Youth with a Mission
|Motto||To know God and to make Him known|
|Founder||Loren Cunningham and Darlene Cunningham|
|Type||is a Christian Interdenominational Missionary Association|
Youth with a Mission (YWAM, generally pronounced /ˈwaɪwæm/ or “WHY-wham”), is a Christian missionary and outreach group.
Founded in 1960, the group's initial focus was to get youth involved in missions. Today, while maintaining it's original youth-oriented ethos, the group has expanded it's membership to those of older ages as well. The organization currently has tens of thousands of staff (called “YWAMers”) working in thousands of teams and locations.
YWAM includes members from over 181 countries and a large number of Christian denominations, with over half of the organization's staff from non-Western countries. YWAM has over 15,000 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.
- 1 History
- 2 Structure
- 3 Doctrine and practices
- 4 Programs
- 4.1 Evangelism
- 4.2 International sporting event outreaches
- 4.3 Training
- 4.4 Mercy Ministries
- 4.5 Youth ministries
- 4.6 Film projects
- 5 Associations and working relationships
- 6 Mainstream News Reports
- 7 Political Affiliations
- 8 Controversies
- 9 References
- 10 External links
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 a movement that would send young people out into various nations to share the message of Jesus, and which would involve Christians of all Protestant denominations.
In late 1960, the name Youth with a Mission (YWAM) was chosen and the group 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 in Chateau-d'Oex (Hotel Rosat), 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 1978, YWAM's Mercy Ships ministry was launched with the commissioning of the ship "Anastasis" (the Greek word for Resurrection). In 1984 the m/v Good Samaritan was added, in 1990 the m/v Pacific Ruby, then in 1994 the m/v Caribbean Mercy and then in 2001 the m/v Pacific Link. Mercy Ships was pioneered by YWAM but in 2003 was released as a separate organization. A New Zealand-based YWAM ship ministry, formerly a part of Mercy Ships called Marine Reach, which owned and operated the m/v Pacific Link continued to remain within the YWAM family and, over time, a number of ship equipped ministries sprouted up as part of the YWAM Ships network.
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 a relationship based eldership network and through the agreed YWAM core values.
Doctrine and practices
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.
Values and philosophy
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) Practice dependence on God, 17) Practice Hospitality 18) Communicate with integrity
Sports camps, drama presentations, musical events, volunteering, and other creative and performing arts are among the avenues through which volunteers and staff share their Christian faith. YWAM Australia runs second level courses that focus on Evangelism training in YWAM Perth and YWAM Whitsunday through the School of Evangelism.
International sporting event outreaches
- 1972 Summer Olympics, Munich: It is believed 1,000 volunteers were part of the outreach effort, which included 50 Dutch volunteers under Romkje Fountain (who later founded YWAM Holland)
- 1976 Summer Olympics, Montreal: The outreach included street evangelism.
- The 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow were heavily boycotted and afforded little opportunity for evangelism because of Communist precepts. YWAM is presumed not to have participated.
- 1984 Summer Olympics, Los Angeles: YWAM notes they performed street theater during these games.
- 1992 Summer Olympics, Barcelona: YWAM conducted open-air church services and performed gospel drama and dance in the streets.
- 1996 Summer Olympics, Atlanta: 4,500 YWAM members were active behind the scenes. About 1,000 volunteers were official greeters at the Olympic Village and 1,000 more helped with Olympic security and translating.
- 1998 Winter Olympics, Nagano: Southern Baptist International Mission Board missionaries cooperated with YWAM at the Nagano Winter Olympic Games Outreach. According to the YWAM website, the central event was a prayer march from Zenkō-ji, an historic Buddhist temple, to the Olympic Plaza.
- 2000 Summer Olympics, Sydney: YWAM member Kara Miller Stewart participated in an Olympic dance events. YWAM worked closely with United Bible Societies to distribute Towards the Goal, a sports focused New Testament.
- 2002 Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City: YWAM was hosted by the Salvation Army.
- 2004 Summer Olympics, Athens: YWAM member musician Benny Prasad was invited to perform during these games. YWAM also organized arts and music events. A YWAM member was arrested for "suspicious activity" but was later released. Greece is the only European Union (EU) country to ban proselytism in its constitution.
- 2006 Winter Olympics, Torino: This was reportedly the 16th YWAM Olympic related event. YWAM used entertainment events such as music, street drama, community festivals and snow boarding clinics for creative interaction.
- 2012 Summer Olympics, London: A season of outreach was held during and after the Summer Olympic Games in London, 2012.
- 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: An outreach is planned for this event.
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.
