did away with the titles director, chairman, and president, in reference to all leadership roles except at the local level. 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. In 2008, a number of mission organizations and church mission departments, including YWAM, started the Call To All movement, dedicated to completing the Great Commission in our time.
YWAM leaders characterize the organization as a “family of ministries” rather than a structured, hierarchical entity. 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.
YWAM sources cite the following characteristic as common to all operating locations: A) The pre-requisite of the Discipleship Training School (DTS) for all staff. 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.
Accountability is maintained through an eldership network and relationships based on common Core Values.
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.” 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.
YWAM's values are 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.” 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 18) Communicate with integrity
Sports camps, drama presentations, musical events, and other creative and performing arts are among the avenues through which volunteers and staff share their Christian faith.
Other notable evangelism ministries include:
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.
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.
YWAM Kochi runs School of Evangelism and Pioneering to send people to start new ministries where YWAM is not yet reached.
YWAM Redding runs an Encounter Discipleship Training School where they evangelize to the broken and lonely in Redding, California. They also send teams to nearby cities to share the true gospel with Muslim communities. Their training school is focused on reaching those currently unreached with the gospel, using dance, theatre, music, painting, and photography in ministry to communicate with different cultures, and getting God's compassionate heart for those lost, exploited in trafficking, and looking for love and healing..
The purpose of YWAM training programs is to develop the students' relationship with God and with others, to help them find God's purpose for their lives, empowering them to live Christ-like lives no matter what their vocation might be. An important 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. YWAM aims to train and equip Christians to become influential within these spheres.
The various training schools of YWAM are organized under the structure of The University of the Nations (U of N). The U of N offers modular courses which in the USA are accredited via bi-lateral arrangements with other higher education institutions, rather than by accrediting agencies. In some nations, e.g. Australia, certain YWAM courses are recognized by accrediting agencies. 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.
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.
Many centers run DTSs that emphasize 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 Encounter DTS featuring three tracks: Compassion, Arts in Ministry, and Outdoor Adventure, run by YWAM Redding in California (www.ywamredding.com).Emerge DTS run by YWAM Wollongong, Australia, Mercy Ministry DTS run by YWAM in Melbourne, Australia, Adventure DTS ran in New Zealand by YWAM Bethlehem,'Justice focused DTS run by YWAM Wiler, Switzerland, Celtic Way DTS run by YWAM Scotland, Photography DTS run by YWAM Orlando and a 4WD Adventure DTS hosted in YWAM Perth, Australia. Others focus more on locations like the Beaches DTS run by YWAM Gold Coast in Australia. Information about specialized DTSs and other schools are listed at the YWAM website. DTS, like some other phases of YWAM's operation, sometimes relies on music and dance to help convey vision and purpose.
DTSs are operated according to the guidelines of the YWAM International DTS Centre, 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.
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), School of Biblical Foundations (SBF) and the Bible Core Course (BCC). 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 Protestant 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. 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 Protestant 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. The Bible Core Course had formerly been named the School of Biblical Studies Core Course and is a three-month school compatible with the longer SBS. Students can either take the three-month BCC and continue on to finish the last six months of the SBS, or they can finish the BCC as a stand alone course.
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. Some of YWAM's curriculum was based on the books and teachings of Eric Ludy.
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. These various YWAM 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 and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
YWAM ship equipped ministries, 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.
Mercy Ships was the original ship-based relief ministry of YWAM, and the new ship-equipped ministries grew from the foundations laid by the Mercy Ships vision and expansive ministry. Mercy Ships is now operationally separated from YWAM. Marine Reach, a New Zealand based ship ministry continued as Youth With A Mission's ship ministry operating four ships across the Pacific with a fifth operating into the Mediterranean. Over the last two decades Marine Reach ships have visited over twenty nations, involving multiple port visits, with on board medical teams treating over 400,000 patients to date and distributing multiple millions of dollars in medical supplies and equipment. The M/V Pacific Hope currently serves in the Pacific with the M/V Next Wave serving in the Mediterranean. A third ship, the M/V Pacific Link, currently serves with Australian Medical Ships in Papua New Guinea.
