What Is YWAM?

Youth With A Mission

Youth With A Mission is (YWAM)…

An international and energetic movement of Christians whose passion is to know God and to make Him known. Since the organization began in the 1960s, the main focus has been empowering and encouraging youth into short term missions opportunities. Today these opportunities are open to almost all ages with three main areas of ministry: evangelism, training, and mercy ministry.

To Know God, And to make him Known.

How it all began, how it grew and who we are today…

The story of how YWAM began and how it has grown is a story of God’s direction and grace in using people from all over the world. YWAM encompasses thousands of people and hundreds of ministries in almost every country.

It all started when a 20-year-old American college student, who was in the Bahamas on a singing tour, spent some time in prayer. As he leaned back in his bed and looked up, he saw what he called a “mental movie.” He saw waves on a map. The waves turned into young people, going to every continent, sharing the good news about Jesus. “Was that really you, Lord?” he asked. This radical idea that young people could be missionaries stayed with the young man, Loren Cunningham. Four years later, in 1960, he started an organization with that very idea expressed even in its name: Youth With A Mission. Today, Youth With A Mission (YWAM) has grown into one of the world’s largest Christian mission organizations.

Loren Cunningham, YWAM Founder

The story of how YWAM began and how it has grown is a story of God’s direction and grace in using ordinary people from countries all over the world. YWAM encompasses thousands of people and hundreds of ministries in almost every country. Our staff and students are a mixture of nationalities and people from a wide variety of nations who serve side by side. We come from numerous different Christian denominations and speak hundreds of languages. Nearly half of our staff come from “non-western” countries, such as Brazil, Korea, Indonesia, India, and Nepal. In addition to our full-time staff, many YWAM locations host short-term outreach teams made up of individuals, youth groups, families, and churches who get to participate first-hand in “making God known” through both word and action. We send out over 25,000 short-term missionaries each year.

YWAM’s Key Ministires

YWAM’s international ministry is three-fold, encompassing these different ministries:

Evangelism

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Training

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Mercy Ministries

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Christian Magna Carta

We affirm the Christian Magna Carta which describes the following basic rights as implicit in the Gospel. Everyone on earth has the right to:

  • Hear and understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Have a Bible available in their own language.
  • Have a Christian fellowship available nearby, to be able to meet for fellowship regularly each week, and to have Biblical teaching and worship with others in the Body of Christ.
  • Have a Christian education available for their children.
  • Have the basic necessities of life: food, water, clothing, shelter and health care.
  • Lead a productive life of fulfillment spiritually, mentally, socially, emotionally, and physically.

We commit ourselves, by God’s grace, to fulfill this covenant and to live for His glory.

YWAM Foundational Values

Values we hold in high regard which determine who we are, how we live, and how we make decisions

Youth With A Mission (YWAM) affirms the Bible as the authoritative word of God and, with the Holy Sprit’s inspiration, the absolute reference point for every aspect of life and ministry. Based upon God’s word, who He is, and His initiative of salvation, through the atoning work of Jesus (His death, burial and resurrection), the following responses are strongly emphasizes in YWAM:

Worship:
We are called to praise and worship God alone.

Holiness:
We are called to lead holy and righteous lives that exemplify the nature and character of God.

Witness:
We are called to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who do not know Him.

Prayer:
We are called to engage in intercessory prayer for the people and causes on God’s heart, including standing against evil in every form.

Fellowship:
We are called to commit to the Church in both its local nurturing expression and its mobile multiplying expression.

The Foundational Values of Youth With A Mission are the expression of our basic beliefs coupled with specific directives given by God since YWAM’s beginning in 1960. They are recorded here in order to pass on to successive generations that which God has emphasized to us. These shared beliefs and values are the guiding principles for both the past and future growth of our mission. Some are common to all Christians everywhere; others are distinctive to Youth With A Mission. The combination of these beliefs and values make up the unique family characteristics of our YWAM “DNA.” They are values we hold in high regard which determine who we are, how we live, and how we make decisions.

1. Know God

YWAM is committed to know God, His nature, His character and His ways. We seek to reflect who He is in every aspect of our lives and ministry. The automatic overflow of knowing and enjoying fellowship with God is a desire to share Him with others.

2. Make Him known

YWAM is called to make God known throughout the whole world, and into every arena of society through evangelism, training, and mercy ministries. We believe that salvation of souls should result in transformation of societies, thus obeying Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations.