INfusion Youth Camp
INfusion is a summer camp offered to youth ages 13-18 in Kona, Hawaii. The program has been running for approximately 10 years. INfusion is a 10-day program that takes place on the University of the Nations Kona campus. It has also been offered in Orange County, California. The focus of this program is to encourage high school aged students to engage in their spiritual growth in a more personal and profound way, and prime them to reenter their daily lives with a God-centered mindset. INfusion's vision is that "It's their [student's] chance to fall in love with Jesus and make Him the center of everything that they do". In addition, INfusion offers various "Passion Groups" for students to join, including preaching/leadership, media, music, and sports.
Discipleship Training School
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. Some YWAM locations have utilized the relationship teachings and authorship of Eric Ludy within their given DTS program.
Many centers run DTS's that emphasize certain parts of the world or specific ministry strategies which help students use their skills and talents in world missions. DTS's 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.
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 isolated islands and rivers 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. New Zealand based YWAM ship ministry, formerly a part of Mercy Ships called Marine Reach, which owned and operated the m/v Pacific Link continued to remain within YWAM family.
Since 2003 several other YWAM ship equipped ministries have sprouted up which are part of a growing network around the world. There are now 21 vessels in the YWAM Ships network, with more being added regularly. YWAM Ships are currently spread out from the Ob River in Siberia, Mediterranean, Colombia, Amazon River, Peru, Panama, Hawaii, Micronesia, The Marshall Islands, Alaska, New Zealand, Australia, and Papua New Guinea. Each vessel is independently owned and operated by different YWAM locations, each having their own board of directors and raising their own funds. YWAM Ship vessels include river boats, coastal ships, yachts, research vessels, small cruise ships and catamarans.
Relief and development
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. 
Women's rights and protection
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.
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.
Disease prevention and treatment
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 to 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.
Other mercy ministry Initiatives
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.
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.
YWAM also runs film and acting courses, which are offered in places like Kona,Hawaii and Brisbane, Australia.
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
Associations and working relationships
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:
- Christian Aid
- Campus Crusade for Christ
- International Mission Board
- Trans World Radio
- Wycliffe Bible Translators
- World Vision
- Food for the Hungry
- International House of Prayer
YWAM is a member of:
- the International Orality Network
- Call2All, a 200 organization initiative of the Global Pastors Network to lead a billion souls to Christ
- OneStory Project
- Church of God Assistant Director Douglas Leroy has noted the cooperation between COG and YWAM, among others, and endorses cooperation with mission groups "who have expertise in certain areas, without compromising our doctrinal or policy integrity."
Mainstream News Reports
2007 Shooting Incident
A gunman identified as an expelled 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 internationally, 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.
2017 UofN Embezzlement Charges
In January 2018, Pablo Rivera, the chief financial officer for University of the Nations at YWAM-Kona, pled guilty to wire fraud.  Rivera embezzled nearly 3.1 million dollars, amounting to $50,000 per month. According to the YWAM school leadership, in order to compensate for the fraud, increased charges were applied to volunteers and students. According to the Department of Justice press release, Rivera used fraudulent invoices from an outside contractor to supplement his lavish lifestyle; this included plastic surgery, failed stock market investments and a gold mine in Sierra Leone. 
Youth with A Mission has no official political affiliations. The YWAM.org website states: "Individual YWAM staff and students come from a wide variety of political backgrounds and affiliations." 
Accusations of Political Activity
In 1989, Sara Diamond's book Spiritual Warfare mentioned a meeting in the United States between various Christian leaders (including YWAM Founder Loren Cunningham) and Efraín Ríos Montt, who led a coup in Guatemala from 1982-1983, implying a connection with Christian evangelicalism. Diamond also suggested that YWAM "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.
Doctrines on Redeeming Culture
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 (Family, Celebration, Religion, Government, Education, Science, Media). One of these segments included "fighting a spiritual battle to redeem the area of government". While the group maintains that it's teachings aimed only to promote moral service for Christian citizens, others interpreted the segment as an effort to influence secular governance with evangelical Christian ideals.
Concerning treatment of YWAM volunteers
There have been complaints about the way some people have been treated by authority figures during their time in YWAM. For example, the website of the International Cultic Studies Association hosts an article which describes in some detail an experience of spiritual abuse on a DTS course in Hawaii. In this incident the author and two other women fled in the dead of night for fear of serious damage to their mental health.
The Apologetics Index also lists a number of personal accounts of spiritual abuse within the organisation. The website's founder was himself a victim of such abuse at the hands of one of YWAM's most important leaders, Floyd McClung. Talking about McClung, the author writes: "While I have forgiven the spiritual abuse and accepted his reluctant apologies ... the abuse has had far-reaching consequences, the scars of which I still bear." 
He also quotes Harold Busséll, author of By Hook or by Crook : How Cults Lure Christians: "While living in Europe, my wife and I were involved with an Evangelical youth mission based in Switzerland. We were with the group only six weeks, but it was almost seven years before I had overcome the psychological damage caused by their cult-like control and spiritualization … Questioning a leader was considered an act of rebellion against God and His chain of command."