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 (which also uses the branding 'Australian Mercy') is the Mercy Ministry arm of Youth With A Mission, Australia. ARMS is a registered Christian development and aid 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. 
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.
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.
Flooding in Pakistan in 2007 in the Sindh province prompted a response by twenty Muslim, Christian, and Hindu volunteers led by YWAM Pakistan. They were assisted by an appeal made through YWAM London's disaster relief|relief office. Various YWAM entities in Pakistan were able to distribute food for a month to 3,000 of the 150,000 homeless survivors there.
Additionally, the ARMS ministry RescueNet has sent medical and SAR interventions teams to Iraq in 2003, Philippines in 2004, Pakistan in 2006, Samoa 2009, Indonesia 2009 and Haiti 2010. ARMS has also sent  intervention medical teams to East Timor in 2006.
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.
In 2007, ARMS announced a new ministry focus – an international campaign against Malaria called Buzz Off. 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.
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. 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. In recent years the work has expanded throughout the Caribbean into the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and Panama. According to their website, Homes of Hope has built a total of 4,300 homes in 16 different nations.
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. Earlier that year, YWAM lodgings in Phuket, Thailand were destroyed by the tsunami of 26 December 2004.
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. In 1973, Pastor David E. Ross founded YWAM Korea, and has launched a campus ministry where word meditation sessions, prayer meetings and worship services are held on campus. Currently, in South Korea, total of 120 universities have YWAM campus ministries with 150 assistant administrators and 8 university disciples training schools.
YWAM Missionary Lee Isaac Chung's film Munyurangabo (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.
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.
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 http://www.indigitech.net 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". http://www.global2020vision.com
Youth With A Mission is a global mission with international partnerships. Former chairman Lynn Green recently reported that YWAM representatives sometimes sit "on boards of other commissions" and organizations.
YWAM also works closely with various missions and churches, as well as independent missionaries across the globe. Through these connections, YWAM has sometimes grown by taking over local independent ministries. One example of this is the story of its affiliate in Korea, Jesus Evangelism Team, which joined YWAM in the early 1980s.
A notable working relationship is the OneStory Project 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. United Bible Societies has also worked closely with YWAM as a missions partner. YWAM joined with the Evangelical Alliance and John C. Maxwell to design the training program for the Global Pastors Network's Million Leaders Mandate. YWAM and Christian Direction work together to pray for Muslims during Ramadan. 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.
YWAM partners with:
YWAM is a member of:
A gunman identified as a former YWAM student, Matthew Murray, shot four staff members at the missionary training center near Denver in the early morning hours on December 9, 2007, killing two.
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 was the first act of aggression against the mission on US soil. 
Youth With A Mission's Dean Sherman also released two podcast messages in response to the shootings.
Youth with A Mission officially has no political affiliations or working relationships. Its website says: "Individual YWAM staff and students come from a wide variety of political backgrounds and affiliations." 
Sara Diamond's 1989 book Spiritual Warfare mentions a meeting which may imply a connection between various Christian leaders (including YWAM Founder Loren Cunningham) and Efraín Ríos Montt, who was dictator in Guatemala from 1982-1983. Diamond also accused YWAM of having "sought to gain influence within the Republican party."
In 2009, YWAM was linked to property used for hosting Bible studies, prayer meetings, and as boarding facilities for members of the US Congress.
In 1975, YWAM's founder Loren Cunningham, along with Bill Bright of Campus Crusade spoke of the importance of influencing seven main segments or spheres of society and culture. One of these segments included fighting a spiritual battle to redeem the area of government. Although the idea behind this teaching is to influence government through spiritual means, it has been the cause for some concern in the blogosphere.
There have been complaints about the way some people were treated by authority figures during their time in YWAM. The Christian Research Institute say they have received complaints about YWAM. In 1990, cult consultant Rick Ross published an evaluation of Youth with a Mission, that cited both positive and negative aspects of YWAM. 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" ." Some of the political involvements of its founders and members have also been examined by the media. It is also claimed by Christian apologists that YWAM has taught some controversial doctrines.