I had the privilege of hearing Loren Cunningham teach the Word for the first time in 1972, and I got to know him personally at my school of evangelism in Lausanne in 1974. Since 1983 we've been working together on the project for a worldwide Christian university, the University of the Nations.
Loren was the most visionary person imaginable: for him, the future was more real than the present. The vision that animated him most, received at the age of 21, was that of waves of young people from every nation sweeping across every continent.
He had the gift of sharing this vision with such strength, joy, faith and clarity that he stirred these waves in one nation after another. He did it in French-speaking countries too.
YWAM has always been one of the Christian organizations most open to women's ministry, and to entrusting responsibility to young leaders in the countries of the South. This has been one of the sources of our diversity and creativity.
It's extremely rare for a leader with such charisma to succeed in founding an organization he doesn't want to control. But YWAM remains one of the most decentralized, diverse and creative organizations on the planet. There are countless ministries under this umbrella - we've never counted them, and we don't even have the means to do so. And so much the better!
Loren knew that an organization led by one person, or by a small group, would always be limited by the faith of that group. So he always challenged young people to learn to recognize God's voice and follow His lead. Loren was well aware that entrusting responsibility to untrained and inexperienced young people would lead to all kinds of mistakes and blunders. But he decided to give us the opportunity to try ... and fail.
My prayer is that YWAM stays true to Loren's vision, always on the fine line between chaos and paralysis.