The Christian Research Institute also 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.
Theological and doctrinal concerns
Evangelical theologians Alan Gomes and E. Calvin Beisner believe certain doctrines taught to young missionaries at some YWAM locations from the 1970s until the 1990s to be unorthodox. These doctrines include Moral Government Theology. Moral Government Theology adherents such as Gordon Olson, Harry Conn and Winkie Pratney taught classes based on this teaching to young missionaries during this time period.
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The vision was really a picture that he had in his spirit. It was a globe – as if seen from space – and there were waves lapping each continent, and each wave would come up further inland until he saw that each continent was completely covered. Upon closer inspection, the waves were actually young people. He knew then that the young people would be taking the message of the gospel throughout the world.
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- YWAM International DTS Centre
- "History of SBS". Sbsinternational.org. Retrieved 2011-09-19.
- "Bible Core Course". Youth with a Mission. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
- Robert H. Krapohl, Charles H. Lippy, The Evangelicals: A Historical, Thematic, and Biographical Guide, Greenwood Publishing Group, USA, 1999, p. 163
- "YWAM Workers Continue Tsunami Relief Despite Anti-Christian Violence – KLTV 7 News Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |". Kltv.com. Retrieved 2011-09-19.
- "WKYC staffer arrives in Haiti, finds 'worse than expected' conditions". wkyc.com. 2010-02-04. Retrieved 2011-09-19.
- "Missionary Gives Exclusive Look into Haiti One Month After Quake". Kolotv.com. 2010-02-12. Retrieved 2011-09-19.
- Marine Reach – - Youth With a Mission
- Christian Aid and Development Organisation – ARMS
- "Donna McDermid Memorial Fund, addressing issues of female oppression in the developing world". Donnamcdermid.org. Retrieved 2011-09-19.
- A Happy Ending for one Sulphur Family. KPLC.
-  Archived September 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- Maria Mackay (July 29, 2007). "Relief Agencies Continue to Respond to Silent Cries of Pakistan Flood Victims". Christian Post. Retrieved 2018-05-09.
- Rescuenet Australia
- Katherine T. Phan (September 2, 2005). "YWAM Houses, Prepares Aid for Hurricane Katrina Victims". Christian Post. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
- Bette Nunn (January 12, 2005). "Missionaries spared from tsunami's path". Mooresville-Decatur Times. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
- "Christian Aid partners help those left homeless by Ugandan rebels". Reuters AlertNet. 12 Nov 2003. Archived from the original on November 21, 2003.]
- "Lemar returns to Africa for Christian Aid Week]". Reuters AlertNet. May 16, 2007. Archived from the original on May 18, 2007.
- Angela Holman (December 14, 2006). "Carlsbad students help build housing for the homeless". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
- "Fresh Produce Sportswear Brings Color and Hope to Underprivileged Families in Mexico". PR Newswire. January 30, 2007.
- Free Health Care in East Texas. KLTV.
- Peter T. Chattaway (June 4, 2007). "Out of Africa". Christianity. Archived from the original on 2008-01-10. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
- The OneStory Partnership
- OneStory – About Us
- Evangelical Alliance & YWAM to Launch Million Leaders Training Programme
- Religion Today Summaries – October 4, 2006
- Epiphany School given new life – PittsburghLIVE.com
- What Others Say About YWAM
- What Others Say About Us
- "Endorsements". ihop.org. International House of Prayer. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
- Baldwin, Jonathan. "Convergence The Missions Movement Unites with the Prayer Movement". Retrieved 16 July 2013.
- YWAMers Join Global Initiative to Bring One Billion to Christ
- FaithNews Network
- Meyer, Jeremy P.; Erin Emery; Christopher N. Osher (December 10, 2007). "Police believe revenge motivated shooter". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2007-12-11.
- "Missionary Group Thrust into Limelight After Colorado Shootings". Fox News. December 11, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
- Patrick Butler (December 11, 2007). "Shooting Won't Change YWAM". Tyler Telegraph.
- "" YWAM FAQs
Sara Diamond (1989). Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right. Boston, MA: South End Press. ISBN 978-0-89608-361-5.
Ríos Montt's ascension to power [by coup in 1982] was celebrated by the U.S. Christian Right as a sign of divine intervention in Central America.... In May, 1982, [Pat] Robertson told the New York Times that his Christian Broadcasting Network would send missionaries and more than a billion dollars in aid to help Rios Montt rule the country. While Robertson's offer never came to fruition, it enabled Rios Montt to convince the U.S. Congress that he would not seek massive sums of U.S. aid. Instead, he would rely on "private aid from U.S. evangelicals. Toward that end, Rios Montt's aide... came to the United States for a meeting with... [Reagan consigliore] Edwin Meese, Interior Secretary James Watt... and Christian Right leaders Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Loren Cunningham).
