Who We Are

YWAM is a global movement of Christians from many cultures, age groups, and Christian traditions, dedicated to serving Jesus around the world. We are united in a common purpose: "To know God and to make Him known.

We do this in three main ways: evangelism, training and mercy ministries. Everything we do falls into one or more of these categories. 

With more than 20,000 full-time staff from over 180 nations and over 1,200 operational sites, including 600 training centers, YWAM has been training and mobilizing young and old people for missions for over 60 years.

Unique DNA

Our movement is unique because we are united by our shared vision, beliefs, values and relationships with one another, rather than by a set of rules or a centralized headquarters. It is for this reason that we continue to be a fast-growing, all-volunteer apostolic mission led by young YWAMers from around the world.

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Our Core Values:

1. Know God

YWAM strives to know God. To know his nature, character and ways as revealed in the Bible, which is the authoritative, inspired Word of God. We strive to reflect Him in every aspect of our lives and ministry. The natural fruit of knowing God and enjoying our relationship with him is a desire to share that relationship with others (2Ki 19:19; Job 42:5; Ps 46:10; 103:7-13; Jer 9:23-24; Hos 6:3; Jn 17:3; Eph 1:16-17; Phil 3:7-11; 1Jn 2:4-6)

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YWAM’S Four Legacy Words

I found myself facing a dilemma in 2015. Loren was turning 80 at the end of June and I knew that YWAMers around the world would want to celebrate this milestone – but Loren would NOT! It’s not that he was in denial about getting older, but he would not want to be the center of attention. He would much prefer to let the occasion slip by with just a family party and an ice cream cone! 


Fortunately our good friend David Hamilton knows Loren’s heart well, and he understood the dilemma. So he came up with a creative plan: in September of 2015, approximately 1,300 staff and leaders from 72 nations converged in Townsville, Australia for YWAM Together. As a birthday gift, at the end of the event, we honored Loren by reflecting on four key, directional words from the Lord that he brought to Youth With A Mission throughout our history. They came to be known as the “Four Legacy Words.”


Each Legacy Word was presented to Loren in story form, recalling how God gave the word, in front of the whole congregation, complete with fanfare and related gifts. The time ended with a mammoth birthday cake, carried in on the shoulders of six Pacific Island “warriors.” It was shaped like a Bible, representing the fourth legacy word, End Bible Poverty Now. The whole process was filled with joy and laughter, alongside awe-filled ponderings of the magnitude of the words God had given both to YWAM and to the body of Christ through Loren. Thus, he was able to fully enjoy and enter into his “party,” focusing on Jesus and His words to us!

- Darlene Cunningham
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1. The Vision of the Waves – 1956

Suddenly I was looking at a map of the world, only the map was alive and moving! I could see all the continents, and waves were crashing onto their shores. Each wave went onto a continent, then receded, then came up further until it covered the continent completely. The waves become young people – kids my age and even younger – covering all the continents of the globe. They were talking to people on street corners and outside bars. They were going from house to house and preaching the Gospel. They came from everywhere and went everywhere, caring for people. Then just as suddenly as it had come the scene was gone.


2. The Spheres of Influence – 1975

God created individuals (Genesis 1:26-27) and loves them, wanting to redeem them from brokenness and sin. In the same way God created nations (Acts 17:26-27) and loves them, and wants to bring kingdom transformation into every dimension of their societal interactions. Whether you call this reality a “sphere” a “mind-molder” or a “mountain” – it points to a God who cares for both individual and corporate humanity. This same God sent prophets of old to speak the word of God at times to individuals (a king, a general, a widow) and at times to corporate expressions of humanity (a tribe, a city, a nation). God has a heart for lost individuals and lost nations and invites us to collaborate with him to bring a transformative impact of the kingdom of God into every area of life, both private and public.


3. The Christian Magna Carta – 1981

Now, the original Magna Carta is a famous historical document composed in England in the year 1215. It is one of the first political documents that details basic human rights. In a similar way, the Christian Magna Carta details the Gospel rights that every human being has. It expresses all that which is implied in the Great Commission, as seen through the eyes of all those who should benefit from the Good News of the kingdom. What can those who do not yet know Jesus expect from Jesus followers? The six points lead to a compelling, holistic answer that echoes both the actions and the words of Jesus, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Mat 25:40).


4. End Bible Poverty – 1967

“I was with a YWAM convoy traveling through Mexico to Central America in 1967. We had stopped in a dusty Mexican town to repair a flat tire. While some worked on that, the rest of us delivered a Gospel of John to every home, then held an open-air preaching service.

After our meeting a woman in a faded red dress came up to me. My Spanish wasn’t very good, but I understood her to say, ‘There’s no place in my town to get a Bible, and there aren’t any in the towns around here. Do you have a Bible in my language?’

I managed to find a Spanish Bible for her. She grasped it to her chest. ‘¡Muchísimas gracias, señor!’


As Loren Cunningham turned 85 years old in 2020, this cry of his heart is like that of Caleb when he too was 85, “Give me this mountain” (Jos 14:12). This challenge to end Bible poverty gripped the hearts of many.