Founded by Loren Cunningham in 1960, Youth With A Mission International is a movement of Christians from many nations and denominations committed to “Know God and Make Him Known.”
Launched by Loren initially, to give young people an opportunity to be involved in missions (an unusual idea at the time!), YWAM has since grown into a multi-generational ministry and training body with over 1,100 operating locations in 180 nations around the world. Decentralised, but bound together by relationship, shared vision and values, our three primary modes of action are evangelism, discipleship and mercy ministry. More about YWAM International
Loren & Darlene Cunningham
Founders of YWAM
In 2004 David and Susan Cole, YWAMers since 1978, led the Impact World Tour campaigns which swept through New Zealand targeting 53 towns and cities, with over 1,000 events over 3 months saw 23,500 people respond to the gospel in stadiums and public venues. It was a significant moment in New Zealand’s church history. Out of this came a surge of hunger for prayer in the church, further mission training, and a desire to see complete transformation in communities and nations.
The Cole family moved to Bethlehem, Tauranga in January 2005, led by the call of God to establish a YWAM missional training community, centred around the furnace of prayer, which would serve New Zealand, the pacific and up into Asia. This was a common vision shared by a handful of other families and friends who moved to Tauranga around about the same time.
The Tauranga House of Prayer was established in January 2006. With the furnace of prayer and worship burning, YWAM discipleship and mission training began soon after led by Joshua and Misty Cole who lead the YWAM Bethlehem operation under the Impact World Tour (NZ) Trust. The shared vision of hundreds that have come into and through our community over the last 9 years is that YWAM Bethlehem is to be a centre for training and ministry for Tauranga, New Zealand, and the nations.
Because of our mandate to “know God and make Him known”, our goal is to disciple and train people with practical and relevant tools to achieve this in all cultures, nations and spheres of society, throughout their whole lives. Our training goes beyond academic and theoretical training and aims to provide people with real experience and practically equip people for their area of service. Every training course leads directly into related ministry opportunities, both in the context of YWAM and further afield.
Our mission is to see as many as possible hear and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe that everyone has the right to hear and understand the message of Jesus, and that through the gospel, lives are transformed, as are communities and nations. We share this message in any way we can: publicly before crowds and one-on-one with individuals, near and far, in large cities and remote villages. We believe God can use all kinds of gifts and all kinds of strategies to bring hope to all kinds of people. We have a specific passion (although not limited to) for New Zealand, The South Pacific and Asia. Our overall mandate is to see people from everywhere, going everywhere to Make Him Known.
Community has always been central to who we are and how we function. We’ve increased from a small handful of families and singles in 2005 into a vibrant and growing missions training centre with dozens of families, young married couples and singles who are full-time staff volunteers. We are a multi-generational community of staff and students from many nations and church backgrounds, sharing life and serving together. We eat together, seek God, live in a variety of shared housing, and are constantly strengthened by the gifts and experiences of others. We also value the individual, seeking to empower, equip and show worth to each person, so no one gets lost in the crowd. We are part of a wider community with the Tauranga House of Prayer, and a number of local churches we are closely partnered with.
Our Core Values
The 18 Foundational Values of YWAM
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 God 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, as 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, trust, train, support, make space 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 Decentralized
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. 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 individuals gifts, abilities and expertise.
12. 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.
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 for Finances
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 and others have been generous towards us, so we desire to be generous. YWAMers give themselves, their time and talents to God through the mission with no expectations 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, campuses and bases 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.