- Roig-Franzia, Manuel (June 26, 2009) "The Political Enclave That Dare Not Speak Its Name." Washington Post. Retrieved on July 12, 2009
- "The Seven Spheres of Influence – Loren Cunningham". YWAM Podcast Network. 2016-02-12. Retrieved 2017-05-30.
- "7 Questions for those Impacting the Spheres of Society - YWAM Perth Australia". YWAM Perth Australia. Retrieved 2017-05-30.
- Wilson, Bruce, aka Troutfishing (July 11, 2009). "Ensign House Owned By Group Proposing Christian World Control Plot." Daily Kos. Retrieved on July 12, 2009.
- "Youth with a Mission (YWAM)". Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Mitchell, Paul (December 1999). "Christi-Anarchy". Shoot the Messenger. Archived from the original on October 25, 2009. Retrieved 2007-12-25.
- Ross, Rick A. (October 1990). "Youth with a Mission". Retrieved 2007-12-11.
- Jacobson, Laurie (1986). "My Experience in YWAM: A Personal Account and Critique of Cultic Manipulation". 3 (2). International Cultic Studies Association: 204–33. Retrieved 2007-12-12.
- "Bible Gateway passage: Ezekiel 34:20-22 - New International Version". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
- "Youth with a Mission (YWAM) | Apologetics Index". Apologetics Index. 2014-05-03. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
- "Youth with a Mission (YWAM) | Apologetics Index". Apologetics Index. 2014-05-03. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
- "This Week in Blogging the Religious Right: The Path to 9/11 Edition". Retrieved 2007-12-22.
Ríos Montt's ascension to power [by coup in 1982] was celebrated by the U.S. Christian Right as a sign of divine intervention in Central America.... In May, 1982, [Pat] Robertson told the New York Times that his Christian Broadcasting Network would send missionaries and more than a billion dollars in aid to help Rios Montt rule the country. While Robertson's offer never came to fruition, it enabled Rios Montt to convince the U.S. Congress that he would not seek massive sums of U.S. aid. Instead, he would rely on "private aid from U.S. evangelicals. Toward that end, Rios Montt's aide... came to the United States for a meeting with... [Reagan consigliore] Edwin Meese, Interior Secretary James Watt... and Christian Right leaders Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Loren Cunningham (head of Youth With a Mission).
- Max Blumenthal. "ABC 9/11 Docudrama's Right-Wing Roots".
According to Sara Diamond's book Spiritual Warfare, during the 1980s YWAM "sought to gain influence within the Republican party" while assisting authoritarian governments in South Africa and Central America. Cunningham, Diamond noted, was a follower of Christian Reconstructionism, an extreme current of evangelical theology that advocates using stealth political methods to put the United States under the control of Biblical law and jettison the Constitution.
- "ABC 9/11 Docudrama's Right-Wing Roots". September 11, 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-16.
Last June, Cunningham's TFI announced it was producing its first film, mysteriously titled Untitled History Project. "TFI's first project is a doozy," a newsletter to YWAM members read. "Simply being referred to as: The Untitled History Project, it is already being called the television event of the decade and not one second has been put to film yet. Talk about great expectations!" (A web edition of the newsletter was mysteriously deleted last week after its publication by the blogger Digby, but has been cached on Google at the link above).
- Cunningham, L. w/ Rogers, Janice, The Book that Transforms Nations, YWAM Publishing, 2007. ISBN 1-57658-381-3
- Cunningham, L., Is That Really You God?, YWAM Publishing, 1984. ISBN 1-57658-244-2
- McClung, Floyd Jr. and Charles Paul Conn. Just Off Chicken Street. USA, Fleming H. Revell, 1975. ISBN 0-8007-0699-4.
- McClung, Floyd. Basic Discipleship. InterVarsity Press, 1992. ISBN 0-8308-1319-5.
- McClung, Floyd. The Father Heart of God: Experiencing the Depths of His Love for You. Harvest House Publishers, 2004. ISBN 0-7369-1215-0.
- Schaeffer, Edith, Francis A. Schaeffer and Deirdre Ducker. L'Abri. USA, Crossways Books, 1992. ISBN 0-89107-668-9.
- Schaeffer, Francis. The God who is There. 1968.
- YWAM Official site
- The YWAM Knowledge Base YWAM's wiki knowledgebase website
- Australian Mercy Australian Mercy
- YWAM England
- YWAM Kosova
- YWAM New York (NYC)
- Apologetics-Index evaluation of YWAM
- Alan Gomes Lead Us Not Into Deception: Moral Government Theology teachings at YWAM Facilities
- Rick Ross' 1990 evaluation of YWAM