The heart of YWAM –to worship God, to serve God’s global purposes, and to champion young people– remains as strong as it was in the beginning.
The Vision Dawns
It all began with a vision. In June of 1956, Loren Cunningham, a 20-year-old student from the United States, spent a part of his summer break in Nassau, Bahamas touring with a singing group.
One night after a busy day, Loren had an unusual experience. “I lay down on the bed,” he recalled, “doubled the pillow under my head and opened my Bible, routinely asking God to speak into my mind. What happened next was far from routine.
“Suddenly, I was looking up at a map of the world. Only the map was alive, moving! I sat up. I shook my head, rubbed my eyes. It was a mental movie. I could see all the continents. Waves were crashing onto the shores. Each went onto a continent, then receded, then came up further until it covered the continent completely.
“I caught my breath. Then, as I watched, the scene changed. The waves became young people–kids my age and even younger–covering the continents. They were talking to people on the street corners and outside bars. They were going house to house. They were preaching.
“Was that really you, Lord? I wondered, still staring at the wall, amazed. Young people–kids really–going out as missionaries! What an idea! And I thought ‘Why did God give me this vision?’ ”
Youth With A Mission Officially Established
In the summer of 1960, Loren graduated from college. With the vision still on his mind, Loren led a youth mission trip to Hawaii. While there, he developed more of the vision for a new organization. This ministry would send young people out after high school to gain a sense of purpose. It would welcome all Christians no matter what their denomination.
He started that organization, Youth With A Mission, by the end of the year. Two years later, Loren married Darlene Scratch. Together, they are viewed as co-founders of YWAM today.
The Vision Builds
First YWAM Training Program
First Permanent YWAM Center
Mission Builders Established
Munich Olympic Outreach
Plans for the Discipleship Training School begin
King’s Kids Ministry Begins
YWAM’s University Established.
Mercy ships Ministry Begins.
Thailand Refugee Ministry Begins.
Frontier Missions Established.
YWAM Publishing Expands.
YWAM’s University Renamed “University of the Nations.”
30-Days of Prayer for the Muslim World Begins.
Impact World Tour Established.
YWAM’s Website Launched.
Reconciliation Walk Retraces the First Crusade.
New Logo for YWAM’s 40th Anniversary.
YWAM Joins Table 71.
Mercy Ships Released and More Ships Added.
Impact World Tour Sees Massive Response in New Zealand.
YWAM Celebrates 50 Years of Spreading the Word of God.
YWAM Changes to Eldership Model of Leadership.
3,900 YWAMers Gather in Thailand.
Stadium Events Rally Young People for Missions.