3. Hear God’s voice

YWAM is committed to creating with God through listening to Him, praying His prayers, and obeying His commands in matters great and small. We are dependent upon hearing His voice as individuals, together in team contexts and in larger corporate gatherings. This is an integral part of our process for decision making.

4. Practice worship and intercessory prayer

YWAM is dedicated to worship Jesus and engage in intercessory prayer as integral aspects of daily life. We also recognize the intent of Satan to destroy the work of God and we call upon God’s power and the Holy Spirit to overcome his strategies in the lives of individuals and in the affairs of nations.

5. Be visionary

YWAM is called to be visionary, continually receiving, nurturing and releasing fresh vision from God. We support the pioneering of new ministries and methods, always willing to be radical in order to be relevant to every generation, people group, and sphere of society. We believe that the apostolic call of YWAM requires the integration of spiritual eldership, freedom in the Spirit and relationship, centered on the Word of God.

6. Champion young people

YWAM is called to champion youth. We believe God has gifted and called young people to spearhead vision and ministry. We are committed to value them, trust them, train them, support them, make space for them, and release them. They are not only the Church of the future; they are the Church of today. We commit to follow where they lead, in the will of God.

7. Be broad-structured and decentralised

YWAM is broad-structured and diverse, yet integrated. We are a global family of ministries held together by shared purpose, vision, values and relationship. We believe that structures should serve the people and the purposes of God. Every ministry at every level has the privilege and responsibility of accountability to a circle of elders, with overall international accountability to the YWAM Global Leadership Team.

8. Be international and interdenominational

YWAM is international and interdenominational in its global scope as well as its local constituency. We believe that ethnic, linguistic, and denominational diversity, along with redeemed aspects of culture, are positive factors that contribute to the health and growth of the mission.

9. Have a biblical worldview

YWAM is called to a Biblical worldview. We believe that the Bible makes a clear division between good and evil; right and wrong. The practical dimensions of life are no less spiritual than the ministry expressions. Everything done in obedience to God is spiritual. We seek to honor God with all that we do, equipping and mobilizing men and women of God to take roles of service and influence in every arena of society.

10. Function in teams

YWAM is called to function in teams in all aspects of ministry and leadership. We believe that a combination of complementary gifts, callings, perspectives, ministries and generations working together in unity at all levels of our mission provides wisdom and safety. Seeking God’s will and making decisions in a team context allows accountability and contributes to greater relationship, motivation, responsibility, and ownership of the vision.

11. Exhibit servant leadership

YWAM is called to servant leadership as a lifestyle, rather than a leadership hierarchy. A servant leader is one who honors the gifts and callings of those under his/her care and guards their rights and privileges. Just as Jesus served His disciples, we stress the importance of those with leadership responsibilities serving those whom they lead.

12. Do first, then teach

YWAM is committed to doing first, then teaching. We believe that firsthand experience gives authority to our words. Godly character and a call from God are more important than an individual’s gifts, abilities and expertise.

13. Be relationship-oriented

YWAM is dedicated to being relationship-oriented in our living and working together. We desire to be united through lives of holiness, mutual support, transparency, humility, and open communication, rather than a dependence on structures or rules.

14. Value the individual

YWAM is called to value each individual. We believe in equal opportunity and justice for all. Created in the image of God, people of all nationalities, ages, and functions have distinctive contributions and callings. We are committed to honoring God-given leadership and ministry gifts in both men and women.

15. Value families

YWAM affirms the importance of families serving God together in missions, not just the father and/or mother. We encourage the development of strong and healthy family units, with each member sharing the call to missions and contributing their gifts in unique and complementary ways.

16. Practice dependence on God

YWAM is called to practice a life of dependence upon God for financial provision. For individuals and YWAM corporately this comes primarily through His people. As God has been generous toward us, so we desire to be generous. YWAMers give themselves, their time and talents to God through the Mission with no expectation of remuneration.

17. Practice hospitality

YWAM affirms the ministry of hospitality as an expression of God’s character and the value of people. We believe it is important to open our hearts, homes, and campuses to serve and honor one another, our guests and the poor and needy, not as acts of social protocol, but as expressions of generosity.

18. Communicate with integrity

YWAM affirms that everything exists because God communicates. Therefore, YWAM is committed to truthful, accurate, timely, and relevant communication. We believe good communication is essential for strong relationships, healthy families and communities, and effective ministry.

(YWAM Foundational Values approved by the Global Leadership Team August 2003; released February 2004.)